07/11/2014 3:27PM

Beat the chalk


*Please join the FormBlog Breeders' Cup Fantasy Handicapping league!

Head on over to www.fantasycapping.com/illman to create your account. The password for our league is DRF123.

Looking forward to playing with and against you all.

*There might be an opportunity to beat the favorite in Saturday's Grade 2 Bowling Green Handicap at Belmont.

#5 GRANDEUR is obviously the horse to beat. The globetrotting multiple Grade 2 winner was running at the end of the Grade 1 Manhattan Stakes on the Belmont Stakes undercard, and has no issues with this extra distance.

While's he's the obvious danger, I've never been enamored with Grandeur. He had a perfect trip when third in the Grade 1 Man O' War Stakes two back, and I wonder if his most recent race, his first with Lasix, is indicative of his best effort. If that's the case, perhaps someone can jump up and bite him at a price.

Three other horses seem more interesting at better odds. #7 REFLECTING looks like another in a long line of Phipps homebreds that improve with age and added distance for Shug McGaughey. His short comment of "4w upper, willingly" for his last race, the two-mile Belmont Gold Cup, might be misleading.

Here's the trip note that I entered into my Formulator past performances. "saved ground at back, eased out to split horses 3w late FT, split horses upper stretch, altered course inside a path to split horses midstretch, checked and lost momentum in between horses, angled inside, evenly along rail."

Tell me what you think of his trip:

He's 8 to 1 on the morning line and definitely worth consideration.

#3 BOISTEROUS, an ex-Phipps/Shug charge that sold to Gary Barber for $350,000 last November, might be rounding back into his best form for Pletcher. He finished behind two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan and Seek Again in the Grade 1 Turf Classic on the Kentucky Derby undercard before running behind Grandeur in the Manhattan.

I'm interested in your opinion of Boisterous' trip in the Manhattan. Did he have run when the rail opened up in upper stretch? If so, you could make the argument that he lost all chance when that hole closed. If you believe he didn't have pace at that juncture, then the point might be moot.

Boisterous has some tactical speed and could get the jump on Grandeur turning for home. Whether he offers enough value at 3 to 1 considering 12 furlongs could be pushing it, well, that's another issue entirely.

I landed on #1 HANGOVER KID, a New York-bred that rarely runs a bad one. He was nowhere to be found two back at Keeneland, but I've noticed that some horses just don't take to that course. Other than that effort, he fires.

While Hangover Kid doesn't have much speed and saved every bit of ground when second in the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes most recently, he rallied with a ton of gusto in the stretch. He's done some good things at 11 furlongs and I have a feeling he's going to be running hard in the stretch on Saturday. The 5 to 1 morning line is fair.

1. Hangover Kid
2. Reflecting
3. Boisterous
4. Grandeur

You can check out some of my other opinions in the video stakes previews I produced with Matt Bernier. They can be accessed at the following link:


More importantly, who do you like this weekend? I want to know.


*The links to the five most recent blogs (and blog comments) are listed below:







You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman

The video stakes previews with myself and Matt Bernier can be accessed at the following link:



Congrats to JackStraw21 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.

Let's go with Saturday's xxxx


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 "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!




