03/12/2014 3:59PM

Dude Not Done


I didn't pick him, but I was absolutely thrilled to see GAME ON DUDE back in the winner's circle following a spectacular effort in the Santa Anita Handicap.

Lots of folks thought the 7-year-old was slowing down just a bit. You couldn't blame them as Game On Dude was entering the 'Big Cap following three straight losses (you'd have to go back to 2011 to find the last time Game On Dude lost two in a row).

Last Saturday, however, the "old" Game On Dude returned. Utilizing his extremely potent early speed in a paceless race, Game On Dude ran two very good horses right off their feet. MUCHO MACHO MAN and WILL TAKE CHARGE both took shots at Game On Dude, but it was to no avail as the Bob Baffert-trained gelding rattled off splits of 22.91, 45.39, 1:09.39, and 1:32.57 for the mile. He completed the 10 furlongs in 1:58.17, certainly racehorse time and worthy of a whopping 116 Beyer Speed Figure.

"He was throwing numbers, I knew we were going fast," an ebullient Mike Smith told track publicity after the Santa Anita Handicap. "I actually went even faster this time than I did last time (San Antonio Feb. 8). I got yelled at for going fast last time and that was forty-six; we went forty-five today and that’s at a mile and a quarter!"

This was the seventh time that Game On Dude cracked the 110 Beyer plateau, an amazing feat for a horse that was making his 25th start since contesting the 2010 Belmont Stakes as a sprightly 3-year-old (he ran a pretty good fourth behind Drosselmeyer that day). Many people consider him a Santa Anita horse for course (his record now stands at 11-8-0-0 at "The Great Race Place"), but Game On Dude has also won at Gulfstream, Lone Star, Betfair Hollywood Park, Charles Town and Del Mar. He's won on dirt, cushion track and polytrack at distances ranging from a one-turn mile to 1 1/4 miles.

And, if the Santa Anita Handicap is any indication, the Dude isn't done just yet.

*Let's take a look at two promising 3-year-old colts.

BOBBY'S KITTEN (Kitten's Joy - Celestial Woods, by Forestry)

*FOAL DATE, STATE: March 30, 2011, Kentucky
*TRAINER: Chad Brown
*BREEDER: Kenneth L. Ramsey & Sarah K. Ramsey 
*OWNER: Kenneth L. Ramsey & Sarah K. Ramsey
*LAST RACE:  1st "ANC" allowance, 1 Mile (Turf), Tampa Bay, March 8, 86 Beyer
*DP = 6-7-7-2-0 (22) DI = 3.00   CD = 0.77

Arguably the best 3-year-old turf performer in the land, Bobby's Kitten will throw his hat into the Kentucky Derby ring when he starts next in the Grade 1, $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes at nine furlongs over Keeneland's polytrack on April 12.

A homebred racing for the powerful Ken and Sarah Ramsey operation and trained by Chad Brown, Bobby's Kitten made his sophomore debut a successful one last weekend when a gate-to-wire winner of a one-mile allowance race on turf at Tampa Bay Downs.

Bobby's Kitten's best weapon is his potent early speed and he immediately took command at Tampa, setting splits of 24.32 and 48.13 while lightly prompted from the outside by Grade 3 winner Global View. Bobby's Kitten opened up turning into the stretch under virtually no urging by Javier Castellano and simply cantered home by 1 1/2 lengths over Global View. Bobby's Kitten completed the mile in 1:36.84 and received an 86 Beyer Speed Figure.

It couldn't have been an easier beginning to a 3-year-old campaign and Bobby's Kitten looked more comfortable with his lead changes than he did at times last year. He is still a bit eager coming out of the gate, but did rate when Castellano took hold of him on the backstretch.

Bobby's Kitten is by the Ramseys' stalwart stallion, Kitten's Joy, who led the general sire list last year by total progeny earnings. Named champion turf male as a 3-year-old in 2004, Kitten's Joy won nine of 14 starts at distances ranging from a flat mile to 12 furlongs. His big victories came in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at 1 1/4 miles and the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational at 1 1/2 miles.

Not surprisingly, Kitten's Joy's best offspring excel on grass. All of his Grade 1 winners in North America (Stephanie's Kitten, Big Blue Kitten, Real Solution, Kitten's Dumplings and Admiral's Kitten) made their mark on turf.

Bobby's Kitten is a full brother to Major Magic, a multiple stakes winner on turf. Their dam won routing on turf, sprinting on polytrack, and sprinting on dirt. The majority of the female family is geared to turf, however, with major names like Paradise Creek, Wild Event and Forbidden Apple appearing under the third dam.

Last year, Bobby's Kitten made his debut in a two-turn turf route at Saratoga. Bet heavily as the 13-10 favorite, Bobby's Kitten endured traffic for the entire stretch run and still was only defeated a length by Base Case Scenario.

The following month, he blasted out to an uncontested lead through quick fractions of 22.78 and 47.40 and still had plenty left to graduate in style.

Although headstrong in the early portion of his stakes debut, the Grade 3 Pilgrim at Belmont on October 6, Bobby's Kitten eventually allowed another horse the lead. He collared that one without much fuss and poured it on late to win by 6 1/4 lengths with a 91 Beyer.

