11/16/2011 4:51PM

A Fast Bullet, Beyers, Questions


*FAST BULLET, a 3-year-old son of Speightstown, made it 2-2 with another quick victory in Southern California.  After winning his debut by 6 1/4 lengths on the dirt at Santa Anita on October 9 (92 Beyer), the Bob Baffert-trained colt shipped to Churchill Downs for a try in the Jimmy V. Stakes on the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic undercard.  He was tangled up in the gate that afternoon and forced to scratch, but he returned none the worse for wear on November 12, stalking and pouncing his way to an entry-level allowance win over the Hollywood cushion track.  He received a 102 Beyer for his recent score and looks stakes-bound for Zayat Stables.  A $230,000 yearling, Fast Bullet may appear in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes next month at Santa Anita. 

*MUCHO MACHO MAN and BOYS AT TOSCONOVA seem back to their best following recent optional claiming victories at Aqueduct.  The former, third in the Kentucky Derby during the spring, returned from a five-month layoff to defeat older runners around a one-turn mile (95 Beyer Speed Figure).  Mucho Macho Man missed some time in September with an illness, but he sure looked good the other day.  Expect Mucho Macho Man to make his next start at Gulfstream Park in 2012.

Boys At Tosconova, the 2010 Hopeful winner that finished second to Uncle Mo in that year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile, made his second start of the year a winning one at 6 1/2 furlongs on November 11.  Boys At Tosconova missed most of the spring and summer with ankle and quarter crack issues, but he seems to be rounding back into form (93 Beyer for his recent win). 

*STRAIGHT STORY (front bandages off), pulled off a gate-to-wire shocker at 38-1 in the Grade 2 Autumn Stakes at Woodbine.  Making his first start on a synthetic surface after spending most of his career on the grass, Straight Story looked reinvigorated under Jesse Campbell.  An inconsistent New York-bred, Straight Story rebounded following three off-the-board efforts on turf.

*WALL STREET WONDER, the 2010 Toboggan (G3) winner, found his proper class level with a 97-Beyer tally in a $32,000 claimer over the cushion track on November 13.  Baffert trains the 5-year-old son of City Place.

On the work tab:

*BRIGAND, fourth in the Best Pal at Del Mar for Baffert, worked a half-mile in 47.60 at Santa Anita earlier this morning.  Brigand is recovering from ankle surgery.

*SWAY AWAY, out since June after undergoing knee surgery, worked three furlongs in 35.20 earlier this morning at Hollywood. 

*PRAYER FOR RELIEF, scratched from the Breeders' Cup Classic after coming down with a 103-degree fever, drilled five furlongs in 59.60 this morning at Santa Anita.

*JAYCITO (throat surgery) worked three furlongs in 36.60 on Sunday morning at Hollywood.

*COMMA TO THE TOP, unraced since the Kentucky Derby after undergoing ankle surgery, worked five furlongs in 59.00 from the gate on Sunday morning at Hollywood.

*RULE (bruised foot) breezed five furlongs in 1:00.20 at Churchill Downs on Sunday morning for Todd Pletcher.


Here are the top 25 Winning Beyer Speed Figures from last week's races (11/7/11 - 11/13/11):

