07/22/2015 2:58PM

Drama at Delaware


The hard-hitting SHEER DRAMA became a Grade 1 winner last Saturday with a game victory in the Delaware Handicap at 1 1/4 miles.

The demanding distance was the major question mark regarding Sheer Drama, a half-sister to Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Big Drama, but she was the best horse going into the race and handled the distance well enough.

Despite being winless from five prior starts on dirt, ROSALIND, a Grade 1 winner on polytrack and Grade 2 winner on grass, was sent off favored in the Delaware Handicap. The main reason was the fact that Rosalind had already been successful at 11 furlongs and figured to prosper over the trip. She also was dropping out of the Ogden Phipps Stakes, a Grade 1 event like the Delaware Handicap, but one that featured arguably stronger competition.

Sheer Drama, who has finished first or second in all six stakes starts of 2015, broke well under Joe Bravo and settled nicely behind pacesetter FRIVOLOUS, a mare that pressed the pace over a speed-friendly Churchill Downs strip to upset Sheer Drama at 32 to 1 odds in last month's Grade 2 Fleur de Lis Handicap.

Frivolous reeled off fractions of 24.45, 48.83 and 1:12.57 before Sheer Drama cranked up the pressure on the final turn. Sheer Drama poked a head in front turning for home and slowly drew clear from a game Frivolous. The winner stopped the timer in 2:01.58 and received a 97 Beyer Speed Figure. The also-rans in the Delaware Handicap (in order of finish) were stakes-winner AMERICA, Grade 3 winner FLASHY AMERICAN, Rosalind, multiple stakes-winner JOINT RETURN and Grade 2 winner FORTUNE PEARL.

A homebred owned by Harold L. Queen, Sheer Drama was foaled in Florida on April 4, 2010. Her sire, Burning Roma, won 12 stakes and $1.5M for Queen. The versatile Burning Roma was placed first via disqualification in the Grade 1 Futurity Stakes over one mile at Belmont, prevailed in the Grade 2 Meadowlands Cup traveling nine furlongs and grabbed the Grade 3 Red Bank Handicap at one mile on turf at Monmouth. Burning Roma's biggest Beyer was the whopping 114 he received over "wet-fast" going in the Leonard Richards Stakes at 1 1/16 miles at Delaware.

Sheer Drama's dam, the unraced Riveting Drama (by Notebook), has been an extremely prolific producer. Along with the Delaware Handicap winner and Big Drama, Riveting Drama has also foaled stakes-winning sprinter Drama's Way, stakes-placed router Coffee Can, multiple stakes-winning sprinter Little Drama and stakes-winning sprinter Queen Drama. Both Queen Drama and Little Drama are full siblings to Sheer Drama.

A late bloomer, Sheer Drama failed to start as a 2-year-old, but she won a couple of races the following summer and placed in the $100,000 Belle Cherie Stakes at Belmont. At four, she captured the $100,000 Thirty Eight Go Go Stakes around a one-turn mile at Laurel.

It appears as if Sheer Drama has reached full maturity this season. She began the campaign with a runner-up effort behind DAME DOROTHY in the $150,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff Stakes at seven furlongs at Gulfstream. Sheer Drama then gave an excellent effort when second in the Grade 3 Rampart Stakes before romping to a 99-Beyer victory in the Grade 2 Royal Delta. In her two starts prior to the Delaware Handicap, Sheer Drama finished second behind perfect-trip winner Molly Morgan in the Grade 1 La Troienne Stakes and chased Frivolous in vain in the Fleur de Lis.

The Breeders' Cup Distaff is obviously the long-term goal for Sheer Drama. It will be interesting to see if she runs in one of the major Grade 1 races at Saratoga this summer.


