10/13/2016 1:15PM

Anchor Down the road in Kelso

During the 2014 FormBlog Convention at Gulfstream Park, Anchor Down made a strong impression with his 94-Beyer victory over a solid bunch.
Here's what I wrote about the gray son of Tapit in the March 5, 2014 edition of the blog:
"Don't think he's the Derby winner, but Todd Pletcher's ANCHOR DOWN was a good-looking winner at Gulfstream during the FormBlog Convention. One of my opinions for the weekend was that MYOSITIS DAN was primed for a good effort at 13-1 odds in an entry-level optional claimer. Myositis Dan made a bold move to split horses and take the lead on the turn, but Anchor Down "hulked up," re-rallied, and shrugged him off after a couple of strides. Myositis Dan tried all the way to the wire, but wasn't beating Anchor Down, a $250,000 half-brother to Grade 1 winner Sweet Lulu by Tapit."
A week later, I was either still swooning over Anchor Down's win, or agonizing about Myositis Dan's defeat, because I profiled Anchor Down (along with future Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint winner Bobby's Kitten) as a "horse to watch."
The opinion among the bloggers assembled at Gulfstream that weekend was that Anchor Down was a well-bred and talented late-developer. We figured he was a stakes horse in the making.
We didn't expect it to take this long.
Unfortunately for Anchor Down fans, he went right to the sidelines after his Gulfstream start and missed over a year with injury. He was okay in the first few races of his comeback including a 101-Beyer victory at 1 1/16 miles on July 12, 2015, but seemed to lack the explosiveness displayed as a 3-year-old. That win preceded seven consecutive losses. 
While close in some good races earlier this year (placed fourth in both the Gulfstream Park Handicap and Carter Handicap), it appeared that Anchor Down had settled in as a high-level optional claimer or middling Grade 3-type, an example of a "what might have been" horse denied his destiny due to injury.
Then, on May 7 at Belmont, Anchor Down caught a series of beneficial circumstances that propelled him to the first graded victory of his career, the Westchester Stakes. The Westchester was contested over a sealed, muddy track and featured a short field devoid of speed. That allowed Anchor Down to grab the bull by the horns early and he never looked back. 
It was easy to be skeptical of the 105 Beyer earned in the Westchester as Anchor Down overcame no adversity. Subsequent defeats in Grade 1 races were difficult to analyze. Anchor Down was second in the Metropolitan Handicap, but wasn't within shouting range of Frosted at the wire. Considering the way Frosted ran that day, it was hard to imagine many horses in the country stepping with him, let alone Anchor Down. Did he overachieve in running second in the prestigious Met, or was it a case where someone had to run second, and it just happened to be Anchor Down? In the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Stakes, Anchor Down broke slowly from the rail, rushed up into the pocket and might have found the 6-furlong distance a bit too sharp. 
Last Saturday, Anchor Down stretched back out to a mile in the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap and found a similar situation as the Westchester. The Kelso only featured five horses and none of them were blazers from the gate. The key to the race was whether OCEAN KNIGHT, previously a pacesetting runner-up to Jockey Club Gold Cup entrant PROTONICO would grab the lead from the inside and force Anchor Down to take up a chasing role.
As you saw in the video, Joel Rosario wasn't aggressive on Ocean Knight out of the gate. That gave Anchor Down the lead and a fairly-easy opening quarter of 23.30 down the straightaway. TAMARKUZ slowly put on some pressure through the second quarter, but the damage was done. Anchor Down faced Tamarkuz's challenge in the stretch and flicked him away under a hand ride. He stopped the clock in 1:32.90, a timing good enough for a 108 Beyer. 
"We'll wait and see how he comes out of it," Pletcher answered track publicity when asked about Anchor Down's next engagement. "I would probably think a one-turn mile is a little more to his liking [than the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita going two turns]. We'll enjoy this one for the moment, but if I were guessing right now I'd probably lean toward the Cigar Mile."
Off the cold dope, Anchor Down is going to look pretty good in the Cigar at what could be decent odds. He's won two graded stakes around a one-turn mile this year with big numbers and appears to be coming into the race in career form after looking strong in the stretch of the Kelso. 
Peeling back the onion a bit, however, handicappers must ask themselves if Anchor Down is as good as he appears on paper. Both of his wins came with gorgeous pace and trip scenarios. Yes, he appears to be a killer when left to his own devices on the lead, but can he beat better horses with a more strenuous setup?