That performance earned Bobby's Kitten the favorite's role in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita on November 1. Bobby's Kitten battled hard on the lead with a pair of longshots (they would finish last and next-to-last), and still finished an excellent third behind a pair of European invaders.

The Blue Grass would mark Bobby's Kitten's first start on the main, but classy turf runners often transfer good form to the Keeneland polytrack, and Kitten's Joy has had success with synthetic horses. The Kentucky Derby is another story entirely, but Bobby's Kitten looks like he'll be a force to be reckoned with on turf, at the very least, in 2014.

ANCHOR DOWN (Tapit - Successful Outlook, by Orientate)

*FOAL DATE, STATE:  April 14, 2011, Kentucky
*TRAINER: Todd Pletcher
*BREEDER: Gainesway Thoroughbreds Ltd.
*OWNER: Alto Racing, LLC
*AUCTION HISTORY: $250,000 Keeneland September Yearling,
*LAST RACE:  1st 'N1X' optional claimer, 7 Furlongs, Gulfstream, March 1, 96 Beyer
*DP = 7-5-9-1-0 (22) DI = 3.00   CD = 0.82

Undefeated from two sprints, Anchor Down will now likely stretch out in a major Kentucky Derby prep race.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Anchor Down showed class in winning his most recent outing, an entry-level optional claimer traveling seven furlongs at Gulfstream on March 1.

Hammered to 2-5 odds in the six-horse field, Anchor Down pressed the pacesetter from the outside through fractions of 22.64 and 45.46. Then, for a brief instant on the turn, it appeared that Anchor Down was in deep water. Racing in the three path, he was confronted from his inside by the solid Myositis Dan, and that one soon put a neck in front. Anchor Down took a deep breath, regrouped, and was back in front in merely a matter of strides. It took him a bit of time before he completed his final lead change, but he finished the distance in an excellent 1:21.67 while 1 1/2 lengths better than Myositis Dan. That final time compared very nicely with the 1:22.44 it took for fellow 3-year-old Spot to win the Grade 2 Swale Stakes later that afternoon at Gulfstream. Anchor Down earned a 96 Beyer while Spot received an 87.

Anchor Down is by top sire Tapit, winner of the Grade 1 Wood Memorial Stakes at 1 1/8 miles. Currently the leading sire by progeny earnings in 2014, Tapit has been represented this year by Tampa Bay Derby winner Ring Weekend and Southwest Stakes hero Tapiture. He is also the sire of North American champions Stardom Bound and Hansen.

Anchor Down is a half-brother to Sweet Lulu, winner of last year's Grade 1 Test Stakes at seven furlongs. Their dam notched two of three starts including the Grade 3 Tempted Stakes at one mile. The second dam, Catch a Glimpse (by Gulch), finished third in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes over six furlongs on turf in Ireland and was a winner at 7 1/2 furlongs on dirt at Churchill Downs. The third dam, Spring to Light (by Blushing Groom), was Group 3-placed on turf in Ireland.

Anchor Down is quick from the gate and has shown some heart. He is very inexperienced, however, and may be too far behind his contemporaries in order to contend in the classics. Still, he looks like a talented sort and may be best followed as a middle-distance runner later in the year.


Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures (3/3/14 - 3/9/14):

1. GAME ON DUDE - 116 - Santa Anita Handicap (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles - Santa Anita
2. CALIFORNIA CHROME - 107 - San Felipe Stakes (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - Santa Anita
3. HEITAI - 106 - Duncan F. Kenner Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Fair Grounds
4. PALACE MALICE - 105 - Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) - 1 Mile - Gulfstream
4. WINNING PRIZE (ARG) - 105 - Frank E. Kilroe Handicap (G1) - 1 Mile (Turf) - Santa Anita
6. WORK ALL WEEK - 101 - Hot Springs Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Oaklawn
7. OLIVER ZIP - 99 - Fred "Cappy" Capossela Stakes - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - Aqueduct
8. SAHARA SKY - 98 - San Carlos Stakes (G2) - 7 Furlongs - Santa Anita
9. CARVE - 97 - OC 40k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - Oaklawn
9. ROSE BRIER - 97 - OC25k/SAL25k - 1 Mile (Turf) - Gulfstream
11. ISN'T HE CLEVER - 96 - Alw 35975NC - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Sunland
11. JOE HOLLYWOOD - 96 - OC c-40k/N2X - 6 Furlongs - Fair Grounds
13. CHINA PRINCE - 95 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Tapeta) - Golden Gate
13. GREEN GRATTO - 95 - Alw 60760N1X - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - Aqueduct
13. JUDY THE BEAUTY - 95 - Las Flores Stakes (G3) - 6 Furlongs - Santa Anita
13. THANK YOU MARYLOU - 95 - Any Limit Stakes - 7 Furlongs - Gulfstream
17. JOELITO - 94 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Santa Anita
17. RING WEEKEND - 94 - Tampa Bay Derby (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - Tampa Bay
17. SMALL TOKEN - 94 - Alw 22000N2X - 7 Furlongs - Calder
17. SPA CITY FEVER - 94 - OC 75k/C - 1 Mile (Inner Dirt) - Aqueduct
21. GRANDE SHORES - 93 - OC10k/SAL8k - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Calder
21. MONSTER MASH - 93 - Clm 25000N3L - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - Aqueduct
21. OLD TIME HOCKEY - 93 - OC 100k/NC -N - 1 1/16 Miles - Tampa Bay
21. TOO FAST TO PASS - 93 - Clm 25000(25-22.5) - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Santa Anita
25. PREMIER STEPS (IRE) - 92 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - Santa Anita

