06/05/2008 7:43PM

Friday opinions, Belmont workout trends, etc.


Trying to catch up from last week so here are some props to the Handicapper(s) of the Week:

*PGM picked Starry Pursuit, Tall Texan, Quick Commander, the Zenyatta - Santa Teresita exacta, Heatseeker
*Robert SD scored with My Friend Luis
*Ed picked the cold exacta with Radius and Sgt. Military Major at Arlington.
*Tony SunShyne hit with Squeeze Me Tight, Stomp Dance, and De Car Guy at Hollywood.
*Alan nailed Callwood Dancer in the Nassau at Woodbine, Zenyatta, Acoma, and Malusita.
*Kyri picked Starry Pursuit, and the Within Reason - Tall Texan exacta box, Zenyatta, and the Sleepin In - Scout About exacta box.
*johnnyz had Raw Silk in the Sands Point, Zenyatta, and the Triple box in the Ohio Derby.
*cayman01 had Raw Silk.
*vicstu picked Smooth Air and the Trifecta box in the Ohio Derby, Zenyatta, and the Heatseeker - Tiago exacta.
*Arazi had Smooth Air, Spring Elusion, and Lorccan
*chicago gerry had Curly and Ride Em Cowgirl at Arlington.
*Greg liked Hermosillo.
*van savant also mentioned some live horses in his picks.
*larryk had the Big Booster - Jade's Revenge exacta
*Grey Tan or White selected Real Lift and Muscle 'n Mane


...Speaking of Forefathers, I was wondering if you have any plans to try him back on the turf?
I don't have his PP's in front of me, but I believe that his first ever start was on the turf in UK, and he didn't run well, but I wonder whether you have contemplated trying him again given his amazing turf pedigree? (Gone West out of a Lord at War Mare for those reading who don't know). Perhaps he would like a firm US turf course?...
James Mc.

Here are his past performances:

Download Forefathers.pdf

Although the Gone West - Lord at War pedigree screams turf, a closer look at his female family reveals more dirt influences.  His dam was unraced on grass (stakes-winner on dirt), and is a half-brother to Powis Castle (turf debut winner, but made the bulk of his living sprinting on the dirt).  I'm a fan of Forefathers, and it couldn't hurt to try him on the turf, but I don't think his problem is surface.  He just hasn't shown the requisite will to win when the big money is on the line.


Does anyone know whatever happened to Numanny?? I know he was last in UAE Derby on World Cup day, Godolphin Site doesn't have any plan listed for him or any horse for that matter. I was SO impressed with him at AQU when he broke his maiden. It was so impressive I knew that moment that he would go to Dubai and wear the Blue. It actually makes me sad to think about him, Etched, Diabolical, etc, etc..

Here is the Stewards Report for the UAE Derby (Numaany's last start):

"A post race veterinary examination of NUMAANY (USA) revealed the colt to be lame in the right hind. Trainer Mr S bin Suroor was advised that a Veterinary Certificate would be required prior to NUMAANY (USA) being permitted to be entered to race again."

I'll add him to our Disabled List when I get a chance.


What beyer did Rising Moon earn for his win at Belmont on Friday?  He ran a nice race.

Rising Moon was handed over to Richard Dutrow Jr., and has now won four in a row.  He earned a 95 Beyer for his win on Friday.


Should I keep plugging along or should I take a few weeks off and regroup?

I think if you need to ask the question, then you already know the answer.  You obviously know what you're doing, but every horseplayer needs a break from time to time to clear the cobwebs.  Whenever I'm mentally exhausted (most of the time), and take a break from handicapping, I find I see things better when I return from the layoff. 


what do you think about the hopes of stevie wonderboy....  he is often forgotten but when u look at the list of new sires... he jumps out at me because of his size, and the potential he had before he was injured....
joe peterson

I have mixed feelings about Stevie Wonderboy.  He was a brilliant racehorse (and precocious as well), but suffered from his share of injuries.  One has to wonder if he'll pass those infirmities on to his offspring.  He has a nice pedigree as he's inbred 3 x 3 to Weekend Surprise (the dam of Summer Squall and A.P. Indy).  He also has some turf influences in his female family so perhaps he'll be an underrated turf sire.


A couple of bloggers have termed Heatseeker's on the lead route yesterday "running them off their feet". I have always thought the term meant a fast fractioned blitz from the start or at least the 2nd quarter by a dedicated frontrunner (like Monterey Jazz's San Fernando blowout) and not a race without a true pace where an habitual stalker (Heatseeker) finds himself abreast of the lead in 24.72  and 48.15. Just curious about the definition and, if you can find it, where and who the phrase originated from.

