Wednesday, April 30, 2014

HANA Poll Result: The Tracks You Said Respected You Most (and Least)

This past weekend we commissioned a poll of members about the Churchill Downs takeout hike, and your support or non-support for a withholding of monies from Churchill Downs Inc. properties. The results of that vote and press release is here.

In addition to that question we asked several ones in the survey and one of them asked you to rank racetracks in terms of customer friendliness.

The question:

The results by ranking, all respondents:

Because most HANA members lie in the average volume of betting range between $2,000 per annum and $100,000 per annum, we thought we'd look at the fringes in the survey. Those who bet $100,000 or more a year, versus those who bet under $2,000 or described themselves as "fans" who don't bet anything at the track per year.

This is overall first place votes from all respondents, subset to the two above categories.

There is really not that much difference between the two bet ranges. For some reason, the large players who took the survey (a relatively small subset, just like in real life at the racetrack) begrudged Belmont for undisclosed reasons. In the overall ranking they were much more middle of the road. Both large and small players, as well as overall bettors, ranked Keeneland number one, which is probably not surprising, since it's believed that they cater to the fan and bettor as well as any track in North America ever has.

Also unsurprising due to the headlines the past week and the poll commisisoning, Churchill ranked first in last place votes with over 60%. No other track scored last with more than 5% of the vote.

We'll have more from this survey next week.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Press Release: 9 of 10 Horseplayers Association of North America Members Polled Show Support for a Boycott of Churchill Downs Inc. Tracks & Assorted Properties; Action Commences

(Charlottesville, VA, April 29, 2014): A poll of Horseplayer Association of North America (HANA) members revealed that 90.2% of respondents will be withholding either some or all of their dollars from Churchill Downs Inc. racetracks – Churchill Downs, Arlington, Fair Grounds and Calder Race Course - wagering platform and past performance provider 

This poll result is in response to Churchill Downs Inc. increasing their takeout rates by over 9% on the win, place a show pools and almost 16% on exotic pools at their Louisville, KY racetrack.  The takeout increase was put in place April 26th and will continue for the rest of the meet.  

The poll also showed that only 8.5% of respondents believe that this is only a one-track phenomenon. 42.8% believe Churchill Downs Inc. will raise prices at their other tracks, and an additional 48.7% believe that other non-Churchill Downs Inc. tracks will follow with rate hikes. 

“The Board of Directors was struck by the anger this past week on social media and our email from rank and file horseplayers, so we commissioned a survey of members.” said HANA President Jeff Platt. “The survey confirmed that current HANA membership had a similar discontent and they’ve urged us to move forward.”

Although HANA will be working on partnerships with various groups, an advertising program, and a social media push to increase support for a boycott of all Churchill Downs Inc. properties, the Association of over 2,500 horseplayers believes the success or failure of the effort will lie with customers. 

“Large gaming corporations like Churchill Downs Inc. are extremely well funded, but we do not underestimate the power of an educated customer. We ask customers to share this action with their friends and fellow horseplayers,” said Platt. 

A list of Advance Deposit Wagering companies and figure/past performance makers is being compiled, so customers who wish to switch from Churchill Downs Inc. properties can complete their due diligence. HANA, as is its custom, will not be endorsing or recommending any of these products or services.  

The Horseplayers Association of North America will keep both members and non-members informed on its blog, twitter feed, Facebook page and via email as warranted.  Customers are also encouraged to visit for more information. 

Further results from the member poll and the above mentioned list will be released next week on the Horseplayers Association blog.

“What support are you willing to show a boycott, as a HANA member”:
I will stop all play and purchases at Churchill Downs Inc. tracks and properties – 39.94%
I will stop some play and purchases at Churchill Downs Inc. tracks and properties – 50.31%
I will continue to play all Churchill Downs Inc. racetracks and properties like I always have – 9.75%

The Horseplayers Association of North America is a grassroots group of horseplayers who are not affiliated with any industry organization. HANA hopes, through proactive change on several key issues (including but not limited to), open signal access, lower effective takeouts, affordable data and customer appreciation, the industry’s handle losses can be reversed. HANA is made up of over 2,500 horseplayer from all across North America, with an approximate handle of $100 millon per annum.
Twitter: hplayersassnna Blog:
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Friday, April 25, 2014

A Player Speaks

We found this post on quite eye-opening.

