Thursday, June 4, 2015

American Pharoah Heads Belmont Field In Bid To Sweep Triple Crown

©2015 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.
This Saturday, the trail to classic glory takes us to Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, where all eyes of the horseracing world will be watching dual classic winner American Pharoah attempt to win the 147th running of the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1) which is the last jewel of the prestigious Triple Crown of American horseracing.
Only 11 Classic Champion Thoroughbreds have earned the title “Triple Crown winner” and that honor was last accomplished thirty-seven years ago when Affirmed won the 1978 Belmont Stakes (G1) by a nose, defeating his tough rival and opponent, Alydar.
Tabbed the 3-5 morning line favorite, American Pharoah comes into this race with a 6-0-0 record in seven starts for Hall of Fame Trainer, Bob Baffert. He’s undefeated in his last six starts with a combined win margin of 30¼ lengths. All of his victories have been in graded stakes competition, including five grade one wins and a win in the grade two Rebel Stakes.
Despite his impressive record, the Belmont could be American Pharoah’s greatest challenge, yet. And, that’s why it’s called the “Test of champions.”
The Belmont has also been challenging for Baffert who’s been here on eight previous attempts but only went to the winners circle with Point Given in 2001.
Jockey Victor Espinoza has been aboard American Pharoah in all six of his victories but the Belmont will also be his biggest challenge. Espinoza was here last year looking to sweep the Triple Crown with California Chrome but they finished fourth and he’s yet to win the Belmont in three other previous attempts.
In addition to American Pharoah, four horses that were among the top finishers in Kentucky Derby 141, but skipped running in the Preakness Stakes (G1), could also be a factor in the Belmont.
Mubtaahij (10-1) is a horse I liked a lot going into the Kentucky Derby and his eighth-place finish in that race is not indicative of his potential. He comes into the Belmont with a 4-1-0 record in eight starts for South African trainer Michael de Kock including wins in the UAE Derby (G2) and the Al Bastakiya.
Sometimes horses don’t run to their potential and, whatever the reason for his Derby finish, Mubtaahij appears to be thriving at Belmont Park where he’s recorded a total of six work outs since the Derby. He has the breeding to be a factor and I look for Mubtaahij to run a good race, Saturday.
In eight starts, Frosted (5-1) has never been off the board and he comes into this race for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin with an overall 2-4-0 record.
In the Derby, early traffic trouble placed Frosted in 14th place and he made up ground to run fourth at the top of the stretch but was unable to narrow the gap. Frosted narrowly missed finishing third to Dortmund, who beat him by a neck, and, despite his fourth-place finish, he finished short of victory by only 3¾ lengths.  
Since the Derby, Frosted has been training well at Belmont, posting a total of three work outs including a sharp bullet work on May 15.
I look for Frosted to run a good race.
Materiality (6-1) comes into the Belmont with a 3-0-0 record in four starts for trainer Todd Plethcer. All of his races, with the exception of his maiden debut, have been run at nine furlongs or longer and he’s a young colt that could improve after finishing sixth in the Kentucky Derby.
Prior to the Derby, Materiality won all three of his starts on or close to the lead. However, in the Derby, early traffic trouble forced Materiality to the back of the herd where he raced for most of the race. At the top of the stretch, he was in 13th place but managed to rally, nicely, to finish a respectable sixth.
Materiality has the breeding to be competitive in this race and with the shorter field, jockey John Valazquez will probably position Materiality on or closer to the lead.
I look for them to run a good race.
Keen Ice (20-1) is the long shot wild card. To date, with a 1-0-2 record in eight starts, Keen Ice has not accomplished much but he has the breeding to be a factor in this race.
In the Kentucky Derby, Keen Ice ran at the back of the herd for most of the race and he was in 14th place at the top of the stretch. He closed the gap, nicely, to finish seventh, 8¾ lengths short of victory.
As previously noted in my Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes blog, the Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile is a software tool I use to measure classic potential in young Thoroughbreds and it shows that the previously mentioned five horses are the top contenders in this race.
Developed by my brother, Dallas, the software profile is comprised of the proprietary Tesio Index and Ancestral Herd Index® and it assigns each horse a numerical score. The higher the score, the more potential that horse has to become a classic champion.
Like an intricate puzzle, the pedigree contains many secrets of what champions are made of and everything one needs to know about the horse, from the physical conformational characteristics to the emotional and behavioral traits, can be found in the pedigree if one knows the families, Ancestral Herd that formed the foal.
The profile does not take into account other factors that could determine the outcome of a race such as the horse’s will to win or the fact that, for many different reasons, horses sometimes fail to live up to their potential. However, I believe that a horse’s emotional behavior and physical fitness can eventually be a part of the analytical equation in determining the Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile.
The first profile shows the original scores of the horses that competed in the Kentucky Derby and it includes scores for the new horses that are entered in this race. Let’s take a look at the Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile scores for Belmont Stakes (G1) 147.


