05/27/2011 4:35PM

Catching Up, Breeding Thoughts


Does less starts necessarily translate to a more infirm breed?
Ron Zuercher

Not necessarily.  I believe that we foolishly breed to breed, not to race.  There is much more value in retiring a good colt to stud than having him risk his health and reputation on the racetrack.  Thus, promising runners will cherry-pick spots (the ridiculous amount of graded races for good money) in the hope of propping up their lifetime record and earnings.  Campaigns are plotted from the Breeders' Cup backwards for our top horses, but they won't be risked more than four or five times at the most.  The reasons horses don't run more are plentiful:

A)  The breed is infirm and littered with horses that need medication in order to perform.

B)  Connections are afraid to lose, thus risking valuable stud revenue.  Championships are won and lost on the racetrack.  If they don't run, they don't lose.  If they don't lose, their case for a year-end title is greater and their potential stud fees stay high.

C)  Connections are afraid of the dreaded "bounce."  The Sheets are not just handicapping tools.  Trainers use them to determine how long a break their runner needs.  My horse ran very fast last time.  Oops.  He'll need at least six weeks to fully recover or he'll "bounce." 

D)  Connections are willing to cash in their chips with injured stallion prospects instead of giving them time to heal and return to the races following a lengthy layoff. 


There are some nice grass races on Saturday and Sunday before the big Memorial Day Monday.  For some video analyses, please click on the below link and scroll down to the "Weekend Stakes Previews" section:



Dan, Can you post the top 3 finishers final 3 1/2 furlong clockings for the last 3 Belmonts. I am intrigue to see if off-pace/on-pace are more successful than deep closers. Also, is the stretch at Belmont shorter or longer than Churchill and Pimlico??

Of the horses that ran in the Preakness and finished in the top three in the Belmont, here are the final 3 1/2-furlong times for the Preakness performers and their finish position in the Belmont:

2010:  First Dude (44.38, third in the Belmont)
2009:  Mine That Bird (42.83, third in the Belmont)
2008:  None

The stretch at Belmont is 1,097 feet long.  It is 1,234 1/2 feet at Churchill Downs.  The distance from the last turn to the finish at Pimlico is 1,162 feet.


I am throwing out Flashpoint's Florida Derby.
I am probably going to end up playing him underneath and maybe under...
If FP got away with a speed favoring track in his Huchensen Stakes at GP, explain Little Drama going from last to 3rd and why didn't Travelin Man put up more of a fight in the stretch since he was the pacesetter?
Those two events go counter to your conclusion.
Just asking, because I am trying to make heads and tails of all of this...

I still believe the track was speed-favoring on Hutcheson afternoon.  Flashpoint and Travelin Man ran 1-2 around the track and Flashpoint hasn't come back to run well (albeit at completely the wrong distances for him). 
While Travelin Man returned to win the Swale, he did so at 2-5 odds against four overmatched rivals, and then disappointed badly in the Derby Trial at a mile.

Considering Little Drama's rally for third in the Hutcheson, one could state that:

A)  Someone had to get third and Little Drama actually lost over four lengths from the stretch call to the wire.

B)  Little Drama is not a bad little sprinter at all.  After the Hutch, he paired up 95 Beyers when third in the Swale and first in the Philmont Stakes at Parx Racing.  I think Little Drama's Hutcheson was better than it looks on paper because of the bias and he's run well since.


I was surprised to see that Vengeful Wildcat did not make the top 25 list for speed ratings last week. What was his speed rating in his race last Saturday at Pimlico?

Vengeful Wildcat received a 91 Beyer Speed Figure for his win in the Chick Lang Stakes at Pimlico.


What happened to Mambo in Seattle, the unlucky second place finisher of the 2008 Travers ?

Mambo in Seattle retired last summer and was sold to South African breeders.  He stands at Moutonshoek Stud. 


Dan, can i get the PP of kitten joy? One of my friends have a wager on him years ago and he still talk about that till this day. Thanks
Mitch Paderson

Kitten's Joy's past performances are avaiable at the bottom of the blog post. 