"Greetings everybody,

Even though Twin Spires has some of the worst player rewards in the industry, I have been a loyal customer since they bought out YouBet in late 2010. I always loved their software, programming, hand histories, and lightning fast cashier. However, all of that came to a screeching halt when I read about their cynical scheme to bilk their already overburdened customers.

A couple of days ago I wrote the following letter to Twin Spires through their customer support client. Surprisingly, one of their customer support agents responded with a promise to put me in touch with a manager. Not surprisingly, management has opted to remain silent.

Here is my letter: "Why are you raising your takeout on Churchill Downs? Do you think your customers have been 'getting a free ride' and should be paying more for the privilege to place a wager? The takeouts are excessive and not competitive with any other form of wagering. One of the reasons I played at Churchill was the reasonable takeout (at least in terms of industry average). Now I feel like you do not respect my business."

It continues. The full post is here.  

Press Release: Discusses Their Player Action Announces Boycott of Churchill Downs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (April 25, 2014, San Diego, CA) has announced that a horseplayer boycott of Churchill Downs is underway, citing an increase in takeout coupled with a massive jump in compensation for Key Executives at CHDN as reasons for the boycott.

"Key Executives at CHDN decided to hit horseplayers with a takeout increase," spokesman Jeff Platt said. "They suggested to the press an extra $8 million could be raised for purses if they multiply last year's handle numbers by this year's higher takeout rates. But it never works out that way. Takeout and handle share an elastic relationship.  Horseplayers are price sensitive. Higher takeout translates to lower handle and lower purses."

Platt cited takeout increases in California as an example. "For the first six months immediately following the takeout increase at Los Alamitos in 2009, their on track handle was down 27 percent. Horseplayers boycotted Santa Anita and Golden Gate in the early months of 2011 as a result of takeout increases there. Handle dropped significantly enough that track management and horsemen invited us to the table to talk about ways to stop the bleeding. As a result of those talks Hollywood Park put in a 14% takeout pick5 and Del Mar began adding $50k in seed money to their pick six pools on non carryover Sundays. Beginning this Saturday, April 26  Santa Anita will be offering rolling doubles at 18%. None of this would have happened if higher takeout was the answer."

"But that's not the worst part," Platt said. "According to Morningstar, compensation for Key Executives at CHDN jumped from $8.20 million in 2012 to $27.92 million in 2013. On the one hand CHDN is suggesting to the press the only way to raise $8 million for purses is to hit horseplayers with a takeout increase. While on the other hand, the same executives who decided on higher takeout saw their total compensation jump by more than double the amount they hope to take from horseplayers. In my opinion that's egregious."

Beginning Saturday, April 26 : Takeout for WPS wagers at Churchill Downs will be 17.50%. (An increase of 9.375% vs. last year's takeout rate of 16.00%.) Takeout for all EXOTIC wagers at Churchill Downs will be 22.00%.

(An increase of 15.79% vs. last year's takeout rate of 19.00%.)

• is asking horseplayers to consider the idea that horseplayers are consumers and that every handle dollar bet not just at Churchill Downs, but at CHDN owned tracks Arlington Park, Calder, and Fairgrounds, along with every handle dollar bet through CHDN owned ADW, and every dollar spent downloading data and reports from CHDN owned data provider is a vote for higher takeout everywhere.

• also wants horseplayers to know there will be plenty of tracks running this summer whose wagering menus offer better value than Churchill and that players have other options when it comes to choice of ADWs and data providers.


Daily Racing Form: "Spring is in the Air"

Well a positive look at the new CD meet was tried, but I don't think it went over too well.

In a DRF Churchill preview, which was about the track opening, the article did not mention the raise in prices on customers.

