06/17/2015 3:36PM

Flying under the radar

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NOBLE BIRD, profiled in the May 6 edition of FormBlog (http://www.drf.com/blogs/4-year-olds-follow), continued his ascent in the older male division with a sharp victory over the salty LEA in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap last Saturday evening at Churchill Downs.

Trained by Mark Casse, Noble Bird was prominent throughout over the speed-friendly surface. The 4-year-old son of Birdstone was very eager leaving the gate, and he pulled jockey Shaun Bridgmohan hard going into the first turn. Once on the backstretch, Noble Bird settled down to track longshot pacesetter PAGANOL through legitimate fractions of 23.39 and 46.81.

Racing in the three path, Noble Bird attacked Paganol after six furlongs were completed in 1:10.93 and soon dispatched of that rival. Noble Bird coasted into the stretch, but had to dig deep to fend off Lea's final charge. Noble Bird crossed the wire a half-length better than Lea, finished the nine-furlongs in 1:47.94, and received a career-best 107 Beyer Speed Figure.
 


Assistant trainer Norman Casse, Mark Casse's son, was expecting a good effort from Noble Bird. "I’ve been around a lot of good horses and he’s been working about as good as I have seen a horse train – just week after week," Norman Casse told Churchill Downs publicity after the Stephen Foster. "Last summer we had him here before we went out to Del Mar and I told Dad back then that I thought that he was a very talented dirt horse. Things just didn’t happen that way and then he went to Oaklawn and he had to run on the dirt obviously. I just think that’s a testament to how gutsy this horse is. He’s trained extremely well and he wanted to win just as bad as we did. We’d probably have to look at the older horse races at Saratoga. I think he deserves to be in that discussion."

Lea was hardly disgraced in his first start since a third-place effort in the Dubai World Cup on March 28. He might have been compromised just a bit by the speed-favoring track, but tired hard as always. He's always a legitimate threat in these major races.

HOPPERTUNITY, winner of the Grade 1 Clark Handicap under the Twin Spires last fall, lacked a strong closing punch, but can be given another chance. It was his first race since early February and the speeds weren't coming back to him.

Noble Bird seems headed for a rematch with Lea in the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga. His good tactical speed makes him a player in that spot, and he could offer a hint of value with some major household names expected for the race.

***

Here are the WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 6/9/15 - 6/15/15:

1. NOBLE BIRD - 107 - Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - 13Jun15-8CD
2. CHECKUPFROMZNECKUP - 103 - OC 30k/N2X -N - 1 Mile - 12Jun15-3MTH
3. KNUCKLE CURVE - 102 - Md Sp Wt 73k - 6 Furlongs - 13Jun15-7BEL
3. TALCO (FR) - 102 - Shoemaker Mile (G1) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 13Jun15-5SA
5. HOLLYWOOD ANGEL - 100 - Alw 46500N3L - 1 Mile 70 Yards - 13Jun15-8PRX
6. KING KREESA - 99 - Poker Stakes (G3) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 13Jun15-5BEL
6. TOUCHOFSTARQUALITY - 99 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/8 Miles - 13Jun15-3BEL
8. BEHOLDER - 98 - Adoration Stakes (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles - 13Jun15-8SA
9. HOGY - 97 - OC 62k/C - 7 Furlongs (Polytrack) - 12Jun15-4AP
9. STRYKER PHD - 97 - Budweiser Handicap - 1 Mile - 14Jun15-8EMD
11. POOL WINNER - 96 - OC 22k/N1X -N - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - 13Jun15-11MTH
11. SHORE RUNNER - 96 - OC c-62k/N2X - 6 Furlongs (Turf) - 10Jun15-5BEL
13. DEKALB COUNTY - 95 - Alw 50000s - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 11Jun15-7BEL
13. FREESTYLER - 95 - OC 50k/N3X - 1 Mile 70 Yards - 13Jun15-3MTH
13. FRIVOLOUS - 95 - Fleur de Lis Handicap (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles - 13Jun15-7CD
13. NATIVE AMERICAN - 95 - Alw 40000NC - 6 Furlongs - 13Jun15-4CBY
17. CEMENT CLEMENT - 94 - Alw 12500s - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 13Jun15-7DEL
17. CLASS PRESIDENT - 94 - Alw 15000s - 1 3/8 Miles (Turf) - 12Jun15-6LS
19. A M MILKY WAY - 93 - Alw 40000NC - 6 Furlongs - 13Jun15-8CBY
19. FASNACLOICH - 93 - Justakiss Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 10Jun15-5DEL
19. FORIN SEA - 93 - Alw 29200NC - 5 1/2 Furlongs - 14Jun15-8ALB
19. HEAD SOUTH - 93 - OC 62k/N2X -N - About 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 14Jun15-7SA
19. SYNCHRONOUS - 93 - Alw 29500C - 5 Furlongs - 13Jun15-5PEN
24. DIDN'T TAKE IT - 92 - Clm 20000 - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - 15Jun15-4PRX
24. KILLIN ME SMALLS - 92 - Spangled Jimmy Handicap - 1 Mile - 13Jun15-7NP
24. VIGOROUS TITAN - 92 - Clm c-40000 - 6 Furlongs - 13Jun15-10CD
24. WATCH ME GO - 92 - OC 15k/C -N - 7 Furlongs - 11Jun15-8ALB

*NOBLE BIRD's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.

*SHORE RUNNER was claimed for $62,500 by trainer Joe Sharp from John Terranova II.

*VIGOROUS TITAN was claimed for $40,000 by trainer Bernard Flint from Chris Hartman.

***

In looking at Dan's beyer reports I didn't see
Lady Eli listed...does anyone know what she
got in her 5/31 race at Belmont?
thanks
Joe L.

LADY ELI received an 85 Beyer Speed Figure for her victory in the Wonder Again Stakes.

***

Steve T. sent in a FAQ on Trakus. It's posted at the bottom of this blog post.

***

You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.

Remember to check out DRF LIVE's VIDEO handicapping coverage at live.drf.com. Matt Bernier and I will be on at 12:30 ET on Thursday and Friday for some weekend stakes previews. The action begins at 2pm ET. Please tune in if you get the chance.

***

Congrats to Professor Molesap  for finishing first in the most recent HandiGambling tournament.

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

Let's go with Saturday's Grade 3 Obeah Stakes from Delaware for this week's exercise.

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

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.

HANDIGAMBLING:

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 "60-Card Quarterly Formulator 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!

Harpo
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A MORE DETAILED ANALYSIS IS ALWAYS APPRECIATED !
 
REMEMBER, IF YOU ARE DECLARED THE WINNER OF THE HANDIGAMBLING EXERCISE; PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM WITH YOUR DRF LOGIN AND PASSWORD IN ORDER TO ACCESS YOUR PRIZE PACKAGE.

ALSO, IF THE WINNER WOULD LIKE TO SELECT THE FOLLOWING WEEK'S RACE, PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM NO LATER THAN THE FOLLOWING WEDNESDAY MORNING (A SATURDAY RACE IS MOST IDEAL)

AttachmentSize
NOBLE BIRD.pdf652.47 KB
Trakus FAQ.pdf326.3 KB
Copy of HG Poker Stakes 6-13-15.xls207.74 KB
HGOBEAH.pdf196.09 KB