Introducing: ‘Micking Patterns – How to Apply Traditional Nicking to 2YO Maiden Special Weight Racing’

February 12, 2024

Monday, February 12, 2024

By The 2YO EdgeMan

The 90+ days from January 1 until early April allow a person time to think.  Of course, I’ve been zeroed in on handicapping juveniles – and more specifically – how can we continue to improve our handicapping of this fantastic subset of racing?  

As you likely know, the traditional study of nicking is used almost exclusively for breeding and buying purposes.  It involves looking at the success runners have had on the track with a focus on their specific sire and broodmare sire mating.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve been ruminating about how we can apply nicks to our world of handicapping 2YO Maiden Special Weight races.  And then the obvious hit me on one fine, sleepless night at 3 a.m. – simply apply the concept of nicking to 2YO racing, but don’t use the Average Earning Index of the sires and damsires and don’t apply it to all horses.  Instead, focus on only winners of 2YO MSW races.

Hence, my new concept of ‘Micking Patterns’ (Maiden nicking) has come to life.  I’m still refining the details but wanted to introduce it to you today to provide you with the opportunity to give it some thought (any feedback that you have would be warmly welcomed).  Essentially, my new angle is to analyze sires and their success with 2YOs broken down by broodmare sire.  

For example, Into Mischief has had 1,292 starts in juvenile Maiden Special Weight races with purses of at least $30,000 over the past 12 years (2012 through 2023).  In those events, he has seen his offspring visit the Winner’s Circle 230 times, for a strike rate of 17.8%.

But here’s where it gets interesting.  To provide one quick peek, starting at the top of the alphabet, Into Mischief has had 19 starts with 2YO runners (in the above defined races) from mares sired by A. P. Indy, with only two winners (10.6% win rate).  In comparison, this guy has seen five of his babies that were the result of breeding to Bernardini mares take home first place money in 2YO MSW races (again, in events with a purse of $30,000+ over the past 12 years) in 25 tries, showing a strike rate of 20.0%.  

Now, knowing how sharp my Fabulous Edgies are, you are probably saying something along the lines of, ‘Hey Mr. EdgeMan, that’s really cool stuff, but are the numbers in the data sets large enough for the findings to be relevant?’.  Gosh, what a great question!  The answer is that this concept will not work well with stallions that only have one or two crops that have raced as two-year-olds.  My initial cut line is that I want the sire to have babies with a minimum of 250 starts in our races.  

A popular sire with three crops that have raced (through 2023) is Practical Joke.  He’s seen his youngsters compete 333 times in the races defined above.  Justify, on the other hand, has only had two crops on the track and he has just had 173 two-year-olds step into the starting gate (again, in our defined races), so his numbers aren’t quite as significant; hence not as reliable, but there likely can still be some interesting findings when digging in.

I hope that you are as excited about our new Micking Patterns as I am.  Certainly, this is not a tool that will single handily pick winners, but when combined with many of the other Core & Intangible Components that I explain in my recently released book, ‘Handicapping Two-Year-Old Thoroughbreds – Consistently Pick Winners in 2YO Maiden Special Weight Races’, I’m confident that you’ll cash more tickets in our races.

Take care and be safe – and please do let me know your feedback on our new concept.  

Contributing Authors

The 2YO Edge Man, Past The Wire

The 2YO EdgeMan

The 2YO EdgeMan started following horse racing when his family moved to Louisville, KY when he was 9 years old.  The story goes that he...

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