04/10/2013 3:02PM

Goldencents Back on the Beam

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Last week, we discussed the importance of being forgiving handicappers. 

Those who followed that strategy may have stuck with GOLDENCENTS in the Santa Anita Derby, one start after the talented Doug O'Neill-trainee disappointed in the San Felipe Stakes. Goldencents went off the longest odds of his career at 6-1 in the Santa Anita Derby and he ran a career race, putting up a 105 Beyer in his first start at nine furlongs. 

"As far as this horse, I had him relaxed and that’s the key to him all the way," jockey Kevin Krigger told track publicity following the Santa Anita Derby.  "I wasn’t fighting him, I really wasn’t, I just kept him at his pace and kept him relaxed.”

In the San Felipe, Goldencents was unmanageable, bordering on rank, and that could have sapped his stretch kick.  His behavior in the early portion of the demanding 10-furlong Kentucky Derby could dictate his overall chances in the race.

*Bob Baffert had to be disappointed with the efforts put forth by Santa Anita Derby entrants POWER BROKER and SUPER NINETY NINE, and his Derby hopes took another blow when runner-up FLASHBACK was subsequently declared from the race due to injury. 

On the morning of the Santa Anita Derby, however, Baffert tweeted that he really liked the chances of 3-year-old DECLASSIFY in the third race.  The son of Orientate, a $450,000 purchase last April, lived up to his billing with a scintillating 11 1/2-length debut victory.  Declassify earned a 101 Beyer and is bound for stakes races.  He hails from the female family of Grade 1 sprint winner A Phenomenon and Seattle Meteor.

*On Wednesday, DRF's David Grening reported that Todd Pletcher's GRAYDAR, a leading light in the handicap division, was sidelined due to ankle surgery.  It may be a longshot, but perhaps ENDER KNIEVEL, a 4-year-old gelding, will pick up the slack for Pletcher.  A son of Distorted Humor out of three-time stakes-winner Ender's Sister, Ender Knievel earned a career-best 104 Beyer in a wire-to-wire romp over a one-turn mile at Gulfstream on April 3.  Ender Knievel seems like a need-the-lead type, however, and must prove that he can run as well outside of South Florida (both of his lifetime victories have occurred at Gulfstream).

*Pletcher's 3-year-old males are, of course, led by undefeated VERRAZANO and he sent out flashy maiden winner SWEET N DISCREET at Gulfstream on April 5.  A full brother to Grade 2 winner Discreet Dancer and a half-sibling to Grade 2 hero Travelin Man, Sweet N Discreet graduated by five lengths over a sloppy Gulfstream track.  He's an interesting sprinter/miler for future consideration.

*Good to see CHAMP PEGASUS, the runner-up in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Turf, back on the work tab.  He hasn't raced since a second-place finish in the Grade 2 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes at Santa Anita on October 2, 2011 due to a cracked cannon bone (needed surgery) and assorted other issues.  On Wednesday, he drilled six furlongs in 1:14.00 at Santa Anita.

*Just love the fact that 7-year-old gelding RUSSELL ROAD, a winner in 24 of 39 starts with earnings of $1,396,003, is still competing at a high level.  He won his 2013 debut, a 5 1/2-furlong allowance at Mountaineer on April 1 with a 95 Beyer.  Russell Road has won at distances ranging from 4 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/8 miles. Expect Russell Road to be his usual salty self at Charles Town this spring and summer.

*Many of Shug McGaughey's best runners have improved with age and it will be interesting to see how 5-year-old mare HUNGRY ISLAND progresses following a winning seasonal debut at Keeneland on April 7.  She may attempt to defend her title in the Distaff Turf Mile at Churchill Downs next time out. 
McGaughey's AIR SUPPORT, also a 5-year-old, can improve off his seasonal reappearance, a third-place finish at Keeneland on April 6.  It was his first start with blinkers and he was overly sharp in the early portion of the race.

*2012 Breeders' Cup Classic winner FORT LARNED completed preparations for this weekend's Oaklawn Handicap with an easy half-mile breeze in 51 seconds on Wednesday morning.  Following a pair of bullet workouts, this seemed just like a maintenance move.

