02/18/2015 12:47PM

Golden Lad back on track


Todd Pletcher's patience was rewarded when GOLDEN LAD, making his second start off a long layoff, took down multiple Grade 1-placed RIDE ON CURLIN in the $100,000 Essex Handicap at Oaklawn Park.

"He just kind of flattened out in the Pimlico Special and seemed a little jammed up coming out of it," Pletcher told Gulfstream Park publicity prior to Golden Lad's 2015 debut around a one-turn mile in the Grade 3 Hal's Hope Stakes on January 10. "We decided to stop on him and give him a little break.”

Although Golden Lad ended up last in the Hal's Hope, the race gave him good foundation. He set a pressured pace along the inside, and simply couldn't finish with horses like LEA, who returned to run an excellent second (with a gaudy 112 Beyer Speed Figure) in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap.

In fact, all five of the horses exiting the Hal's Hope have come back to earn triple-digit Beyers. VALID, fourth in the Hal's Hope, next grabbed the Grade 3 Fred W. Hooper Stakes with a 107 Beyer.

Following the Hal's Hope, Pletcher opted for the Essex, a logical spot considering that Golden Lad captured the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn last winter.

Ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr., Golden Lad broke nicely and settled in a good stalking position while clear of traffic. Golden Lad inched up to press fractions of 23.55 and 47.70 while three paths wide, took over the lead turning for home and always had enough to fend off Ride On Curlin's late flurry. Golden Lad raced the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.05 and received a career-best 103 Beyer.

As for Ride On Curlin, the 2014 Preakness runner-up is now 0 for 10 in route races. Although he has performed well going long (third in the Champagne, Southwest and Rebel Stakes, second in the Arkansas Derby and Preakness), he seems better-suited as a late-running sprinter.

It is likely that Ride On Curlin will continue routing for the near future. After all, this was only his second race since the Belmont Stakes. While he can be very competitive in middle-distance events, I believe he'll show his best when shortened up in trip down the road.

Golden Lad is a homebred racing for E. Paul Robsham Stables. Foaled in Kentucky on March 24, 2010, the son of Medaglia d'Oro is a half-brother to Grade 2 sprint winner Broadway's Alibi and multiple stakes-winning router R Gypsy Gold.

The dam, Broadway Gold (by Seeking the Gold), is a stakes-winning dirt sprinter and a half-sister to Florida Derby winner Dialed In. The second dam was Grade 2-placed sprinting on dirt and is a daughter of multiple Grade 1 winner Eliza.

Let's not mistake Golden Lad for Shared Belief. The Pletcher-runner isn't of that caliber. He is capable of knocking down Grade 2 and Grade 3 races at middle distances, however. It's possible that Golden Lad will return to Oaklawn to defend his Razorback crown on March 14.


Here are the top WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 2/10/15 - 2/16/15:

1. DUKATI - 107 - Alw 46000N1X - 6 Furlongs - 14Feb15-9PRX
2. GOLDEN LAD - 103 - Essex Handicap - 1 1/16 Miles - 14Feb15-9OP
3. CAPTAIN GENIUS - 99 - OC 35k/N2X - 6 Furlongs - 13Feb15-8OP
3. HOLY LUTE - 99 - OC 62k/N2X -N - About 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 12Feb15-2SA
3. LADY SABELIA - 99 - Barbara Fritchie Handicap (G2) - 7 Furlongs - 14Feb15-8LRL
6. INDYCOTT - 98 - OC20k/SAL10k - 1 Mile - 14Feb15-6FG
6. MERRY MEADOW - 98 - Hurricane Bertie Stakes (G3) - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 14Feb15-10GP
6. MISCONNECT - 98 - General George Handicap (G3) - 7 Furlongs - 16Feb15-9LRL
9. ROSE BRIER - 97 - OC25k/SAL25k - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 16Feb15-8GP
10. CATCH A FLIGHT (ARG) - 95 - OC 40k/N1X -N - 1 1/8 Miles - 13Feb15-4SA
10. MUFAJAAH - 95 - Bayakoa Stakes (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles - 15Feb15-8OP
10. NEXTDOORNEIGHBOR - 95 - Clm 14000(16-14) - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 16Feb15-1SA
10. PAGE MCKENNEY - 95 - John B. campbell Handicap - 1 1/8 Miles - 14Feb15-7LRL
10. SCAM - 95 - OC 25k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - 16Feb15-9PRX
15. AZ RIDGE - 94 - Turf Paradise Handicap - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 14Feb15-7TUP
15. KARIBU GARDENS - 94 - OC 100k/C -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 13Feb15-8GP
15. MONGOLIAN SATURDAY - 94 - OC25k/SAL25k - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - 12Feb15-9GP
15. WARREN'S VENEDA - 94 - Santa Maria Stakes (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - 14Feb15-8SA
19. COACH INGE - 93 - Alw 67000N1X - 1 Mile (Inner Dirt) - 11Feb15-5AQU
19. DIVERSY HARBOR - 93 - Buena Vista Stakes (G2) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 16Feb15-7SA
19. SARATOGA SNACKS - 93 - Alw 69000NC - 1 Mile (Inner Dirt) - 12Feb15-7AQU
22. ABSOLUTELY COOL - 92 - Phoenix Gold Cup Handicap - 6 Furlongs - 14Feb15-6TUP
22. DAN'S GOLD - 92 - Alw 8000s - 6 Furlongs - 13Feb15-3PEN
22. EVAN'S CALLING - 92 - OC 50k/N1Y -N - 1 1/16 Miles - 12Feb15-8OP
22. GOLD SHIELD - 92 - Md Sp Wt 40k - 1 1/8 Miles - 14Feb15-5GP
22. POWER JAM - 92 - Md Sp Wt 56k - 6 Furlongs - 14Feb15-2SA

