08/20/2014 3:42PM

Delivers again!


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We have 477 contestants. kosak is in the lead with 896 fantasy earnings.

If you haven't joined yet, there's still plenty of time to do so. 

Head on over to https://www.fantasycapping.com/illman

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This week's races are Saturday's Travers Stakes from Saratoga and Sunday's Pacific Classic from Del Mar


There were some memorable races at Arlington last Saturday, but THE PIZZA MAN deserves a ton of credit for his game victory in the American St. Leger.

An Illinois-bred 5-year-old by turf champion English Channel, The Pizza Man is simply a win machine. He's taken 12 of 17 starts for his breeder, Midwest Thoroughbreds, and has prevailed in his last 5 outings at distances ranging from one mile to the St. Leger trip of 13 1/2 furlongs.

He's extremely versatile as well. In the $66,000 Illinois Owners Stakes at Arlington on September 21, 2013 - the beginning of his recent win streak - The Pizza Man rallied from 10 lengths behind over "good" going. When he grabbed the Grade 3 Stars N Stripes Stakes at Arlington last month, he prevailed in gate-to-wire fashion.  In the St. Leger, he rated comfortably off the runaway speed of Grade 2 San Juan Capistrano hero BIG KICK. 

Big Kick set legitimate fractions for the marathon distance, laying down sectionals of 24.26, 49.03, 1:13.04 and 1:37.96. The Pizza Man, ridden by Florent Geroux, chased that enervating pace from five lengths behind while traveling in the two-path. When Big Kick fizzled entering the final of three turns, The Pizza Man was forced to go all in, and he wasn't alone. Favored EYE OF THE STORM, an Irish Group 3 winner trained by Aidan O'Brien, loomed outside The Pizza Man, but he soon lost contact as the local favorite blasted clear in the upper stretch.

There was no time to relax, however, as the defending St. Leger champion, DANDINO, began his stretch charge. Dandino cut The Pizza Man's lead to a length as the leader began to fade, but the millionaire globetrotter could get no closer. The Pizza Man prevailed in 2:47.44, a new course record for the rarely-used distance.

The Pizza Man will likely be supplemented to the Breeders' Cup Turf. For those that believe he can only deliver Chicago-style, he does have a win outside of Illinois, at the Fair Grounds to be exact, on his form.


Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 8/11/13 - 8/17/13

1. FARHAAN - 106 - Alydar Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles - Saratoga - August 17, Race 9
2. HARDEST CORE - 103 - Arlington Million Stakes (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - Arlington - August 16, Race 10
3. BALANCE OF POWER - 102 - Philip H. Iselin Stakes (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles - Monmouth - August 17, Race 10
3. MAIN SEQUENCE - 102 - Sword Dancer Invitational Stakes (G1) - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - Saratoga - August 17, Race 10
5. THE PIZZA MAN - 99 - American St. Leger Stakes - 1 11/16 Miles (Turf) - Arlington - August 16, Race 7
6. GEAUX METS - 98 - Ontario County Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Finger Lakes - August 16, Race 8
7. EASTWOOD - 97 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Saratoga - August 13, Race 6
7. SPRING TO THE SKY - 97 - Troy Stakes - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Saratoga - August 13, Race 9
7. WEEKEND HIDEAWAY - 97 - John Morrissey Stakes - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Saratoga - August 15, Race 9
10. ADELAIDE (IRE) - 96 - Secretariat Stakes (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - Arlington - August 16, Race 8
10. EURO CHARLINE (GB) - 96 - Beverly D. Stakes (G1) - 1 3/16 Miles (Turf) - Arlington - August 16, Race 9
12. CITY OF WESTON - 95 - OC 62k/C - 6 Furlongs - Gulfstream - August 15, Race 3
12. CODE WEST - 95 - Governor's Cup Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles - Remington - August 16, Race 8
12. JUDY THE BEAUTY - 95 - Rancho Bernardo Handicap (G3) - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Del Mar - August 7, Race 4
12. MONTY HAUL - 95 - OC 40k/N3X -N - 7 Furlongs - Parx - August 12, Race 7
16. KARIBU GARDENS - 94 - Sky Classic Stakes (G2-C) - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - Woodbine - August 16, Race 8
16. PERSONAL DIARY - 94 - Del Mar Oaks (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Del Mar - August 16, Race 8
16. SIR APPLESOLUTELY - 94 - OC 125k/C -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - Arlington - August 16, Race 3
19. IVAN FALLUNOVALOT - 93 - David M. Vance Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Remington - August 16, Race 6
19. ISTANFORD - 93 - Sandy Blue Handicap - 1 Mile (Turf) - Del Mar - August 15, Race 6
19. MERIT MAN - 93 - Green Flash Handicap - 5 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Del Mar - August 13, Race 7
19. SIR LOWRY'S PASS - 93 - OC 25k/N3X - 1 Mile - Mountaineer - August 17, Race 8
23. CATHOLIC COWBOY - 92 - Alw 85000N1X - 1 1/8 Miles - Saratoga - August 16, Race 5
23. HEAT DU JOUR - 92 - Solana Beach Handicap - 1 Mile (Turf) - Del Mar - August 17, Race 8
23. QUEEN OF THE SAND (IRE) - 92 - Alw 88310C - 1 Mile (Turf) - Del Mar - August 14, Race 2
23. THE CAMDEN COMET - 92 - OC 10k/ -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Charles Town - August 16, Race 6

