05/06/2015 3:42PM

4-year-olds to follow


With CALIFORNIA CHROME's departure for foreign shores, SHARED BELIEF's injury, the recent clunkers from BAYERN and WICKED STRONG and the uncertainty surrounding PALACE MALICE's physical condition, the handicap division has suddenly been thrown on its ear.

Here are two 4-year-olds to watch in upcoming graded stakes races:

NOBLE BIRD (Birdstone - Anyhow, by Tiznow)

Noble Bird took a big step forward when second to PROTONICO in last Friday's Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs. Trained by Mark Casse, the good-sized colt was a bit eager while tracking the leaders three wide entering the backstretch. He continued his outside journey on the turn, collared favored Protonico turning for home and was just outfinished by that one in the final sixteenth.

While it's true the pace held up nicely after slow fractions of 23.94, 48.56 and 1:12.88, and it's probably unfair to hold late-running HONOR CODE's disappointing finish too much against him, Noble Bird could be the one to take from the Alysheba. He showed some courage in the stretch and has the potential for significant improvement in his next few races.

A $105,000 yearling, Noble Bird made his first five starts on turf and synthetic. That isn't surprising considering some of the names in his pedigree. The unraced dam is a half-sister to the good turf runners Mythical Gem, Apple Charlotte and Multitudinous while the second dam is stakes-placed grass performer Charlotte Augusta. The third dam is the classy Noble Damsel.

While Noble Bird is bred for grass success, he's really picked up his game since being placed around two turns on dirt. A gate-to-wire winner over "good" going at Oaklawn on March 21, Noble Bird wheeled back in 18 days to defeat a solid 'n2x' group at Keeneland in his final prep for the Alysheba.

Noble Bird has won from on the lead or off the pace, has the pedigree and physique to appreciate longer distances, and his Beyer Speed Figures have improved this year from 66 to 88 to 93 to 103. He could take on Protonico again in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs on June 13.


EFFINEX (Mineshaft - What a Pear, by E Dubai)

Wicked Strong bombed in the Grade 3 Excelsior Stakes at Aqueduct on April 25, but trainer Jimmy Jerkens salvaged the day when the lesser-fancied half of his uncoupled entry, Effinex, rolled home to the tune of a 107 Beyer Speed Figure.

Ridden wonderfully by Angel Arroyo, Effinex raced in next-to-last while RED RIFLE and WICKED STRONG set measured fractions of 24.55 and 49.23. Those two picked up the pace to run six furlongs in 1:12.70 as Arroyo advanced into contention along the inside with Effinex.

Turning for home, Effinex eased outside the leaders, went right by Wicked Strong and wore down a game Red Rifle in the final furlong. Effinex ran his third quarter in 23.30, his fourth quarter in 23.85, and polished off the 1 1/4 miles of the Excelsior in 2:02.16.

Effinex is the first starter out of multiple stakes-winner What a Pear. This is the female family of Kentucky Oaks winner Blush With Pride, the granddam of Belmont Stakes winners Rags to Riches and Jazil.

Effinex has earned triple-digit Beyers in both starts this year. Like many Jerkens-trained runners, he has improved substantially since blinkers were added. While the Stephen Foster is a possible target, we might see Effinex in the Grade 2 Brooklyn Invitational at Belmont Park on June 6.


Here are the top WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 4/21 - 4/27:

