10/01/2009 3:14PM

California Flag, some pp's, workout analysis


"He's by far the fastest horse I've ever ridden" - Joe Talamo after California Flag's speedy win in yesterday's Morvich Handicap at Oak Tree.

California Flag

(courtesy Benoit Photo)

Talamo may be right.  His gray gelding blitzed through fractions of 21.55, 43.04, and 1:05.31 en route to completing the About 6 1/2 furlongs of the downhill turf course in 1:11.40.  California Flag earned $60,000 and a 104 Beyer Speed Figure for his trouble, and has to be considered one of the leading contenders for the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint. 

Desert Code, the defending BC Turf Sprint champion, finished a non-threatening seventh, but jockey Richard Migliore wasn't too disappointed with the performance.  "He basically needed the race," said The Mig.  "He made a little run, then kind of leveled off.  No amount of work can do what a race can do."


With the death of Cryptoclearance, I was wondering if you could post his lifetime PPs. Thanks.

Here's what I have for Cryptoclearance:

Download Cryptoclearance


Hi Dan,
Could you post the pps of Easy Goer's nemesis Sunday Silence and these 80's champs: Gato del Sol, Aloma's Ruler, Coastal and General Assembly? thank you so much!
José Iglesias García

Here are Sunday Silence's past performances:

Download Sunday Silence

Here's what I have for the others you requested:

Download 80's


If you don't mind I'd love to see PP's for Is It True, Peintre Celebre, Montjeu, Hawk Wing, Hellisio, & Old Vic?
Thanks so much!
Pat Copelan

Here's what I have for them:

Download IsItTrueEuros


Being a jersey boy, I was hoping that you could download a few pps of some Haskell champs: Five Star Flight, Wise Times & Coastal.  Thanks in advance!

Here's what I have for them:

Download JerseyBoyz


What ever happened to Longacres? Is the track still there or did they tear it down and build something?

Boeing tore down the Longacres facility and built a training center on the site.  To learn more about the history of Longacres you can do a Google search on Longacres racetrack and then click on the link that says historylink.org.  They have both narrative and some pictures on this site.
Dick W

Here's the link:



With regard to today's HG at Belmont on yielding turf course, are there certain pedigrees that do better on less than firm turf courses (like mudders on dirt)?

I haven't really found the dominant "wet-turf" bloodlines that you see in "sloppy" main track races.  Jim Mazur and Mike Helm have done some research on the topic, and they list the better yielding sires and broodmare sires in their annual "Sire Ratings" publication (available for purchase below).



Do you really place a lot of stock in workouts, and even more curiously, gaps in workouts, when formulating how you will bet a race?...if workout patterns point one way or the other, would that mean that for this particular trainer, (Contessa), that a gap in workouts points to some sort of problem with fitness?
p ensign

I do when I see a situation that puzzles me, as with Classical Fashion in the HG race at Belmont.  The horse looked very sharp on paper with two wins in her last three starts, and had never been off the board in five turf races.  The short 31-60 day layoff wouldn't have bothered me if the subsequent workouts were on a consistent basis.  She worked a half-mile on September 7, twelve days after her win at Saratoga, and seemed ready to return to the entries.  Then, nothing for the next 16 days.  Where was she?  Perhaps the answer is as simple as the clocker missed the work, but I can only go with the information I'm given.  I don't like to see horses with a gap greater than 14 days in the work tab when analyzing layoff runners or first-time starters unless the most recent workout is at five furlongs (in my opinion, the perfect distance to give the prospective runner a combination of speed and stamina before a race), or if the trainer has shown a previous affinity with the "less is more" training method (Wesley Ward comes to mind).  Classical Fashion returned off the 16-day break to work a leisurely half-mile at Aqueduct.  I just wondered if she would be as sharp as in her recent races (winning off a 19-day layoff, running second off a 27-day layoff, and winning off another 27-day layoff).  Clearly, Contessa was striking when the iron was hot.  Now, with a 35-day layoff, a tough recent race on display, and a 16-day gap in the worktab, one had to wonder if the iron was cooling off a bit. 
I agree with you that studying trainer patterns is extremely important in analyzing workouts and layoffs.  While I love seeing a recent five-furlong workout, some trainers do well with several shorter workouts bunched together (Christophe Clement and Kiaran McLaughlin come to mind).  Chad Hassenpflug is a trainer in Louisiana that does very well with first-time starters, and he doesn't give his runners many published workouts.  Of course, he's training them very hard at his nearby farm before shipping them in on top of the race.
As with first-time starters, I think workouts and trainer intent have superceded pedigree as the most important handicapping factors.  It's not necessarily the time of the workout that stands out to me, but whether it was accomplished the right way (perhaps in company with another, more established runner from the same barn).  Studying Contessa runners by using the Formulator program might give one added insight, but to me, the totality of the situation (layoff, tough race, gap) swayed me to viewing this runner in a negative light.
Workouts may only be the fourth, fifth, or sixth-most important handicapping tool (some excellent handicappers completely dismiss them), but I find them useful in analyzing the chances of layoff runners as well as debut horses.


Despite the layoff, I think that CHANGING SKIES is going to be able to get it done.  I think the yielding turf course will work in her favor. That's really the only opinion I have, so I'm going to go with a few underneath.
$60 Exacta 3-4
$30 Exacta 3-5
$10 Exacta 3-8


Congrats to baltimore_brian for finishing first in the HG153 exercise.  He gets to pick next week's race.


Anyone remember the timing of the surface switch at Woodbine?

Woodbine unveiled their polytrack on August 30, 2006.  By the way, if anyone happens to be at Woodbine on Sunday, I'll be there at 11am to look over the card and talk about trip handicapping with Jennifer Morrison.  Come on over and say "hi."


Back tomorrow with a big weekend of racing, and some CalCup pars.

Take care,