....... but the comments section sure reminded Churchill Downs what's on people's minds:

"While DRF reported on the increased takeout rates on April 11, given that DRF is intended for horseplayers there is really no excuse for Mr. McGee not to have even mentioned the increases in this article. That is the "change in the air" of most importance to many DRF readers."

"The new spelling of GREED in American Racing: CDI. Mr. McGee, the BIGGEST change at Churchill this year is the increased takeouts to the maximums allowed by law and you did NOT think that was important enough to mention in this article. "

" I plan on spending zero dollars at churchill. Well, I lie....I'm going to put the biggest show bet on wise dan and have churchill enjoy a negative takeout pool "

"Nice fluff, Marty - meanwhile, Fair Grounds is crumbling away with a turf course that doesn't drain, a video board that doesn't work, broken doors, a prehistoric grandstand and price gouging on big days"

More at link

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Beyer Talks Takeout

Andy Beyer:

"Whenever U.S. racetrack executives get together at industry conclaves, they talk endlessly about the need to broaden the sport's popularity and attract new fans. But perhaps their real problem is that their horseplayers don't bet enough. If crowds at American tracks wagered more than $400 per capita, as they do in Japan, instead of $162 per capita, the sport could boom without a single new customer.

...gamblers are reasonably rational about the economic decisions they make, and they know that horse racing is usually a bad gamble. Tracks typically take from 17 to 25 percent of every dollar wagered, and those in Pennsylvania have blazed new trails by grabbing an exorbitant 30 percent from trifecta wagers.

Even for the most astute professionals it is tough to beat such odds.

So it is no wonder that big gamblers in America prefer to call their bookie and bet on a sports event, where there is only a 4.5 percent disadvantage against them. If horse racing is ever going to attract big players, it will have to reduce takeout to more reasonable levels."

That article was written in 1991. 

You are absolutely correct customers; they never learn.

If you'd like to inform yourself about a grassroots boycott of Churchill Downs Inc and there associated racetracks and properties, it's here.

The Temperature Gets Turned Up on Churchill Downs Inc.

In the week or weeks before the Derby there is usually a news story from someone, somewhere, to try and forward their cause. Derby week is the one week that the world pays attention. In past year's we might've seen a New York Times story, or a story on steroid use. This year it appears there is a grassroots movement happening right as we speak.

Horseplayer Andy Asaro in HRI today:

"The boycott isn't only about the egregious takeout increase. This is about an industry that refuses to listen intently to what their customers are saying. It happens time and again.
This is about an industry that's still stuck in the 1980s when it comes to eliminating breakage, or timing races more meaningfully and upgrading coding of the tote system so that the information you see is what you get in real time and not after a race has begun.

Horse Racing 2014 style is still being played on eight-track cassettes, as if there were no such thing as the digital age. Haven’t you had enough?

There will be no official leader of this grassroots action. It will be led by the collective “we,’ all of us. The boycott will consist of fans, bettors and other practitioners of the sport.

It’s up to each individual conscience, and every outlet, to do their utmost to spread the word. If we allow this moment in time pass without a strong response, we deserve the industry we get."

Customers, not Joe Drape, or an activist group are involved this year.  Just customers.

If this was all there was the heat might not be turned up too hot - maybe just a pleasant sweat. However, it's not.

In an HRI column:

"Churchill Downs is a treasure. However, its parent company, Churchill Downs Inc., has done more to undermine the sport than any PETA video could ever do.

And more here.

It's not even Derby week yet where we see these headlines (and you know they're coming from other places), but from almost everyone we read, or listen to, Derby week has arrived early this year.

Industry analyst Dan Needham: "This is the most awkward and uncomfortable run-up to the Kentucky Derby that I have ever experienced."

Yes indeed.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Young Bettors Making Their Voices Heard

This piece about the CDI takeout increase was orignally posted on Doug MacPherson's blog Four-Forty.  Doug is an 18-year-old high school student from Ontario, and he can be found on Twitter @LDMcPherson.  In addition to writing on his blog, Doug has also contributed to HANA's Horseplayer Monthly.