Personally, I think his representative races are the Gulfstream Park Handicap (100 Beyer) and Met Mile (98 Beyer). In the Cigar, I will upgrade him if it appears he can control the pace as he did on Saturday, of it the price is too juicy to avoid.
What do you think?
*Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 10/5/16 - 10/11/16
1. PHOTO CALL - 109 - First Lady Stakes (G1) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 8Oct16-7KEE
2. ANCHOR DOWN - 108 - Kelso Handicap (G2) - 1 Mile - 8Oct16-5BEL
3. VYJACK - 107 - City of Hope Mile (G2) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 8Oct16-8SA 
4. MISS TEMPLE CITY - 106 - Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 8Oct16-9KEE
5. HEART TO HEART - 105 - Knickerbocker Stakes (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 10Oct16-9BEL
6. A. P. INDIAN - 104 - Phoenix Stakes (G2) - 6 Furlongs - 7Oct16-8KEE
6. HOPPERTUNITY - 104 - Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles - 8Oct16-10BEL
6. PURE SENSATION - 104 - Belmont Turf Sprint Stakes - 6 Furlongs (Turf) - 8Oct16-7BEL
9. JAMYSON 'N GINGER - 103 - Md Sp Wt 75k - 1 Mile - 9Oct16-7BEL
10. WAKE UP IN MALIBU - 102 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 Mile - OC 62k/N2X -N
10. LADY ELI - 102 - Flower Bowl Invitational (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - 8Oct16-6BEL
12. BLUE TONE - 101 - OC 62k/N2X - 1 1/16 Miles - 7Oct16-7SA 
13. EYE LUV LULU - 100 - OC c-40k/N2X - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 9Oct16-5BEL
13. I'M A CHATTERBOX - 100 - Spinster Stakes (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles  - 9Oct16-9KEE
15. LORD NELSON - 99 - Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1) - 6 Furlongs - 8Oct16-4SA 
16. MONGOLIAN SATURDAY - 98 - Woodford Stakes (G3) - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 8Oct16-5KEE
17. CAMELOT KITTEN - 96 - Hill Prince Stakes (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 8Oct16-9BEL
17. JOHN JONES - 96 - OC 40k/N3X -N - 1 Mile - 8Oct16-9LRL
19. RAPSCALLION - 95 - Clm 40000 - 7 Furlongs (Turf) - 7Oct16-7BEL
20. CURLIN'S FOX - 93 - Swingtime Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - 8Oct16-5SA 
20. HOT SEAT - 93 - Alw 79640N2L - 1 Mile 70 Yards - 11Oct16-7PRX
20. RED RAZZO - 93 - Alw 66800N2R - 1 Mile 70 Yards - 9Oct16-9PRX
20. SLIP THE CABLE - 93 - West Virginia Breeders' Classic - 1 1/8 Miles - 8Oct16-8CT 
24. COMMUTE - 92 - OC 80k/C - 6 Furlongs (Tapeta) - 8Oct16-3WO 
24. ROMAN APPROVAL - 92 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - 6Oct16-8BEL
PHOTO CALL's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post. 
EYE LUV LULU was claimed for $40,000 by trainer John Toscano Jr. from Jason Servis.
*You can access free video analysis of some of the weekend's top races beginning Thursday late afternoon at http://video.drf.com/
Mike Beer, Matt Bernier and I will be on for free and fun live handicapping analysis at 3pm ET on Saturday. You can find us at live.drf.com. This week, we'll cover Belmont, Keeneland and Santa Anita
You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.
*Congrats to Samuel Proud for winning the most recent HandiGambling challenge.
Rick M and SR VEGAS' HG scoreboard spreadsheet is available at the bottom of this blog post. 
Samuel Proud selected Saturday's Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup from Keeneland as this week's exercise. 
SR Vegas and Rick M. have graciously decided to update all of the HG rules in order to make them an easier read for everyone...
HANDIGAMBLING version 2016:
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 SPARE A SENTENCE OR TWO outlining your HANDICAPPING ANGLES and/or THOUGHT PROCESSES about WAGERING.
1. Start your post with HG or HANDIGAMBLING to find your entry in a thread.
2. You have a mythical $100 to wager in whatever format you choose that is available for that HG race. Anyone going over the $100 limit will be DISQUALIFIED.
3. Post your WAGER and ANALYSIS to the blog prior to the start of the designated race. SIGN OFF WITH YOUR NAME/OR MONIKER AT THE END OF YOUR 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 identify who you are.
4. (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.
5. Separate your analysis from the wager and use the PROGRAM # in your wager. Just like you would do in a real wager. No horse names.
6. If any of the rules listed above aren't met, the wager is subject to review which can lead to disqualification of your entry.
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 2016
The speed in this race are #1 Alpha, #2 Beta, and #8 Ocho. I like the works for layoff horse #5 Cinco who can sit off the pace. Lots of speed in here, so this could set up for a closer like  #6 Six Flags and I like the trainer's stats in these conditions. I’ll put the closer over the speed.
HG wager:
$10 EX   6 /   1,2,5, 8  = $40
$5 TRI   6 /   1,2,5,8  /  1,2,5,8  =  $60
Total $100
Thanks Dan!


