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Belmont Stakes 2015: Questioning American Pharoah’s Dosage

Belmont Stakes 2015: Questioning American Pharoah’s Dosage- Dosage figures, including the Dosage Profile (DP), Index (DI), and Center of Distribution (CD), are used by handicappers to determine if a horse can handle running longer distances. These numbers become especially popular before the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes when every handicapper attempts to figure out if these young three-year-old horses can become successful Triple Crown series participants. Their usefulness has been in question for a long time, though.

American Pharoah Belmont Stakes 2015

American Pharoah will attempt to become horse racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner, and first since Affirmed in 1978, in the 147th running of the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 6, 2015 at Belmont Park.
Photo: Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography

Laurie Ross from Horse Racing Nation wrote a great article on this subject more than a year ago that pointed out some of the main flaws of using the Dosage method in terms of handicapping the Kentucky Derby. This article will focus on the Belmont Stakes and how American Pharoah’s DI and CD look. An alternative to using Dosage will be suggested. First, the formula must be discussed.

According to the official website for these numbers, Dosage guru Dr. Romans separates the Dosage Profile into five categories: Brilliant, Intermediate, Classic, Solid, and Professional. For example, a horse with more speed in his family might show more points for Brilliant, whereas one with longer distance potential would want Solid and Professional points. From there, the calculation becomes a bit complicated for those who hate math. The female influence is not considered.

Whether it’s an oversimplification of Romans’ formula or not, most bettors consider a lower DI and CD to indicate a higher potential for succeeding at ten furlongs or further. Obviously, this raises some concerns for Dosage users who want American Pharoah to win the Belmont and Triple Crown. American Pharoah’s DP is 2-3-3-0-0. His DI of 4.33 and CD of .88 are the highest in the field.

Why are they so high? This is an interesting question if using Dosage because American Pharoah’s second sire Empire Maker won the 2003 Belmont. The sire of Empire Maker’s dam is Lord at War, an Argentine-bred that won the 1985 Santa Anita Handicap. Plus, Empire Maker’s sire Unbridled won the 1990 Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic.

His bottom side raises question marks without studying the Dosage method that has been discussed before on this website. Second dam Exclusive Rosette made quite a few horses, and they never won a route race. Oh wait – the Dosage formula does not consider her influence, at least not directly. Well, that helps American Pharoah’s DI then, or does it? The formula should consider Exclusive Rosette’s sire Ecliptical. Then again, he is not a “Chef-de-Race” sire and therefore excluded.

The formulas and logic behind everything relating to Dosage comes off as complicated, as if it goes in a gigantic circle to reach a final conclusion. Just consider the DI formula: “The ratio of points in the speed wing (Brilliant points + Intermediate points + one-half the Classic points) to points in the stamina wing (one-half the Classic points + Solid points + Professional points) is the Dosage Index (DI).” Quoting the CD formula too would take unnecessary space. Not everyone thinks about what goes into the numbers, and that is the problem. Dr. Romans is simply trusted!

Try thinking about the following thought process with American Pharoah. His sire Pioneerof The Nile won up to nine furlongs. He ran second in the Derby and retired one start later after the Preakness. His progeny seem to run well at sprint and route distances.

Going down to the dam side, Littleprincessemma’s career was cut short before she broke her maiden. Her only other foal to run besides American Pharoah was a claimer named Xixi, which means that Xixi is not the best evidence to support or deny American Pharoah’s 12-furlong potential (since lower level horses lack consistency). Littleprincessemma’s dam Exclusive Rosette produced eleven different runners, none of which won a route race. Exclusive Rosette herself only won sprint races at a low level as well.

Online pedigree experts, including those who believe in Dosage, saw American Pharoah’s sprint influences on the dam side and used that evidence to go against American Pharoah in the Kentucky Derby, and the colt won. Talent can overcome pedigree, and the longer a horse runs, the less his pedigree really matters. In addition, a lot of Bob Baffert-trained horses are strange in how they fail to follow what their pedigree outlines, including the sprinter Secret Circle who has distance influences all over his immediate family.

Maybe if American Pharoah wins the Belmont, his DI will “magically” change. Empire Maker’s DI changed for some reason. The article in this link refers to Empire Maker’s DI as 3.16. In fact, type “Empire Maker Dosage 3.16” into Google and a lot of other articles refer to Empire Maker as having a 3.16 DI. Yet, the official website gives Empire Maker a 1.88. What happened?

There are good reasons to go against American Pharoah in the Belmont. His value projects to be terrible. Other jockeys may target this horse and use dirty (although legal) tactics such as boxing American Pharoah inside or floating him wide on the turns. He has never raced at Belmont Park either, and the track configuration is unique compared to most standard thoroughbred racetracks in America. But, this Dosage business is not a big deal. Use a bit of critical thinking and research these horses individually. The process is more rewarding than relying on someone else’s formula.

The 147th running of the belmont Stakes takes place on Saturday, June 6, 2015 at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. The third and final jewel of the Triple Crown will be the eleventh race scheduled for 6:50 p.m. ET and will air on NBC. See full stakes schedule.

Related Links:
2015 Belmont Stakes Information and General Tips
The Belmont Stakes is Rich in Racing History
Top 10 Upsets Prove Belmont Stakes to Be No Easy Task
Expert Clocker Gary Young on American Pharoah Bandwagon
Trainer Bob Baffert Quite Familiar with Triple Crown Trials
Belmont Day Features Two Breeders’ Cup Challenge Races

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