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


*The links to the five most recent blogs (and blog comments) are listed below:







You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.

The video previews for most of this weekend's graded stakes action will be available later in the week at the following link:



Congrats to Mike O. for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling race.

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

On tab 2 you will see each HG Race we've held and they are color coded to denote if the race was run on Turf, Dirt or Poly.

Let's go with the Travers for this week's race.


SR Vegas and Rick M. have graciously decided to streamline all of the HG rules in order to make them an easier read for everyone...

With so many new people attending Dan's Formblog we thought it would be a good time to update the Handigambling Guidelines and Rules as we go forward in 2014.

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. We are 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.


-  Please start your post with  HG or HANDIGAMBLING to better recognize and find your entry.

-  You have a mythical $100 to wager in whatever format you choose and that is available for that HG race.
Anyone going over the $100 limit will be disqualified.

- Post your WAGER and ANALYSIS to the blog WITH YOUR NAME/OR MONIKER AT THE END OF THE POST.  Remember that posts may start as 'anonymous' or an 'alternate name'. You MUST sign yourself at the end (even if it is the same) This enables the scorekeeper to recognize you .

- (1) ONE ENTRY per person for the Handigambling contest. If you have multiple email addresses, use just ONE for contest purposes.  Multiple entries will be cause for disqualification.

- Separate your analysis from the wager and use the horses # in your wager. Just like you would do in a real wager. No horse names.

-In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference. Dan reserves the right to approve or deny any entries.

- The winner will receive a "60-Card Quarterly Formulator Past Performance Plan"

As an example :

HG 2014
The speed in this race goes to  horses # 1, 4 ,6 ..Ennie , Meenie, and Mo
Since it's a sprint I don't see any closers catching them.. like # 9 Miney.
I think trainer Groucho with the #6 Mo has the best stats in this condition, route to sprint.. just a gut feeling at large odds ML 20-1

HG wager
50$ Ex box 1-6
total $100

Thanks Dan!




