07/07/2011 3:49PM

Flat-Out Fabulous, Nashoba's Excess, Hogy

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*A healthy FLAT OUT is a tiger.  The problem is keeping him healthy. 

A five-year-old son of Flatter that has been limited to nine lifetime starts due to various physical problems (quarter cracks, fractured shoulder), Flat Out was the kind of horse that frustrated handicappers.  Sure, he had talent, but his inability to change leads at crucial points often cost him major awards.  In the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap, however, Flat Out made his final switch on cue and then powered away to a 113 Beyer score. 
It was a much-needed performance for a handicap division that has been criticized due to a lack of depth and quality.  Flat Out didn't beat much in the Suburban, but he didn't beat much the right way, stalking a moderate pace while four wide before taking command for good at the head of the Belmont stretch. 
The win puts him in the mix as one of the top older males along with TWIRLING CANDY (expected to go heavily-favored in Saturday's Hollywood Gold Cup), Met Mile winner TIZWAY, FIRST DUDE (also entered in the Gold Cup) and SIDNEY'S CANDY.  These horses have all shown glimmers of brilliance, but haven't been overly consistent.  Hopefully, an older male will string several good races together and bring some clarity to the division.

*It seems that COURAGEOUS CAT is back.  The runner-up in the 2009 Breeders' Cup Mile missed most of his 4-year-old campaign, but is now undefeated in two graded stakes starts this season.  In the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park, Courageous Cat calmly stalked the pace of LIBERIAN FREIGHTER, put that one away with ease on the final turn, and then withstood a stern challenge from the solid CARACORTADO.  Courageous Cat was merely hand-ridden for the last eighth of a mile despite having Caracortado hanging on his flank.  The win vaults him to the top of the American turf milers, but the European shadows loom large with GOLDIKOVA, CANFORD CLIFFS and FRANKEL waiting in the wings.

*It's never too early to get excited about the babies and Todd Pletcher unveiled a promising one last week.  OVERDRIVEN, a $200,000 weanling that pinhooked for $350,000 the following season, won his five-furlong debut at Belmont with a 100 Beyer Speed Figure.  Owned by Repole Stable, Overdriven is a half-brother to multiple Grade 2 winner Smooth Air by Tale of the Cat. 

*The legendary Allen Jerkens looks to have a late-developing 3-year-old in the beautifully-bred BOLD WARRIOR.  By Bernardini out of multiple Grade 1 winner Hollywood Wildcat, Bold Warrior is a half to several stakes runners including Breeders' Cup Mile winner War Chant.  Bold Warrior took a seven-furlong, entry-level allowance at Belmont without much fuss and seems ready for stakes competition.

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Here are the top 25 Winning Beyer Speed Figures from last week's races (6/27-7/3):

1.  FLAT OUT - 113 - Suburban Handicap (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles - Belmont
2.  SMILING TIGER - 112 - Triple Bend Handicap (G1) - 7 Furlongs (Cushion Track) - Hollywood
3.  FLASHPOINT - 104 - Jersey Shore Stakes (G3) - 6 Furlongs - Monmouth
4.  CANDYMAN E - 103 - Clm 40000(40-35)N1X - 6 Furlongs - Delaware
4.  COURAGEOUS CAT - 103 - Shoemaker Mile (G1) - 1 Mile (Turf) - Hollywood
6.  CARBONITE - 103 - Clm 50000(50-45) - 6 Furlongs (Cushion Track) - Hollywood
6.  KENSEI - 103 - Salvator Mile (G3) - 1 Mile - Monmouth
6.  OVERDRIVEN - 100 - Md Sp Wt 58k - 5 Furlongs - Belmont
6.  TEAKS NORTH - 100 - United Nations Stakes (G1) - 1 3/8 Miles (Turf)
10. DON CAVALLO - 98 - Dominion Day Stakes (G3-C) - 1 1/4 Miles (Polytrack) - Woodbine
10. DOMINUS - 98 - Dwyer Stakes (Grade 2) - 1 1/16 Miles - Belmont
10. TAMARIND HALL - 98 - Bed 'O Roses Handicap (G3) - 7 Furlongs - Belmont
13. IMMORTAL EYES - 97 - Chesapeake Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Colonial
14. FUTURE PROSPECT - 95 - OC 62k/N2X - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Churchill
14. ROMACACA - 95 - Miss Liberty Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Monmouth
16. BOLD WARRIOR - 94 - OC 75k/N1X -N - 7 Furlongs - Belmont
16. COOL C NOTE - 94 - OC 80k/N3X -N - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Arlington
16. FORTUNE PLAY - 94 - Roxelana Stakes - 7 Furlongs - Churchill Downs
19. DEVIL BY DESIGN - 93 - Chicago Handicap (G3) - 7 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Arlington
19. HOUR BY HOUR - 93 - Dale Baird Memorial - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Mountaineer
19. LEROY'S DYNAMEAUX - 93 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - Hollywood
19. TRIP FOR A. J. - 93 - Liberada Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - Calder
19. WESTERN ROSES - 93 - Alw 29358N1X - 1 1/16 Miles - Pleasanton
24. AMERICAN LADY - 92 - Alw 61032N1X - 6 1/2 Furlongs (CUshion Track) - Hollywood
24. ELLAFITZ - 92 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Cushion Track) - Hollywood
24. ETERNAL RULE - 92 - Achievement Stakes - 6 FUrlongs (Polytrack) - Woodbine
24. GALLANT SON - 92 - Robert K. Kerlan Memorial Handicap - 6 Furlongs (Turf) - Hollywood
24. NO SUITCASES - 92 - OC 25k/N2X - 5 Furlongs - Penn National
24. RYAN'S GIFT - 92 - Alw 25000NC - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Finger Lakes
24. SLEVIN - 92 - OC 50k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - Belmont
24. SPORTY - 92 - Alw 62649N2X - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Churchill

Flat Out's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.

