10/09/2012 12:31PM

Brilliant Beholder


*A few days after being scratched from the Grade 1 Chandelier Stakes at Santa Anita, BEHOLDER absolutely dominated a group of juvenile fillies at six furlongs.  Sent right to the front under Garrett Gomez, Beholder, making her first start on dirt, set quick fractions and drew away from her main competition on the turn. She leveled off in the stretch under minimal encouragement to win by 11 lengths in 1:09.  Beholder earned a 108 Beyer Speed Figure, a number eight points better than the second-fastest 2-year-old race of 2012 (Kauai Katie's debut win at Saratoga).  A daughter of Henny Hughes, Beholder acts like a sprinter and a race like the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint (and a possible matchup with Kauai Katie) seems like a natural fit.  Still, it will be interesting to see if the connections opt to stretch her out in distance for the richer, and more prestigious, Juvenile Fillies.

*WISE DAN continues to impress.  Placed in the clear by Jose Lezcano, favored Wise Dan made a mockery of the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile.  He's won six of his last seven races and surface doesn't seem to matter.  He's a Grade 1 winner on dirt and turf and a Grade 2 winner on polytrack.  Distance?  No worries.  Wise Dan has won races at distances ranging from six furlongs to 1 1/8 miles.  While it is tempting to think Breeders' Cup Classic for Wise Dan, the Breeders' Cup Mile, on grass, may be the best fit for this razor-sharp son of Wiseman's Ferry.

*POOL PLAY may be a "feel-good" story for the Breeders' Cup.  A graded winner on polytrack, Pool Play attempted his first start on dirt in his 28th lifetime race, the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap on June 18, 2011.  Pool Play rallied from last on the far turn to pull off a shocking 36-1 upset, but suffered a torn tendon after the finish.  It looked as if Pool Play wouldn't make it back to the track, but trainer Mark Casse nursed him back to health and he returned in July.  After three starts (one on turf, two on polytrack), Pool Play returned to dirt in Saturday's Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup at 1 1/4 miles.  Pool Play was again dismissed by the bettors (16-1 odds) and he again rallied from last to win, besting a good field headed by ALTERNATION and CEASE.  Pool Play may be a cut below the leading lights in the handicap division, but he's a gutsy veteran and he loves distance.


Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from (10/1/12 - 10/7/12):

1. BEHOLDER - 108 - Alw 50350N1X - 6 Furlongs - Santa Anita
2. OBVIOUSLY (Ire) - 105 - Arroyo Seco Mile (G2) -1 Mile (Turf) - Santa Anita
2. WISE DAN - 105 - Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) - 1 Mile (Turf) - Keeneland
4. GRACE HALL - 103 - Indiana Oaks (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - Hoosier
5. COIL - 102 - Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1) - 6 Furlongs - Santa Anita
5. GROUPIE DOLL - 102 - Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (G2) - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Keeneland
7. POOL PLAY - 101 - Hawthorne Gold Cup (G2) - 1 1/4 Miles - Hawthorne
8. SAGE VALLEY - 100 - OC 25k/N1X -N - 6 Furlongs - Belmont
8. TAPITSFLY - 100 - First Lady Stakes (G1) - 1 Mile (Turf) - Keeneland
10. BRIDGETOWN - 99 - Woodford Stakes (G3) - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Keeneland
11. DON'S HONOUR - 98 - OC 25k/N2X - 5 Furlongs - Parx
11. NOT ABROAD - 98 - Maryland Million Classic - 1 1/8 Miles - Laurel
11. P J'S MAGICAL WINK - 98 - Clm 25000B - 6 Furlongs - Belmont
11. SUNTRACER - 98 - Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Hawthorne
15. SUM OF THE PARTS - 97 - Phoenix Stakes (G3) - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Keeneland
16. JOY OF THE TOY - 96 - OC 25k/N2X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Calder
17. ACTION ANDY - 95 - Maryland Million Sprint Handicap - 6 Furlongs - Laurel
17. BELLE OF THE HALL - 95 - Valor Lady Stakes - 7 Furlongs - Belmont
17. MUSICAL ROMANCE - 95 - Mike Sherman Memorial Stakes - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Calder
17. NECK 'N NECK - 95 - Indiana Derby (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - Hoosier
21. DARWIN - 94 - Md Sp Wt 68k - 6 Furlongs - Belmont
21. SHANGHAI BOBBY - 94 - Champagne Stakes (G1) - 1 Mile - Belmont
23. GANGSTERONTHERUN - 93 - Alw 5000s - 6 Furlongs - Laurel
23. HURRICANE IKE - 93 - Michael G. Schaefer Memorial Mile - 1 Mile - Hoosier
23. SHANKOPOTAMUS - 93 - OC50k/SAL50k - 7 Furlongs - Belmont