FARHAAN.pdf805.71 KB
Copy of Formblog Beverly D 8-16-14.xls75.5 KB
HGTRAVERS.pdf185.05 KB
VanSavant More than 1 year ago
Mr. Waters; Uncle Mike is more correct... it is :25.2/5 or thereabouts... I was using the stretch call beaten lengths... sorry about that... Later gator vs
mike turfmonstr More than 1 year ago
Mike Waters Come home times are easy to figure once you do it a few times. Van Savant was correct, but since I use formulator I just take the come home time that is there in the charts, look how far back a horse was and subtract. The come home will be either in quarters, 1/8ths or 1/16ths......The final quarter of the travers was 26:2.....V E day was 5 1/2 lengths back at the mile marker ( 1 1/4m race last quarter is from the mile marker home).....now I've always used 1/5th of a second equals one length......a 1/2 length I give a full 1/5th too. So V E day was 5 1/2 back at the mile marker......that would be 6 lengths.......so his come home would have been 25:1....I made it 25:2 because they were only off a few hundreths of the come home being 26:3.....so 6/5ths from 26:3 is 25:2. So whatever the chart says the come home is just subtract 1/5th for every length a horse gains. Now races run at 1 1/16th are a bit different...they will give you the last quarter and then the last 1/16th......While I always look at the final 1/16th I combine the two and the come home would be the final 5/16ths.....I use the final 1 1/16th to see which part of a horses close time was faster......beginning or end.....it does make a difference when trying to separate evenly matched horses. I usually do it in my head.....I've done it so many times. Now some folks use 6 lengths to a second, and some cut it down to hundredths......trust me when I tell you 1/5th of a second to a length is fine and for simplicity's sake the way to go......I never handicap a race to a nose finish....the other two in my eyes are a waste if time.......Go to equibase .com and look up the chart for the Travers. Scroll down...you will see a box that says "Past Performance running line" There you will see the running line at each juncture of the race for every horse. You will see that V E day was 5 1/2 back at the mile marker...so he made up 5 1/2 the last quarter......do it a few times you'll pick up on it fast enough....Mike A
VanSavant More than 1 year ago
Mr. Waters; V.E. Day actually had a come home time of approximately :25 3/5 seconds. Here is how I figure that: From the chart…the leader hit the mile at 1:36 3/5 seconds. V. E. Day was three lengths off of that pace. I add 1/5 of a second for each length behind (could be more, could be less), so that mean I need to add 3/5 of a second to V.E. Day for the mile, meaning his time is 1:37 1/5 seconds. Since he won the race in a time of 2:02 4/5 seconds. The math tells me that his come home time was :25 3/5 seconds. Some may or may not buy into that way of thinking, and I get that, but it works for me… Later gator vs
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Here are the basic wire-to-wire stats from Saratoga turf races (through Monday 08-25). A few notes – this is only for the 2 & 3 turn races, and jumps races are not included. The only two ground descriptions used so far have been 'Good' and 'Firm'. I included the post positions, but use with a bit of caution, as I didn't factor the number of runners in. Outer Turf Total = 27 races Wire-to-Wire = 6 (22%) Post Positions / PP 1 = 1 winner, 2 = 2, 3 = 1, 6 = 1, 8 = 1 Good = 2 of 7 Firm = 4 of 20 Jockeys: J Castellano = 3 wins, Dettori, Lezcano & Rosario = 1 each Inner Turf Total = 73 Wire-to-Wire = 17 (23%) Post Positions / 1 = 1, 2 = 4, 3 = 2, 4 = 2, 5 = 2, 6 = 2, 7 = 3, 8 = 1 Good = 4 of 16 Firm = 13 of 57 Jockeys: J Castellano = 5 wins / J Velazquez, Rosario, I Ortiz, J Ortiz = 2 each / Rosie, Lezcano, Alvarado & S Bridgmohan = 1 each There were some variations ….. of the 6 on the Outer course, 2 of 4 on July 18th & 19th went W-to-W and 2 of 4 on Aug. 23rd, leaving 2 for 19 on the other days. On the Inner, there were 2 of 3 on July 18th and 3 for 7 on Aug. 23rd and 24th, leaving 12 for 63 on the other days. Al