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*Hi Dan-
I loved Nashoba's Key... Carla Gaines was training another "Nashoba" horse (forget the exact name) - but I haven't seen anything since the first race or two... Can you tell me what happened?
Thanks alot!
*Hi Dan-
Nashoba's Excess was the name of the horse I was interested in finding out the status of.... (sorry for not havig the full name in my previous email).
Thanks again, for always being the one we can turn to with questions!
Tina

NASHOBA'S EXCESS last ran on July 5, 2010, winning a one-mile maiden special weight on the grass.  She had not shown a published workout since September 9. 
In an e-mail, trainer Carla Gaines wrote that "She has been taken out of training due to a hind end lameness.  She is now in foal to Birdstone."

***

Dan,
Crist and Watchmaker think the fillies should have their own Triple Crown series. I think,
they do. The present Triple Crown is open to both fillies and colts....what do you think?
Paul

I briefly touched upon the subject in the May 19 blog:'

"I know that the "Filly Triple Crown" concept is dead and buried, but it was always a regionalized series, based in New York around the Acorn, Mother Goose and Coaching Club American Oaks.

At present, we have fillies prepping seriously for the Kentucky Oaks, giving that one the college try, and then being freshened for races like the Alabama at Saratoga over the summer.

Perhaps a combination of the Kentucky Oaks, Black-Eyed Susan, and Mother Goose, all contested at nine furlongs, would make for an exciting Filly Triple that would keep the good sophomore ladies interested during the late spring.

A little bonus money wouldn't hurt, either."

I like the idea of a series for 3-year-old fillies.  Heck, I like a series of races for all of the divisions.  Put up some bonus money, make a point system for top three finishes and give the cash to the horse with the highest point total at the end of the year.

***

Dan
What is a net?
Ned Daly

I had never heard of it until Ms. Wolfendale pointed it out in the paddock.  GIANTS PLAY seems like a flighty filly and was rank in her most previous race.  From what I can gather, the net sits on a horse's nostrils and helps them settle.

***

Dan,
I'm wondering how you treat horses like Shrewd Operator the next time they race. In other words, a horse whose last race produced a Beyer 20 or more points higher than his/her career best. Do you throw out the race and mark it down to the stars aligning? Do you cut the number by a specific amount or cut it down to the horse's previous high? Clearly the horse had a great race, but a 7yo does not suddenly become Grade I caliber.
Mike

Mike, that's a great question.  SHREWD OPERATOR is a wonderful horse to take a stand for or against...depending on his price.  If he is thrown to the wolves in a graded stakes race, it's possible that the horse will be bet to underlay status based on one huge number.  In that case, you may want to disregard the one race and look at his total body of work as he faces tougher horses.  Conversely, if he is ignored in the wagering against better competition, you may want to give him an exotics chance at a good price.  Value must be your guide, no matter what. 
Let's say he shows up in a similar spot as the last race.  He would likely be pounded into heavy favoritism.  If you don't believe that he will duplicate the most recent run, you will get a great price on his opposition.
Shrewd Operator has always had talent.  Unfortunately, he's also been plagued by injuries.  Is a healthy Shrewd Operator good enough to beat the top dogs in a loaded division?  It's too early to tell.

***

Love your segments with Mike Beer on weekly stakes races.Read your
book on handicapping maidens. are you currently working on any new books...
Wayne Mitchell

Thanks for the kind words, Wayne.  I don't have anything in the works for now, but Mike and I will keep on trucking all year long with our free stakes videos on drf.com.  With Saratoga around the corner, I'm planning on doing my annual "Spa Babies" column that highlights the 2-year-old races at the Spa.

***

Hi Dan,
Great pick in the Bed O' Roses. Didn't that Handicap used to run at Aqueduct? I can recall my first trip to the Big A back in the 70's and seeing that race.
With Saratoga not too far away I was wondering if you could locate the PP of Whitmore's Conn who won the Sword Dancer in 2003.
Thanks as always for all your hard work and insight!
Bill M.

The Bed O' Roses was most recently run at the Big A back in 2009 when Seattle Smooth scored under Ramon Dominguez. 
Whitmore's Conn's past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.

***

...heads up about a 2 year old colt called HOGY. Two races 2 nice wins. HE is out of OFFIEE WILD by WILD AGAIN. Any info would be okay.
THANKS SWEDE.

HOGY is a gelded son of Offlee Wild (won the Grade 1 Suburban at 10 furlongs) out of Floy (0-1 lifetime) by Petionville.  The Offlee Wild - Petionville breeding 'nick' has also produced HEAVENVILLE, a multiple stakes-winner of $252,761.  This is the female family of multiple stakes-winner Fortunate Facts (30-7-4-7, $202,949) and Grade 3 winner General Royal.
Hogy was foaled in Kentucky on March 22, 2009, sold for $17,000 as a short yearling in January of 2010 and is trained by Joel Berndt.  He won his debut in an off-the-turf maiden special weight going five furlongs on the Arlington polytrack on June 11 with a 72 Beyer and followed that up with an entry-level optional claiming score at five furlongs with an 85 Beyer.  The Arlington-Washington Futurity may be a potential medium-range target.

***

Congrats to Spartan Tom for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling exercise.  This week's race is the eighth race at Belmont on Saturday.

PAST PERFORMANCES ARE AVAILABLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG POST.

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.

Best of luck to all

AttachmentSize
Flat Out.pdf656.15 KB
Whitmore's Conn.pdf56.42 KB
HG241.pdf195.51 KB