08/26/2015 5:26PM

Don't miss this Flight


Although no match for the sensational BEHOLDER in last Saturday's Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar, CATCH A FLIGHT's run of consistently excellent performances continued with his runner-up finish.

He should be followed as an "Under the Radar" horse this fall on the road to the Breeders' Cup.

Catch a Flight broke from post position seven in the ten-horse Pacific Classic and settled nicely passing the stands the first time under jockey Flavien Prat. The plan to follow Beholder and hope for the best was going swimmingly until the three-eighths pole when the mare shot to the front with a decisive three-wide sweep. The rest of the field was shell-shocked and Catch a Flight was shuffled back briefly while in between horses. Prat wheeled Catch a Flight four wide to split rivals turning for home and the plucky 5-year-old tried hard in the stretch to outfinish the rest of the field. Although he was never going to beat Beholder on this day, Catch a Flight received a 102 Beyer Speed Figure, his fifth triple-digit number in his last six races.

Bred by Estacion de Montas La Mission S. A. & Tupacireta S.R.L.A.G, Catch a Flight was foaled in Argentina on October 16, 2010. He is by European Horse of the Year Giant's Causeway, a three-time leading sire of over 155 stakes winners and eight champions.

Catch a Flight's dam, Callaia (by Lode) was third in the Group 2 General Luis Maria Campos Stakes at one mile on dirt in Argentina. Callaia has also foaled Brazilian stakes-placed turf sprinter Call the Marshall.

The dam is a half-sister to Brazilian multiple Group 2 turf route winner Calandrelle and Group 1-placed dirt router Calamintha.

Catch a Flight began his career in Brazil for trainer R. Morgado Neto. He won six of 10 starts on turf and dirt at distances ranging from 6 1/2 furlongs to 1 3/16 miles, and placed in a Group 1 at 1 1/2 miles on turf.

Sent to Richard Mandella, who already has had great success with such South American imports as Gentleman, Malek, Sandpit and Siphon, Catch a Flight provided jockey Gary Stevens with his 5,000th career victory in North America in the horse's second start of 2015.

As well as Catch a Flight has run this year, he's also had the misfortune to catch top horses at their peak. He popped a 105 Beyer when third in this year's Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap to the now-sidelined SHARED BELIEF and caught Beholder on the afternoon of her coming-out party against males.

In between the Big Cap and the Pacific Classic, Catch a Flight grabbed the Grade 3 Precisionist Stakes at Santa Anita over two next-out winners, the Grade 2 Californian Stakes against Grade 1 winner Moreno and subsequent Grade 1 winner HARD ACES, and the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap over razor-sharp APPEALING TALE and Grade 1 winners BAYERN, HOPPERTUNITY and SAHARA SKY.

His lone defeat during that span came in the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita. In that 10-furlong heat, Catch a Flight made a premature move into a hot pace and continued on willingly to be third.

Catch a Flight might not have the raw ability of a Beholder or an AMERICAN PHAROAH, but he's pretty good and I believe he's versatile. Don't be surprised if he shows up next in the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita on September 26. While he might not be a Breeders' Cup Classic type, he would fit very well in the Dirt Mile and Mandella might eventually cut him back in distance for that spot.


Here are the WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 8/18/15 - 8/24/15

