10/09/2013 2:09PM

Champagne Dreamers

Email

One of the more intriguing races run last weekend was the historic Champagne at Belmont. 

It featured two horses with drastically different running styles.  HONOR CODE, so impressive when rallying from another time zone to win his maiden over wet going at Saratoga, faced off with the speedy HAVANA, a gate-to-wire graduate for Todd Pletcher.

HAVANA gutted out the win after dispatching 19-1 longshot DEBT CEILING (eased) on the turn, but I wasn't enamored with the way he finished off the Champagne.  He was on his right lead very early and looked like he was on fumes in the final sixteenth of a mile.  He'd have to stretch out around two turns for the first time in the Breeders' Cup and it's possible he's more of a sprinter/miler. 

HONOR CODE, as he did at Saratoga, lagged far behind before coming with a wide late bid to just miss.  According to Formulator, Honor Code finished his final quarter in 24.51 (as compared to Havana's 25.69 split) and acts like a colt that will appreciate more distance.  I must admit, though, that I've never been a fan of horses with virtually no early speed as they're always at the mercy of race and pace luck.  Both of these babies will grab headlines leading up to the Breeders' Cup (Honor Code may wait for the Remsen going nine furlongs at Aqueduct), but it wouldn't surprise me if someone jumps up and bites them both.

***

Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures (9/30/13 - 10/6/13)

1. POINTS OFFTHEBENCH - 110 - Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1) - 6 Furlongs - Santa Anita
2. SILVER MAX - 108 - Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) - 1 1/16 Miles (Polytrack) - Keeneland
3. NO JET LAG - 105 - City of Hope Mile (G2) - 1 Mile (Turf) - Santa Anita
4. KID DREAMS - 103 - Hawthorne Derby (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Hawthorne
5. EMOLLIENT - 100 - Spinster Stakes (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles (Polytrack) - Keeneland
5. JUDY THE BEAUTY - 100 - Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (G2) - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Keeneland
5. SUM OF THE PARTS - 100 - Phoenix Stakes (G3) - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Keeneland
8. CAIXA ELETRONICA - 99 - Duck Dance Stakes - 7 Furlongs - Belmont
8. POWER BROKER - 99 - Indiana Derby (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - Indiana
10. BETTER LUCKY - 98 - First Lady Stakes (G1) - 1 Mile (Turf) - Keeneland
10. ULTIMATE SHOPPER - 98 - Maiden Special Weight - 7 Furlongs - Belmont
12. HAVELOCK - 97 - Woodford Stakes (G3) - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Keeneland
12. SR. QUISQUEYANO - 97 - Quality Road Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - Gulfstream
14. BULL DOZER - 96 -  OC 80k/N3X  - 7 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Keeneland
15. BERNIE THE MAESTRO - 95 - Michael G. Schaefer Memorial Stakes - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Indiana
15. JAMES STREET - 95 - Durham Cup (G3-C) - 1 1/8 Miles (Polytrack) - Woodbine
15. ROUSING SERMON - 95 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - Santa Anita
15. TEDDY'S PROMISE - 95 - L. A. Woman Stakes - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Santa Anita
19. PURE FUN - 94 - Indiana Oaks (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - Indiana
19. SAFE RANGE - 94 - OC 25k/N1X -N - 1 Mile - Retama
19. SERVICE CHOICE - 94 - Alw 66972N1X - 6 Furlongs - Parx
19. WARREN'S KNOCKOUT - 94 - OC 40k/C -N - 6 Furlongs - Zia
23. HAVANA - 93 - Champagne Stakes (G1) - 1 Mile - Belmont
23. HEART STEALER - 93 - OC 25k/N1X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Gulfstream
23. UP WITH THE BIRDS - 93 - Jamaica Handicap (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Belmont

*The lifetime past performances for POINTS OFFTHEBENCH are available at the bottom of this blog post.


***

Dan Illman
Dan, I'm looking at the DRF 3 year best time chart and I don't
see and entry for Presque Isle Downs. Am I looking at the
chart wrong?
Okiesharp

We're looking at correcting the issue for the online list.  As for now, here are the best times:

4 1/2 Furlongs - 50.22
5 Furlongs - 56.04
5 1/2 Furlongs - 1:02.54
6 Furlongs - 1:08.42
6 1/2 Furlongs - 1:15.20
1 Mile - 1:34.90
1 Mile 70 Yards - 1:40.48
1 1/16 Miles - 1:43.95
1 1/8 Miles - 1:50.55
1 1/4 Miles - 2:06.78
1 1/2 Miles - 2:35.49
1 5/8 Miles - 2:47.01
1 3/4 Miles - 2:59.27
2 Miles - 3:32.12
2 1/8 Miles - 3:47.52
2 1/4 Miles - 3:56.04

xxx

Dan,
Dale Romans over the last month has been a "Giant Slayer". Silver Max holds off Wise Dan, impressive! Little Mike comes off the pace to win Turf Classic, impressive! Over the course of the summer most have thought these 2 were near the end of their careers, but clearly its the rise of the phoenix. Any thoughts on these 2 and how you would view them if they do go to the BC?
Also, How as a handicapper do you view a Wise Dan or Groupie Doll view/rate them going to the BC off a loss? I'm using these 2 as an example because they are highly regarded.
Thanks,
Rick