1.  RACING APTITUDE - 104 - Yo Eleven Stakes - 7 1/2 Furlongs (Cushion Track) - Hollywood
2.  TURBO COMPRESSOR - 103 - Carl G. Rose classic Handicap - 1 1/8 Miles - Calder
3.  FAST BULLET - 101 - Alw 48350N1X - 6 Furlongs (Cushion Track) - Hollywood
4.  ASSOCIATE - 99 - OC 50k/N1X -N - 7 Furlongs - Aqueduct
5.  HELPING HAND - 97 - OC c-25k/N2X - 1 Mile - Penn National
5.  MY PAL CHRISY - 97 - Elmer Heubeck Distaff Handicap - 1 1/16 Miles - Calder
5.  WALL STREET WONDER - 97 - Clm 32000(32-28) - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Cushion Track) - Hollywood
8.  DENHAM - 95 - OC 80k/C -N - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Hawthorne
8.  GIBSON - 95 - Jack Dudley Sprint Handicap - 6 Furlongs - Calder
8.  INHERIT THE GOLD - 95 - New York Stallion Series (Thunder Rumble Division) - 7 Furlongs - Aqueduct
8.  MUCHO MACHO MAN - 95 - OC 35k/N3L -N - 1 Mile - Aqueduct
8.  STRAIGHT STORY - 95 - Autumn Stakes (G2-C) - 1 1/16 Miles (Polytrack) - Woodbine
13. ATTACK JACK - 94 - Clm 12500(12.5-10.5)N1Y - 6 Furlongs - Parx
14. ANTENNA - 93 - Alw 8000s - 6 Furlongs - Parx
14. BOYS AT TOSCONOVA - 93 - OC 35k/N3L -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Aqueduct
16. MYSTICISM - 92 - Alw 50960N2L - 7 Furlongs - Aqueduct
17. FORMULAFORSUCCESS - 91 - Clm 40000 - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Churchill
17. HOP SKIP AND AWAY - 91 - OC 35k/N2X - 6 Furlongs - Monmouth
17. SPEIGHT OF HAND - 91 - Clm c-14000 - 6 Furlongs - Aqueduct
20. BAD DEBT - 90 - Bonnie Heath Turf Classic Handicap - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Calder
20. HIT IT RICH - 90 - Long Island Handicap (G3) - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - Aqueduct
20. MARKETING MIX - 90 - Mrs. Revere Stakes (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Churchill
20. STRIKEWHILEITSHOT - 90 - Clm 25000 - 7 Furlongs - Churchill
24. EAGLE POISE - 89 - Alw 80366NC - 1 5/8 Miles (Polytrack) - Woodbine
24. KLASSY KORBIN - 89 - OC 16k/N4L - 6 Furlongs - Beulah
24. SENATOR BOB - 89 - Alw 61106N1X - 1 Mile (Turf) - Hollywood
24. SWEETSOUTHERNMOON - 89 - OC 30k/ -N - 1 Mile - Delta
24. THUNDER BALL - 89 - Alw 31000N1X - 1 1/16 Miles - Laurel

RACING APTITUDE's past performances are available at the end of this blog post.

HELPING HAND was claimed for $25,000 by trainer David Geist.

SPEIGHT OF HAND was claimed for $14,000 by trainer Naipaul Chatterpaul. 


Thanks for your posts, always imformative and often useful (as are your vids with Mike).
I wonder if this is an appropriate venue for me to ask (and you to answer) these four questions:
!s there any chance you could ask Mr. Zito the REAL reason he ran Jackson Bend in the Sprint rather than the Dirt Mile? Was he ducking someone?
When will it be appropriate to start mocking the other two Mikes, Battaglia and Watchmaker for their unfortunate and absurd ML selection of Uncle Mo in the Classic? How could they possibly have justified taking a lightly-raced colt that had never even been the Classic distance and made him the ML favoriter when there were at least three colts and maybe even the filly who were proven at the distance in graded company?
How is it that so many of you are so certain that Goldikova 'mugged' or otherwise interfered with Courageous Cat. Mr. Head never mentioned it, the DRF chart doesn't mention it, and I've never seen any angle but the run of the race.
Final question, does there really have to be a Horse Of the Year, especially in light of the last two winners?
Thanks. Sorry for all the negativity.

I think that Zito was going by Jackson Bend's excellent sprint record.  Going into the Breeders' Cup, the little chestnut was 6-7 sprinting and 1-14 in races at one mile or longer.  I don't think he was ducking anyone.  Caleb's Posse and Amazombie are good horses, but no one is ducking them. 

Making the morning line is a thankless job and I'll never bash someone for picking the wrong favorite, especially in as confusing a race as the Breeders' Cup Classic (the favorite ended up as a very tepid 7-2).  I don't know who I would have made the favorite, but Uncle Mo made sense to me.  You're trying to guess how the public is going to react.  Uncle Mo is a "name" horse, a champion that had just earned a huge Beyer Speed Figure, albeit at one mile.  Would I have confidently made Flat Out, the post time favorite, the morning line chalk?  I mean, he was beaten by Havre de Grace at Saratoga.  Would I have guessed that So You Think would have gone off at equal odds as Uncle Mo?  Probably not.  To me, Uncle Mo's post time odds were indicative of a horse that was somewhat "dead" on the board.

