08/08/2012 12:30PM

Fort Larned = Fast!


Let's finally give FORT LARNED his due.  One of the fastest horses in the country with three triple-digit (all 108s over different surfaces and distances) Beyers going into the historic Grade 1 Whitney Invitational Handicap at Saratoga, Fort Larned was dismissed at 7-1 and made the cynics pay with a career-best 110 Beyer performance.  Being disrespected by the betting public is nothing new to Fort Larned.  He was 12-1 for his track record-breaking performance in the Grade 3 Skip Away Stakes on Florida Derby afternoon at Gulfstream, went off at 5-1 when second to Successful Dan's track record-breaking effort in the Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs and was 7-2 in the Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap on June 30.  In fact, Fort Larned has been favored only once out of sixteen career races. 

Ridden brilliantly by Brian Hernandez Jr., a young veteran making his first career appearance at Saratoga, Fort Larned broke sweetly from the far outside post and assumed an excellent position tracking pacesetters ENDORSMENT and RULE.  With a quick burst of speed, Fort Larned opened up on the field on the far turn and held off the late-kickers in the stretch.

If he stays sound, Fort Larned may return in the Grade 1 Woodward in early September.  He may actually go favored in that race.

As for the also-rans, RON THE GREEK, HYMN BOOK and FLAT OUT all gave their usual solid runs.  Flat Out may have a bit of upside as this was only his second start of the form cycle for trainer Bill Mott.

*Although INCLUDE ME OUT took the cake in the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes, a "Win and You're In" for the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic, I was taken with the late move made by third-place finisher AMANI.  Bred in Chile, Amani won 10 of 11 races in her native country, including a 25-length score in the Group 1 Alberto Solari Magnasco Stakes. The Hirsch was Amani's first start of the year and she came flying to get a piece of the purse.  More distance will be better for her and she should appreciate getting back to dirt at Santa Anita for trainer Neil Drysdale. 

*Trainer Todd Pletcher's juvenile performers have dominated the racing at Saratoga.  Going into Wednesday's racing, Pletcher-trained babies are 10-26 (38%) with a $3.46 return on investment.  JOCOSITY, a Sharp Humor colt that sold for $210,000 in March, won third-out on August 3 with a 95 Beyer Speed Figure.  The runner-up?  Pletcher-trained Midnight Taboo, who likely won't be a maiden for long. 

*MACHO MACHO paralyed a perfect trip into a graded stakes victory in the West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer.  Tracking a protracted pace battle between favored HANSEN and HERO OF ORDER, Macho Macho pounced at the right time and won a battle of attrition in the final furlong. 


Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from last week's races (7/30/12 - 8/5/12):

1.  FORT LARNED - 110 - Whitney Handicap (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - Saratoga
2.  POSEIDON'S WARRIOR - 104 - Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (G1) - 6 Furlongs - Saratoga
3.  SAGINAW - 103 - John Morrissey Stakes - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Saratoga
4.  SAN PABLO - 102 - Birdstone Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles - Saratoga
5.  TAPIZAR - 101 - West Virginia Governor's Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - Mountaineer
6.  GUAM TYPHOON - 100 - Senator Robert C. Byrd Memorial Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Mountaineer
7.  INCLUDE ME OUT - 99 - Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (G1) - 1 1/16 Miles (Polytrack) - Del Mar
7.  INDIANO - 99 - Giant Ryan Stakes - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Calder
7.  OBVIOUSLY (Ire) - 99 - OC 100k/C -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - Del Mar
7.  R KING OF THE ROAD - 99 - OC 75k/N3X -N - 6 Furlongs - Saratoga
11. ALPHA BETTOR - 98 - Seagram Cup (G3-C) - 1 1/16 Miles (Polytrack) - Woodbine
11. BISCOTTO - 98 - Alw 6400N2L - 6 Furlongs - River Downs
13. ACCESS LOVE - 97 - OC 16k/N1X - 6 Furlongs - Delaware
14. ALERT WARRIOR - 96 - Alw 40000N1X - 6 Furlongs - Penn National
14. SLUMBER (GB) - 96 - OC 50k/N2X -N - 1 3/16 Miles (Turf) - Saratoga
14. SPECTACULAR SKY - 96 - Barb's Dancer Stakes - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Calder
17. HARRODS CREEK - 95 - John's Call Stakes - 1 5/8 Miles (Turf) - Saratoga
17. JOCOSITY - 95 - Md Sp Wt 80k - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Saratoga
17. NOT A GIVEN - 95 - OC 32k/N2X -N - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Monmouth
17. RIVERSRUNRYLEE - 95 - OC 25k/N2X - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Calder
17. SHUDACUDAWUDYA - 95 - Jess Jackson Owners' Handicap - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - Santa Rosa2
22. BROTHER FRANCIS - 94 - Md Sp Wt 71k - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Del Mar
22. CHAMBERLAIN BRIDGE - 94 - My Frenchman Stakes - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Monmouth
22. EMMA'S ENCORE - 94 - Prioress Stakes (G1) - 6 Furlongs - Saratoga
22. MACHO MACHO - 94 - West Virginia Derby (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles - Mountaineer

FORT LARNED's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.


Please check out the latest video production from Jessica Pacheco, Racing Analyst at Arlington Park.  It's Part 11 of the "Behind the Silks" video series following jockey Tim Thornton through his ups and downs at this year's Arlington meet.

"Go Go White Sox"

In episode 11, join Tim as he heads to a Chicago White Sox game to throw out the first pitch. Tim gets to talk athlete to athlete with a few players and finds out that the White Sox may have another surprise or two in store for him.


All episodes, 1-11, can be found here:



LSD can you post the pps for Wrightwood & Sharp Cat ?

Their lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of the blog post.


Congrats to DSully for winning last week's HandiGambling exercise. 

Let's go with Friday's seventh race at Del Mar for this week's event.

Penn National Rick's scoresheet is 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.


On a side note, let's cut out some of the bickering on the comments session.  It's Del Mar and Saratoga season.  Let's enjoy it!

FortLarned.pdf61 KB
Sharp Cat.pdf57.29 KB
Wrightwood.pdf56.3 KB
HGDAISY.pdf162.31 KB
Copy of Formblog Contest HonorableMiss 8-3-12.xls39.5 KB