April 30, 2004

HOW CAN YOU NOT LIKE A HORSE NAMED "SMARTY JONES"?:

20 horses, 8 real threats at Derby (JIM O'DONNELL, April 30, 2004, Chicago Sun-Times)

It is a handicapper's PlayStation. Even the most opinionated experts seem to acknowledge that at least two-thirds of the starting lineup could make it to the winner's circle. Further complicating matters is the fact Kentuckiana weather forecasters are calling for a 70 percent chance of afternoon thunderstorms on Derby Day. There has not been a Derby run in the slop since 1994. [...]

Still, someone will win, and figuring out who that will be is a major preoccupation of speculators from Antigua to Emerald Downs this weekend. So once again, Team Sun-Times will winnow possibilities through the sieve of Odage.

Odage is the handicapping helper that has eliminated two-thirds of all Derby starters from serious consideration, dating back to 1996, based on three simple past-performance guidelines. A horse can win the Kentucky Derby only if:

1) It finished first or second in its last race.

2) It ran a Beyer Speed Figure of at least 100 in its last race.

3) The forward variance of its last two Beyers is no worse than minus-2.

Since 1996, all eight Derby champions have been Odage qualifiers. Last May, only six of the 16 eventual starters qualified, including the three who ran 1-2-3: Funny Cide, Empire Maker and Peace Rules.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 30, 2004 10:19 AM
Comments

It should be an interesting day at the Downs.

Posted by: Bartman at April 30, 2004 11:28 AM

I don't know much about "Smarty Jones", but I like this horse already - the name makes more sense than most other racing horses' names. I mean, I can grok "Seabiscuit" or "War Admiral", but a lot of those other names are just plain peculiar. But then, I never pretended to understand the horsey set even though I live not too far from the Virginia horse country.

Posted by: Joe at April 30, 2004 6:51 PM
« IDOLATRY: | Main | "ACTUALLY, THAT IS CHRIST, BUT HE THINKS HE'S ARNOLD PALMER": »