It sure looked like Goldikova caused a chain reaction in the stretch.  As she eased off the rail, she impeded Courageous Cat, who then bumped into horses on his outside.  The link to the Breeders' Cup Mile replay (courtesy of YouTube) is posted below.  At around the 6:00 minute mark, you'll see the head-on that the stewards were watching.


On the long ride back from Churchill Downs, Mike Beer looked up from his phone. 

"Two words for Horse of the Year," he began.  "I abstain."


Capt ron
I'll try to answer your 'lead change' question others (I am sure , are better qualified)
but in my simple terms,
When a horse runs, he leads with one of his front legs. In a race with a turn, or two ..it is necessary for him to switch from the inside leg, to the outside leg to prevent leg fatique.
You can pick this up in a stretch run, often by seeing the jockey shake the reins, or do a cross move with his arms, to get the horse to shift his weight.
And you will see a renewed run.
It is subtle, and I think DanIillman, or Uncle Steve may have a video or two that will point it out.
Bottom line, if a horse can change leads on time, he or she, has a better chance to keep momentum going, and prevent fatigue.
Just my take.
S R Vegas

Here's a reprint from a 2007 blog post concerning lead changes:

...this article discusses a horse's gait, and the mechanics behind it.  Take a peek...


In discussing lead changes, it probably would be best to have some visual aids as well.  Let's watch Curlin in the Preakness:


Let's pick up the action at 1:23 in.  The field is on the turn, and getting ready to swing into the stretch.  Hard Spun is on the lead.  Watch his front legs at the 1:36 and 1:37 mark.  It looks like he's sort of lurching instead of running, right?  It's a bit awkward.  At this point, Hard Spun is racing on his wrong (left) lead.  At the 1:39 mark, you'll notice that Hard Spun isn't lurching.  He's running more smoothly.  He has changed to his correct (right) lead.  At this point, of the four horses in the first flight, three are racing on their right leads.  The only one still hopping on his left lead is Curlin.  At the 1:45 mark, you'll notice Robby Albarado shift his weight aboard Curlin, and Curlin then changes to his correct lead.  Now, rewind the tape back to 1:23, and start again.  It takes Curlin about seventeen strides once he turns into the stretch before he switches leads. 

Here's another example:


Fast forward to the 2:10 mark of the 1978 Belmont Stakes.  At this point, Affirmed (on the rail), has switched leads, and is racing on his right lead.  Alydar, on the outside, never switches.  You'll notice the difference in strides.  You have to wonder what would have happened if Alydar received the energy boost from switching leads. 

An example of a horse that didn't change leads in the stretch is Ruffian in the 1975 Mother Goose:


Now, watch Holy Bull switch leads in the bat of an eye in the 1994 Florida Derby.  When the field hits the quarter-pole, watch, him quickly change over to his correct lead. 


It will take some practice, but after carefully watching the races, you'll notice when a horse switches leads.  I'd describe it as a little hop from one leg to the other. 


Hmm, DRF's Stakes schedule shows the CashCall Futurity on Sat., Dec. 17th and Hollywood Park's Horsemen's Stakes schedule shows it on Sunday, Dec. 18th.
One of these is wrong. It makes more sense that it would be on Sat., but I guess they do have some big races on Sundays some times.
This, of course, is important because it is the last major two-year-old stakes of the year. The CashCall Futurity (Hollywood Futurity) has produced six winners of the Kentucky Derby, so I always like to see this race before the MKB draw, just in case. However, there has been no Derby winner out of this race since they switched to synthetic in 2006. Though, I was thinking that the California horses may have a better chance in the Derby this year as they have or will have an opportunity to run on dirt at SA prior to the Derby.
DAN, what say you? :)

The CashCall Futurity will be run on Saturday, December 17. 


Dan, Why didn't the main track improve all weekend? I thought it was abominable and affected the races themselves. Are you saying it was sealed Friday night?!

I believe the main track at Churchill Downs was sealed for racing on Thursday and the seal was broken before the first Breeders' Cup race on Friday. 


Hey Dan,
Great information provided for the recent MSW races at both Saratoga and Keeneland. I have a related and an unrelated question:
1) When you breakdown each of the horses running in those MSW races, do you present the breakdown of horses in sequence (your top pick to your least preferred choice)?
2) Vengeful Wildcat has not raced or worked regularly since he ran on the Preakness undercard. Was he injured or is he just freshening for competition in early 2012?
Keep up the great work.

