I've been wanting to blog about the "RANK" column forever but just kept blowing it off. I'm going to use today's Cigar Mile to talk about it even though this is actually a very difficult race to handicap with an unusual result.

First of all, the RANK column is looking at 5 key factors in my spreadsheet and listing the horses that rank 1st to 3rd in that factor. These individual rankings are a key component to the ABC letter grade.

Going from left to right, the first ranking is a third party ability rating. I don't show that rating because it's not my IP but it is an important item and a check/balance for my ODDS columns. The top 3 horses in this ability rating are Firenze Fire, Performer & Snapper Sinclair.

The second ranking is the ENERGY column which is a pseudo speed rating that works pretty well. The top 3 are Mr. Buff, Performer & King Guillermo. Note that King Guillermo is coming off a seven month layoff (FITNESS column) meaning he could run better or worse than that rating. Also notice that six horses in the race are within 1 energy point of Mr. Buff. The race is wide open.

The third ranking is the BEST ODDS column. The top 3 are Firenze Fire, King Guillermo and Bon Raison.

The fourth ranking is the PFDS ODDS column. The top 3 are King Guillermo, Firenze Fire & Performer.

The fifth ranking is a combined Jockey & Trainer score (not shown specifically on spreadsheet). Top 3 are Performer, Firenze Fire & King Guillermo

The first two rankings (Power & Energy) are NOT part of the top to bottom sort.

For the Cigar Mile, the race gets a "3" betting score which is average. The value in the race comes from Performer who is stepping up in class. Performer only gets a B grade and is not differentiated in ENERGY which makes him a vulnerable favorite.

Many horses in the race get a small VALUE score. Of those, Mr Buff, True Timber & Snapper Sinclair are good prices.

The following horses rank 1st in at least one factor: Firenze Fire, King Guillermo, Mr. Buff & Performer. I typically like to use these horses in serial wagers but the problem for the Cigar Mile is these are the top 4 betting favorites. So I would not be looking to use this race in any horizontal wagers.

The pace looks legitimate. Bon Raison & Snapper Sinclair are the only true closers in the race. Bon Raison gets $13 of VALUE and the "+" best bet designation despite not getting a letter grade. The horse has a PFDS score of only 0.5 but this leads to a BEST ODDS score that dramatically improves as the horse is returning to a more favorable distance.

Bon Raison is the key horse in the race. You could play Bon Raison to win and underneath in exactas/trifectas. Firenze Fire, King Guillermo or Mr. Buff could get away and win but only Mr. Buff offers value. Performer is a play against on my sheet.

Good luck!