1. BEHOLDER - 114 - Pacific Classic (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles - 22Aug15-9DMR
2. APPEALING TALE - 99 - Pat O'Brien Stakes (G2) - 7 Furlongs - 22Aug15-4DMR
2. AVANZARE - 99 - Del Mar Mile Handicap (G2) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 23Aug15-8DMR
4. BIG JOHN B - 98 - Del Mar Handicap (G2) - 1 3/8 Miles (Turf) - 22Aug15-8DMR
4. HOLY LUTE - 98 - Green Flash Handicap - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - 19Aug15-7DMR
4. MONGOLIAN SATURDAY - 98 - OC 80k/C -N - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 20Aug15-7AP
4. REPORTING STAR - 98 - Play the King Stakes (G2-C) - 7 Furlongs (Turf) - 23Aug15-8WO
8. GOMBEY DANCER - 97 - OC 50k/N3X -N - 1 Mile - 22Aug15-9MTH
8. MIDDLEBURG - 97 - Cliff Hanger Stakes (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 23Aug15-11MTH
8. SHORE RUNNER - 97 - Troy Stakes - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 22Aug15-7SAR
8. SKELTON PASS - 97 - Md Sp Wt 70k - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 22Aug15-1DMR
12. BREAKIN THE FEVER - 96 - Ontario County Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 21Aug15-6FL
12. EMBELLISH THE LACE - 96 - Alabama Stakes (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles - 22Aug15-10SAR
14. MAGIC D'ORO - 95 - R. J. Speers Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - 19Aug15-6ASD
14. S'MAVERLOUS - 95 - Clm 25000 - 6 Furlongs - 23Aug15-5SAR
14. TUCKERS POINT - 95 - OC 25k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - 21Aug15-4LRL
14. TWENTYTWENTYVISION - 95 - OC 100k/C -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 22Aug15-6DMR
18. CATCH MY DRIFT - 94 - Summer Colony Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles - 24Aug15-8SAR
18. FINEST CITY - 94 - Md Sp Wt 71k - 6 Furlongs - 23Aug15-7DMR
18. KAFISTER - 94 - Clm 32000(32-28) - 6 Furlongs - 22Aug15-11DMR
18. SCOTTY'S MODEL - 94 - Alw 81913N1X - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - 22Aug15-9WO
18. STALLWALKIN' DUDE - 94 - Tale of the Cat Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 23Aug15-10SAR
23. PERFECT SET - 93 - OC 40k/N1X -N - 1 Mile - 22Aug15-5DMR
24. FINANCIAL MODELING - 92 - Alw 85000N1X - 1 1/8 Miles - 20Aug15-8SAR
24. K THIRTY EIGHT - 92 - Alw 93554N1X - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - 22Aug15-10DMR
24. SIR VRONSKI - 92 - Clm 20000(20-18) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 22Aug15-5GG
24. VALIANT CITY - 92 - OC 62k/C -N - 1 1/8 Miles (Polytrack) - 23Aug15-3AP

*BEHOLDER's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.


If I remember name right, can you post the past performances of Ace and Bowers-- I remember him as a kid as a perennial maiden and money burner for the win, but often brought home a check for his owner. Thanks, Rick

His past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.


Dan in your experience evaluating 2 year olds I am curious if you are all in on Exaggerator. I think his move was impressive, however, I question the hoopla. Thank you again for sharing your perspective and knowledge

Dan, thanks for posting Let's Go Blue's PPs. One question why is it that the stakes names and running lines are generic or in the case of running lines not included? The Bid's however are full and he predated Blue. Not a complaint just a question.


I respect the professionalism he's shown in his last two wins, but he beat absolutely nothing of consequence in the Saratoga Special. We'll learn more next time against better horses. I'm not all-in just yet, but he's fairly promising and has the pedigree to stretch out successfully down the road.

For champions like Spectacular Bid, we have full past performances despite the age of the horse. For most horses pre-1990 or so, however, our system only shows the abbreviated past performances


The Pizza Man has been amazing. Can we see the lifetime past performance of recent retirees. Materiality, and Carpe Diem.

You can find the past performances for the two Todd Pletcher-trained Grade 1 winners at the bottom of this post.


You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.

Remember to check out DRF LIVE's VIDEO handicapping coverage at live.drf.com. Lonnie Goldfeder co-hosts with me on Thursday and Friday at 4pm ET and I'll be joined by Marcus Hersh via Skype on Travers Saturday at 3pm ET.


Congrats to Annie for finishing first in the most recent HandiGambling tournament.

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

Let's go with Saturday's Travers at Saratoga for this week's exercise. 


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!




BEHOLDER.pdf682.42 KB
ACE AND BOWER.pdf561.38 KB
CARPE DIEM.pdf632.54 KB
Copy of Formblog Pacific Classic 8-15-15.xls208.34 KB
HGTRAVERS.pdf192.54 KB