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bernard – You're welcome and well done – I assume that was an E/W bet on Stanwyck? 20-1 was definitely a fair price. She closed at 8-1 on the pari-mutuel over here. Slewofdamascus – No, you're not the only one. I thought I was starting to see the same thing, so I went back through the charts. Will post results in a separate post. Dan (Brutus) – I know what you mean about the non-racing people and their (too common) attitude. I can't count how many people who, when I've told them that I watch and bet the races, immediately say "ooh, how much do you bet?" Weird, rude, and tiresome. Shared Belief – Wow! Was crapping at the post and seemed irked that he had to go into the gate at that particular moment; off disjointedly, hitting the gate, going outward a jump, then cutting back in; the head-on showed him trying to tuck in but being closed off, shot up to follow TONY into mid-pack; wide on the first turn; for a moment on the backstretch, when You Know I Know and Majestic Harbor moved up slightly and TONY started to move, and SB lost a length or so I was really curious whether he would give a flat, non-threatening run like so many others would have done, and was thinking that if he could win he'd be some kind of horse and then … BANG …. when he moved he just shot by MH, YKIK, and Irish Surf like they were standing still, went around TONY and had gone ahead of him ….. on the turn ….. and then carried his move driving all the way to the finish, drawing away at the end. To have several things not go his way for the first time, be in an unfamiliar tactical situation, and yet to not only perform well but to absolutely put the field to the sword ….. that was very impressive. Although the way that things worked out for him, laying off a hot pace destined to fall apart, set up nicely in a sense, the way he took advantage of it was exceptional …. moving not entering the stretch but into the far turn and being able to sustain it, accelerating past horses on the turn. Intelligence, mental maturity and a lot of competitive fire on display. He is exceptionally athletic and well balanced. As for who he beat, it was pretty much everything California had to offer, plus a decent sort in TONY who becomes a quality sort on the all-weather. TONY was rightly credited with a very good run. There will be other challengers to come for SB, but none of them have ability superior to his ….. he will be at least as big a bear to them as they to him. I see that Bawlin' Bobby B was full of sour grapes …. as if the others are just supposed to gift his horse a loose lead, since his only chance to win is on a loose lead. Play the game and stop cryin' ya big baby. Al
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TBTA – Thank you, and that was an entertaining look at your "could have been" day. I'm glad to hear that most of the horses I liked looked good in the paddock. I wouldn't know how to calculate the potential parley, since you had two in some races and varied the bet type in others, but suffice it to say you'd have done very well. Excellent comments about the "bounce". It makes perfect sense that if a horse has physically over-exerted himself/herself, physical handicapping should be the way to discern it, which ties right in with heat/lasix factor (good one!), and with the advantage of being on track. Getting 15 minutes good look at the horses rather than 15-30 seconds at best, seeing how the horses come off the track as well as come on, getting not just a more thorough knowledge of the horse population but a more in depth knowledge of individual horses …. and jockeys …. and trainers. Once again, I ran into a Mark Cramer column at an apt time – he noted two problems he had with the Sheets – one, that when they calculated the extra paths (ground) a horse had covered by going wide and giving him more credit for it, they didn't figure in whether or not it may have been better at that track or especially on that day to stay outside and off the rail; and two, that the attempts of Thoroughograph to include wind velocities in their numbers was adding an inevitably inexact calculation to something (assigning numerical values to horse performances) that is already inexact, and so making it even less reliable. Another thing I've been looking at is the subtlies of off-tracks. The performance box only shows an 'off-track' line, but a horse who is superior in a sea of slop will not necessarily have that advantage when the track is good and in the midst of drying out (there is a gelding in NY like this, So Scott). Or vice versa. That was one thing I was a bit nervous about with Belle Gallantey – when she whipped Antipathy over a "Muddy" Belmont track, the surface looked a bit caked, more like muddy about to be upgraded to good. The Saratoga track last Friday looked like it was Muddy still verging on Sloppy. Whether or not that was what beat BG is hard to say, but as soon as they reached the backstretch and the 2 horses nearest her took forward steps and she couldn't and uncomfortably lost ground, it was obviously not her going to be her day. The same thing applies to turf course conditions. Some of the PPs performance boxes list only turf with no ground differentiation, but even if you see that, it is again only for off-going generally, as if the "good" going very early in the Arlington Million card were the same as the bog that Aqueduct or Belmont sometimes become. But to group "good" turf with "yielding" turf is crazy – all you have to do is look across the pond and see how much more nuanced their descriptions of the ground are and how fanatical the trainers are about the differing ground conditions and which suits their horse to see the importance. Whole year's campaigns are plotted according to whether the horse likes good up to firm (more summer campaigning) or good or softer (more in spring and fall). Here is a potential advantage over the crowd. It sounds very basic, but when you see the way Tannery was bet at both Saratoga and Arlington, at less than her best distance to boot, the proof is in the pudding. Al