Here are the WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 7/14/15 - 7/20/15:

1. MIDNIGHT CELLO - 105 - Hanshin Stakes (G3) - 1 Mile (Polytrack) - 18Jul15-7AP
2. SOUPER LUCKY - 102 - OC 40k/C -N - 1 1/16 Miles - 18Jul15-3LRL
3. INDEXICAL - 101 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 19Jul15-7DMR
4. GABRIEL CHARLES - 98 - Eddie Read Stakes (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 18Jul15-4DMR
5. HEAVEN'S RUNWAY - 97 - Hockessin Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 18Jul15-8DEL
5. MR. SPEAKER - 97 - OC 100k/C -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 15Jul15-7BEL
5. SHEER DRAMA - 97 - Delaware Handicap (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles - 18Jul15-10DEL
5. TREV - 97 - OC 62k/C -N - 6 Furlongs - 18Jul15-10GP
9. SARATOGA SNACKS - 96 - Saginaw Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - 18Jul15-3BEL
10. AIN'T GOT TIME - 95 - Carl Hanford Memorial Stakes - 1 Mile 70 Yards - 18Jul15-11DEL
10. OFFICER GRIFFIN - 95 - OC 25k/N1X - 5 Furlongs - 14Jul15-5IND
10. PRETTY N COOL - 95 - Md Sp Wt 71k - 5 Furlongs - 19Jul15-6DMR
10. TWOCUBANBROTHERSU - 95 - Alw 5000s - 1 Mile 70 Yards - 15Jul15-3DEL
14. GLENARD (GB) - 94 - Warrior Veterans Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 18Jul15-5IND
14. JOKING - 94 - Alw 77000N1X - 7 Furlongs - 18Jul15-8BEL
14. PRIZE EXHIBIT - 94 (GB) - San Clemente Handicap (G2) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 19Jul15-8DMR
14. STRYKER PHD - 94 - Mt. Rainier Handicap - 1 1/16 Miles - 19Jul15-9EMD
14. THIRTEEN ARROWS - 94 - OC 30k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - 17Jul15-9MTH
14. TIZ SHEA D - 94 - Indiana Derby (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - 18Jul15-9IND
20. ARE YOU KIDDING ME - 93 - Nijinsky Stakes (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 19Jul15-8WO
20. BAGG O'DAY - 93 - Don Bernhardt Stakes - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 18Jul15-8ELP
20. CABANA - 93 - Mari Hulman George Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - 18Jul15-6IND
20. MONTEGO BAY - 93 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 16Jul15-4DMR
20. SOUL DRIVER - 93 - Oceanside Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - 16Jul15-8DMR
25. BARUTA (BRZ) - 92 - Alw 78000C - 6 Furlongs - 17Jul15-6DMR
25. NATIVE AMERICAN - 92 - Alw 33950N$Y - 6 Furlongs - 17Jul15-3CBY

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


What are we going to see in the Haskell? How many will line up against AP? Big purse $$$. I would run if I had a horse ready. What are your thoughts? His last race?

I can't imagine a big field lining up against the Triple Crown winner, especially with the Jim Dandy and West Virginia Derby held that weekend. I'm guessing we'll see COMPETITIVE EDGE in his two-turn debut, Belmont third-place finisher KEEN ICE, WAR STORY, MR. JORDAN and TEKTON. If he exits the race sound, I'd assume they'd continue on the road to the Breeders' Cup Classic.


When I was reviewing DMR, it hit me that almost all of the races had a Beyer Par. Since the track surface has just been changed to dirt, am I correct in assuming that these pars are all synthetic pars?
I believe Beyer says he needs 25 races of the same class and distance to obtain a par.
After they run 10 races at 6 furlongs and a 25,000 claiming price on the new dirt, are those 10 added to the last 15 synthetics to get a par?
I liked your statement on DRF Live, Saturday, about "All the people looking outside the box are actually inside the box." (paraphrased)

These are dirt pars from Del Mar.


You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.

Remember to check out DRF LIVE's VIDEO handicapping coverage at live.drf.com. Matt Bernier and I will be on at 4pm ET on Thursday for a Del Mar preview. We'll be back Friday at 4pm for a look at the late Pick 4 at Saratoga. On Saturday, we'll begin at 4:00 ET to handicap the late Pick 4 at Saratoga and some of the nation's major stakes races.