1. EFFINEX - 107 - Excelsior Stakes (G3) - 1 1/4 Miles - 25Apr15-8AQU
2. COACH INGE - 104 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/8 Miles - 22Apr15-8AQU
3. AT LARGE - 102 - OC16k/SAL16k - 6 Furlongs - 24Apr15-1GP
4. LUV BANDIT - 100 - Milwaukee Avenue Handicap - 1 1/16 Miles - 25Apr15-6HAW
5. CALGARY CAT - 99 - Jacques Cartier Stakes - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - 26Apr15-8WO
6. EASTWOOD - 98 - OC 100k/N$Y -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 24Apr15-8KEE
7. INNOVATION ECONOMY - 97 - Alw 59799N2X - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - 23Apr15-8KEE
7. K THIRTY EIGHT - 97 - OC 20k/N1X -N - 6 Furlongs - 25Apr15-7SA
7. RERUN - 97 - Miami Mile Stakes (G3) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 25Apr15-9GP
10. STORMDRIVER - 96 - John Henry Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - 25Apr15-9EVD
11. BIG LOOIE - 94 - OC 62k/C - 1 Mile - 26Apr15-3GP
11. SI SAGE (FR) - 94 - Last Tycoon Stakes (G3) - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - 25Apr15-8SA
13. BE BULLISH - 92 - Clm 25000 - 6 Furlongs - 23Apr15-6AQU
13. CITY OF WESTON - 92 - Blue Heron Handicap - 7 Furlongs - 23Apr15-7GP
15. BAFFLE ME - 91 - Powder Break Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - 25Apr15-10GP
15. BLINGISMYTHING - 91 - Wilshire Stakes (G3) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 26Apr15-7SA
15. ECLETO RED - 91 - OC15k/SAL7k - 1 Mile 70 Yards - 26Apr15-7PRM
15. WINTER GAMES - 91 - Alw 25000s - 1 Mile - 26Apr15-7PRX
19. CINCO CHARLIE - 90 - William Walker Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 25Apr15-7CD
19. DANCE CHAMPION - 90 - Alw 59190N1X - 7 Furlongs - 22Apr15-6KEE
19. EAGLE SCREAMS - 90 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - 25Apr15-9GG
19. G. G. RYDER - 90 - San Francisco Mile Stakes (G3) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 25Apr15-7GG
19. GLICKMAN - 90 - Clm c-12500 - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 22Apr15-2AQU
19. KITTEN'S POINT - 90 - Bewitch Stakes (G3) - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - 24Apr15-9KEE
19. MAJESTIC HARBOR - 90 - OC 100k/C -N - 1 1/16 Miles - 25Apr15-8CD
19. TRIBAL GAL - 90 - Ann Owens Distaff Handicap - 6 Furlongs - 25Apr15-5TUP

*EFFINEX's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.

*GLICKMAN was claimed for $12,500 by trainer David Jacobson from Michelle Nevin.


Here are the top WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 4/28 - 5/4:

1. TONALIST - 111 - Westchester Stakes (G3) - 1 Mile - 2May15-6BEL
2. AMERICAN PHAROAH - 105 - Kentucky Derby (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles - 2May15-11CD
3. PROTONICO - 103 - Alysheba Stakes (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - 1May15-8CD
3. STALLWALKIN' DUDE - 103 - OC 80k/C -N - 6 Furlongs - 1May15-5BEL
5. BIG BLUE KITTEN - 102 - Fort Marcy Stakes (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 2May15-10BEL
5. COMPETITIVE EDGE - 102 - Pat Day Mile Stakes (G3) - 1 Mile - 2May15-5CD
6. CATCH A FLIGHT (ARG) - 101 - Precisionist Stakes (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles - 2May15-10SA
6. POWER ALERT (AUS) - 101 - Turf Sprint Stakes (G3) - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - 1May15-9CD
8. PRIVATE ZONE - 100 - Churchill Downs Stakes (G2) - 7 Furlongs - 2May15-9CD
8. TEPIN - 100 - Distaff Turf Mile Stakes (G2) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 2May15-8CD
10. FINNEGANS WAKE - Turf Classic Stakes (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 2May15-10CD
10. MOSLER - 99 - Elusive Quality Stakes - 7 Furlongs (Turf) - 29Apr15-8BEL
10. NOWALKING - 99 - OC 40k/N1X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - 2May15-9SA
13. BAY OF PLENTY - 97 - OC 80k/N3X -N - 1 Mile - 29Apr15-4BEL
13. MEZZANO - 97 - Alw 54500NC - 7 Furlongs - 2May15-10PRX
15. GOOD BYE GREG - 96 - OC 35k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - 3May15-4AP
15. PAGANOL - 96 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - 2May15-1CD
15. RUBLE - 96 - Clm 50000 - 7 Furlongs - 29Apr15-4CD
18. A FLEET ATTITUDE - 95 - Lyman Handicap - 7 Furlongs - 2May15-7PRX
18. EL DEAL - 95 - Gold Fever Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 1May15-3BEL
18. SPANISH QUEEN - 95 - Honeymoon Stakes (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 3May15-8SA
21. LOVELY MARIA - 94 - Kentucky Oaks (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - 1May15-11CD
21. MOLLY MORGAN - 94 - La Troienne Stakes (G1) - 1 1/16 Miles - 1May15-7CD
21. TEXAS AIR - 94 - Texas Mile Stakes (G3) - 1 Mile - 1May15-8LS
24. AGENT DI NOZZO - 93 - OC 100k/C -N - 1 Mile - 2May15-4CD
24. BOBCAT JIM - 93 - OC 40k/N1Y -N - 6 Furlongs - 3May15-8PRM
24. DAME DOROTHY - 93 - Humana Distaff Stakes (G1) - 7 Furlongs - 2May15-7CD