*The lifetime past performances for BEHOLDER are available at the bottom of the blog post.

*Todd Pletcher unveiled another promising juvenile in DARWIN.  A son of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown, Darwin was purchased for $220,000 as a yearling before being bought by Coolmore for $1,300,000 in March of this year.  Darwin is a half-brother to multiple stakes-winning juvenile sprinter Dagnabit and stakes-placed juvenile sprinter Bad Boy Rising.  A Pennsylvania-bred, Darwin received a 94 Beyer and appears bound for stakes. 


Please check out the latest video production from Jessica Pacheco, Racing Analyst at Arlington Park.  It's the final installment of the "Behind the Silks" video series following jockey Tim Thornton through his ups and downs at this year's Arlington meet.

"Closing Week"
In the season finale of Behind the Silks, Tim takes you on one last ride. Check out some of his mounts from closing weekend, including a winning ride aboard Ransom Zip for trainer Mike Reavis.  Then, Tim breaks the fourth wall as he reflects on what the "Behind the Silks" experience was like for him and how it's influenced others.


All episodes, 1-20, can be found here:



One of our posters recently inquired about MACLEAN'S MUSIC, the colt that won his only career start by 7 1/4 lengths with a 114 Beyer Speed Figure at Santa Anita way back on March 19, 2011.  Now a 4-year-old, Maclean's Music breezed a half-mile in 50 seconds on September 28 at Vinery Farm.  Hopefully, he is getting over his physical problems and will race again.


Dan, PennNatRick,
Any way to include a re-print of the weekly winning HG entry?

When viewing the standings...if you double click on a total such as yours...the $$ breakdown shows up which shows how many wagers you won. There's a few that show 5, 6 $$ amounts in the formula which adds up to the current $$$. As for the reprinting the winning wager..i had issues cutting and pasting the entry onto excel and it became more of a pain...not sure if pasting internet blog onto excel is a great combo. Will continue to try and tweak it.


Dan, I noticed Almost an Angel ran her 1st race at 1 year 11 months old. I know they're all considered 2 years old due to the year of birth- is it common to run them before they actually turn 2 ?
richard montgomery

It's not all that uncommon, especially with horses that were foaled in May or later. 


Congrats to Jayzz82 for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling exercise.

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


Let's go with Friday's seventh race at Santa Anita for this week's HandiGambling exercise.


 Remember that you have a mythical $100 with which to wager on the race, and the entrant with the highest money total will receive a "Monthly Enhanced 60-Card Past Performance Plan."
Anyone going over the $100 limit will be disqualified.
Please post your plays and analysis to the blog.
Please separate the play from the analysis and label the play "HG" with the program numbers (instead of the horse's name) for easier scoring.
In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference. One entry per person please.
I reserve the right to approve or deny any entries.
I know that there is a time issue for some of you, but 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. I'm 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.
Best of luck to all.


Be back Friday with the HG analysis and some thoughts on the weekend stakes races.

Beholder.pdf614.39 KB
HGSA.pdf155.32 KB
Copy of Formblog Contest Darley Keeneland 10-5-12.xls41 KB