I'm going to keep this short.
Churchill Downs is raising takeout rates. 17.5% WPS, and 22% for exotics. Just like every other takeout increase, they claim it's because they need to sustain purses, and just like every other takeout increase it won't work because bettors will bet less. It's simple math. It's terrible business.

I am not a big money gambler. In 2014 I have bet $624 in total. I don't make a difference to Churchill Downs. But I do make a difference to myself. If I bet into a high takeout pool, I hurt myself because my potential winnings decrease. Because of the increase, I won't bet on Churchill's races, or on any races at any of their other tracks. Why would I as a bettor play a track where I will not win as much money?

Not only will I refuse to bet any Churchill races (including the Kentucky Derby), I will tell other horseplayers about the increase. Many players don't know much about takeout. I will explain to them what Churchill is doing, and why it's bad for them as horseplayers. If they decide they want to support bettors, the people who fund racing, they will follow me in boycotting CDI. If they enjoy Churchill's racing and want to continue playing it, that's fine. It's their choice. The least I can do is tell inform them of the takeout increase.

As horseplayers who want to succeed, and also want the sport to succeed, it's important to let any track that wants to raise prices on us know that we will not meekly accept a takeout increase that will do nothing but hurt horse racing in the long run. Bye bye, CDI. Thank you for hurting the sport we love.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Horseplayers Share Their Thoughts on Churchill In Unique Ways

We have to hand it to Horseplayer Lenny. Not only is he a dedicated horseplayer who bets, attends tournaments, and offers to do his best to spread the word about tracks that want your business, he seems to be (with some help) quite the poet.

He has a five year old child, and it dawned on him that a children's classic could be modified for adults who play the races too.

Enjoy Lenny's Green Egg's and Ham, with a Churchill Downs takeout hike twist. 

You can follow Lenny on twitter @equinometry

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Remember Horseplayers. No Vandalism!

Mike made us chuckle this morning.

Good luck today everyone. Enjoy the races.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Horseplayer Mike Maloney: 'Horsemen Groups Bought Churchill's Pick-Up Line"

The takeout increase by @churchilldowns has spawned quite a bit of reaction. Today we heard from horseplayer Mike Maloney. Mike is a long-time Kentucky resident and is a quasi-advisor to the Racing Commission and some racetracks.

Here's what he had to say:

"The increase is certainly frustrating for me personally as I've always tried to bet as much as possible at Churchill because my net cost of a wager was reasonable. Now the percentages tell me I have to slash my handle there.

The takeout hike also frustrates me from an industry standpoint because I think in the long term everyone involved makes less not more. Any reasonable observer knows moves like this mean fewer players betting less money in the long run and what industry can prosper by discouraging and/or eliminating it's core customers? It's a shortsighted money grab by CDI and shows a total lack of understanding of the elasticity of betting handle by the horsemen groups who were sold this idea as a long term solution. You would think by now the horsemen groups would do more due diligence before buying Churchill's pick-up line.

Now we must hope that in the long term best interest of Kentucky racing the Ky Racing Commission will adjust the regulation to require Keeneland and Churchill to operate under the previous takeout limits. And given the strong influence that Churchill routinely exhibits over the racing commission which is charged with regulating them, I am not optimistic.

Meanwhile, in the world where the laws of economics still matter, the horseplayer's highest rated track Keeneland, immediately announces no increase to their takeout rates and small but growing Kentucky Downs continues to lower takeout far below the max rates available."

We'll try to share more gambling economics, player reaction and otherwise here on the blog this week and next.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The View From Vegas on Churchill Downs - "Stupid, stupid, stupid"

We've heard a lot about the Churchill Downs takeout increase, announced last week, via email, or on social media, chat boards, through phone calls from HANA membership, or in the trade press. Most of this reaction is fervently insider led, from the people who live, eat and breathe horse racing.

Tonight we stumbled upon what we might call an outside view while surfing on twitter. We saw a gentleman with over 10,000 followers speaking about horse racing, and we were surprised, because we've never seen him before.

