01/06/2016 5:43PM

Game win for San Onofre


Trainer Karen Headley's patience paid off in a big way last Saturday at Santa Anita as SAN ONOFRE earned his first stakes victory in the Grade 3 Midnight Lute Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs.

A talented, but ouchy, 6-year-old gelding by the quirky Surf Cat, San Onofre hadn't raced since the Grade 1 Triple Bend Stakes at Santa Anita way back on June 27. A scheduled start in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship on October 3 was scrapped after San Onofre was cast in his stall.

Despite the long layoff, Headley had San Onofre ready to fire. After being outsprinted early by the fleet multiple Grade 3 winner DISTINCTIV PASSION, San Onofre was on the chase from the two-path while being hard-ridden by Alex Solis. At the quarter pole, favored SALUTOS AMIGOS loomed on San Onofre's outside with the razor-sharp ALL RUN four wide, and they all collared Distinctiv Passion.

All Run flattened out when the real running began, but San Onofre kept digging, He held millionaire Salutos Amigos at bay in the lane to prevail in 1:14.82, a final time good enough for a 98 Beyer Speed Figure. Slow-starting PULLING G'S rallied mildly for third.

"He’s been training really, really good," Solis told track publicity following the Midnight Lute. "He’s a different horse these last six months, he’s a different horse in the mornings, you can see it. He’s stronger and happier and he showed it today."

Bred by Headley's father, Bruce, San Onofre was foaled in California on April 18, 2010. Bruce Headley campaigned Surf Cat to six Grade 2 victories at distances ranging from 6 1/2 to 9 furlongs on dirt and synthetic. Surf Cat earned Beyer Speed Figures of 100 or greater in 14 of 23 starts and cracked the 110 plateau three times.

The elder Headley also trained San Onofre's dam, Marrakech Gold (by Native Regent). The mare was unplaced from two starts, but has been a productive broodmare. Besides San Onofre, Marrakech Gold has foaled blacktype earners Scofield Barracks (stakes-placed sprinting on both dirt and cushion track) and Woman Warrior (won the restricted Alphabet Kisses Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs over the cushion track and was stakes-placed at one mile on turf).

San Onofre finished second in his career debut, a statebred maiden special weight going 6 1/2 furlongs at Santa Anita on December 31, 2012.

"He grabbed a quarter after his first race and I didn’t want to get him ready for Del Mar when it still had the Polytrack," Karen Headley told track publicity over the summer. "So I turned him out in my back yard and let him heal and mature."

San Onofre didn't race again until November 15, 2013, but he returned with a vengeance, taking four consecutive sprints by a combined 17 lengths. Just when it looked like San Onofre was on the cusp of stakes success, he went to the sidelines again with an undisclosed injury.

This time, San Onofre was out for over 11 months. He finished a good second in his return race, the $150,000 California Cup Sprint at six furlongs on January 24, 2015. A little over two months later, San Onofre finished second to Masochistic in the Grade 2 Kona Gold Stakes. In that spot, San Onofre and Masochistic dueled from the opening bell with the favorite getting the better of San Onofre in the final furlong.

A horse known for his keen early speed, San Onofre rated nicely in his next start, the Grade 3 Los Angeles Stakes on May 25. He tracked Distinctive Passion while three and four wide on the backstretch, attacked that foe with gusto in the stretch and finished a game second with a good gallop-out.

San Onofre was back on his early bicycle in the Triple Bend, duking it out with Masochistic before tiring on the far turn. It appears that he is just as comfortable from chase mode, however, and he would be a very strong fit in a race like the California Cup Sprint on January 30.


Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 12/29/15 - 1/4/16:

