2016 Fantasy Stable: week 13/14 update

The Derbyologist Triple Crown Fantasy League has been devoid of points races since Arkansas Derby weekend.

However, the claim box has still been open for business, and I have been working to get a stable full of horses who will be running in the points races going forward — the three Classics, the three fillies’ complements (the Oaks, the Black-Eyed Susan, and the Acorn), and the assorted other points races those weekends.

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2016 Fantasy Stable: week 8 postmortem

For my stable in the the Derbyologist Triple Crown Fantasy League, this week was a quiet one on the racetrack…but an active one at the claim box.

With the reworking of Sunland’s three-year-old stakes into non-points races, the only points race this week was the Rebel.  Dazzling Gem was originally slated to go there, but a setback pushed him back a week.  The revocation of points from the Sunland races was a bit of a bummer for my stable, however.  Though I had not drafted any Sunland horses before it was announced that the races would have no points, I had been scouting Sunland’s sophomores all meet.  My pick of Where’s the Moon last year proved a fruitful one, and I had made notes on the likes of K P Wildcat, Cowboy Cool, and Concord Fast as possible pick-ups.

Anyway, what’s done is done.  My reasons for putting Gamble’s Ghost and Conquest Big E up for drop last week continued to hold water this week, and it was time to look at a few more claiming options.

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2016 Fantasy Stable: week 7 postmortem

Week 7 of the Derbyologist Triple Crown Fantasy League has drawn to a close.  For once, things are beginning to look up.

Three of my eight horses ran last week, with two in the same race.  And — two of them finished in the money, giving my stable points.

This was somewhat miraculous given how my season has been going.  But, on the other hand, it was completely expected given my assessment of the pair of fillies I had running in Arkansas.

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2016 Fantasy Stable: week 6 postmortem

Week 6 of the Derbyologist Triple Crown Fantasy League is in the books, and it may well be the most frustrating one yet — an achievement, given how frustrating this season has been.

It was not without a bright spot.  Land Over Sea, once again, did her thing.  I never figured her for a match to Songbird, but I figured I could claim her and score a few “second or third to Songbird” medals.  She was second in the Las Virgenes (GII) last month, and once again rallied nicely for second in Saturday’s Santa Ysabel (GIII).  She has done everything I’ve hoped of her.  Land Over Sea has not won a prep race yet, but has all but assured herself a spot in the Oaks starting gate with 28 points so far.  She will get a chance against different company at the end of the month, however, as the Fair Ground Oaks (GII) is next on the docket for Land over Sea.  Of course, this means my stable is going to be quite heavy on Fair Grounds fillies — as Stageplay and Midnight On Oconee have been on that particular spur of the Oaks trail since the beginning.

However the news with two other horses — including one who did not even run last weekend — was far less good.

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2016 Fantasy Stable: week 5 postmortem

As expected, it was a quiet week for my stable in the Derbyologist Triple Crown Fantasy League.  None of my horses raced.

Unfortunately, things were a bit too quiet for one of the denizens of my stable: Let’s Meet In Rio.  He still has not returned to the worktab since his disappointing run in the Lewis.  I was willing to give him another chance given how good I thought his Sham was…but between his flat Lewis and the fact that he did not return to the worktab in the month of February, he found himself a potential drop once again.

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2016 Fantasy Stable: week 4 postmortem

Another week has gone by in the Derbyologist Triple Crown Fantasy League, and this week was a difficult one on several fronts.

Two of my eight horses raced this week — and, in the same race.  Both Stageplay and Midnight On Oconee saw the starter in the Rachel Alexandra (GIII).  Most people, myself included, figured Stageplay would outclass that bunch.  I hoped Midnight On Oconee would get a share.

Well, one of my runners scored my stable some points.

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the 2016 Triple Crown Fantasy League begins!

It finally feels like the Triple Crown season has begun.  Sure, there have been points races since September…but, today was the draft for the third annual Derbyologist Triple Crown Fantasy League.

This year’s draft was a challenging one.  The closest thing to a standout in either three-year-old division, at least in the sense of one I would want to take to the Derby or the Oaks, is Songbird.  Of course, since I did not have first pick outright, I figured I would not get Songbird.

(I was right.  She went first.)

In addition to the plethora of cromulent draft picks, the altered claiming schedule also threw a wrench into things.  Previously, there had been defined dates when we could add and drop horses, spaced a few weeks apart through the season.  This year, however, we can make claims every Monday through the season, starting February 1.  This made it a little less attractive to take speculative picks who are running later in the season yet — and a little more attractive to speculate on earlier races such as the Holy Bull, the Forward Gal, the Withers.

My strategy has so often been contingent on squirreling money away until much too late — like many of my favourite horses, though, that often leaves me the closer who has left themself way too much to do until too late.  Particularly with these weekly claims, I need to consider being open to a bit more early stable shuffle.

With those thoughts out of the way, here is my initial stable, in order of when I drafted them:

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2015 fantasy stable: week 11 postmortem

Another week, more tough cookies.

Two of my horses raced last weekend.  One of them looked, at least from my handicapping perspective, like he would bring some points.  One I did not like given the field, but I sat back and hoped for the best.

Neither hit the board.

However, a once-familiar face did.  Frosted, who I drafted first overall.  Frosted, who went from “sure winner of the Fountain of Youth” to “surely off the Derby trail” in the matter of a moment.  Frosted, who Kieran McLaughlin figured out how to get right and get to the winner’s circle in the Wood.  The Derby remains a question, since his best efforts have come from the Big A so far.  No matter what, his dominance of the Wood made me look a little silly, and my decision seem a bit questionable.  I stand by it, since horse racing is a game of opinions; I disliked his Fountain of Youth enough that I decided he had to go.  It may have been rash, but I can do nothing about it now.

Here is hoping none of my other decisions end up being as questionable as that one.  To be fair, there is very little in the way of decision making that can happen in the short term; the next claiming day is just before the Derby.  At this point, I wait to see which horses are pointing toward points races, be they Classics or others.

With that known, let’s check in with my stable.

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