Chris Andrews, from his bio, booked his first bet as a fifth grader. Through high school Andrews and his cohorts continued booking bets and operating card games. Andrews paid his own way through college, hustling bets and making book to fund his education. After graduating cum laude from Robert Morris College, Andrews came west to Las Vegas. The next two years were spent at two of Las Vegas’ legendary sportsbooks, the Stardust and Barbary Coast, where he learned the old Nevada method of being a bookmaker. He took the knowledge from that experience and at twenty five was hired by Club Cal Neva. He turned the tiny Reno sportsbook into one of the biggest and most successful sportsbook in Nevada.

Chris, and his "cohorts" are exactly the people racing tries to reach. There's gold in them hills, because these are the players with a bankroll who like betting - racing included.

Chris's view of Churchill's decision to raise the juice is not unlike many horse racing gamblers, but it is a different view.

He writes:

"One reason circulated by those who think they know but don’t, is young bettors don’t have the patience to read all the data in the racing form.

That’s a complete load of crap.

Young sports fans, whether they are bettors or merely fans, have taken analytics to a level unimagined a generation ago. It started with baseball, and then evolved to football and basketball.  Now even hockey has metrics that were unheard of a few seasons ago. Unfortunately, the first thing these potential horse bettors analyze is the percentage they have to overcome to be profitable.

To win at football, basketball or hockey, it’s about 4.5%.  Baseball is about half that.  When they see horse racing’s house edge is north of 17.5% it’s an easy and logical decision they make to concentrate on other wagering options.

They probably have heard the horseplayers’ prayer.  You know, it goes “Dear Lord, please let me break even today.  I could use the money.”


"Churchill Downs Incorporated announced they were increasing their pari-mutuel takeout from 16% to 17.5% on win, place and show bets, and from 19% to 22% on exotics.

Stupid, stupid, stupid."

Horse racing wants to attract sports gamblers and others who enjoy the pursuit of catching a winner and making a little bit of money. If Chris's article is indicative of those people, Churchill Downs is not helping the cause.

To read Chris's article in full, at, it's right here.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Horseplayers Association of North America’s Annual Track Rankings: Updated 2014 Data Released, Churchill Downs Plummets

For Immediate Release

(Charlottesville, VA, April 12th, 2014): The Horseplayers Association of North America has re-released their 2014 Track Ratings.

“Although we normally release the ratings only once in April, and then update new numbers on our master sheet on our website as we crowdsource, we felt it very important to update the final ratings this year," said HANA President Jeff Platt.  "The recent increase in Churchill takeouts – win takeout up from 16% to 17.5% and exotic takeout up from 19% to 22%, as reported in the Courier Journal – needed to be reflected as a service to horseplayers.”

Churchill Downs, which originally ranked 5th, fell to 22nd in the 2014 ratings. Other Kentucky racetracks like Keeneland (1st), Kentucky Downs (2nd) and Turfway Park (9th) all cracked the new top ten.

The HANA Racetrack Ratings are based on an algorithm using factors which are indicative of horseplayer betting value, gleaned from both empirical and academic study. Key factors including takeout rate, field size, wager variety, pool size, and signal distribution are compared track to track, weighted, and a final composite score is given. Horseplayer and Industry Analyst Mike Dorr, a graduate of Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management supervised this years algorithm.

For full Ratings coverage including statistics, analysis, interviews, and a list of all tracks please visit, “Horseplayer Monthly” here:

The master sheet has also been updated and it's available here.

The Horseplayers Association of North America is a grassroots group of horseplayers who are not affiliated with any industry organization. HANA hopes, through proactive change on several key issues (including but not limited to), open signal access, lower effective takeouts, affordable data and customer appreciation, the industry’s handle losses can be reversed. HANA is made up of over 2,500 horseplayers. 