Mr Illman, can you please post the past performances for a few of these old horse for me? Secret Savings, Boom Towner and Pistols And Roses? Thanks for your time

They're available at the bottom of this blog post.


Hi Dan,
I can't believe that no one has mentioned the absurd ride that Dialed In got in the Derby. Here is a horse that was only 10 lengths off the pace in fractions of 46&change and 1:10&change in Fla Derby and is 17 lenghts out in 48 and 1:13. Lapareaux, as many jockeys do, fell into the trap thinking that a closer has to be many lengths behind. I think before a jock gets his license he has to have a stop watch wired to his brain.

I think it's just that Dialed In doesn't have any speed to speak of.  He's a one-run closer in the true sense of the term and he'll always be at the mercy of race and pace luck.


Can you post the lifetime PP's for Bel Air Sizzle (Unusual Heat x Bel Air Belle).
Steve T.

Bel Air Sizzle's past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.


Dan can you please post pp's for Animal Kingdoms dams sire - Acatenango?

What I have for Acatenango is available at the bottom of this blog post.  These are incomplete past performances.  More information on Acatenango is available at the below links:




Anyway. Dan could you post a the pp's for a couple horses that were important to my racing education - Sentimental Moi and Spinning Round - who won on back to back days at the Spa in 1993? Thanks.

They're available at the bottom of this blog entry.


Do you have any information on Big Drama?
I recall Fawkes saying that he wanted Drama to defend his BC Sprint title, but I haven't even seen a work from him since the BC.
Any information would be appreciated....

Big Drama was in light training during the opening days of April.  He's been turned out in Florida with an eye on a summer-fall campaign.   Hopefully, we'll see him at Saratoga.


Thank you very much for your hard work here. It does not go unnoticed. This is the best horse blog in cyberspace. Thanks for providing the PP's for Minks Patient for my good friend Daily Dub. It really meant a great deal to him. His Grandfather is gone, but the PP's live on. I was wondering if you could provide me with the PP's of one of my long time favorites. I would love to see the PP's of one of the fastest fillies I have ever seen. She raced at Longacres near Seattle in the 1980's and her name was Firesweeper. Thanks in advance, and keep up the great work.
Trifecta Billy

Thanks for the kind words.  Firesweeper's past performances are available at the bottom of the blog post.


Hey Dan, just wondering if you can find any video of one of my favorite horses, Silveyville, winning the Hollywood Derby in 1981. (I remember that he paid over $50 and my bookie was very upset) If not, how about lifetime pp's?? (love your blogs ..miss you and Mike on Blinkers Off almost as much as I miss Bay Meadows) THANKS
ken hall

Couldn't find any videos, but his past performances are available at the bottom of the blog post.


Dan - can you please post the PP's for Lost in the Fog? And, if possible, the BC race he lost while carrying a grapefruit-size tumor? I was alive to him for a huge P4 score which included a win by the late Merv Griffin's horse, Stevie Wonderboy...Thanks

The pp's are available at the bottom of the blog post.


I am redoing the DRF Past Performance piece I did a couple of years ago, except this time in in interactive format (this new software program is pure sex - it zooms and highlights, does captions and callouts, narrations and overlays, oh my), and I have a couple of questions...
*Why are there stats for 45-180 and 61-180 layoffs? Seems like one would do the trick.
*Why are there no dirt/synth and synth/dirt stats? That one is a pretty big deal.
*Why are there no 2ndLasix stats? Or even 3rdLasix, I know lots of really good 'cappers who use that angle.
*Is there any way to get the stats dolts to finally recognize that the downhill turf course at Santa Anita is actually a frickin' TURF SPRINT!!!!!!!!!! I mean come on - you can run 6F at Hollywood and that is a turf sprint, but go to Santa Anita and run 6 1/2 furlongs and that is a route? Call me crazy (it was rhetorical Curt) but that is messed up.
*Do you by any chance have any saved videos of horses changing leads? I want to get a half dozen or so and then drop them down to slow motion and put a highlight on their legs to show people what it looks like when they change leads (and the infamous changing back mid-stretch).
*I am also thinking about starting a library of videos that show what the chart caller is talking about - hopped starts, waited, squeezed, drifted out, lugged in, etc., kind of a video glossary of chart terms - any videos available?
I know what you all are thinking - Uncle Steve has some new toys, here we go... :-
Steve T

Uncle Steve, you know the question that's been beaten into me since I started here is "Y ASK Y." 

