08/07/2013 1:30PM

Cross Traffic Lookin' Good

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At 5:37 pm on Saturday afternoon, 10 minutes before post time for the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap, I received a text from DRF Handicapper Mike Beer.

"Cross Traffic is the best looking horse I've ever seen."

Cross Traffic ran to his looks in the Whitney and finally achieved a well-deserved graded victory.  In his two prior races, the Grade 3 Westchester Stakes at Belmont on April 27 and the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap on May 27, Cross Traffic ran his eyeballs out only to be denied in the shadow of the wire.  This time, in his first start around two turns, Cross Traffic would not be outfinished.  As usual, the son of Unbridled's Song showed good early pace and he scooted around a Saratoga main track that favored speed.  After a first quarter in 23.11, Cross Traffic ran his interior fractions in 23.11 and 22.96.  Despite drifting out a bit in the stretch, Cross Traffic had enough to fend off a game SUCCESSFUL DAN.
 
"This was a real quality-filled race," Pletcher explained to NYRA Communications after the Whitney. "To beat the Breeders' Cup winner and runner-up from last year and some really good horses speaks volumes about his quality. It was great to see him [win]. He certainly deserved a Grade 1 after the Met Mile. I know we've had a couple of tough beats over the years but that one kind of stands out as one of the toughest."

A tilt in the $750,000, Grade 1 Woodward Stakes on August 31 seems likely for the 4-year-old colt gray, a lightly-raced performer with only five starts on his record. 

*He didn't beat much of a field, but DEPARTING overcame a very wide trip to take the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby.  It was Departing's first start since a disappointing effort behind Oxbow in the Preakness and he looks like the kind of late-developing 3-year-old that can factor in some of the more prestigious races in the late summer and fall.

*Speaking of 3-year-olds, MAJESTIC HUSSAR gave an eye-catching performance in an 'n3L' optional claiming race on Sunday at Saratoga.  Making his first start since finishing fourth behind Orb in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes, Majestic Hussar was involved in a quick pace duel with the older CONSORTIUM through fractions of 22.44 and 44.78.  Majestic Hussar put Consortium to bed turning for home and kept to his business in the stretch.  He stepped six furlongs in 1:09.41 and received a 98 Beyer.  Consortium faltered to last.  It looks as if trainer Eddie Kenneally may have a strong hand with his 3-year-olds the remainder of the year.  Majestic Hussar is a strong sprint prospect while BRADESTER, unraced since an entry-level optional claiming win at Gulfstream on New Year's Day, is nearing his return to the races.

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Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures (7/29/13 - 8/4/13):

1. JUSTIN PHILLIP - 109 - Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (G1) - 6 Furlongs - Saratoga
2. CROSS TRAFFIC - 108 - Whitney Invitational Handicap (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - Saratoga
3. SAGINAW - 103 - John Morrissey Stakes - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Saratoga
4. DEPARTING - 102 - West Virginia Derby (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles - Mountaineer
5. ANCIL - 101 - Hcp 36500 - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Ellis
5. TAPTOWNE - 101 - West Virginia Governor's Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - Mountaineer
7. BLACK DIAMOND CAT - 100 - Housebuster Stakes - 7 Furlongs - Gulfstream
8. MAJESTIC HUSSAR - 98 - OC 35k/N3L -N - 6 Furlongs - Saratoga
8. YOU KNOW I KNOW - 98 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 Mile (Polytrack) - Del Mar
10. COMMANDER - 97 - Fred Jones Handicap - 1 1/16 Miles - Northlands
10. LOUISIANA GLORY - 97 - OC 17k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - Louisiana
12. GOODTIMEHADBYALL - 96 - OC 35k/N2X - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Delaware
12. TETRADRACHM - 96 - OC 100k/N3X -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Saratoga
12. UNCAPTURED - 96 - Prince Of Wales Stakes - 1 3/16 Miles - Fort Erie
15. DANCE TO BRISTOL - 95 - Honorable Miss Handicap (G2) - 6 Furlongs - Saratoga
15. GRANDE SHORES - 95 - OC 25k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - Calder
15. PURE TACTICS - 95 - Barksdale Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - Louisiana
18. AMAZING HEARTED - 94 - Clm 50000(50-45) - 7 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Del Mar
18. BALINO - 94 - Naked Greed Stakes - 7 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Calder
18. CONSOLIDATOR JOE - 94 - Alw 75794NC - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Woodbine
18. WINE POLICE - 94 - OC 62k/C -N - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Del Mar
22. BROOKLYN COWBOY - 93 - West Virginia Legislature Chairman's Cup - 4 1/2 Furlongs - Mountaineer
22. DON DULCE - 93 - OC 100k/C - 1 1/8 Miles - Saratoga
22. EL COMMODORE - 93 - OC 100k/C -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - Del Mar
22. HOLIDAY MISCHIEF - 93 - Prelude Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - Louisiana
22. MAJOR MARVEL - 93 - OC20k/SAL20k - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Saratoga
22. MOSHAAGIB - 93 - Md Sp Wt 38k - 1 Mile (Polytrack) - Arlington
22. SILVERETTE - 93 - Caress Stakes - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Saratoga
22. STORMOFTHECENTURY - 93 - OC 25k/N2X -N - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - Parx