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Some Reaction To Churchill Downs Takeout Increase

This is only the first hour. We'll have more later.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Handicapping Freshman Sires

This article by Melissa Nolan appeared in the April edition of Horseplayer Monthly. To read the remainder of that issue with more Keeneland previews, HANA's sixth annual track ratings, interviews and insight for free, please click here. 
Every year one unknown all horseplayers have to work around is the crop of new sires who have their first crop of foals now of racing age.  It takes time for patterns to emerge but hints from a sire's pedigree, race record, and temperament can yield value for players who catch on early to the next Tapit or More Than Ready.
Here are a few Freshman Sires and pedigree patterns that I'll be keeping an eye on throughout this year.  I'm also including insight from pedigree consultant and bloodstock analyst Pete Denk, who along with Kerry Thomas, will once again be publishing the "Patterns of Motion Kentucky Derby Report" available on for $20.
Early stallions: The sires listed below are ones that I think will have precocious and early two-year-olds who should be winning early and often at sprint distances.
MAJESTICPERFECTION: One of the reasons the owners gave for retiring this crack sprinter to Airdrie Stud is that farm's reputation for developing stallions, including this colt's own sire Harlan's Holiday.  I worked for Padua Stables when the Sanans purchased Majesticperfection at the two-year-old sale and I know how much the team thought of this colt and his conformation and raw brilliance.  
These beliefs were validated when the colt was finally healthy and made a splash at Prairie Meadows in winning the Iowa Sprint in a stellar 1:07.24 for 6 furlongs.  Shipped to Saratoga, Majesticperfection won the G1 Vanderbilt on the lead the entire way in 1:08.63 defeating G1 winners Bribon and Big Drama.
In addition to being top notch a physical specimen and sprinter, Majesticperfection also boasts a perennial leading two-year-old sire as his own.  The recently deceased Harlan's Holiday is the sire if recent Champion Two-Year-Old Shanghai Bobby and the hot third crop sire Into Mischief, who himself had sired stakes winners Vyjack and Vicar's in Trouble.  Everything seems set for Majesticperfection to enjoy a fast start at stud.
Pete's Notes: "They look very strongly built and fairly athletic. I expect them to be hard-trying and fairly early developing, speed types. Sprint to middle distance. They warrant some attention out of the box."
MUNNINGS: Late-running sprinter by Speightstown won on debut at Saratoga with an appreciably impressive performance that was a glimpse into his vast talent.  After a third in the Hopeful and a second in the Champagne, both to Vineyard Haven, Munnings would return at three to win the G2 Woody Stephens and defeat older horses in the G2 Tom Fool before finishing his career as a four-year-old with a win the G2 Gulfstream Sprint Championship.
Munnings is out of a classy dam by Holy Bull, La Comete, who herself is a half-sister to G1 winner Icon Project and multiple graded stakes winner on turf, Lasting Approval.  His interesting speed over stamina pedigree with some turf inclinations through his sires and female family leads me to believe he will have early runners successful at sprint and middle distances and especially on grass.
Pete's Notes: "The Munnings yearlings and two-year-olds I have seen look like little Speightstowns. They are balanced and they consistently have nice strong hips. They should have speed, and although the sire was a sprinter, I could see them getting a mile. He is one of the new sires that I predict could produce winners early and often."
MIDSHIPMAN: Champion two-year-old colt of 2008 who defeated both Munnings and Pioneerof the Nile in that year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita over the synthetic surface.  Unable to overcome training interruptions, the colt missed much of his three-year-old season and didn't make it back to the races in 2009 until September where he won an allowance on dirt at Belmont and then shipped back to Santa Anita and ran third in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile once again over the synthetic track.  Midshipman retired at four after winning one of two races in Dubai (once again over the synthetic surface) for Godolphin.
I think his oft-interrupted schedule combined with dubiousness surrounding his synthetic track wins made Midshipman relatively hard to market as a stallion even with his esteem as a Champion two-year-old.  His first crop of only 71 foals makes him a less potent in terms of raw quantity of potential runners but I think he's worth watching based on the recent success of another son of Unbridled's Song, Old Fashioned, who finished 2013 as amongst the leading Freshman Sires.
The precocity of Old Fashioned and another perennial leading two-year-old sire by Unbridled's Song, Songandaprayer, leads me to believe Midshipman has sneaky potential to be an important two-year-old sire going forward, and especially on synthetic tracks due to the fact his own sire has many progeny who are proficient over the synthetic tracks as well as his own proclivities towards that third surface.