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 Sanford from 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!




Copy of Formblog Hanford 7-18-15.xls208.11 KB
HGSANFORD.pdf151.89 KB
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Rodney Thanks for the reminder of Glorious Goodwood Unfortunately , my normal source for UK races TVG, is not showing it. I get infomercials instead ...total bummer ! SR Vegas
Professor Molesap More than 1 year ago
C! "You da MAN!" Using your suggestion in terms of balancing multirace bets, I put $43 into the Sar P5 and hit it one time for $529 (I think Wacky hit it five times though). If my key in race 3 (#7 - who was flying at the end and just got beat a nose) wins, I would of had it three times (and likely a bigger price). I had three top choices win (but only two were primary selections), and two third choice selections won, so if I went to a caveman ticket I am not sure if I would have had it as I would of had to go three deep in those two specific races - I am not sure I would have, so thanks for the information - it paid off today. Of course like a first time winner at the track I am now hooked and will lose 10 times that amount chasing the next hit. :)
Mac930My More than 1 year ago
Wednesday. Spa. Early play. Pick 5. 50 cent play. 5 times 2,3. // 1,7,9. // 3. // 5,7,9,10 // all 2x3x1x4x6. = $72. X 5. = $360 Good Luck Whackymacky Out!
Professor Molesap More than 1 year ago
C Thanks for the clarification - knew something was wrong, but could not see the forest through the trees. I am hoping to figure out a similar strategy on Wednesday's P5 at Sar and maybe throw in a small P6 ticket at Dmr (although I still need to handicap) because of the carryover. Got it = 144 total combinations: A / A / A / BBB / BB / BBB = (1x1x1x3x2x3 = 18 combinations) A / A / BB / BBB / BB / BBB = (1x1x2x3x2x3 = 36 combinations) BB / A / A / BBB / BB / BBB = (2x1x1x3x2x3 = 36 combinations) A / BBB / A / BBB / BB / BBB = (1x3x1x3x2x3 = 54 combinations)
VanSavant More than 1 year ago
C; Thanks, no we just both misunderstood... it happens here... no big deal. For me, bet construction can be very important, but I am not a Pick 6 player, so that leaves me with working out a ticket mainly for Pick 5s at SoCal tracks, Exactas, and Win bets. I generally don't play the Pick 4 and Pick 3 wagers, but somedays I do. The Exacta and Win bets are much less complex for obvious reasons. The Pick 5 wagers I make are generally when I have a very strong opinion in at least two races, because most of my plays are limited to combos of 36 runners or less. No hard and fast rules on this for me, but my general philosophy on this wager is that if I can't hit it without going deep in three races, then I probably shouldn't be playing it. I used to partner with someone who is a great handicapper and player, and there were two times that we won decent payouts (over $1000) given the parlay, but the other dozen or so times when we lost, we weren't going more than 96 or so combos, and we figured that at a certain point we were kind of just stabbing. This year I have played the wager 14 times, losing my last 13. I am still up on this wager by a longways this year... my winning ticket back in January at SA cost me $8. I love reading your thoughts, PE's thoughts, Alyandeasy's thoughts and many others on this topic. I learn something here darn near everytime I log on. That's what keeps me coming here... Later gator vs
Ed Bechs More than 1 year ago
C, Not trying to pick a fight. Our contest is usually a stand alone race and bet construction is not as important as with a multi-race contest. MZ's "Terrible trip for Pletcher horse" and $100 to win was as concise as you can get. Pletcher and 2 yr. old race is a good combo and $100 to win is as clean as you get. Don't need to draw a map. I still think you need handicapping more than bet constrution in betting just one race. Multi-race bets, now I agree that construction comes to the front.. Sorry if I come off as being defensive. We are in this blog for fun and to learn from each other. Maybe we can get one contest where there are three or more races. I promise that I will be inventive. edb
CM Vongole More than 1 year ago
