12/08/2017 2:19PM

Expect more from 'Biscuits in 2018

Although Sharp Azteca (profiled in the February 16 edition of FormBlog - http://www.drf.com/blogs/sharp-azteca-impressive-gulfstream) was too much for the field in last Saturday’s Grade 1 Cigar Mile, I was just as impressed with the runner-up’s performance.
Mind Your Biscuits, a tough New York-bred, had a wonderful 2017 campaign for trainer Chad Summers. Beaten only a neck in his seasonal debut at Gulfstream, he gave a tremendous effort when winning the Dubai Golden Shaheen despite a terrible outside post position and subsequent wide journey. My Formulator trip notes for that race were “stalked or midpack 4 or 5 wide, widest 1/4p, best.” Don't believe me? See for yourself.

That trip halfway across the world didn’t faze Mind Your Biscuits in the slightest. He returned firing with a win in the Grade 2 Belmont Sprint Championship (“stalked or tracked 3w, 3w bid FT, best”).
The only dud for Mind Your Biscuits this year came in the Grade 1 Forego at Saratoga. The hot rumor the week before the race was that Mind Your Biscuits did not take to the Saratoga main track during morning training hours. The writing might have been on the wall after a five-furlong drill on August 11, a workout that the DRF clocking team described as “Good for most but relatively sub-par by his standards, broke at the 4 1/2 pole 5L behind bottom level maiden winner Rock Nation, struggled to catch mate until well past wire before galloping out clear in 37.31, 1:00.41, out 1:14.41, Rosario up. RATING: B-.”
Mind Your Biscuits finished a flat fifth in the Forego, but returned to form with a rallying third in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. It was the second year in a row that the Posse colt placed in the Breeders’ Cup, a testament to the horse’s durability and class.
He did his best in the Cigar as he put himself in good position while saving ground entering the turn. Irad Ortiz angled Mind Your Biscuits out to follow Sharp Azteca on the bend, but he couldn’t reel in the sharp, perfect-trip winner at a distance that might be a bit far for Mind Your Biscuits. I really loved the try he showed in the lane, though, and am looking forward to a big 2018 campaign.

Races like the Carter Handicap or a repeat run in the Golden Shaheen seem like realistic early-season options with spots like the one-turn Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile or the Breeders’ Cup Sprint possible down the road.

There are two Grade 1 races for 2-year-olds scheduled for Saturday at Los Alamitos. DRF Handicappers and contributors analyze them in this week’s edition of “Out of the Gate.”

While those races feature some promising runners, I’m more interested in the following Saturday starters (listed in chronological order):
Laurel – Race 4 - #6 – Clever Mind (7 to 5 Morning Line)
No win bets for me on Clever Mind at a depressed price, but the promising 2-year-old can be leaned on in multiple-race wagers and might be worth a follow down the road if he comes through as expected.
Trainer Graham Motion showed a great deal of confidence in this Maryland-bred son of Buffum by placing him in the $100,000 Maryland Million Nursery Stakes (see below) as a first-time starter. Clever Mind was forced in at the start, ended up far off the early pace, advanced along the rail on the turn, angled out to be widest turning into the stretch and was merely ridden out while passing them all. 

A half-brother to Grade 1-winning hurdler Top Striker out of a half-sister to Grade 1 turf winner Illuminant, Clever Mind shouldn’t have an issue with the extra half-furlong. I’m hoping that he learned enough from that debut to break better this time and get into the race sooner. 

Parx – Race 8 - #2 – Someday Jones (4 to 1 Morning Line)
I’ll bet Someday Jones to win at 7 to 2 or greater. Perhaps #6 Irish Colonel (6 to 1 Morning Line) can also be used in single-race exotics.
Someday Jones hasn’t raced since April, but the colt has run well fresh in the past. Note that he won his career debut and that he returned from a seven-month break to win his first start of 2017. 
In sprint races, Someday Jones boasts a strong record of 5-4-1-0. Two starts back, he battled with three others for the early lead, ended up with the lead and the rail, and kept on to his business to post a strong score.
Most recently, he wound up tracking the pace inside before angling four paths wide into the stretch. He was very game to be second while being herded out a bit in the stretch. He faced some strong company that day with the venerable Page McKenney as the favored winner. Also, three of the horses that finished behind Someday Jones returned to win.