*TONALIST's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.


Hi Dan, I am hoping you can post the PPs of a Horse called Ride'em Cowboy,he raced a few times at Aqueduct about 2 years ago he never broke his maiden, a friend of purchased him when he retired and he became a Show horse well sad to say he passed from Colic on April 22nd. I would like to give my fried the PPs and laminate them s she can put them by his grave .....
Thanks, Ron..

RIDE'EM COWBOY's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog.


I'm looking for the chart of the first race I played, and HIT a big exacta, back in the early 80's in NYC OTB when they used letters instead of numbers. The winner was Tara K and the place horse was something like Leecoo. I think the race was run on a Thursday and the exacta was "EF".
Edward Wright

I'm unable to access the chart, but the race in question was the seventh at Belmont on July 23, 1984. I've attached TARA K's lifetime past performances to the bottom of this blog post.


You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.

Remember to check out DRF LIVE's handicapping coverage. Matt Bernier and I are on Wednesday through Friday at 12:30 ET and on Saturday from 2pm through the final major stakes race of the afternoon.


Congrats to Carl C. for finishing first in the most recent HandiGambling tournament.

Rick M's scoresheet is available at the bottom of this blog post.

Let's go with Saturday's Decathlon Stakes at Monmouth for this week's exercise.


SR Vegas and Rick M. have graciously decided to streamline all of the HG rules in order to make them an easier read for everyone...

With so many new people attending Dan's Formblog we thought it would be a good time to update the Handigambling Guidelines and Rules as we go forward in 2014.

Let's remember WHY we began the HandiGambling races in the first place. The goal was to share ideas on why we like these horses and why we're betting them the way we are. We are not asking for a novel but if you could spare a sentence or two outlining your handicapping angles and thought processes about wagering, it would be appreciated.


-  Please start your post with  HG or HANDIGAMBLING to better recognize and find your entry.

-  You have a mythical $100 to wager in whatever format you choose and that is available for that HG race.
Anyone going over the $100 limit will be disqualified.

- Post your WAGER and ANALYSIS to the blog WITH YOUR NAME/OR MONIKER AT THE END OF THE POST.  Remember that posts may start as 'anonymous' or an 'alternate name'. You MUST sign yourself at the end (even if it is the same) This enables the scorekeeper to recognize you .

- (1) ONE ENTRY per person for the Handigambling contest. If you have multiple email addresses, use just ONE for contest purposes.  Multiple entries will be cause for disqualification.

- Separate your analysis from the wager and use the horses # in your wager. Just like you would do in a real wager. No horse names.

-In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference. Dan reserves the right to approve or deny any entries.

- The winner will receive a "60-Card Quarterly Formulator Past Performance Plan"

As an example :

HG 2014
The speed in this race goes to  horses # 1, 4 ,6 ..Ennie , Meenie, and Mo
Since it's a sprint I don't see any closers catching them.. like # 9 Miney.
I think trainer Groucho with the #6 Mo has the best stats in this condition, route to sprint.. just a gut feeling at large odds ML 20-1

HG wager
50$ Ex box 1-6
total $100

Thanks Dan!




