05/25/2017 4:46PM

Dolphus continues ascent

SHAMAN GHOST won the day for the Jimmy Jerkens barn in last Friday's Grade 3 Pimlico Special, but Jerkens' other entrant, DOLPHUS, acquitted himself very well and remains a horse to keep on the watch list. 
After the scratch of NOBLE BIRD, Dolphus, profiled in the April 27 edition of FormBlog (http://www.drf.com/blogs/dolphus-track-jerkens), projected as the controlling speed from the rail in the Pimlico Special. He dissuaded pace-pressers DISCREET LOVER and CONQUEST WINDYCITY after an opening quarter of 23.84 and settled into a comfortable rhythm after a half-mile in 47.92. Jockey Rajiv Maragh tried to extend his lead on the final turn and Dolphus still had a clear advantage at the sixteenth pole. Shaman Ghost is one of the better handicap horses in the country, however, and the odds-on favorite wore down Dolphus in the shadow of the wire. Both horses received 106 Beyer Speed Figures. 
"Dolphus ran terrific," Jerkens told track publicity after the Pimlico Special. "He had his own way. He wasn’t exactly walking but he got the three-quarters in 1:12. The way the track was playing today, I thought he had a shot to hang on. Shaman had a little too much for him."
It must be noted that prior to late-afternoon rains, the Pimlico main track seemed kind to speed/rail runners like Dolphus. Plus, he did have an easy trip on the lead. Perhaps his performance was aided by both circumstances, but the fact remains that the younger half-brother to champion Rachel Alexandra is in career form.
Click the link below th find out what Matt Bernier and I had to say about the Pimlico Special in our "Weekend Wrap" recap:
My feeling is that he wants shorter distances and that he's best at 1 1/16 Miles, but Jerkens mentioned a race like the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap over nine furlongs at Churchill Downs as a possible next start for Dolphus. That race won't be easy as GUN RUNNER is being pointed there for his return from Dubai. 
Perhaps the Stephen Foster isn't the best spot for Dolphus, but I'll be curious to see how he performs if he does show up there. Win or lose, I will wait for a slight cutback in distance over the summer. 
*Saturday's Grade 3 Red Bank Stakes at Monmouth looks like a good opportunity for SYNCHRONY (3), a colt that has found a home on turf for trainer Michael Stidham.
One can understand why it took so long for Stidham to transfer this guy from the dirt. Heck, he won twice sprinting at two and was multiple stakes-placed (once graded) on the main track as a sophomore. Synchrony is bred for turf, however, being out of the excellent grass mare Brownie Points, and he has kicked on strongly in both races on the weeds. 
His turf debut came at Fair Grounds on March 20. Sandwiched coming out of the gate, he was four wide on the final turn and five deep into the stretch, but still kicked down a good field that included 2016 Queen's Plate winner Sir Dudley Digges. Last time out, in the $75,000 Henry Clark Stakes, Synchrony made a four-wide bid on the turn and plugged home determinedly to finish second behind sharp-closing Ascend. Ghost Hunter, third in the Henry Clark, returned to flatter the race with a 98-Beyer performance in the Grade 3 Hanshin Cup over Arlington's polytrack. 
The main worry is the pace scenario as there doesn't appear to be much speed signed on. Synchrony may have to overcome a moderate tempo in order to get his hoof raised. I'll take my chances at 3 to 1 or greater on the tote.
Good luck this weekend!
Dan – when there is an alleged track bias do you go to Trakus to see the path traveled by the horses or just view it visually. I know CC ran wider down the lane in the Wood but not throughout 2/3 of the race. Was the stretch the only place the bias existed. If so, did it explain losing by 7L and fading about 5L over last 3.5F .It seemed to me IWC just outran him on the square that day. What is your opinion.
I'll mostly watch replays of the races in question to determine if there was a strong bias or not. Most speed biases go hand-in-hand with a gold rail, but I wonder if the track on Wood Memorial afternoon was a slower, tiring surface that played well to speed and up-close horses, and that closers had a very difficult time rallying no matter where they were positioned on the track. 
(Twitter question)
Luke Clowes
@DRF_DanIllman I'm probably not the only one to ask but can you post Devil his Due's pp's Thursday. Always tried for HAJ
His lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post. 
For free video analysis of the weekend's major stakes races, take a look at http://video.drf.com/
Please watch "Out of the Gate," a handicapping program that previews the weekend's best races. This week, we cover the two Grade 1 races at Santa Anita and more. 
"Out of the Gate" will premiere at 12:30 p.m. ET at live.drf.com and will also be available on demand at video.drf.com as well as Daily Racing Form's YouTube and Facebook pages An audio podcast version is also available on iTunes and SoundCloud. 