Copy of Formblog Belmont Derby 7-5-14.xls75 KB
PARX DASH.pdf182.62 KB
Jackson Jackson More than 1 year ago
Pat Gavin - I hear you . My older brother owns two fine seafood restaurants . He's built & sold several in the Mother Lode country over the last 30 something years . He wouldn't stand for a food truck parking in front of his place for two minutes . He's mean & nasty ... not humble and personable like me :) JJ
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yuwipi, Thank you for the info on Dettori/Ward!!! It's too bad that general horseracing info is not available to all. Supposedly expert picks are one thing, but, general goings on in the industry are hardly "top secret" information. :( Annie
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
...I'm wrong. Bobby Flay also has the Bobby’s Burger Palace and margarita to-go bar and restaurant on the Strip in front of Mandarin Oriental. ...opened up this Spring :) SR Vegas
pat gavin More than 1 year ago
TBTA, You paint a picture of Nirvana...clean-cut, nice grounds(although Del. Park has one of the nicest paddocks of the 58 tracks that I have been to), couples( mostly dudes in MD), no stoopers (ruining and jamming up the self service machines with hundreds of tickets). No bums offering to split a 50 cent triple. I can't understand why they always come up to me, I try to put on a "mean face" when they approach??? Does this place really exist? As my brother used to say "This is the sport of kings???, More like the sport of semi-alcoholic wise guys, losers, bums and wanna be Runyonesque characters who are just annoying, dangerous and not colorful." Too bad the racing is poor and my visits to Chicago have been less than memorable(too cold). But I will visit AP one day...and Maywood, Balmoral and Hawthorne. I have heard stories about Hawthorne being more to what I'm used to(in terms of crowd quality). JJ, not opposed to eating street food...but I have to assess it first(as well as restaurants). I have been in the food business for over 30 years in many aspects. As my companion notes "I know too much"....she tells me to NOT TELL her stories......but when I say "Let's pass on this place" she always heeds my advice. Certain things are just "stick outs" that makes me "careful". Although I would say on the whole that people get food poisoning from their own kitchens( and un-safe food handling) than restaurants by a 10 fold factor. Just remember that if you eat OUT it usually takes 4-10 hours for food poisoning to take effect. Flay....... must be doing well and I can see why he is all over the Food Network. 2 ex- wives, interests in big dollar Horses.... he needs to be out there making dough.
Yuwipi More than 1 year ago
Annie, I know you don't have DRF+ so just letting you know your guess as to what happened with the Ward/Dettori situation is 100% correct. Ward is quoted as saying that Dettori has always been so accommodating to all his clients when in England that when Dettori mentioned that he had always wanted to ride at Saratoga, Ward thought it a great idea to invite him over to ride for him. Think it's a great story.
Rodney More than 1 year ago
Jack Jackson Jackson, Who knows what Bobby Flay may have done after winning two legs of the triple crown? He may indeed have thrown a nice big party for everyone. Most people do like to give a little back when they have good fortune. One thing he may have avoided is, .going on live tv after the third leg, moaning and groaning, picking up his ball so to speak, and scowling off home, when his horse didn't win it. Racing needs all the good publicity it can get, and at a crucial time, Mr Coburn didn't deliver. No use moaning about the rules of the race afterwards, he was all smiles beforehand, no doubt looking for another nice purse. Just saying...........
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
JJ ..if only Bobby Flay had more of a presence here in LV , unlike BAM! Emeril Lagasse who has four restaurants here. Bobby has just one at the moment, Mesa Grill at Caesars Palace . ( according to his website) But, who knows what this den mother may cook up before the next NHC ? ...lol! Perhaps Mr. Flay would love to meet some culinary , gourmet bar b que'ing horse racing enthusiasts, Formblog fans, if he is in town ...hmmm ? JJ , I think you got me onto something :) ---------------------------------------- rvraynmary ...knock, knock ..who's there ? ... me ray, I'm Headboarding ! OMG , I love it. We will add it to the list of red and dead boarding definitions :) Sorry to see that it cost you. Maybe our Whackymacky friend had something on the race. Whackymacky ...where are you ? SR Vegas
VanSavant More than 1 year ago
JJ; I think out here they call it "esquites" if I slice it off and into a bowl. I can do that. Lemon, butter, salt, pepper and chili powder? Really? Oh man... I never thought about that... I will try it for sure... vs
VanSavant More than 1 year ago
Jackson Jacksón; Ah, the cornman… And yes, as usual, you are correct that I already knew that; however, that dad-gum corn don’t mix to good with my dashing and debonair mustache. No corn from the cob, and no ice cream from the cone. Rats. I’ll make sure to bring my Ginsu… that should do the trick… Later gator vs
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What? Did Wesley Ward import Frankie Dettori to ride for him. He's on every one of his horses on opening day. Annie