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

For those of you beginning to come down with a dose of Kentucky Derby fever, I've posted the lifetime past performances of the last 22 winners. Let me know if you find any interesting patterns.


Annie and SR Vegas have compiled an updated version of "The 2015 MKB Book of Kentucky Derby Prospects." I have attached it to the bottom of this blog post. Enjoy!


You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.

Remember to check out DRF LIVE's streaming handicapping analysis of Saturday's racing action. Matt Bernier and I will kick things off at 12:30 ET.

The video previews for the weekend graded stakes races will be available later in the week at the following link:



Congrats to SR Vegas for finishing first in the most recent HandiGambling tournament.

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

On tab 2 you will see each HG Race we've held and they are color coded to denote if the race was run on Turf, Dirt or Poly.

Let's go with Saturday's Risen Star Stakes from Fair Grounds for this week's HandiGambling event.


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!




DUkATI.pdf721.95 KB
2015 MKB Bio Document 2 10 15.pdf394.86 KB
Copy of Formblog El Camino Derby 2-14-15.xls71 KB
Rick Marciniak More than 1 year ago
HG Results--Unofficial Mike Mobley $16 Ex. Bx.10/6 $337.60 Jayzz82 $8 Tri 10/6/8 $864.00 Congrats to Jay Van Horn for having a $8 trifecta that paid $108. for every $1. Call out to Mike Mobley for having a $16 Exacta. Lots of people had #5 Imperia, but came out flat. Congrats to these 2 that scored. PNR
DavidM9999 More than 1 year ago
Let’s Make a Deal When is six months not six months. In the case of trainer David Wells. I do wish the plea bargaining tactics would stop. Authorities should place the appropriate charges (don’t over or undercharge), present the evidence to a jury of his peers, then await the verdict. Why cut the deal? At least we have likely seen the last of Mr. Wells …. but again horse trainers seem to have as many lives as cats. Dan House Rules was a logical alternative to the heavy chalk. I landed there too. Not great handicapping just took what the bettors gave me. My point was Castellano had it in the bag without cutting over. Just continue straight. He came within a short nose of paying with the DQ aided by the Bravo theatrics. I used Mutin along with two others (Tito and Blazer) in the Canadian. I thought the pace could be above par at least on paper it appeared so. Mutin entered the US with some back class. He raced at legitimate French tracks back in 2013 winning twice on soft ground. He did not handle Meydan, night, or did not handle the fields there. Your call. He surfaced at AQU in November. That day he faced Tetradachm, Sinatra, Front, North Star Boy, Sky Blazer and SAR Snacks. On balance a decent group for that condition. He had to steady a bit in the lane before angling out to run past an already in full flight Sky Blazer. Mutin was simply better than Sky Blazer that day. There was cut in the ground labeled good with variance of a high 30. I liked the race visually but it was a slow early and quicker late race shape. Next he shows at GP in January. The course is firm likely similar to Meydan where he was non-competitive. He drew poorly at GP then started slow (his standard). He had zero run never showing interest. He could not win facing grade Mshawish anyway but should have picked off some of that group. He runs 25.43, 23.86, 23.61, 24.07, and 6.29 while running 25 feet less than the winner and place horses. The last 5/16 in 30.36 so non-competitive for a closer at that level. Now the Canadian. DRF clocker Welsch called it this way – 2/13 work summary – “Mutin worked well going into last although did not show much in it. He put in another good series since capped off with 25.80 to top around wide dogs, not asked to wire in sharp half and nice gallop out. B.” So I forgave the last effort hoping for price and rebound. Mutin then runs 25.08, 23.26, 23.72, and 23.44. He runs the widest path of anybody in the race. +16 feet over winner and +41 feet over place horse. Not much interest with come home in 23.44 needing more. An explanation for the last two could be he likes give in the ground like AQU provided in November although he won on firm ground in his French debut. He may need a bit softer company also. His first quarter runs at 25 seconds will likely put him last in most GP races. That means he must outkick them all. He was about 1.13 second behind with 2F to go in the Canadian. He was not going to outkick that group while that wide given the below par 47.77 and 1:11.19 splits. I had hoped for a quicker pace. In hindsight Mutin was a horizontal include that did not pan out. He may wake up on a different surface or a drop but I would not play back in graded stakes company at GP regardless of his workout pattern. Dan - could you email me at dmiddleton@namic.org.