*Justin Phillip's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post

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TBTA – to my knowledge Beyer ratings have nothing to do with age. Maybe Dan can post these Beyer’s next week. Googleado was a runoff early 21/43. Looked like a high 80 to low 90 BSF to me with 4 horses running within two lengths of winner. Good to see Dale Romans getting a winner. To the naked eye Dunkin Bend was visually impressive. Dumb question but what other kind of eye is there (fully clothed)? He ran splits of 21.68, 23.32; 12.40 and 12.98. Not sure what was behind Dunkin Bend though. This one did not feel like a “loaded” a baby race to me.

New Geldings
On Wednesday at Del Mar a couple of long shots were first geldings won. Naturally this is not noted in the DRF but is trackside. Does anyone know what the strike rate is on first time geldings? Maybe Dan can graciously assist if the community does not have the statistic available.
DavidM9999

GOOGLEADO received an 85 Beyer for the 3rd-place finish in an 'n2L' allowance at Saratoga on August 3.  The winner, SLAN ABHAILE, earned a 90.  DUNKIN BEND got a 78 Beyer for his 2-year-old maiden special weight win second-out the same afternoon.

The problem with compiling statistics for first-time geldings is that the reporting is often spotty.  In California, they have the first-time geldings noted in the program and that is extremely helpful.  Elsewhere, it can be a real issue trying to pin down exactly when the horse was gelded.  It's an issue that we're working hard with The Jockey Club to rectify, but it's probably going to take time before we work out the kinks.  In this day and age, that information should be readily available and the responsibility is on the trainer and racing office to report the change when it occurs.

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The 1 1/16 mile turf races for two year olds will never get high beyers but often times produce just as good of horses as the dirt sprints.
Dan, any good 2yo turf routers we should be aware of?
Brandon Layer

Although beaten by SEA QUEEN in a maiden special weight turf route on July 22, KITTEN KABOODLE looked very good rallying from off the pace and should really benefit with that race under her girth.  Trained by Wayne Catalano for the Ramseys, Kitten Kaboodle is by turf champion Kitten's Joy out of a half-sister to stakes-winning sprinter Came to Pass. 

STROLL TO VICTORY may not be a star, but he did some good things in his debut on July 27.  He was sitting a nice pace-tracking, ground-saving trip in the early stages, but didn't seem comfortable attempting to shoot up the hedge in midstretch.  He lost some momentum by altering course to the outside in the final furlong, but came with a solid late kick.  There's a maiden race for him.

DANCING HOUSE won her debut on dirt with a moderate 58 Beyer, but she was very professional racing in behind horses for most of the backstretch.  Six furlongs is probably too short for this daughter of Tout Charmant and she could be a sneaky play when stretched out on grass.

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

You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman

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

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

stuckinarizona selects Friday's Alada Stakes at Saratoga 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.

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JustinPhillip.pdf65.52 KB
Copy of Formblog Real Good Deal 8-2-13.xls67.5 KB
HGALADA.pdf168.45 KB