Thanks for the kind words, Jim.  As you noticed, I was tweaking the format a bit this year, but my analysis ranks the horses by order of preference.  I haven't heard anything about Vengeful Wildcat.  The word was that he was pointing for a race at Monmouth in July so I wonder if he was injured.  If I hear anything, I'll pass it on.


Could you post the final career pp's of some outgoing BC champions?
Gio Ponti
Court Vision

Those past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.  It's possible that Drosselmeyer will return to racing in 2012.


Dan or anyone
any info on Premier Pegasus? ahem my pick to win the derby until injury side lined him.

Premier Pegasus, sidelined with a hairline fracture to his left front cannon bone (required surgery), reportedly began jogging in September.  The plan is to bring him back slowly.  Hopefully, he'll be ready to race during the winter.


I'm putting together a Christmas present for my father and thought a nice thing to do would be to frame the pp's of the racehorses that he was a co-owner of back in the 80's. All of the horses ran at Canterbury Park in, I would say, 1987-89ish (I was pretty young at the time). The names of them were: Alterra, Guess Jeans, Diamond Vibes, and Starry Prospect. I'm not sure about the spelling of their names, but I thought I'd give it a whirl. Thanks in advance, Dan, for any help you may be able to provide.
Randy Dehmer

I couldn't find Alterra, but the other past performances are linked to the bottom of this blog post.


Dan- Know your a busy man,but maybe you can answer these questions... Take a meet like Tampa when it starts soon. How do I go about following the meet. Do I print out the charts everyday and file them in a notebook (oldschool way) or does DRF have something that will do that for me? Basically Dan, I'm looking for a step by step process to following a race meet using the plethora of technology we now have. Any help would be greatly appreciative.

The Formulator program will keep all the charts for you and there is space available to put your individual notes into the charts and past performances.  Thus, when you print out your personalized pp's, you'll have all of your thoughts, opinions, notes on the page with you.  It's probably the easiest way to follow an individual race meet.  Download the cards that you're going to play and your notes will always be saved within the program. 
Another way is to save each day's charts to your hard drive so you can reference them at will, but that might be a bit unwieldy.  Hope this helps.


Dan: Curiosity question for you. Why is a turf race carded to go at 1&1/16th listed as to go at 1 mile on the dirt if off the turf (as in the 9th at Aqueduct today, for example)? Why would the track not keep a rained off turf race carded at the same distance?
Keith L.

Aqueduct doesn't card 8 1/2-furlong races on the main track.  Thus, there must be a distance change when a race scheduled for that distance is moved from the turf course.


Dan (anyone?)
I noticed that J A Garcia won one of the Calder stakes today, and wondered if a. it is the Julio Garcia who's gotta be nearing 50 by now, and b. if you knew much about him. I've watched him for at least a decade, turning up here and there, sometimes for part of a meet, sometimes for a stakes race...
He pops up so infrequently, but on what seems like only live horses, and brings to mind sort of a reclusive, yet kind of carpetbaggy version of Craig Perret (for the last 5 or so years of his career - he's done racing, isn't he?).
Anyway, seeing that name just aroused a little curiosity, as he seems to have been around forever, always very talented, and one of those guys who you usually have a feeling is sitting on a live horse.
p ensign

It is Julio Garcia.  The 48-year-old journeyman is 12-55 in 2011 (21%, wins, 50% ITM, $1.64 ROI).  Garcia's first win in the United States, according to DRF Stats, came at Santa Anita on January 12, 1984.  Garcia is considered one of the top riders to come out of Puerto Rico and has held many records there. 


This week's HandiGambling exercise is Thursday's eighth race from Delta Downs. 

Remember that you have a mythical $100 with which to wager on the race, and the entrant with the highest money total will receive a "Monthly Enhanced 60-Card Past Performance Plan."
Anyone going over the $100 limit will be disqualified.
Please post your plays and analysis to the blog.
Please separate the play from the analysis and label the play "HG" with the program numbers (instead of the horse's name) for easier scoring.
In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference. One entry per person please.
I reserve the right to approve or deny any entries.
I know that there is a time issue for some of you, but 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. I'm 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.


RacingAptitude.pdf656.65 KB
BC Retirees.pdf102.49 KB
Canterbury.pdf74.16 KB
HGDelta.pdf166.29 KB