I don't know the origins of the phrase, but I agree with you concerning the definition.  Heatseeker may have run them off their feet in the last quarter-mile when the race started to heat up, but usually the term is used for a horse that dominates a field in gate-to-wire fashion (you mentioned Monterey Jazz's San Fernando, but his Texas Mile win also would suffice).  Take nothing away from Heatseeker.  His versatility is a wonderful asset.


With Monmouth reopened, I have been fondly remembering a few old favorites, Bodacious Tatas(How on earth did that get past the Jockey Club?), Smart Marge and Born to Shop.  My brother just reminded me of a huge tri we hit back in the 80's when Smart Marge came hauling down the stretch to complete it.  I also wanted the link to find out if any of the fillies produced some nice babies.
Turn Back The Alarm

Here are the produce records:

Bodacious Tatas:
1992:  Barren (bred to Risen Star)
1993:  Indicators On (filly, by Risen Star) - 9-1-1-1, $23,420
1994:  No report
1995:  Slewdacious (filly, by Seattle Slew) - Unraced
1996:  Arrested (colt, by Deputy Minister) - 11-3-3-1, $106,740
1997:  Holy Paree (filly, by Holy Bull) - Unraced
1998:  Barren (bred to Holy Bull)
1999:  Box of Biscuits (colt, by Holy Bull) - 3-0-1-0, $3,500
2000:  Patron Silver (filly, by Holy Bull) - 5-1-0-1, $12,620
2001:  Tequesta (colt, by Saint Ballado) - 10-2-0-2, $59,860
2002:  Barren (bred to Awesome Again)

Smart Marge:
1992:  Foal Died (by Lil Fappi)
1993:  Not Bred
1994:  No report
1995:  No report
1996:  No report
1997:  No report
1998:  Barren (bred to Castle Guard)

Here are the lifetime past performances of the three horses you requested:

Download Oldies.pdf


dan, i was just trying to figure out who was the last winner of the belmont stakes not to have had a race over "big sandy"??

Last year, Rags to Riches made her Belmont debut in the third leg of the Triple Crown.  Prior to that, it was Sarava in 2002.


In any event, Dan, from a purely handicapping point of view, if you become aware that a horse spiked a fever close to a race, do you throw him out, or at a minimum downgrade that animal's chances to win like this public handicapper did? Would age make a difference in this situation?
chicago gerry

As with most handicapping angles (both positive and negative), it boils down to value.  Is the horse in question going to be a huge favorite.  If so, I'm not sure I want to gamble with an injury or illness.  If the horse is a substantial overlay, I'd be willing to overlook it, but my confidence would be lessened.  I wouldn't throw out a horse I really liked because of a fever, but I would downgrade his chances, and then weigh them against he off-time odds.


BTW, does anyone know exactly WHY BB was breezing for 5 furlongs? Almost every breeze I have seen in the past, the final work before the Belmont, was 4 furlongs. Risen Star? 4 Furlongs. Seattle Slew? 4 furlongs. Even this year, several of the other horses, including Denis of Cork and Anak Nakal, breezed 4 furlongs.

Horses that worked five furlongs or longer for their final pre-Belmont workout have done very well in recent years:

2007:  Rags to Riches (5 furlongs - 1:03.84 - six days before Belmont)
2006:  Jazil (5 furlongs - 59.65 - fourteen days before Belmont)
2005:  Afleet Alex (5 furlongs - 1:01.60 - ten days before Belmont)
2004:  Birdstone (6 furlongs - 1:15.34 - seven days before Belmont)
2003:  Empire Maker (6 furlongs - 1:13.05 - seven days before Belmont)


Re Wild Desert - did he ever win a race after the QP?  I remember betting against him successfully a couple of times.

Wild Desert went 0-8 after the Queen's Plate win.


In the form, what is the time frame for the trainer stats?  1-year, 3-years??.. just wondering. Today I caught a huge discrepancy on someone's end. Today 04Jun2008, CD8 Officer Rocket won at 5-1 for tr. R. Holthus. DRF's stats:  Turf/Dirt (13 starts, .08, $1.74), BRIS Ultimate PPs stats: +Turf to dirt (13 starts, 46%-win, 69%-ITM, +3.72ROI)What gives, who's right??? Please clarify if possible.  Later.

The DRF Trainer Stats in the past performances go back to January 1, 2007.  Formulator 4.1 users have the option of filtering statistics anytime within the past five years.  I went back two years, and found these stats for Holthus (including Officer Rocket):

26 starts, 4 wins, 15% wins, $1.72 ROI


I want to thank everyone for the wonderful content over the last few days.  The handicapping Q/A was excellent.

Back tomorrow with some opinions on the big day.

Take care,