With barely a month and a half of the 2013 graded stakes calendar in the rear-view mirror, it's a good time to take a snap shot of some of the top early season performances. As usual, you can find the complete Graded Stakes Results excel file via the link to Google drive below:
Based on some of my experiences last year with this experiment, I'm trying something a little bit different this season. First, I'm compiling an overall rating for the top three finishers in each graded stakes race separated by running surface. This overall rating combines all graded stakes over a specific surface, regardless of age, sex and distance.
At certain points during the season, I'll break the ratings and ranking out into the various divisions (Classic, Turf, Dirt Mile, etc.) and do a comparison on that level. But for now, everyone is tossed into one big category on each surface.
For now, I'm eschewing the assignment of points based on grade in favor of a simple ranking based on a composite of speed and performance figures.At the end of the season, points will be awarded based on overall rank in terms of quality, as opposed to simply basing it on grade. The idea behind this, as I've hypothesized previously, is to recognize that grades are based on prior year results and race strength and not necessarily the value in the current year. I would expect the Grade 1 races to end up near the top due to the typically stronger fields (and we see some of that already in the first ratings), but this way it's more of a comparative analysis than simply assigning a blanket number based on a pre-determined grade.
Ideally, this would be a more complete analysis if I were to include all listed stakes races, as well as ratings/figures from every horse in each field, as opposed to simply the top three. But, unfortunately, the data available and the amount of time to perform an analysis in that manner is what it is.
Okay, with that out of the way, let's take a look at the "oh-so-early" horse and race ratings on both dirt and turf. (We've yet to have a graded stakes race on a synthetic surface so no need to talk about those races, yet.) The tables below list the top 5 and bottom 5 ratings on each surface. Par is equal to 100.
|Dirt Horse Ratings|
|1||Game On Dude||G2-San Antonio||200.56|
|4||Fort Loudon||G3-GP Sprint Champ||174.30|
|5||Sahara Sky||G2-Palos Verdes||171.51|
|68||Scarlet Strike||G3-Santa Ysabel||18.99|
|69||Pow Wow Wow||G2-Forward Gal||16.76|
|71||Fear the Kitten||G3-Lecomte||8.94|
|72||Power Lady||G3-Old Hat||5.59|
|Turf Horse Ratings|
|1||Point of Entry||G1-GP Turf Hcp.||182.61|
|2||Animal Kingdom||G1-GP Turf Hcp.||170.65|
|3||Suggestive Boy (ARG)||G2-Arcadia||157.61|
|5||Slim Shadey (GB)||G2-San Marcos||154.35|
|34||Last Full Measure||G3-Endeavour||33.70|
|35||Kitten's Dumplings||G3-Florida Oaks||20.65|
|36||Wave Theory||G3-Florida Oaks||10.87|
And now the ratings for each race on both dirt and turf.
|Dirt Race Ratings|
|1||GP Sprint Champ||167.04|
|16||Sam F. Davis||80.45|
|19||Robert B. Lewis||56.80|
|Turf Race Ratings|
|1||GP Turf Handicap||168.12|
|5||John B. Connelly||115.58|
|8||Col. E.R. Bradley||91.30|
We can already see a difference in a couple of areas between the quality of the performance by an individual horse and the overall strength rating of the top 3 finishers. Game On Dude's victory stands as the best individual performance on dirt so far in 2013, but the race itself comes up in the ninth position primarily due to the fact that the rating for the show horse, Make Music For Me, came back at 24.02, ranking 66th of the 72 top three finishers so far in 2013.
These ratings will change throughout the year since they are based on a comparisons of individual performances, making it possible that a race that appears particularly strong right now could end up being much weaker once the sample size gets a little larger. At the same time, we can already take note of a couple of races that look fairly weak on paper, namely the Lecomte on the dirt and the Florida Oaks on the turf. Also, take note of how poorly the G2-Santa Monica rates considering the race is for older horses.