10/04/2011 4:25PM

Flat-Out Underrated Dudes

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They're the blue-collar battlers that don't get any respect. 

No matter what FLAT OUT achieves or GAME ON DUDE accomplishes, they may never wow the racing fans and media. 

It's a shame. 

I know that UNCLE MO is a champion and a marquee name. 

I know that Havre de Grace is a top filly that deserves recognition for her stellar campaign. 

They deserve all of their accolades.   

It just seems that nobody mentions Flat Out or Game On Dude when discussing the Breeders' Cup Classic.

After the Super Saturday card at Belmont Park, racing fans and media were beginning to salivate over a potential Uncle Mo - Havre de Grace matchup at Churchill Downs. 

Both equine stars bring headline-worthy tales. 

Uncle Mo's story is one of redemption.  The undefeated juvenile champion suffered a shocking defeat in the Wood Memorial and was withdrawn from the Triple Crown series due to a rare liver disorder.  A golden boy of the sport since his career debut last summer at Saratoga, Uncle Mo courageously fought back from his illness and stands on the cusp of a remarkable achievement, a victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic. 

Havre de Grace, a filly that defeated males in the Woodward Stakes, will attempt to emulate Zenyatta as a female racer that won the top prize in the Classic.  She brings "Girl Power" to the dance and that timeless story always receives a ton of play in the papers and blogs. 

What about Flat Out and Game On Dude?

Flat Out, like Uncle Mo, has had his share of physical setbacks.  Following a fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes in 2009, he bruised a heel.  After finishing sixth in the Grade 2 Arkansas Derby two months later, he fractured his right shoulder and missed almost 20 months while battling chronic quarter cracks. 
Since his return, however, Flat Out has compiled a record of 7-3-3-0 with wins in the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap and Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup.  He also finished second in the Grade 1 Whitney and Grade 1 Woodward at Saratoga (the latter behind Havre de Grace).  At 10 furlongs, the distance of the Breeders' Cup Classic, he is 1-1-0-0.   In the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Flat Out ran his usual professional race, defeating Travers winner Stay Thirsty.

Game On Dude returned from poor performances and a lung infection to win last year's Grade 3 Lone Star Derby.  After finishing fourth in the Belmont Stakes, Game On Dude's sophomore season ended prematurely due to an ankle injury.  Since his return, his record stands at 7-3-2-1.  At 10 furlongs, Game On Dude is 3-1-1-0 with a victory in the historic Santa Anita Handicap.  In the Goodwood on Saturday, Game On Dude was embroiled in a speed duel from the start and still held gamely in the stretch to outlast the hickory millionaire Awesome Gem and Haskell hero Coil.

Perhaps Flat Out is a Belmont horse for course and Game On Dude has a love affair with Santa Anita.  Still, they have accounted for wins in the Big 'Cap, the Goodwood, the Suburban and the Jockey Club Gold Cup while rounding out the exacta in the Whitney, Woodward and Hollywood Gold Cup.  They may not be as spectacular as the classy Uncle Mo or the brilliant Havre de Grace, but they sure are consistent.

Going into the Classic, Uncle Mo (untried at the trip) and Havre de Grace both seek their first win at 1 1/4 miles (although Havre de Grace narrowly missed twice at the distance).  If the distance is the great equalizer, as many racing fans believe, then Flat Out and Game On Dude are intriguing alternatives to the big names.

At the very least, they deserve some press.

***

Here are the top 25 Winning Beyer Speed Figures from last week's races (9/25/11 - 10/2/11):