I'll be on with Mike Beer and Matt Bernier and will be joined by DRF Breeding's Nicole Russo, DRF Tournament Editor Peter Thomas Fornatale and Timeform US handicapper and figure-maker Craig Milkowski.
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Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 5/17/17 - 5/23/17
1. SHAMAN GHOST - 106 - (G3) Pimlico Special Handicap - 1 3/16 Miles - 19May17-7PIM
1. WORLD APPROVAL - 106 - (G2) Dixie Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 20May17-12PIM
3. CLOUD COMPUTING - 102 - (G1) Preakness Stakes - 1 3/16 Miles - 20May17-13PIM
4. RANSOM THE MOON - 101 - (G2) Kona Gold Stakes - 6 1/2 Furlongs -20May17-9SA 
4. WHAT A VIEW - 101 - Crystal Water Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - 20May17-1SA 
4. WHITMORE - 101 - (G3) Maryland Sprint Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 20May17-9PIM
7. SOME IN TIEME (BRZ) - 100 - (G3) Louisville Handicap - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - 20May17-11CD 
8. AMERICAN SAILOR - 99 - OC 25k/N1X - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - 23May17-6IND
9. RICHARD'S BOY - 98 - Jim McKay Turf Sprint Stakes - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - 19May17-10PIM
10. CADEYRN - 97 - OC 80k/N3X -N - 6 Furlongs - OC 80k/N3X -N
10. TERRA PROMESSA - 97 - (G3) Allaire duPont Distaff Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles - 19May17-5PIM
12. BACKSIDEOFTHEMOON - 96 - Alw 88200NC - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 20May17-3BEL
12. DRAGON BAY - 96 - (G2-C) Eclipse Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Tapeta) - 20May17-7WO 
12. FOX RULES - 96 - OC 62k/N2X - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 17May17-8BEL
15. CAMBODIA - 95 - (G3) Gallorette Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 20May17-10PIM
15. CHOCOLATE RIDE - 95 - OC 80k/N3X - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 18May17-5CD 
15. QUIJOTE - 95 - Big Drama Stakes - 7 Furlongs - 20May17-10GP 
15. SASSY LITTLE LILA - 95 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 20May17-3CD 
19. RECRUITING READY - 94 - Chick Lang Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 20May17-7PIM
20. FOREST MOUSE - 93 - SunRay Park and Casino Handicap - 1 Mile - 22May17-8SRP
20. SOI PHET - 93 - OC 62k/N2X - 1 Mile - 21May17-8SA 
22. BARKLEY - 92 - Governor's Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 21May17-8EMD
22. FOREST BLUE - 92 - Hcp 16000s - 6 Furlongs - 18May17-7SA 
22. KEEN GIZMO - 92 - Steady Growth Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Tapeta) - 22May17-8WO 
25. EVERYTHING LOVELY - 91 - The Very One Stakes - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - 20May17-5PIM
25. SENTENCE - 91 - Alw 51000N1X - 7 Furlongs - 21May17-8CD 
25. ULTIMATE HOLIDAY - 91 - Alw 90000N3X - 7 Furlongs (Turf) - 19May17-3BEL
*The lifetime past performances for Shaman Ghost and World Approval are available at the bottom of this blog post.
Congrats to Kenny G for winning the most recent HandiGambling challenge.
Rick M and SR VEGAS' HG scoreboard spreadsheet is available at the bottom of this blog post. 
Kenny G selected The Gold Cup at Santa Anita as this week's exercise
SR Vegas and Rick M. have graciously decided to update all of the HG rules in order to make them an easier read for everyone...
HANDIGAMBLING version 2016:
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 SPARE A SENTENCE OR TWO outlining your HANDICAPPING ANGLES and/or THOUGHT PROCESSES about WAGERING.
1. Start your post with HG or HANDIGAMBLING to find your entry in a thread.
2. You have a mythical $100 to wager in whatever format you choose that is available for that HG race. Anyone going over the $100 limit will be DISQUALIFIED.
3. Post your WAGER and ANALYSIS to the blog prior to the start of the designated race. SIGN OFF WITH YOUR NAME/OR MONIKER AT THE END OF YOUR 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 identify who you are.
4. (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.
5. Separate your analysis from the wager and use the PROGRAM # in your wager. Just like you would do in a real wager. No horse names.
6. If any of the rules listed above aren't met, the wager is subject to review which can lead to disqualification of your entry.
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 2016
The speed in this race are #1 Alpha, #2 Beta, and #8 Ocho. I like the works for layoff horse #5 Cinco who can sit off the pace. Lots of speed in here, so this could set up for a closer like  #6 Six Flags and I like the trainer's stats in these conditions. I’ll put the closer over the speed.
HG wager:
$10 EX   6 /   1,2,5, 8  = $40
$5 TRI   6 /   1,2,5,8  /  1,2,5,8  =  $60
Total $100
Thanks Dan!


devilhisdue.pdf681.38 KB
ShamanGhostWorldApproval.pdf762.59 KB
Copy of HG 5 20 17 Preakness.xls51.5 KB
HG 5 20 17 Preakness notes.doc30 KB