PHOTO CALL.pdf800.25 KB
Copy of HG 10 8 16 Shadwell Turf.xls52.5 KB
HGQEII.pdf230.04 KB
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Annie.... please check your email :)

SR Vegas
DavidM9999 More than 1 year ago


Thanks for the response. You are right on many levels. I am chewing on what you suggest and will respond in few days but thanks again.

Thoroughbred’s Public Enemy #1 or #2 Ramon Preciado now has another positive at PARX. When he had multiple violations of Clen previously a groom came forward to admit she did it. Seems she had a deep hate for Ramon so instead of moving a few shed rows down she instead went to doping his horses. Now if you believe that one ….well stop reading this NOW. I suppose only WikiLeaks knows. With the alleged “rogue” safely out of the picture he still has another CLEN positive. Not sure what rogue employee got to Preciado’s horse this time but it should be interesting at least. Paul Harvey used to say "and now for the rest of the story". Well we don’t need Paul or Wikileaks do we? Ramon is bad. He is either stupid, a cheat, or thinks we are stupid. I make it 1/5 all three are in play. PARX is a joke for allowing him to train and race there. I am a joke too for playing PARX. Owner Barbara Hopkins who uses Preciado needs to take a selfie to see if she is comfortable with what she sees staring back at her.

I have taken the Community along periodically on our horse operation. Here is the wrap up on horse venture – we bought six at KEE in 2014. About $350,000 total. The venture is basically wrapping up. Two sold about $140,000 gross both racing with one seeming to be a useful ALW type named Clear the Bases. One never named unfortunately died of EVM shortly after the sale with insurance proceeds covering sales price $60,000. The other three all had surgeries, some multiple. Curveball Lilly raced twice with a minor knee chip in start two. After surgery and recovery we started back gently. Then another recent chip so she is done on advice of a honest man wearing a white hat. Earnings zero. 

AK’s Candy had a major knee issue with a pricey repair. She had throat work of substance to no avail. She ran hard but was compromised despite the bettors making her favorite in all her starts. She was sold for $3,000 privately a couple weeks ago. For those trying to get their money back she runs for new connections at CT in a $23,000 MSW at 4.5F on Saturday. I am not gambling and never have on her but I will root for her in every future start. Take care Candy.

Huddy Buddy, who is a grand looker, had a bowed tendon and was given significant time off. He came back in light training this summer with more issues. No starts, no earnings, only expense and game effort on his part. Thanks for your try Huddy. . He is now "retired" in a green field in western Kentucky. The care giver reports he is friendly and loving life. We are trying to find a home rather than give to a low claiming trainer who will race the compromised animal into the ground. I have no idea how the final chapter goes there as minority owner.