Laurel – Race 8 - #2 – Lewisfield (9 to 2 Morning Line)
I’Il back Lewisfield to win at 3 to 1 or greater. 
While I’m a big fan of dropdown #7 It’s the Journey (5 to 2 Morning Line), I think Lewisfield has more upside potential. A lightly-raced 3-year-old, Lewisfield’s record with blinkers is 3 for 3 with a combined margin of victory of 27 lengths. 
In his most recent start (shown below), he pressed a 3-ply pace battle while in between horses, took over the lead under a confident ride and wasn’t threatened late. That win was notable because the Laurel track that afternoon seemed to favor outside closers. Lewisfield raced close to the pace and still had enough to deny next-out winner Miners Quest. 

Lewisfield is fast enough to obtain a good forward position and he should be prominent when they swing into the stretch.

As promised last week, here is the next installment of my “Horses to Watch” list (past performances are available at the bottom of this blog entry):

At face value, there is nothing to like about Freudland. Her record of 16-1-2-1 is uninspiring. In her last five starts, she’s been beaten by a combined 81 ½ lengths while finishing ahead of five horses. In her most recent try, a paltry $5,000 conditioned claimer at Penn National, she received a 3 Beyer. She is conditioned by a low-profile trainer in Wendy Uhacz. 

Why is she on the list?

She’s been running on the wrong surface. 
As a daughter of Freud, Freudland should be better on the turf. She is. Look at the last two turf races on her past performance page. Far and away, they are the best runs of her career. After finishing second for a $13,000 tag on July 19, Uhacz tried desperately to run Freudland on turf. Three times in a row, those races were moved to the main track. After a synthetic race and with the grass season ending at Penn National, Freudland has had no other options than to run on dirt. 
Hopefully, we’ll see her on turf in the spring. She’ll be a big price.
Gio Game:
Like Freudland, I think that Gio Game will end up doing her best running on the turf. A half-sister to Grade 2 winner Isotherm by turf-loving Gio Ponti, Gio Game won a fast maiden race at Keeneland two starts back. Note the times of the two races for 2-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on October 6:
Race 1 – Maiden Special Weight (Winner – Gio Game)
24.10, 48.62, 1:13.52, 1:38.35, 1:44.74
Race 9 – Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades (winner – Heavenly Love)
23.94, 48.38, 1:13.81, 1:38.88, 1:45.32
Gio Game’s race went faster and that alone might have prompted trainer Mark Casse to take a shot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. That was probably a case of too much too soon.
Expect to see the filly back this winter at Gulfstream. She can be considered on both turf and dirt in an entry-level allowance race for 3-year-olds. 
...Dan, ' your current thread of 'horses to follow', makes me ask
"who else keeps a horse watch, and why?"
I know several use a HW system whether DRF, Equibase, or another source, like personal spreedsheets .
For me it is to keep track of the MKB each year, a favorite PGH, or some historical information as to who retired.
Are they only for handicapping purposes? I’m curious .
Thx ...
Sharon SR Vegas
I would think it's mostly for handicapping purposes, but that's certainly not a requirement. I'm sure some horsemen use it to track runners they're interested in claiming/purchasing. Racing fans that may not necessarily be interested in betting can easily keep track of their favorite horses with a horse watch system. 
Dan, I hope you post your thoughts on the Hong Kong races, lots of classy animals marking the end of the year.
Nancy Beningo
I'd rather hear your thoughts as well as others from the community. I haven't had much time to think about foreign racing since Epicharis broke my heart by getting hurt prior to the Belmont. I did look at the Clasico del Caribe along with Matt Bernier this week, however (video.drf.com)
Sunday’s HandiGambling race is the Valedictory Stakes on Woodbine’s last race meeting of the year. 

Formulator Past Performances can be accessed at http://www.drf.com/events/race-of-the-day

Here are the rules:
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!
Good luck!



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