1.   UNCLE MO - 118 - Kelso Handicap (G2) - 1 Mile - Belmont
2.   PLUM PRETTY - 108 - Cotillion Handicap (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - Parx
3.   FLAT OUT - 107 - Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles - Belmont
4.   HAVRE DE GRACE - 105 - Beldame Invitational (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - Belmont
5.   CAPE BLANCO (Ire) - 104 - Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational (G1) - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - Belmont
5.   GIANT RYAN - 104 - Vosburgh Invitational (G1) - Belmont - 6 Furlongs
7.   ACCLAMATION - 103 - Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (G2) - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - Santa Anita
7.   WILBURN - 103 - Indiana Derby - 1 1/16 Miles - Hoosier
9.   GAME ON DUDE - 102 - Goodwood Stakes (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - Santa Anita
10.  ATTICUS JACK - 100 - Ralph M. Hinds Handicap - 1 1/8 Miles - Fairplex
10.  SHUDACUDAWUDYA - 100 - Alw 41180NC - 6 Furlongs (Tapeta) - Golden Gate
10.  STACELITA (Fr) - 100 - Flower Bowl Invitational (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - Belmont
13.  GLENWOOD CANYON - 99 - Michael G. Schaefer Memorial Mile - 1 Mile - Hoosier
13.  PRETTY BOY FREUD - 99 - Corma Ray Stakes - 7 Furlongs - Belmont
15.  ARTEFACTO - 97 - OC 25k/N2X -N - 5 Furlongs - Calder
15.  DAZZLED SAINT - 97 - Alw 64200NC - 4 1/2 Furlongs (Tapeta) - Presque Isle
15.  DUBAWI HEIGHTS (GB) - 97 - Yellow Ribbon Stakes (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - Santa Anita
15.  EIGHTTOFASTTOCATCH - 97 - Maryland Million Classic - 1 1/8 Miles - Laurel
15.  GOLDEN MYSTERY - 97 - Alw 82510N$Y - 6 Furlongs - Parx
20.  CITY WOLF - 96 - Durham Cup (G3-C) - 1 1/8 Miles (Polytrack) - Woodbine
21.  ARIANA D - 95 - Avowal Stakes - 7 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Woodbine
21.  BEN'S CAT - 96 - Maryland Million Turf Sprint Handicap - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Laurel
21.  BROKEN DREAMS - 96 - Senator Ken Maddy Stakes (G3) - About 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Santa Anita
21.  ZAZU - 96 - Lady's Secret Stakes (G1) - 1 1/16 Miles - Santa Anita
25.  CENTRALINTELLIGENCE - 94 - Alw 51230N1X - 6 Furlongs - Santa Anita
25.  HEIR JOE - 94 - Clm 15000(15-10)N2L - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Turfway
25.  HUMBLE SMARTY - 94 - David M. Vance Sprint Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Remington
25.  JOE HOLLYWOOD - 94 - OC 35k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - Monmouth
25.  SOUTHERN DUDE - 94 - OC 35k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - Hawthorne
25.  SPANIARD - 94 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 7 Furlongs - Santa Anita

Uncle Mo's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.

***

Dan -
I drove up to Hoosier this afternoon to watch a friend's first time starter Aint She A Saint, an Indiana-bred who won the 7th convincingly in 1:10 for six furlongs. Could you tell me what BSF she earned for that debut performance?
Mike D

Aint She a Saint, a juvenile filly by Saintly Look, won her career debut by 6 1/2 lengths on September 28 over a muddy Hoosier Park oval with a 79 Beyer Speed Figure. If you believe the fractions, Aint She a Saint ran her last eighth in 10.38 after racing four wide throughout. 

***

I've always considered Valdivia to be a competent rider. My off the cuff impression is that he's better on grass & better on closers. Steve T would probably have long term stats that show Valdivia in the proper light though. Steve or LSD are the guys that can give you more than an opinion on him.
blackseabass

Here are some of jockey Jose Valdivia's statistics:

Overall:  1179-10849 (10%, $1.59 ROI)
Allowance:  236-2147 (10%, $1.52 ROI)
Claiming:  339-3040 (11%, $1.47 ROI)
Turf:  302-3210 (9%, $1.50 ROI)
Routes:  499-4733 (10%, $1.60 ROI)
Sprints:  680-6116 (11%, $1.58 ROI)
Stakes:  119-1159 (10%, $1.51 ROI)
Speed (within less than 1 length):  466-2474 (18%, $2.51 ROI)
Graded Stakes:  47-551 (8%, $1.32 ROI)
Turf Sprints:  93-881 (10%, $1.44 ROI)
Turf Routes:  209-2329 (8%, $1.52 ROI)

***

Congrats to Joe L. for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling exercise.  This week's race will be Wednesday's ninth at Hawthorne.

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.

 

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UncleMo.pdf52.52 KB
HG253.pdf196.21 KB