So there you have it folks. The plan to buy six at KEE, sell five at Ocala then race one never materialized. We left Ocala with four not one due to unwise advice from experts that was unwisely followed specifically on RNA levels that led to needless buybacks. I told my friend who oversaw operations….. lesson learned – NEVER LEAVE OCALA WITH A HORSE. You can bring them in but don’t leave with them as you are playing with fire. Too much, too soon for too many of these horses in the $50-$85K range. How they are handled in the months from January thru March of that 2 YO season is so important. Despite all being with very credible handlers I suspect they were pushed too hard with minor issues that later became major issues but water under the bridge. It was nothing I did not know or fear. I might have bad eyes but I do walk around with both wide open. I have had friends buy 2 YO’s in training at Ocala with mixed results (code for… THEY LOST). 

My heart was frankly not in owning. As you could tell from my tone in prior posts from day one I got zero joy from it. I am a gambler not an owner. I could get great joy from a 10-1 shot I have cash on but not owning horses. Paddocks, sky boxes, backsides playing the big shot means nothing to this 60 year old. At the end of the day I am a front side guy in blue jeans, ball cap and tennis shoes packing a DRF. Always have been. 

Everyone have a wonderful day!

SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
...it's been a long day , and  I decided to relax with an evening Blog read.
There has been a lot of good information out here this last week. Most recently the BSF and how it is applied personally , or  not.  Thanks Okiesharp for starting the ten top handicapping reasons we choose  ( I'm still thinking on mine...but it's less than 10 ) ...and GBL on the BSF topic.

Man of 9's ...aka David.
You got me thinking about how much information is out there. And Annie,  how too much can be distracting.
I have always been a DRF paper person. I like to get my fingers smudged with ink and making highlighted colors that ultimately bleed through the pages.
Having been Annies MKB wingman for several years and doing workout updates, "osmosis" is what my RAH told me I did.  Much information absorbed over time, becomes a bit innate. ( well, in workout times relevant to tracks and distances for me, not so much in picking a winning horse..) and so I learn things that way. But, I tended to try to read EVERY piece of information in front of me making my mind hurt and eyes fuzzy. I was sure I could find the 'key' to that race, if I looked at as much pp data I could, maybe a race replay. Not so much anymore. 
I used to run over to the local sports book for pp's on big racing days, or if I was playing in an online contest. Over the last few months, I've been more an on line pp reader now.(time constraints) Finding brisnet and drf pps to study for (whatever races PH, HG, Del Mar/SA) is the norm each week.

No color highlighters, no messy fingers....just paging up and down, back and forth looking for my key points, angels, PGH, or whatever jumps out on the computer screen.
..I can't spread it out like a paper, I choose not to print the information,  just what I can see in the laptop screen  .

How does anyone approach this ? or does anyone read and analyze like this. Tips? suggestions?

I do get formulator pps occasionally, but again ...it's all looking online ...and not making messy notes on paper.

David if you offered classes, I'd attend.  Christian Hellmers would get a chuckle at your post. He's a fun guy at the NHC :)

I was one of those who liked 4-5 horses in each race. RAH used to just roll his eyes.  I'd try to structure a tri- or super ( HG Dan dollars)  But now I have tried to whittled it down to one or two. RAH is pleased with my progress.  I would pass a race if i liked toooooo many :)
But, wager structure is still what I struggle with most. WP is easier for me, in contests like SA 
where one has $100 it could be 50WP, or 25WP on two horses at large odds. Lately $100 win.
I like the NHC  WP format.

The BCBC multi wager menus are too much for me.
BTW  ..Congratulations to ' Lil Chok' ( Michael Beychok)  I read that last weekend, he won an entry to the BCBC tournament at SA . Good Luck  Michael !

SR Vegas

Okiesharp More than 1 year ago
David of 9's

I think you nailed the answer but may not realize it.  Try this:  After all
the time and hard work you put into studying too much information, step
back and just look at the high lights, or the red & green circles & notes you
made on your PP's.  Kinda like doing an outline, you'll automatically look for
the high points and the creme will rise to the top.  I agree everyone has their 
own style and certain information is more important to them than others.  We 
all know that after the race is over we can justify the winner winning by a 
cazillion different angles.  The key here in my humble opinion, is to prioritize 
your criteria and even then, here's the killer........every race is different!  
Because every race is different, a lot of us have trouble structuring a winning 
wager.  For instance:

If you really like just one horse in the race, do you bet it WPS & maybe play
daily doubles front & back along with an exacta to the top 4 betting favorites?
You might even single it in some pk races or key it in tri's & supers.  But what
happens when you like 2, 3 or more horses in a race?  Do you bet or do you
pass the race?  The game is so difficult because they give us too much
information and too many betting choices.  The fact is we all need more
discipline.  Sounds good in theory, but have you ever tried to quit smoking?