EFFINEX.pdf721.47 KB
TONALIST.pdf652.44 KB
TARA K.pdf565.07 KB
Copy of Formblog Kentucky Derby 5-2-15.xls75.5 KB
HGMTH.pdf203.28 KB
rvraynmary More than 1 year ago
While giggling at the entry of Mr. Z in the Preakness after a fast-track ownership change, I still respect D. Wayne Lucas and make an ATB wager on his steeds. He knows how to get longshots in the winner circle in big races. Breeder's Cup examples: Spain, 55-1; Cash Run 32-1;Cat Thief 19-1 and recently Take Charge Brandi at 61-1. Triple Crown races: Charismatic 31-1; Thunder Gulch 24-1, Commendable 18-1 and Oxbow at 15-1. Lots of space between hits,but when they do it's worth it. Otherwise, I think the favorite will be in the exacta. There's a lot of hype out there. Caution. Ray
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Annie, They do now. Mr Z is best priced 50/1. What do you think, is he a better bet than Divining Rod? Best Regards - Bernard Downes
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bernard, BOD and TALE - No hope for the win, I'm afraid. I would be shocked. Don't they have a price for MR. Z? Annie
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Lots of good Preakness talk, what a nice card for Saturday. Thanks to everyone for comments. Annie my MKB CONQUEST BIGLUCK E is running Preakness Day. Race #7 Sir Barton Stakes. Good Luck to me ! I'll have to watch out for Rkccasselberry BOLD CONQUEST and Sonny Crockett's VERRACO who are in there too. MKB trifecta? hmmmm? Bernard and AOS - I see that your previous MKB CROUP DE GRACE is in the Maryland Sprint , race #5 . Good luck ! Race #12 Longines Dixie .. during a 2010 Blue Thongatoga trip to Saratoga we got up close and personal with a goofy 2 yo colt . MANCHURIAN HIGH . who is entered. Maybe he's getting better with age as he and his jockey Gary Stevens are the elders of this race group . One should always Respect your elders :) and on Friday at Pimlico , Good luck to the connections and friends of WILLIE B MINE . SR Vegas
CalvinLCarter More than 1 year ago
American Pharoah, Supreme Ruler Of Kentucky Derby 141, Continues His Run In Preakness Stakes To Win Second Jewel Of Triple Crown: http://bit.ly/1Pm7SIi
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Harold Crenshaw Me and my beloved RAH absolutely LOVED 'MONK' ...and try to catch any reruns when we can :) Gneral stuff- I just attended another Drf 'Webinar' session. This one regarding the Preakness. I can't believe how many functions Formulator has, to do whatever you want . It makes my head spin. Lonnie at customer service had sent me a few links to navigate through Formulator. I'm curious, of those of you who use formulator, which specific functions do you find most helpful ? or catch your eye ? ...or that you may have discovered just fooling around with it ? Thanks ! SR Vegas
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DavidM9999, Having found those "British" Preakness prices, my greedy eye was drawn to the two monster prices, 66/1 and 100/1. But I take it Bodhisattva and Tale of Verve are complete no-hopers??? From what little I have read on here, it looks like Divining Rod may be a reasonable 25/1 shot. Best Regards - Bernard Downes
David Benning More than 1 year ago
After reviewing the incremental splits of the KD (each horse) and the race replay, I am convinced that the race was not flattering to the top 3 finishers, who plodded home. I further believe that 2 colts outside the top 3, Frosted and Materiality, were - for varying reasons - robbed of a 1-2 finish. Frosted's final 4 furlongs was easily the best in the field (49.95). He's the only colt in the field to have run a sub 24 penultimate quarter. His final quarter (25.98) was 2nd only to Materiality's (25.61). The top 3 colts ran pedestrian fractions early, it was rather stunning therefore to see them plod home. Firing Line never got onto his correct lead in the stretch yet was still only beat a length or so by AP who had to be whipped 30 times to keep clear of him (reminiscent of International Star's treatment at the hands of Miguel Mena in his past 3 stakes wins). How can this be viewed positively? Divining Rod, who gives the impression of a divinely-bred 3yo colt who has now quickly come-to-hand, is my choice to win, perhaps win comfortably in the end. He ran his final 3 furlongs in the Lexington Stakes in roughly 36 and 2 (conservatively, it may have actually been closer to 36 and 1). He got