Rank, Horse, Odds
1. Mubtaahij (10-1)              
2. Frosted (5-1)
3. Madefromlucky (12-1)
4. American Pharoah (3-5)
5. Materiality (6-1)
6. Keen Ice (20-1)
7. Frammento (30-1
8. Tale of Verve (15-1)

As you can see in the Original Analysis, American Pharoah is ranked fourth. Despite the moderate score, American Pharoah won the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1).
A common discrepancy between analysis and horse performance is that some horses fail to live up to their potential while others like American Pharoah seem to exceed what is apparent in their breeding.
This raises the question: Why?
Data mining can answer that question. Data mining uses the processing power of modern technology to unlock secrets in the pedigree and quantify the influence of the Ancestral Herd.
In addition to the Original Analysis, Data Mining Model One and Data Mining Model Two have been developed to allow for horses like American Pharoah whose performances have exceeded what is apparent in their breeding.

Rank, Horse, Odds                  
1. Mubtaahij (10-1)
2. Frosted (5-1)
3. American Pharoah (3-5)
4. Materiality (6-1)
5. Madefromlucky (12-1)
6. Keen Ice (20-1)
7. Tale of Verve (15-1)
8. Frammento (30-1)

Rank, Horse, Odds

1. American Pharoah (3-5)
2. Mubtaahij (10-1)
3. Frosted (5-1)
4. Materiality (6-1)
5. Madefromlucky (12-1)
6. Keen Ice (20-1)
7. Tale of Verve (15-1)
8. Frammento (30-1)

          In addition to those two models, Data Mining Model Three was also created to include a scenario for the long shot wild card Keen Ice.

Rank, Horse, Odds

1. Keen Ice (20-1)
2. Frosted (5-1)
3. Mubtaahij (10-1)
4. American Pharoah (3-5)
5. Materiality (6-1)
6. Madefromlucky (12-1)
7. Tale of Verve (15-1)
8. Frammento (30-1)

Much of what we do in calculating the Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile is proprietary and, as such, Dallas and I decided to not publish the data mining profile scores.
In all four models, Mubtaahij, Frosted and American Pharoah are in the top four. In the Original Analysis, third-ranked Madefromlucky is the only new horse in this herd to crack the top four, while in Data Mining Model One and Data Mining Model Two, Materiality is located in the top four.
In Data Mining Model Three, you see that Keen Ice is ranked first. Indeed, he will need to improve his game considerably if he is going to secure the win. But, he has the breeding to be factor and if Materiality challenges American Pharoah early that could open the door for a long shot bomber line Keen Ice to come closing at the finish.
Overall, my brother, Dallas, and I were pleased with the Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile software analysis of Kentucky Derby 141.
All three models had good results but the Derby Data Mining Model Two was, by far, the best. The model clearly isolated five of the top six finishers – American Pharoah, Dortmund, Frosted, Danzig Moon and Materiality – as the top tier of horses in that race. And, you can read about those results here.
The Preakness results were even better and you can read about that here. Danzig Moon and Tale of Verve were the only two horses that did not run close to their ranking. Dortmund was ranked 2nd and he finished 4th. Diving Rod was ranked 3rd and he finished 3rd. American Pharoah was ranked 4th and he finished 1st. Mr. Z was ranked 5th and he finished 5th. Firing Line was ranked 6th and he finished 7th. Bodhisattva was ranked 7th and he finished 8th.
In addition, the Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile software was also instrumental in picking the top performers in the major prep races leading up to Kentucky Derby 141. You can read about those results here.
The ability of the Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile software to predict specific outcomes of races is robust and its greatest strength lies in its potential to predict long term racing and breeding performance – predictive ability that is valuable in assisting horse owners and breeders take the guesswork out of breeding, training, and purchasing of racehorses.
In addition, we’re confident that the Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile software can be a powerful handicapping tool and predictor of classic races like the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.


  1. Calvin, I agree with you and Dallas wholeheartedly! The only one I have out of the top five is Madefromlucky --- who I think has a good chance of being last. If the other "M&M's" finish on top ahead of AP ---I'm off to the windows. If AP wins, I'm out the window! Good luck and thank you for publicly sharing your insights.

    1. lcdrball,

      Thanks, my friend. Good luck!