1. FLAMBOYANT (FR) - 104 - San Gabriel Stakes (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 2Jan16-8SA
2. DAD'Z LAUGH - 99 - Clm c-12500 - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - 3Jan16-5AQU
3. SAN ONOFRE - 98 - Midnight Lute Stakes (G3) - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 2Jan16-6SA
4. ANGRY MOON - 97 - Clm 40000 - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - 30Dec15-3AQU
5. ITSAKNOCKOUT - 96 - OC 75k/N3X -N - 1 Mile - 31Dec15-4GP
5. PAGE MCKENNEY - 96 - Native Dancer Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - 2Jan16-7LRL
5. PRIZE EXHIBIT (GB) - 96 - Monrovia Stakes (G2) - About 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 3Jan16-7SA
8. IMAGE OF JOPLIN - 95 - Clm 50000(50-45) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 3Jan16-9SA
9. BIRDSONE - 94 - OC30k/SAL17k - 1 1/16 Miles - 31Dec15-8FG
9. IMSLOPOKERODRIGUEZ - 94 - Md c-40000 - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - 2Jan16-4AQU
9. SUPERSTAR LEO - 94 - OC 30k/N$Y -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 1Jan16-6HAW
12. RISE UP - 93 - OC 30k/C -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs -  30Dec15-8DED
13. GEAUX METS - 92 - OC 40k/N2X - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - 31Dec15-7AQU
13. LONGFOR THE CITY - 92 - Clm c-25000 - 1 Mile (Inner Dirt) - 3Jan16-1AQU
13. NAVAL GAZER - 92 - Alw 20097N3L - 1 Mile (Polytrack) - 1Jan16-7TP
13. SEND IT IN - 92 - OC 40k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Inner Dirt) - 30Dec15-8AQU
17. DAY OF FURY - 91 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Inner Dirt) - 2Jan16-7AQU
17. DETERRENT - 91 - Clm 16000 - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - 1Jan16-7GP
17. DRUM ROLL - 91 - Alw ---s - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - 2Jan16-1AQU
17. EL GRANDE ROJO - 91 - OC 32k/N2X - 7 Furlongs - 30Dec15-3TAM
17. GREY WIZARD - 91 - OC 25k/C -N - 1 7/16 Miles (Turf) - 31Dec15-6GP
22. CAUTIOUS GIANT - 90 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - 1Jan16-8SA
22. FLEXIBILITY - 90 - Jerome Stakes (G3) - 1 Mile 70 Yards (Inner Dirt) - 2Jan16-8AQU
22. GREAT STUFF - 90 - OC 17k/N1X -N - 1 Mile 70 Yards - 31Dec15-5FG
22. MAY BE A DIAMOND - 90 - Md Sp Wt 60k - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - 3Jan16-4AQU
22. STORM POWER - 90 - OC 40k/N1Y -N - 5 1/2 Furlongs - 3Jan16-4TUP
22. SHAKEN NOT STIRRED - 90 - Alw 35000C - 1 Mile - 31Dec15-8GP

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

*DAD'Z LAUGH was claimed for $12,500 by trainer David Jacobson from Michael Pino.

*IMSLOPOKERODRIGUEZ was claimed for $40,000 by trainer Danny Gargan from Rudy Rodriguez.

*LONGFOR THE CITY was claimed for $25,000 by trainer Rudy Rodriguez from Danny Gargan.


Would like your thoughts on the Saturday Beyers at GP. The dirt races seem way too slow. I know it's tough to do all those year old races, with MSWs in the mix especially, but you'd expect general improvement in these from 2 to 3, even first off the bench.
If Awesome Banner gets an 88, then the rest of the field except one horse goes backwards - some (like Full Salute) big time. If Lucy N Ethel gets an 81, then every horse except the place horse goes backwards. If Awesome Speed gets an 85, then again every horse but the place horse goes backwards. It also means that the maiden winner in the 11th ran in the 60s, and the others including a $500k horse ran in the 50s.

I'm going to trust these numbers based on the 80 Beyer than R GIRLS A CHARMER ran in the ninth race, a six-furlong maiden special weight for 3-year-old fillies. She won "handily" in 1:10.10 and improved 18 Beyer points to an 80. The third-place finisher improved 3 points to a 53. Those seem like very reasonable Beyers.

If you believe those figures, then it's not a reach to think that the undefeated Lucy N Ethel (1:10.03 in a weak edition of the Grade 3 Old Hat) truly earned an 81 and the debut winner BAR NONE (in a woefully slow 1:11.59) deserved a 59.

It's difficult to project a figure for Awesome Banner, who had previously won a 4 1/2-furlong race at Gulfstream in June. He ran a fast race in the Hutcheson (1:09.57) and the 88 Beyer seems fair when compared to the other six-furlong races on the card. True, the other horses in the Hutcheson regressed, but it's not like the drops are precipitous. The runner-up moved down six points from his last race and five from the debut try. Third-finisher Sheikh of Sheikhs dropped 10 points. but it's a number that's comparable to his winning debut (only five points worse). Full Salute earned the same number he received when he bombed in New York.


Video stakes analyses for many of the weekend's major stakes will be available later this week at http://www.drf.com/videos

You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.

I'll be with Matt Bernier and Mike Beer for live racing coverage beginning at 3pm ET at live.drf.com.


Here's a note from SR Vegas concerning an NHC Tournament blog get-together in Las Vegas:

To Everyone:
The 2016 FORMBLOGERS CONVENTION  February 19 - 21 at Gulfstream Park is a wonderful weekend and our Laura does a fantastic job in coordinating all the activities there. Please attend if you can !