Pete's Notes: "They get over the ground ok and look like sprinter-milers. Not too big, and they have some athleticism. Optimistically you could view them as Unbridled's Song light, but they'll need to prove they have some class on the track."
Additional freshman sire considerations:  The stallions may yield hidden value as they were known for success on one surface or as an older/younger horses and may pass along more recessive inclinations that create value in the odds.
DISCREETLY MINE: I'll admit I wasn't much of a fan of his while he was racing but I changed my tune when I saw him at a Lanes' End Farm Stallion Open House.  He's a very "handy" horse of good medium size and well-balanced.  Though he probably is best known for winning the 2010 G1 King's Bishop and G2 Amsterdam Stakes at one-turn at Saratoga, Discreetly Mine  was also a Kentucky Derby contender who stretched his talent out to 8.5 furlongs to annex the 2010 G2 Risen Star.  
Discreetly Mine - Melissa Nolan photo
Given that he's by Mineshaft and out of a Private Account mare, sprinting proclivities probably weren't at the top of his connections’ expectations but perhaps it shouldn't have come as a surprise seeing that Discreetly Mine's dam Pretty Discreet also produced cracking miler Discreet Cat as well as the dam of nice middle distance racemare Awesome Maria.
I wanted to include Discreetly Mine because I'm interested to see how his progeny develop and if they are as versatile as their sire.  In terms of betting his first crop this year, my approach will be to eschew his early starters in favor of those who get going as the distances increase.  The tendency might be for people to see "sire was G1winning sprinter" in pedigree write-ups and think his babies will be early and sprinty but the Mineshaft influence means the value comes by waiting until late summer when his two-year-olds begin to stretch out.
Pete's Notes:  "Handy, speed-minded types that seem just ok to me. I'll make them prove their ability/class before I am betting on them consistently."
SUPER SAVER: This 2010 Kentucky Derby winner wasn't initially amongst the stallions I wanted to include but based on Pete's bullish impressions and recent two-year-olds in training results, I knew he'd be important to include.  The biggest attribute Super Saver may have going for him is his female family, and especially his second dam Get Lucky, which has been nothing short of prolific in the commercial sales arena and this active pedigree has another nice representative in current Kentucky Oaks hopeful Got Lucky.  Furthermore, Super Saver has had 19 two-year-olds in training go through the ring this year and they must be nice looking because their average sale price has been a robust $226,997.
As a two-year-old, Super Saver broke his maiden in his second start going one mile at Belmont Park and then promptly wheeled back to run fourth next out in the G1 Champagne S. while rank and on the pace.  He finished his two-year-old season by winning (and setting a stakes record) in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club at 8.5 furlongs at Churchill Downs in his first two turn attempt.  After a slow start to his three-year-old campaign, Super Saver won the Kentucky Derby over a sloppy track to give his deceased sire Maria's Mon his second winner in that American classic.  Super Saver retired later that season after never regaining his early season and two-year-old form.  
As a runner, Super Saver had classy speed and it will be interesting to see if that trait is passed along to his runners.  Additionally, since he stands at the grand stallion station WinStar Farm, you know Super Saver received excellent support and a book of classy mares.  I'll be bullish on his runners out of the 2yo sales and if the results mirror what we saw in the auction ring, I won't hesitate to bet his babies throughout the year.
Pete's Notes: "Consistent two-turn bodies and distance minds. The sire won the Derby, and I'd say the Derby dream is still alive for his progeny. I'd be looking to bet them as the distances increase in August and beyond. I would also give them a chance to run well in two-turn turf races."
DESERT PARTY: Similar to Discreetly Mine, Desert Party did his best work sprinting at Saratoga, though he's by a distance-inclined sire who won at 9+ furlongs on dirt in the United States.  Winner of the G2 Sanford Stakes at two for Darley Stables, Desert Party was shipped to Dubai to prepare for the Triple Crown and after two wins at Nad al Sheba his form began to tail off as evidenced by a second in the UAE Derby and and 14th place finish in the Kentucky Derby.  Off for the remainder of his three-year-old season, Desert Party was shipped back to Dubai and reappeared at age four to take another stakes at six furlongs.  Shipped back to the United States in summer 2010, the son of Street Cry took the Donald LeVine Memorial H. at Philadelphia Park in his final start. 
Desert Party - Melissa Nolan photo