I think we should also add ROYAL DELTA to the conversation as well.  In the case of WISE DAN and Royal Delta, I don't think we should jump off their bandwagon.  The polytrack that Wise Dan raced over was soaked with rain and it's possible he didn't care for that.  Also, it wouldn't surprise me if both Charles LoPresti and Bill Mott backed off a bit on the training leading up to the final prep run.  The goal is the Breeders' Cup and it's more important for the big names to be wound up 110% for their respective races at Santa Anita. 

I'd be much more concerned if the big name horses ran bad races. Neither of the two aforementioned performers ran poorly, just not to their usual stellar level. Wise Dan coasted up wide and tried to reel in an uncontested leader to no avail.  Royal Delta faced the best 3-year-old filly in the country in a race that may have been PRINCESS OF SYLMAR's "Breeders' Cup" (she's currently on the fence for the Distaff). They're both going to be very tough in the Breeders' Cup.

I'm not so sure about GROUPIE DOLL.  Although she broke the track record at Presque Isle Downs two back, she had to work hard to run down a reformed $4,000 claimer in the stretch.  While she hasn't run badly, she just doesn't look like the filly that was so dominant in 2012.  She was urged along from the get-go at Keeneland and didn't show that fire when the real racing began. 

SILVER MAX is, doubtlessly, a talented horse and he ran a corker last weekend at Keeneland.  The Breeders' Cup, however, could be another story.  At Keeneland, he was able to cruise on the lead, a style that's worked wonders for him throughout his career.  In the Mile, it's likely he'll face pressure from the speedy OBVIOUSLY.  A protracted duel could sap his stretch stamina.  If he decides to rate, his effectiveness comes into question. 

I've learned never to count out LITTLE MIKE.  Just when you're ready to write him off, the gusty horse will jump up and run another huge race.  I'm assuming that at least one of the Europeans can run a little bit and POINT OF ENTRY is reportedly pointing for the race despite missing the summer with injury.  I'm mostly on the fence with Little Mike.

***

Dear Dan,
I've been an occasional HG player, and I enjoy your blog. I currently have 8 thoroughbreds racing...unfortunately I've only made your weekly top 25 once. Since you seem to be the most responsive of the DRF principals....I have a question. Myself along with hundreds of others have spent thousands of dollars buying PPs, etc through the website. But my question is this....does the business understand how many customers will be lost with the push for everything to be "DRF+"? I understand the business is looking to make more money...but this is the wrong way to go about it IMHO.
Sincerely,
A concerned customer - Jason Ryan

Turnbackthealarm
"Dan, who do we complain to at DRF regarding the filling the home page with DRF+ material only? What a turn off. I know all entities need to make money, but this is just such a blatant money grab."
Let me be quite clear and prolific on this.
Ditto.
CMathieu

I'm not involved in the decision-making process regarding pricing so the best course of action could be to send an email to cservice2@drf.com.

***

Hi Dan,
Would it be possible to get lifetime PPSfor Black Caviar?
Thank you!!
Dom DiNatale

BLACK CAVIAR's past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.

***

The weekend handicapping videos should be up on the homepage later this week.

You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman

***

Congrats to Anderson for finishing first in the most recent HandiGambling contest.

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

Anderson selects Friday's 4th race at Santa Anita for this week's event.

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

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 GIVE YOUR NAME OR BLOG MONIKER AT THE END OF THE HG PLAY AND/OR ANALYSIS.
 
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.

***FROM SCOREKEEPER PENN NATIONAL RICK***

I read some entries on here and there are some people who put their heart out on their picks(such as DavidM9999) and give you great analysis on who they like and why and then there are others who elect not to give any reasoning behind their entries. The rule I will implement EFFECTIVE 3/1/13 will be... any entry without ANY analysis will be ignored. We are not asking you to put out a novel, but again a sentence or two. Also, I will put communication out when Dan puts out new blogs.
My intent is not to be jerk on this, but what's fair is fair. I'm not taking away from this week or past winners regarding all of this, but we do need to make the change.
If you have any questions/concerns...please send an email to FORMBLOG@DRF.COM and it will get forwarded to me.
Thank You!
Rick

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 LATE THAN THE FOLLOWING WEDNESDAY MORNING (A FRIDAY RACE IS MOST IDEAL).

Best of luck to all.

AttachmentSize
POINTSOFFTHEBENCH.pdf655.63 KB
BLACK CAVIAR.pdf50.47 KB
Copy of Formblog Phoenix 10-5-13.xls68 KB
HGSA.pdf167.67 KB