In Formulator, you can customize the layoffs to any length you want and they also have the relevant dirt/synth and synth dirt statistics.  Formulator also has numbers for second-time Lasix users. 

A good example of a horse switching leads is Shackleford in the Preakness. 


You'll note that he changes to his left lead at about 3:10 (right when Castanon hits him right-handed).  He'll then return to his right lead at around the 3:17 mark. 

I'd hit up youtube for troubled trip videos, etc.


Hey Dan,
Could you post the lifetime PPs for Morine's Victory? I read on a blog how he was rescued from a kill pen. That was one helluva hard-knocker. Thanks.

The past performances for Morine's Victory are available at the bottom of this blog post.


This from Keith L:
Where are they?
...could you inquire of Dan on formblog for me, I'd be greatly obliged to learn the status of
Hold Me Back, Imperial Council, Piscitelli, and Wynning Ride.
SR Vegas

*Hold Me Back is standing his first season at stud at WinStar Farm in Kentucky.  His fee is $6,000.

*Imperial Council hasn't worked since early February.  I'll try to find out more.

*Piscitelli worked a half-mile over the Belmont training track earlier this morning.

*Haven't heard anything about Wynning Ride, but I would assume she's now a broodmare.


Can you post the career PP's of Brass Hat?

The recently-retired Brass Hat's past performances are available at the bottom of the blog post.


Hi Dan,
wondering if you could post lifetimes for one of my favourite horses...Planets Aligned...who turned into a pretty good hurdler after racing in New York. Also if you could post Paddy O Prado's lifetimes in honour of this great turf horse. such a shame that his career has ended. Much appreciated,
thanks Greg

You can find them at the bottom of the page.


could I please have the PPs of Commendable of the 2000 Belmont race and if not to much trouble the PPs of the race itself
thank you and thank you for all the hard work and for putting up with all the requests you get here on the blog mh01

They're available at the bottom of the blog post.


Dan can you please post canadian hof horse Wake at Noon, please and thank you for your time

Wake at Noon's past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.


While ANIMAL KINGDOM was a deserving winner in the Derby, I don't think he is worthy of Triple Crown immortality. TC winners, for me, are the hallowed titans of the sport. I don't need to list the names. Can AK win it? Of course. This is a weak lot. But something tells me he's not going to get it done.
That aside, AK is an obvious favorite in the Preakness Stakes, and the expected hot pace should only reinforce his kick. I will use him on top with SHACKLEFORD.
Shack did not get the job done at CD despite the pedestrian fractions, but we all saw where the other speed ended up. I actually give him extra points for lasting as long as he did. In the Preakness, I will hope he sits the trip behind dueling FP and DC and gets first run at the top of the stretch.
MUCHO MACHO MAN is always in the money so I will use him underneath. I like MMM's win chances more in the Belmont because of his galloping style, despite the light stamina breeding on his mum's side.

HG Preakness
$40 Exacta Box 5/11
$10 Exacta Key 5,11 over 9

Good luck everyone!

Congrats to owenized for finishing first in the Preakness HG contest

The next HandiGambling exercise will be Monday's Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park.


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 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.

Kitten's Joy.pdf54.68 KB
Oldies.pdf94.47 KB
Bel Air Sizzle.pdf61.96 KB
Acatenango.pdf37.95 KB
Sentimental Round.pdf74.89 KB
Firesweeper.pdf42.57 KB
Silveyville.pdf47.56 KB
Lost in the Fog.pdf51.52 KB
2005 BC Sprint.pdf118.92 KB
Morine's Victory.pdf75.72 KB
Brass Hat.pdf70.08 KB
Planet Paddy.pdf79.03 KB
Commendable.pdf575.2 KB
2000 Belmont Stakes.pdf327.88 KB
Wake At Noon.pdf68.72 KB
HG235.pdf168.73 KB