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bryan Waters, Mike A taught us that a long time ago. I've used it ever since, especially for turf races. He can explain it much better than I so we'll just wait for his response. Annie
Bernard Downes More than 1 year ago
Van Savant, Thanks for your second response. So you actually go to the trouble of noting down horses that don't handle two turns? Such comments always remind me that I am a very lazy bettor. Mike A, Thanks for your response also - interesting stuff as usual. Please excuse my cheek but have I missed a second instalment? I can't see that you have tackled my specific queries about the differences between 1 1/8th around one turn and around two turns. And the respective advantage/disadvantage for speed horses and stayers. Feel free to ignore this if you have better things to do, Best Regards - Bernard Downes
mike turfmonstr More than 1 year ago
Bernard, You can only reflect that in your handicapping by seeing what a horse has done previously. You can get pretty adept at seeing who will be better around one turn or two....some can do both, but that can be plain enough to see if they've run enough. With young horses it's a bit more tricky because your using breeding more to predict which they will be better at.......Take a horse like Caleb's Posse. When he was running two turns his trainer Donnie Van Hemel was seeing if he had a derby horse. He wasn't quite good enough. I wrote that if his connections ever got over derby fever they had quite a sprinter /miler on their hands. It wasn't a guess....this horse's breeding said he'd be better suited to one turn racing and he had shown a very quick 7f race earlier in his career. I'd say the same thing for one of the Travers entrant Charge Now......look at his pp's. Look where he seems to run his best. Betting that horse at 1 1/4m's is wishful thinking.....but if they cut him back at Belmont to 7f's or a 'Flat" mile (one turn mile) and the odds were right I'd bet him......against just about anyone, but I would need odds. It always comes down to competition......people don't think a certain horse can win because they perceive the other entrants as too tough......but by whose standards? Just because a horse runs in the Derby or graded stakes doesn't mean they are the best horses of a generation...it just means they are the ones running...you have to decide how good they are for real by what you've seen horses do in the past. This bunch this year are ok.....as three year olds, some may improve, some may not. The fact that VE Day was three races removed from his maiden breaker should tell people something....but it rarely does. They cannot see the forest for the trees. You can see that by many comments after the race...... The results are in, it was a truly run race their horses lost and yet they say they would bet them again if the circumstances were the same.....The fact is while nice horses their are no killers there.....and that includes the winner.....he was better that's all. The best three year old in the country ran out in CA last weekend......from what I can see he is the best by far, but then I always thought so...he just wasn't running till recently. So in short....before they get to running much you have to watch their style and judge by breeding how they will perform one way or another. Once they've run a few times you can tell by watching and looking at how they've run at different distances in conjunction with that breeding.......Of course there is more to it in some respects.....like an English Channel who runs ok at a mile.....or fades out front running a swift 1 1/16th.....most folks toss them going longer, but of course that would be a big mistake, because as I said many of them don't have a high turn of foot but they will 24 you to death and when the distances increase that type of horse will beat you most of the time......Mike A
Bryan Waters More than 1 year ago
Mike Turfmonstr or anybody else, please educate me. You write of V.E. Day's come home time of 23.2. How, when analyzing a past performance, can I tell that? All I know is to look at the split times of the horse that was in front of a particular race unless that horse was in first place the whole way. Please teach me how to figure out the final quarter mile, mathematicallly. Thanks in advance.