mike turfmonstr More than 1 year ago
TBTA, I'll keep this one shorter.....That would be very nice of you......but I'd wait for the race to be over till I purchased them. I thought they dropped the Marathon......Never a race I play that often so I'm probably mistaken.....Mike A
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pool 3 MKB Opening Odds: 8-1 AOS DICK W'S American Pharoah 8-1 JIM LEHMAN'S Dortmund 12-1 AOS RON ZUERCHER'S Carpe Diem 12-1 KATIEATTHERAIL'S Texas Red 15-1 ALYDARANDEASY'S Far From Over 15-1 ANNIE'S Upstart :) 20-1 RICK'S Far Right 20-1 MIKE O'S International Star 20-1 CURTIS V SLEWSTER'S Ocho Ocho Ocho 30-1 LAURA'S Daredevil 30-1 YUWIPI'S El Kabeir 30-1 ANDERSON'S Lord Nelson 30-1 WHACKYMACKY'S The Great War 50-1 TMONTY'S Keen Ice 50-1 EDDIE BUSTER LEWIS'S Mr. Z Annie
Turnbackthealarm More than 1 year ago
Thank You Mike A for that long involved explanation. Frammento will be hanging with Commissioner in the BC Marathon. I will feel them all the carrots they want if they win. RonZ, Fun with show parlays may be my plays for this weekend's Formblog Convention. Either that or I'm just going to bet the highest Beyer speed figure averages since Andy will be there for a handicapping seminar. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Penquin, P.S. I liked the part where they blocked him in and he bit the horse's rear. :) Annie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Penguin, HA HA!! Thanks for that. Had a good laugh. They pretty much covered everything, didn't they? Annie
pat gavin More than 1 year ago
Now I will comment about the HG race....which I have watched about 4 times. My prediction of who would get pounded was only slightly off. I figured the #5 would be 2-1...that he was lower is not a shock.... that the winner was 7-2 was a little bit of an inflated price. My pick "did it again''. I have written and said that I hate horses who ALWAYS get in trouble....and like the glutton I am for punishment I went that way again. In my view his slight hesitation at the start hurt...but the giving up the rail by KENT"I only had one drink last night but still am over the Limit" Desormeaux was WRONG. That cost the race...even though I give the winner his due...because he made his own luck......and just like the quality that getting into trouble is a negative...NEVER having trouble is also an under rated virtue. Smart, athletic horses make their own luck.
pat gavin More than 1 year ago
Speed is king. There is one factor that is sometimes the ONLY factor. If your horse has speed it can make a lot of the other variables moot. My pick for the PH was based on that "risk" that he might get lonely and hold on. And without a doubt one of my all time favorite moves is the 6 furlong to one turn one mile stretch out. Much like JJ's down the hill turnback.....this stretch out is MADE for sprinters. The best 'decider" of who qualifies for the improve on the stretch out is a horse who runs around the track at 6 furlongs.....it doesn't matter much if they finish 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th as long as they are not LOSING HUGE number of lengths in the lane. Sadly I was on a plane from Mississippi to Baltimore in a terrible, scary snowstorm.....and my 10 minute ride from the airport to my house took 45 minutes. I need Willie B. Mine to stretch out to a Mile race...because I need a new set of tires...or I can just buy them! But since I don't play any other tracks since where I am....I do get to play Laurel in this awful winter. Cancel, Cancel Cancel. I have not been in weeks other than CharlesTown....I am going to end up in Florida...which I can't wait for...except the state of Florida is full of Floridians!.
rvraynmary More than 1 year ago
Annie and SR Vegas, Thank you for keeping us tenderfoots informed of our MKB's activities. Before exploring a Whacky Macky bridge jumper I think we all should note that keen-to-a-fault T. Pletcher is augmenting my Royal Son's chances in the M Battaglia at Turfway by adding BLINKERS. That should boost him to at least third in the early running and heaven only knows what will happen after that. I'd enjoy a stastical study from our master math guy the Turfmonster on RS's chances to bring in some serious show money. Pletch has tried him on dirt, grass and now plastic. He will find his niche somewhere. I ain't giving up on him yet. Ray once stuckinarizona