If I’ve learned anything over my last few days of reading through statistics and scuttlebutt, it’s that I still have a ridiculous amount to learn before considering myself knowledgeable about horse racing.
Derbyologist is organizing a fantasy league based on the race to the Kentucky Derby and Oaks. He has defined a list of races that count for points in the league, we draft our initial stables this Friday night, and then once a month we will have chances to bid on horses in what is basically a blind auction for add/drop privileges. Certain prep races count for a base amount of points, a few very important preps count more, and then the actual Triple Crown and big filly races around the same time (the Kentucky Oaks, the Black-Eyed Susan, and the Acorn). I’ve never participated in any sort of fantasy horse racing, so this is all new territory for me, but it seems an interesting format and I’m excited to see how it plays out.
Barring any last-minute information about which horses may be pointing toward which races, I just finished organizing my spreadsheet on which I will be basing my draft choices. The process was exciting, but I felt like I was drowning in data throughout. Between PPs, charts, replays, and the bits of discussion about which horse is being pointed to which race, there was a lot to go through. There were times when I yearned for the relative simplicity of handicapping a single race at a time, instead of trying to paint a picture of the entire upper echelon of three-year-old male horses and three-year-old fillies. (At least, in a single race, there’s no debate as to who has passed the entry box!) However, I feel like I have spent enough time with the still-muddled three-year-old picture to draft a stable with a decent chance of not completely embarrassing me against my competition, and not so much that I’ve started to overanalyze1 things.
We shall see.
For obvious reasons, I am not posting my spreadsheet here right now. I will be posting who I end up getting for my stable, however, and following their races here. And, at the end of the season, I may do a recap where I discuss how my initial spreadsheet came together and how it changed over the season. I’m sure things will change based on horse performances, trainer decisions, and the evolution of my own knowledge of the sport. One of the huge reasons I signed up for this league would be to give me a very tangible goal, more far-reaching than a single day at the track, that would get me to practice my racehorse analysis skills. Hopefully, this will make me more aware of how to tell a good horse from an okay or not-so-good one, and point out some of my strengths and weaknesses in assessing racehorses.
Again, we shall see.
1As I have a terrible tendency toward overanalyzing things, it should come as no surprise whatsoever that Overanalyze was my “I love this name” pick for the Kentucky Derby last year. I’m still sad he’s retired.