As an alternative, I’d also like you to think about The Formblog–mini–West-Coast get-together at The NHC Tournament in Las Vegas.

Dates: January  28-30

If you are coming to town, please raise your hand. I'll be putting together a casual cocktail/dinner meet and greet for our Formblog friends on Jan 27th and a post tournament brunch on  Jan 31 (for those who have later flights that day). Details TBD.

Whether you are a qualifier, friends or family coming to town to root them on, or enjoying your time in Las Vegas, let me know.

Anyone interested ? Please contact me at:



Here's a message from Laura regarding our 2016 FormBlog Convention at Gulfstream Park:

Make plans to attend the 2016 FORMBLOGERS CONVENTION! February 19 - 21 at Gulfstream Park. Courtesy of our generous benefactor, Mike Nyman, we once again have a private suite - temperamental wagering machine included.
Room discounts at the Hampton Inn across the street from the track are available. With the discount, the rooms run about $200/night including taxes and free breakfast buffet. (The Romance Package is extra and hotel management is very strict about that).
We always have a fun time - even when the track gets washed away! Besides the pleasure of each other's company - and that of our fearless leader, Dan Who, there will be Breeders' Cup swag, and more! Previous years, courtesy of SR Vegas, we included Derby Futures Tickets given in raffles throughout the weekend (everyone winds up with one!), and other fun stuff.
I'll have more info available in the next few weeks. I offer FREE! transportation to/from the Ft. Lauderdale airport.
If you have any questions, please contact me at: lross@imtbreds.com


Congrats to Gerry V. for winning last week's HandiGambling contest.

We'll go with Saturday's Fort Lauderdale at Gulfstream for this week's exercise.


SR Vegas has updated the 2015 standings 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.


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!




