02/18/2015 12:47PM

Golden Lad back on track

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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!

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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:

http://www.drf.com/videos#stakes-previews

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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.


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 FRIDAY RACE IS MOST IDEAL)

AttachmentSize
DUkATI.pdf721.95 KB
DERBYWINNERS.pdf901.9 KB
2015 MKB Bio Document 2 10 15.pdf394.86 KB
HGRISENSTAR.pdf168.26 KB
Copy of Formblog El Camino Derby 2-14-15.xls71 KB