How to read the program

Herald-Leader staff reportMay 4, 2013 

Horse description

A. Program number for wagering purposes (1a, 2b reflect coupled entries).

B. TRA saddle cloth color.

C. Post position number in starting gate.

D. Morning line odds as determined by oddsmaker.

E. Claiming price.

F. Horse's name.

G. Horse's color, gender, age and bloodlines.

H. Trainer and meet stats with in-the-money percentage.

I. Race day medication ((L)/Lasix, (L1)/first time Lasix, (LX)/coming off Lasix, (A)/adjunct bleeder medication).

J. State or country where bred and breeder.

K. Weight carried by horse including jockey and equipment.

L. Jockey and meet stats with in-the-money percentage.

M. Date when horse was born (foaled).

N. Current year race record.

O. Previous year race record.

P. Lifetime race record.

Q. Horse's record at Churchill Downs.

R. Turf lifetime race record.

S. Lifetime race record over turf courses that were labeled other than "firm."

T. Lifetime stats at this distance.

U. Lifetime race record over dirt courses that were labeled other than "fast."

V. Horse claimed (-c).

W. Denotes claimed from owner, price, trainer.

Past performance data

1. Date of past performance.

2. Racetrack abbreviation and race number.

3. Course condition.

4. Course symbol.

5. Distance of the race: When handicapping the Derby, look for horses that have raced well at 11⁄8 miles, which is shorter by 1⁄8 mile (one furlong) than the Derby's 10 furlongs (11/4 miles).

6. Fractional time of race (in 100ths of a second).

7. Final time of race (in 100ths of a second).

8. Age group of race.

9. Race restrictions.

10. Type of race: Although many Derby horses typically start their 3-year-old year running in an allowance (Alw) race as a tune-up, the most important prep races are stakes races. Graded stakes are listed by name and grade, with Grade I stakes having the most prestige and the highest purses.

11. Equibase pace figure.

12. Equibase speed figure: This is a numerical representation of how fast a horse runs in a race. Horses with ascending speed figures in their past performances, and/or triple-digit speed figures, are a sure signal of improvement in form.

13. Post position.

14-15. Running position: These numbers show the horse's position at various stages of the race, and lengths off the pace (leader). Taken as a whole, this set of numbers is called the running line, and Derby handicappers should be looking for important clues in the past performances of contenders. Remember that, even though some Derby winners lead gate to wire, most come from off the pace to win. The ideal running line is a horse who breaks fast, stays just behind the pace setters, takes the lead near the head of the stretch, and holds off the late closers at the wire.

16. Finish position and margin; ahead of second if winner; behind winner if second, etc.

17. Jockey's name.

18. Weight carried by horse, including jockey and equipment.

19. Medication administered race day (B-Bute/L-Lasix).

20. Equipment carried by horse.

21. Equivalent odds (* = betting favorite; e = part of entry).

22. First three finishing horses, weight they carried and their margins.

23. Comments: These observations often provide clues as to why a horse failed to win or ran poorly in a previous race (saddle slipped, wide on turns, bothered by another horse). They can be used to assess a performance (won easily, perfect inside trip).

24. Size of field.

25. Layoff line: Time since the horse's last race (short/30 days; long/6 months).

26. Morning workouts: Horses either like a track or they don't. In the Derby, many are running on the Churchill Downs surface for the first time, so how well they train might provide a clue to their performance in the big race. Horses who train fast are signaling that they like the track, and a bullet work (indicated by a bullet next to the workout line) means the horse worked the fastest time of the day at that distance.

27. 50/69 = 50th-fastest work of 69 works.

28. Timeform rating, an overall evaluation by a British organization. Generally ranges from 100 to 140+ for 3-year-olds and up.

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