04/09/2014 3:09PM

Baker Cooks at Calder

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Edgard Zayas wasn't trying to set any track records aboard MR. BAKER in last Friday's third race at Calder, but the gray 5-year-old had other ideas.

Mr. Baker (lifetime past performances available at the bottom of this blog post) posted a pair of six-furlong workouts in preparation for his first start for trainer Ralph Ziadie after being claimed for $16,000 at Gulfstream, and turned from Joe Racehorse into a 106-Beyer performer.

Whatever the reason for the improvement, and it could be many things (a subtle class drop after racing at Gulfstream over the winter, a surface and distance switch, a horse finally getting good with three consecutive Beyer tops, or something else entirely), make no mistake...

Mr. Baker was a BEAST in that'N3L' optional claimer at 5 1/2 furlongs.

Breaking from post position two in the six-horse field, Mr. Baker, who hadn't been on the lead after the first call in his last seven races, spurted right to the front under Zayas. He rattled off an opening fraction of 22.20 before drawing off with utter dominance on the turn. Zayas never moved a muscle in the stretch, but Mr. Baker kept increasing his lead, completing the distance in record time of 1:04.03.

Foaled in Florida on January 19, 2009, Mr. Baker is by Imperialism, a courageous colt that overcame a sunken right eye to take his 21-year-old trainer, Kristin Mulhall, all the way to a third-place finish in the 2004 Kentucky Derby.

Imperialism raced five times for a tag as a 2-year-old before turning into a three-time Grade 2 winner so perhaps late-maturing genes run in the family. Although classic-placed, Imperialism was probably best as a rallying sprinter/miler. He won the Pat O'Brien Handicap and San Vicente at seven furlongs, and the San Rafael Stakes over a flat mile.

Mr. Baker was a $9,000 buyback as a short yearling before being purchased by Carolyn Hine for $18,000 at the 2011 OBS Spring Juvenile auction. He doesn't have much pedigree on the bottom half of his bloodlines as his placed dam is a half-sister to multiple stakes-winning router Too Too Divine.

Mr. Baker didn't make his career debut for trainer Harry Benson until August of his 3-year-old season, but was a promising winner of a six-furlong maiden special weight at Calder that afternoon.

In his third start, Mr. Baker returned from an over eight-month layoff to defeat a group of entry-level optional claimers over "good" going. That race was on June 13, 2013 and Mr. Baker didn't return to the winner's circle in his seven subsequent starts (six for Benson, one for Gamaliel Vazquez) while racing on dirt and turf in sprints and routes.

He ran well in some of those races including runner-up efforts in his two prior starts on turf at Gulfstream, but it was hard to imagine him running off the screen like he did last week.

The Mr. Baker that won last week looked like a serious racehorse and it will be very interesting to see where he is placed for his next appearance.

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There are a couple of big Grade 1 races with small fields scheduled for Friday. I won't have money on or against WISE DAN as he returns in the Maker's 46 at Keeneland. As for the Apple Blossom, I've been a big fan of LET FAITH ARISE since last year and felt vindicated by her recent score in the Grade 1 Santa Margarita. I picked her to win, but I must admit that it's not like she has a huge edge, if any, over this field and I'm reluctant to take too short a price on anyone in this field. For me, those two races are for entertainment purposes only.

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Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from last week's races (3/31/14 - 4/6/14):

