Road to the Roses: Fantasy Racing

Have you ever wanted your own racing stable?  Are you looking for a fun way to pass the time until the first Saturday in May?  The Road to the Roses is the official fantasy game of the Kentucky Derby.  We’re creating our own “Eventing Nation” league, so come join us!  Winners may (or may not) receive EN prizes!

What is it?  How does it work?
Sign up to create your stable.  It’s FREE!  (There is a paying option eligible for fancy Churchill Downs prizes, if you so choose).  Over 350 horses are nominated for the Triple Crown races; select 10 of them to be “yours.”  Choose 2 jockeys and 2 trainers to complete your stable.  Farther down the Derby trail, there are two extra “supplemental drafts,” which allow you to add 5 more horses to your stable.  Each week (almost every Saturday) leading up to the Derby, there are prep races.  You earn points based on how your stable performs in each race.  Each week, you select 5 horses from your stable (“Power” horses) to potentially earn *double* points.

I’m really not into “fantasy” sports, but this Derby thing is pretty cool.  It gives you a lot more rooting interest in the race itself, after following “your” horses all along the trail.  I first joined RTTR in 2007, the year of Street Sense, Hard Spun, and Curlin.  Since then, I’ve been hooked! 

I don’t claim to be any kind of expert, but over the years I have learned a few tricks… 

1) Do some research.  Read Bloodhorse.com, Daily Racing Form, or Thoroughbred Times to get expert analysis.  Knowing who the “big horses are” is very helpful in selecting your stable.  While it’s fun to choose horses based on their names or breeding, remember: of the 350 horses nominated, only about 50 will be competitive in graded stakes; only 20 will make it to the Derby.  Choose wisely! 

2)  Diversify.  When selecting the trainers, I tend to pick guys with many horses in training– Todd Pletcher, Steve Asmussen, Bob Baffert, etc.  That way, if ANY of their horses win a big race, you still get points…even if it’s not in your stable. 🙂  Jockeys are similar– pick ones that ride for the big trainers, or at big tracks (Santa Anita, Gulfstream, Belmont, etc).  You ONLY earn points if the Trainer or Jockey WINS, so keep that in mind. (Horses earn points for first, second, or third placings; point value increases by Stakes rating: G1>G2>G3.)

3) Put a little effort in each week.  Stay on top of your Power picks: you have to have your selections locked in by noon each scoring race day (usually Saturday).  Take a few minutes Friday to make sure your selected horses *are running* that day.  There are features on RTTR that allow you to view upcoming entries for races, so you know who’s running when.  Also, read up on Bloodhorse or Thoroughbred Times to see how your horses ran, and what the trainer’s future plans are for them.  I like to create a simple spreadsheet or mark on a calendar when my horses last ran, and tentatively mark when they’re likely to run again (according to trainer).

4) Use the supplemental draft wisely.  It’s broken into two parts– you can add 3 horses, then 2 later; or skip the first part, and add 5 more later.  Use this draft to add horses you *wished* you’d picked the first time around… the ones that keep beating yours!  Remember, only the top 20 graded-stakes-money earners are eligible for the Derby; so no matter how great a horse is, if he doesn’t have the $$ he won’t get in the gate.

Sign up begins today.  The first scoring race is 2/20/10.  You can join at anytime between now and 4/24/10.  If you wait a little longer, you have a better idea of the best horses to select for your stable– but you also miss out on scoring opportunities in the early races.  New this year, you are allowed to create 3 stables, allowing you to try different combinations for success.  Join us and have fun!

EVENTING NATION League
Identification #  2211565550
Activation code: 976127638 

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