his final sixteenth in 6.17, which is an important fraction because it gives us an idea of how he will negotiate the added furlong in the Preakness. It would not be unreasonable, at all, given how strongly he advanced in the stretch run, to see his final eighth broken down like this (conservatively): 6.45/6.85 (13.30 final eighth). If he comes home his last 1/8th in 13.30 seconds, he could - based upon his Lex effort - run his final 4 furlongs in the Preakness as such: 36.40 + 13.30 = 49.70. This is a conservative guesstimate. He could well run faster. It should be noted that this colt was bred to be somebody and imo he's the best bred 3yo in this country, who has every right to come-to-hand (in a major way) in his own time, every right to excel at a distance like 1 and 3/16th miles. His dam is a half to Kitten's Joy (who had a strong preference for turf over dirt). His pappy (Tapit) is the most prolific sire of his generation and very capable of getting a strong dirt runner out of a strong female grass family. It's because of his spectacular breeding that I think it's a mistake to chastise DR for losing to Carpe Diem twice; he is not that colt, today. Danzig Moon lost twice to CD, also, yet finished well in front of him in the race that mattered, doing so because he continued to move forward. DR, unlike DM (who has made gradual improvements), is come-to-hand dramatically, befitting who was bred to be. The real issue here is whether the final 4 furlongs of the KD are good indicators for what we can expect from the B3 in the Preakness? Given that they were accomplished after extremely moderate early fractions, I think they likely represent, within reason (taking into account the slightly shorter distance) about the relative best they can do. The B3s final 4 furlong times from the KD: AP: 51.48; FL: 51.81; Dort: 52.24 Danzig Moon's final 4Fs: 51.98 Even if you assume they can do better at the shorter Preakness distance, how much credit do they deserve when they will have a fresh colt, bred to be as good as any colt in this country - Divining Rod - breathing down their throats (pressing), capable of coming home in 49.70? It should come as no shock to see DR give AP everything he could ask for and more in the Preakness, and I think he should be played up and down, perhaps even more to the up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Vicstu, Mr. Z worries me. It was all just so weird. Lukas kept saying Mr. Z was going to run and Zayat kept saying he wasn't. And then out of the blue, Calumet buys Mr. Z and he is in. Mr. Z didn't do much running in the Derby. More like a long workout. So he probably is fresher than the other guys. And what happens if it's sloppy and Mr. Z goes to the front and doesn't look back? And a dead rail evolves, which I understand sometimes happens at Pimlico, which impedes the two big boys inside? Annie
Harold Crenshaw More than 1 year ago
The one microphone was "clunky" to say the least....but the show was great. Gabby is really rounding into form....ignore her viewpoints at your own peril. She is a price picker and is quite good. I am heading out to Pimlico today....it will surely be better attended than most Thursdays...but should be a day that they put in 20,000 at the minimum. If your business model is geared around BIG DAYS.....shouldn't you try to have the potential to have more BIG DAYS...with all the infrastructure in place for the 2 BIG DAYS...why not make it 3? VS.....Harold was a patient of the same Head Shrinker as Detective Monk....they had a running feud about who the Doctor liked better...who had the better illness..who was getting better faster...how the magazines in the waiting room were to be arranged....when they were thrown together on a case Harold actually took a bullet intended for their Doctor....when Monk was checking on him..his words "Top That" were hilarious as he bested Monk. THE ONE HOLE....it means nothing UNLESS the rail turns up dead....Orb was through after the half because the jockey was AWFUL and should have never been there......5% jockeys in MD knew that was the NOT the place to be. I may have saw a glimpse or two of the dead rail this spring..but TODAY will be the decider........good horses make good trips...and AP seems to be a good one....he wins. COLD PUNCHING a SUPER is something that I have never done....so playing the race might entail a just a COLD TRI and take what it gives you....or pass.