Out of the Tabasco Cat mare Sage Cat, Desert Party entered stud in 2011 at Darley at Jonabell for a $10,000 fee.  Interest with the KY breeders must've waned because the horse was shipped to New York in recent seasons and will stand at Sequel Stallions in 2014 for $7,500.  His yearling average price is $64,367 and his two-year-old average price is $55,437.  Of note is that the auction sale price for his colts is significantly higher for his colts than his fillies: $51,006 versus $40,494 overall.  Perhaps he's a being perceived as a "colt" sire and those horses might be nicer at this point in time than his fillies.
Once again the value with this stallion's progeny will be in not betting them early in their two-year-old year but rather as they begin to stretch out.  Likewise, Street Sense, another son of Street Cry, has sired numerous runners on turf and it will be prudent to see if Desert Party follows a similar pattern.  Expect success in the NY-bred ranks with Desert Party sons and daughters as they go two turns for the first time.
Pete's Notes: "He bloomed out early on the track. Expectations weren't too high, but his first-crop yearlings pulled good prices in relation to his stud fee. I have seen a number of strongly made horses by Desert Party. He will be on my radar as I'm handicapping the 2yo races."
QUALITY ROAD: This brilliant runner is an interesting proposition because he had world-class talent but by a stallion, Elusive Quality, not necessarily known as a sire of sires.  The best sons of Elusive Quality at stud thus far are Smarty Jones and Raven's Pass, so prospects are far from certain that Quality Road will be successful as a sire, but the type of brilliance he possessed is hard to ignore.
This colt was brilliant from six to nine furlongs and set three track records (two at Gulfstream and one at Saratoga) during his racing career.  Not only did he win a sire-making race in the Metropolitan Handicap, he won a variety of graded stakes ranging from the Amsterdam to the Woodward to the Florida Derby.  Never tried on grass, Quality Road's female family is full of classy grass winners so the potential is there for turf proclivity.
Additional considerations with this sire are the foot issues that plagued him throughout his career as well as mental idiosyncrasies such as the fit he threw before the 2009 Breeders' Cup, leading to a gate scratch, and his well-known aversion running on the rail and inside other horses.
Expect Quality Road progeny to be speedy, solid up to middle distances, and grass-inclined.  With his two-year-old in training average price currently at $197,225, expect his runners to be relatively early and precocious.
Pete's Notes: "They seem to have big, long two-turn bodies, and they share a lot of mental characteristics of Quality Road. I think they will be speed-oriented, forward types, but will they have the sire's running ability?"
LOOKIN AT LUCKY: Son of Smart Strike, Lookin at Lucky was a dual Champion Male at ages two and three and the winner of five G1 races with three of those (Norfolk, Cash Call Futurity, and Del Mar Futurity) coming as a two-year-old.  Also of note is that Lookin at Lucky was not only a G1 winner in two different seasons, but help also won at the top level on both dirt and synthetic surfaces.
Things were beginning to look a little dire in terms of Smart Strike being known as a sire of sires but another son of his, Curlin, has really come on strong in 2014 with winners like Palace Malice over a panoply of surfaces.
Given these facts, I'm waiting to bet Lookin at Lucky's progeny at longer than sprint distances and especially on turf.  I would not expect his horses to be early developers.  
Pete's Notes: "I liked him as a racehorse, and I was very excited to see his progeny, but honestly I have been a little underwhelmed. There was one good looking one at the Barretts two-year-old sale, but I felt like I should have seen more quality in his yearling crop. Maybe all the good ones are home-breds...or maybe they won't look pretty but will prove to be runners, like his sire Smart Strike."
Best of luck with your wagers and I hope these stallion points coming in handy with the fast approaching two-year-old racing season.  Happy 'Capping!