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

*JOE HOLLYWOOD was claimed for $40,000 by trainer Karl Broberg from Steve Asmussen.  Five days later, Joe Hollywood won at the same level on turf with an 85 Beyer.


Steve T. sent in an interesting spreadsheet regarding Trakus and Run-Up Times for this winter's Gulfstream meet.  It is available for download at the bottom of this blog post.

"Given the huge disparity between the run-ups, can you confidently use times as a gauge of a horse's capability on turf? I think the answer is no way Jose. I will send the finished spreadsheet to Dan to post on the next blog update. I would like anyone who has an interest to take a look see at the data and see what you can come up with. I think it is a seriously big deal. Here are the data points for the spreadsheet:

Date, Race, Track Condition, Rail Placement, Winning Running Style, Class, Distance in Furlongs, Distance in Feet, Run-Up, Total Run Length Min Distance, Actual Distance Traveled, First fraction, Last Fraction and Final Time.

Other tracks have the same kind of run-up distances. For instance, here are the mile turf run-ups at Santa Anita by rail position:

0' - 107' Run-Up
8' - 159' Run Up
15' - 66' Run Up
30' - 102' Run Up

Or even better - the 1 1/8 miles turf races:

0' - 18' Run-Up
8' - 66' Run-Up
15' - 80' Run-Up
24' - 138' Run Up
30' - 175' Run-Up

Here are some figures that go along with this endeavor:

One Furlong = 660 feet (220 yards)
One Furlong = 82.5 lengths (660 feet / 8 feet)
One Second = 6.875 lengths (12 second furlong)
One Second = 55' (6.875 lengths x 8')(12 second furlong)

I really think there is something here that could benefit everyone who plays horses. Stay tuned, there will be more.

Steve T

Note: I saved this as an early (1997/2003) version of Excel. If you have a problem downloading or opening the spreadsheet e-mail me. DON'T email Dan or post that you are having problems. Thanks. My email is wildcat@wirelessmail.us."


Watched you and Mike Beer dissect the Honor Code allowance race today at Gulfstream. No mention of a Whacky Macky angle? layoff, training set back, speedfavoring track..........

Anything's possible, but I won't have any money in against Honor Code finishing off the board against that field.


Seeking your thoughts from the TB Derby. The Sam Davis was recorded as one of the slowest runnings 1:47 and change. Ring Weekend comes along where a lot of people including myself thought there would be a good amount of speed. That wasn't the case where RW basically broke away and wasn't challenged and it appears the rest of the group behind RW ran the same race in the Sam Davis...slow! Does this make RW chance to win the Derby a slim-to no chance?!?

On paper, the Tampa Bay Derby looked light on quality. Vinceremos was third choice at 9-2 by virtue of winning the slow Sam F. Davis in a four-horse photo after a perfect trip. These horses were sorting themselves out and nobody, with the exception of the winner, ran a step in the Tampa Bay Derby. Daniel Centeno gave RING WEEKEND a wonderful ride, but I have to see the colt do it again versus better horses before I consider him a true Kentucky Derby contender.


A couple of Form questions.
1. On Saturday 3/8, Tampa 10th, #3, Babe's Ruler ran the 21st of January at OTC on a poly track (the diamond designation) and the track was listed as wf (wet/fast) What's up with that?
2. Gulfstream, Saturday 3-1, 10th , #8 Two Jacks Wild has won two races but the trainer is shown with zero wins and no trainer change. What's up with that?
3. Thanks for the book excerpt a couple of weeks ago for an answer to a Beyer question I had.

1.  I'm still looking into that track condition as it's simply weird. I'll let you know as soon as I find out the story.

2. The trainer stats for Dennis Manning (TWO JACKS WILD) are from his 2013 campaign (0-38).  Both of Two Jacks Wild's wins came in 2014 at Tampa Bay Downs. Thus, the 2013 stats would remain unchanged and Manning's 0-1 at the current Gulfstream meet is factually accurate as well.


The weekend handicapping previews should be available in the video player on the homepage soon.

You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman


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

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

Suheil selected Friday's sixth race at Tampa Bay Downs 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 "Monthly Enhanced 60-Card 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!




Best of luck to all.

GAME ON DUDE.pdf767.19 KB
Copy of Gulfstream - Runup and Trakus 031214.xls51.27 KB
Copy of Formblog Tampa Bay Derby 3-8-14.xls69.5 KB
HGTAMPA.pdf156.43 KB