My suggestion is to try and find the type of races you're good at and only bet
those type of races.


Okiesharp More than 1 year ago
Professor Molesap

I did get the PP's.  Thank you.


Thanks for the consideration.

DavidM9999 More than 1 year ago

Behavior at post event interviews – Cam Newton or Stephen Coburn? Who you got?

I woke up today to see the Cubs lost by a touchdown to the Dodgers.  I root for the Cubs so this was troubling. I expect this is headed for 7. The NSA will be on code red high alert if it goes 7 making sure that Bartman is not allowed in Wrigley. Retinal imagery of all incoming fans is expected.

Annie wrote honestly “too much information can be distracting and slow me down”.  That comment is extremely interesting and her style works nicely for her.  I imagine many bettors share that view and some do not.  Proving the point all gamblers are not created the same conversely I like information.  Using videos, Trakus, Formulator, sire/dam progeny records, KEE sales catalogues, trainer stats, post positions, rail settings get my juices flowing. I cannot get enough. The problem is all this can become almost a second full time job or at least be neck in neck to replace one’s wife. I admit I spend a lot of time on this stuff but really I imagine quite a few of the elite players here do MUCH MORE.

The primary question is does the information and effort translate into winnings or just fill your mornings.  For me it is hit and miss and honestly I miss more than I hit. Without a doubt I think all the information makes me more comfortable punching out tickets of size. I find comfort in at least knowing I did the work. Sometimes 71 seconds later I am left scratching my head but I tried. Don’t get me wrong I may not always do the work. This past Sunday I did little other than open the DRF for an hour on the sofa while my wife watched a television preacher scream the world was ending and soon. Any race goer has had days where you were hoping the TV preacher nails it. Sunday I had a four figure day without much work. Somedays you see it 20/10 while other days it is 20/60.

Earlier I said my results are hit and miss. I think the information gathering and analysis is semi-solid. What is lacking is the proper application while looking at the right elements for a particular race. Be it instinctively or thru experience I think the elite players know what is more relevant and what is less irrelevant. In a perfect world there would be a handicapping classroom. I would march in with the materials while a professor would go to the chalk board teaching me up. Courses include handicapping 101, 201, 301, 401, 501, 601. I would get that diploma, march into the real world and glare straight into Christian Hellmers eyes saying "how do you like me now". Horse racing knowledge/skill does not work that way. Some of us are blessed having quality mentors to guide us early on. Others successfully self teach. Many others and I think I fit here have absorbed bits and pieces along a rocky 40 year handicapping journey. Without a doubt we do live in an era of unprecedented information. The key is how to use it to your advantage. I still have much work to do there.

BC workouts are starting to ramp up. Expect trainers to begin the endless flow of accolades for each and every horse. Each horse worked the "best ever", "they are peaking", "coming out of their skin", and "all is great". Trainer speak to me is white noise. Watch the workout  possibly consider an experts opinion if they are UNCONNECTED to the horse but primarily trust your own eyes not your ears. For example I'm a Chatterbox last work before the 2015 BC was visually poor to me. Time was good but done the wrong way. Forget the trainer said all systems go she was a total throw out. Trainers want a shot at personal glory and cash.  That only happens if they run.

Professor Molesap More than 1 year ago

The DRF 2010 BC PP are in your e-mail - let me know if you need anything else.
ed More than 1 year ago
Thanks for the site. It will keep me busy and refresh my memories. What a nice find.
Thank you SR Vegas for the pps. Sharing is caring. Now I have more fun work ahead of me. Good work if you can get it.  edb
VanSavant More than 1 year ago

I got them somewhere.  Give me a day...
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago

here is what I bookmarked  for free Brisnet  pps'  .

Thanks for the 365 horse link . REALLY good stuff there. I'll  have fun checking out the site.

SR Vegas