1. VALID - 108 - OC 100k/N3X -N - 7 Furlongs - Gulfstream
2. CALIFORNIA CHROME - 107 - Santa ANita Derby (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - Santa Anita
3. MR. BAKER - 106 - OC 25k/N3L -N - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Calder
4. WICKED STRONG - 104 - Wood Memorial (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - Aqueduct
5. DADS CAPS - 103 - Carter Handicap (G1) - 7 Furlongs - Aqueduct
6. TOM'S TRIBUTE - 102 - Thunder Road Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - Santa Anita
7. MARRIEDTOTHEMUSIC - 101 - Alw 62000N1X - 6 Furlongs - Aqueduct
8. PRINCESS OF SYLMAR - 100 - Cat Cay Stakes - 1 Mile - Aqueduct
9. SEEKING THE SHERIF - 99 - OC 40k/N1X -N - 6 Furlongs - Santa Anita
10. SNEAKING UPONYOU - 98 - Sprint Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Tampa Bay
11. BOISTEROUS - 97 - Alw 65875C - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Keeneland
11. HELOOKSTHEPART - 97 - OC 25k/N$Y -N - 6 Furlongs - Hawthorne
11. INTEGRITY - 97 - OC 40k/N3X -N - 1 Mile - Parx
11. SALUTOS AMIGOS - 97 - Alw 50000s - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Aqueduct
15. DON TITO - 95 - OC 40k/C -N - 6 Furlongs - Pimlico
15. RISK FACTOR - 95 - OC 25k/N1X -N - 6 Furlongs - Gulfstream
15. STORM FIGHTER - 95 - OC 20k/N1X -N - 1 Mile - Santa Anita
15. WONDERFELLA - 95 - Md Sp Wt 43k - 6 Furlongs - Pimlico
19. HIGH ROLL - 94 - OC 75k/N$Y - 6 Furlongs - Hawthorne
19. MEDAL COUNT - 94 - Transylvania Stakes (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles (Polytrack) - Keeneland
19. SUE THEM ALL - 94 - OC 25k/N2X -N - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Parx
22. MY MISS SOPHIA - 93 - Gazelle Stakes (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles - Aqueduct
22. OLD TIME HOCKEY - 93 - Turf Classic Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Tampa Bay
22. READY SIGNAL - 93 - Powder Break Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Gulfstream
25. HAKAMA - 92 - OC 62k/N2X - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Gulfstream
25. RENO REBEL - 92 - Md Sp Wt 57k - 7 Furlongs - Santa Anita
25. SOUTHERN HONEY - 92 - Md Sp Wt 56k - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Keeneland
25. SUGAR SHOCK - 92 - Fantasy Stakes (G3) - 1 1/18 Miles - Oaklawn

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

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Hello Dan,
Is there any chance of you posting the thoro- graph numbers for the top contenders?
Exspecialy California Chrome. The rumor is that he should have "bounced". Just curious.
Nice to see you blogging more and hope to see you in Kentucky.
Eric Rickard

Sorry, Eric. I don't have access to the Thoro-Graph figs. Perhaps you can learn more at the following link: 
https://www.thorograph.com/

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*Just want to thank everyone for sticking with me as I begin to blog more often. The links to the previous blogs (and blog comments) are listed below.

http://www.drf.com/blogs/keeneland-baby

http://www.drf.com/blogs/derby-prep-thoughts

http://www.drf.com/blogs/fishing-opinions

http://www.drf.com/blogs/keeneland-its-spring-again

http://www.drf.com/blogs/sprinter-rise

***

You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman

***

Congrats to Biggar W for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling race.

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

On tab 2 you will see each HG Race we've held and they are color coded to denote if the race was run on Turf, Dirt or Poly.

Biggar W selected Saturday's Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland for this week's HandiGambling event.

PAST PERFORMANCES ARE AVAILABLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG POST.

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.

HANDIGAMBLING:

-  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 "Monthly Enhanced 60-Card 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!

Harpo
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A MORE DETAILED ANALYSIS IS ALWAYS APPRECIATED !
 
REMEMBER, IF YOU ARE DECLARED THE WINNER OF THE HANDIGAMBLING EXERCISE; PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM WITH YOUR DRF LOGIN AND PASSWORD IN ORDER TO ACCESS YOUR PRIZE PACKAGE.

ALSO, IF THE WINNER WOULD LIKE TO SELECT THE FOLLOWING WEEK'S RACE, PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM NO LATER THAN THE FOLLOWING WEDNESDAY MORNING (A FRIDAY RACE IS MOST IDEAL).

Best of luck to all.

AttachmentSize
MR BAKER.pdf723.43 KB
VALID.pdf723.59 KB
Copy of Formblog Wood Memorial 4-5-14.xls71.5 KB
HGBLUEGRASS.pdf191.45 KB