Molesap, You're actually covering AAABBB 3 times, which is unnecessary for the P6. For a P3 or P4, that kind of weighting is often a reasonable thing to do (hit more times if you're totally right), but the P6 is special... catching it once will do just fine. Personally, for the P6, I think of the weighting in terms of the percentage of combos which involve my keys, rather than pounding specific combos more. You could get away with something like: AAABBB (1x1x1x3x2x3) ------------ AABBBB (1x1x2x3x2x3) ABABBB (1x3x1x3x2x3) BAABBB (2x1x1x3x2x3) That's 144 combos for $288. And, yes, the requirement is that you must connect with 2 of 3 singles to have a great chance of hitting... but 1 of 3 gives you a great chance at a conso, which can give you a nice score on a day like tomorrow at Dmr. Hey, if you're going to walk out of the track with an armed guard, you should have to hit at least 2 out of 3 of your best plays. Larry, My above response is basically all I did. I do make some distinction between my keys as well (a la Gibson Carothers). I'll use a standout as a key OR find the best value in a wide-open race where the top few choices look vulnerable. Sometimes, it's advantageous to key an overlooked longshot in a big, wide-open field... you don't have to spend wildly trying to cover a large, competitive field. Of course, the backup ticket may require you to go a little deeper than you want, but...
Professor Molesap More than 1 year ago
C, pe and anyone else: I am interested in what you said regarding bet construction. Perhaps the only thing worse than my handicapping is my bet construction. I have been venturing into the P5 pools at Dmr and Sar, but up to this point have used relatively small “caveman” tickets so I am interested in a better strategy. I have tried the ticket maker application DRF has in Forumator and ones in other places, but it does not seem to do what I want. I know about the bet construction method you discussed, but am not sure I understand it completely in terms of actually punching the tickets. I am sure there are subtle ways to change tickets and I know that how you construct it depends on your bankroll vs. actual picks, but let give you a scenario and if you do not mind, please give suggestions. So let’s go with a P6. I will designate A as a primary selection that I think has a really good chance to win and B as a secondary selection that I think has a legitimate shot – I do not have the bankroll to worry about anything less. So let’s say I like the following horses: 1 – ABB 2 – ABBB 3 – ABB 4 – BBB 5 – BB 6 – BBB As a caveman ticket this would be 3x4x3x3x2x3 = 648 combinations costing $1296 for a $2 P6. From what I understand you said, a better bet construction would be to single two of the three races where I have just one primary selection on different tickets so I need at least two of those three to win, but his allows me to spread on the other areas without having to dish up that much money, so I basically have more of my bankroll on horses I have more confidence in. So it would look like this: Single leg 1 and 2 A / A / ABB / BBB / BB / BBB = (1x1x3x3x2x3 = 54 combinations for $108)) Single leg 2 and 3 ABB / A / A / BBB / BB / BBB = (3x1x1x3x2x3 = 54 combinations for $108) Single leg 1 and 3 A / ABBB / A / BBB / BB / BBB = (1x4x1x3x2x3 = 72 combinations for $144) So this way, it would cost me $360. Of course I have to be right on 2 of the 3 primary selections I have the greatest confidence in, but it is significantly less expensive. Am I even close? Thanks Professor Molesap
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
FWIW- Jocks with hot hand at Spa first four days Johnny V-9 wins from 27 mounts and Jose Lezcano 5 wins from 17 mounts.. .opposite end of spectrum Joel Rosario 1 win from 27 mounts. Dan (brutus)
CM Vongole More than 1 year ago
Van Savant, Fair enough, although many here seem to get extremely defensive whenever betting strategy is even mentioned (see Ed's response). I'm not sure why people are so touchy about it... they're open to people critiquing their selections/handicapping, but if you even suggest that there's a more efficient way to put their opinions into action and maximize their gains, it's going to be a conflict. Ed, I'm not telling anyone how to bet. I'm only raising awareness of a topic with obvious merit that isn't discussed nearly as much as it should be.