Copy of DRF HG formblog Daytona Stakes 12 26 15.xls18.92 KB
HG 2015 Year end Update.doc17.08 KB
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RANDO, I see the odds maker is really liking your ZULU in that race at GP on Sat. He made him 6-5! :) Good luck!!! Annie
ed More than 1 year ago
Curt, Small world isn't it. We probably bumped into each other now and again at GS because I was there 1000's of times and even worked there. Do you remember the horse Come Home Richard? He ran every other week in yes, a $3000 claimer. Maybe I just remember those races best because there sure were a lot of them. I saw Riva Ridge and Secretariat run on the same day. It was a special day. I was blessed to see them. As for a premier track, I do disagree. And did you really think the new glass and steel clubhouse was spectacular? They reopened the new clubhouse in 1987 and what did it last, 5 years? I guess the regulars agreed more with me than with you. After it closed, I had to go to the now Parx track , AC or Delaware Park to see live racing. I loved my time at GS, but we definitely have different tastes. To each their own. As for the Latin Casino and the Rickshaw Inn, I will add the Hawaiian Cottage. A nice trip to the past. They are all gone. A list and all. Go figure. Curt, good luck this year and I wish you nothing but success. Born in Philly and raised in South Jersey. edb
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SR Vegas, I went over to Horse Player Now to check things out. Interesting. While there, I discovered something that is so weird. There is a horse named DREAM TEAM, trained by Bob Baffert that is on their list and is also on Wynn's Derby Futures. This horse was born in 2012! He is 4 years old. He CANNOT run in the 2016 Kentucky Derby. :) Why is he on these lists? Btw, he is 250-1 on Wynn's and has remained there since the first Wynn list came out. Luckily bettors are sharper than those making the lists. Annie
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Annie Glad to see my MKB GIFT BOX made Mike Watchmakers short list. Over at Horse Player Now he is a Rising Star ( Countdown to the Crown publication) He needs to start his workouts if he is going to show his stuff. Us Owners can be so impatient ! ------------------------------------------------------ Uncle Mike A, DavidM9999 Nice to see you both back. All I need is Uncle Steve. Where is he ? David M Good luck in 2016 with your new acquisitions. They will go on my HW list :) SR Vegas
Harold Crenshaw More than 1 year ago
Mike Good post and is very similar to my method of "would, could and should". When I handicap I like to eliminate.and can do that on form alone..for some of them. I would say that my biggest strength is elimination and I am proud to say that I rarely am left with muttering "what the heck happened?". Would.......circumstances have to go their way to win......and this is the best source of LONG LONG LONG bombs. Could.....not everything has to go their way...but they have the talent and speed to "do it". Most of my picks come from this area. Should....the likely winner. I rarely play these types as a Win bet....but will key on top. Some of these even go one step further in my lexicon. the "They ain't losing" type of horse. The added caveat is of course the PADDOCK/Warm up view.......where the should and "they ain't losing" can go into the discard pile....and the woulds and the shoulds can go to the should or the rarefied air of "they ain't losing". In other words CAPABLE.
DavidM9999 More than 1 year ago
Groundhog Day is one of my favorite movies. Sometimes things can be a bit like that movie. For those interested Curveball Lily had her first breeze this week at FG. She went 2F and galloped out 3F in 37.80. Larry reported she is happy running so I suppose at this point she likes life. Most Ice Box's have been very disappointing. I have no aspirations she wins the Oaks but let's hope she stays together then gets her chance to show what level of ability is there. She is in capable handles with Jones. AK's Candy and Huddy Buddy will both go to FG soon to begin their careers. The pedigrees are a bit better and reports from the handlers are good. Generally I have found care givers are positive folks. One is with Clyde Martin and the other with Rebecca Maker on farms. I appreciate the care they have provided. 2016 should be an interesting year. 2015 was not my best gambling. I am never afraid to post about losing and generally do that more regularly than posting about past winners. The simple fact is I have more material to work with on the losing side. The losses this year were not from rigged races. They were not from a DQ or single miss. But rather an accumulation of losing bets mostly on races outside my strength area. I use the word "strength" very loosely but with maidens and turf I generally can hold my own. My gambling results are not always a loss as I have good years and bad but 2015 was not one to be particularly proud of. I did go to a number of tracks having wonderful experiences. I own a percentage in a few horses so that was a new chapter too. The several grand spent with DRF did go a ways in educating me more on certain areas of racing. I was able to share the information with a number of friends who were very grateful. Some had major scores and that makes me very happy. I do root for others. So now 2016 begins with hope anew.
Curt Vassallo More than 1 year ago
Ed, Garden State Park, home to $3000-$5000 claimers? I doubt that. & to see Riva Ridge & Secretariat run there too? I'm awful afraid that nothing could be further from the truth about the claimers. You really must have Ur tracks confused. Garden State was a premier Race Track in the United States & top notch facility before the fire that destroyed the old place. & I was there that fateful day. & The new Garden was even more spectacular. I was born & grew up & spent 52 years of my life in Philly{GS was directly across the Ben Franklin Bridge & on Haddonfield Rd. & Route 70}. I frequented Garden State 1000's of times. & I also worked in Bala Cynwyd too !!! Again. sorry to disagree w/U. But, U are definitely mistaken greatly. Remember the Rickshaw Inn? 5 Star hotel. 180 glamorous rooms. Then how about the Latin Casino? Both were for the A Listers. & That's my story & I'm sticking to that. Born & raised in Philly. Curt V.
ed More than 1 year ago
Congrats to Kenny G on his win. Maybe he is Commish G? You never know. Nice handicapping to Ned. GBL, My start to horse racing began with my first trip to Garden State Park. My best friend"s parents took us both to the track. His father had a part time job sweeping the stands for four hours after the races were over. I won my first race with $2 on Laplander and he paid $9 to win. I was hooked. We both also got jobs sweeping and got the free pass into the track. GS was the home of $3000-$5000 claimers. Talk about having to watch the post parade to make sure your horse was healthy. It is a lost tool to wagering. Another plus was the Found Money due to late scratches. I always had a card of all the scratches on me and found at least $200 in scratches each meet. I also worked with track people who would give a tip now and again to my delight. Plus I got to see Riva Ridge and Secretariat run. How great is that. It was a great start to a lifelong passion. I also had a job at a horse breeding farm for one summer. I have nothing but respect for the hard work that goes into taking care of the horses. The first time I saw the process, I needed a cigarette. And I didn't even smoke!!!! That's my story and I'm sticking to it. edb
Norm G. More than 1 year ago
Mike A LOL!!!! Nice analysis of last weeks HG. YFL
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MKB UPDATE: Let's see who Mike Watchmaker thinks are the top ten three-year-olds as of Jan. 11th: 1. MIKE O'S Mohaymen 2. JIM LEHMAN'S Nyquist 3. ALAN'S Airoforce 4. TURNBACKTHEALARM'S Swipe 5. ALFREDO'S Brody's Cause 6. PROFESSOR MOLESAP'S Flexibility 7. LEFTYGOLFER'S Mor Spirit 8. SR VEGAS' Gift Box 9. RON Z (AOS) Exaggerator 10. KNM (AOS) Greenpointcrusader Well, what do you know, all ten are MKBs. :) Looks like we are in pretty good shape. If you are not on the list at this time, remember, it's a long way to May. Annie