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You can find the latest "Under the Radar" column here:

http://www.drf.com/news/kentucky-derby-under-radar-footbridge

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Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures (4/1/13 - 4/7/13):

1. GOLDENCENTS - 105 - Santa Anita Derby (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - Santa Anita
1. SWAGGER JACK - 105 - Carter Handicap (G1) - 7 Furlongs - Aqueduct
3. ENDER KNIEVEL - 104 - OC 25k/N1X -N - 1 Mile - Gulfstream
4. JIMMY CREED - 102 - Potrero Grande Stakes (G2) - Santa Anita
5. DECLASSIFY - 101 - Md Sp Wt 56k - 6 Furlongs - Santa Anita
6. BACK FORTY - 100 - Alw 55000N3L - 6 Furlongs - Oaklawn
7. SR. QUISQUEYANO - 98 - Calder Derby - 1 1/8 Miles - Calder
8. DECLAN'S WARRIOR - 97 - Bay Shore Stakes (G3) - 7 Furlongs - Aqueduct
8. EMOLLIENT - 97 - Ashland Stakes (G1) - 1 1/16 Miles (Polytrack) - Keeneland
8. J J GARBAR - 97 - Alw 34000C - 6 Furlongs - Hawthorne
11. BEHOLDER - 96 - Santa Anita Oaks (G1) - 1 1/16 Miles - Santa Anita
12. RUSSELL ROAD - 95 - Alw 37100NC - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Mountaineer
12. TRANSPARENT - 95 - Alw 63650N1X - 1 Mile - Aqueduct
12. VERRAZANO - 95 - Wood Memorial (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - Aqueduct
15. KATE'S EVENT - 94 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Santa Anita
15. PERCUSSION - 94 - OC 75k/N3X -N - 1 Mile - Aqueduct
17. DAD ARE WE HERE - 93 - Alw 43520N$Y - 1 1/16 Miles - Hawthorne
17. HUNGRY ISLAND - 93 - Alw 67146C - 1 Mile (Turf) - Keeneland
17. OFFICER ALEX - 93 - Bachelor Stakes - 6 Furlongs- Oaklawn
17. POINTS OFFTHEBENCH - 93 - OC 40k/N1X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Santa Anita
21. ROMP CITY - 92 - Alw 42000N1X - 1 1/16 Miles - Pimlico
22. BATTLE FORCE - 91 - Thunder Road Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - Santa Anita
22. BEN'S CAT - 91 - Mister Diz Stakes - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - Pimlico
22. HOWE GREAT - 91 - Alw 67878C - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Keeneland
22. I DAZZLE - 91 - American Beauty Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - Santa Anita
22. LORD'S MINISTER - 91 - Clm 20000(20-18) - 1 Mile (Tapeta) - Golden Gate
22. OUTTA TUNE - 91 - OC25k/SAL16k - 6 Furlongs - Oaklawn
22. SWEET N DISCREET - 91 - Md Sp Wt 54k - 6 Furlongs - Gulfstream

*The past performances for GOLDENCENTS and SWAGGER JACK are available at the bottom of this blog post.

*ITALIAN RULES, the runner-up in KATE'S EVENT's victory, was claimed for $62,500 by trainer John Sadler from Bill Spawr

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Dan, in light of the races last week it seemed Dreaming Of Julia ran the best beyers over the weekend for 3 year olds. My question is who ever is in charge point system might put some female races into the mix in the future. I know some people might say well enter her in the male point system but some trainers or connections might not want to do that for whatever reasons. It just may be as simple as they want to see what she can do against the females first a couple of times and then if they think she can handle the boys and enter in a point’s race it’s too late because of the way the point system is. Your thoughts?
PHILD333

There is never going to be a perfect system regarding possible entrants into the Kentucky Derby.  I'm still on the fence regarding this particular theory, especially in the case of the fillies.  As you mention, connections of exceptional fillies may opt to grab substantial purse money in easier prep spots against other fillies.  This is, after all, a business.  In this system, that route would leave them ineligible for the Derby, as is the situation with DREAMING OF JULIA, the fastest 3-year-old of either sex according to the Beyer Speed Figures.

On the other hand, fillies like Winning Colors and Genuine Risk both proved their mettle against males prior to the Derby (the former won the Santa Anita Derby by 7 1/2 lengths while Genuine Risk finished third in the Wood Memorial), and an argument could be made that the ladies should compete against the boys before gaining admittance into a race that is extremely difficult to break into in the first place.

It's a very tough question and I haven't formulated a strong opinion either way just yet. 

I'm interested in the FormBloggers' thoughts on the current system and how it could be improved.

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Congrats to YOU FEEL LUCKY for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling exercise. 

PENN NATIONAL RICK'S WEEKLY SCORESHEET IS AVAILABLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG POST.

You Feel Lucky selected Saturday's Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland for this week's event.

PAST PERFORMANCES ARE 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 GIVE YOUR NAME OR BLOG MONIKER AT THE END OF THE HG PLAY AND/OR ANALYSIS.
 
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.

***FROM SCOREKEEPER PENN NATIONAL RICK***

I read some entries on here and there are some people who put their heart out on their picks(such as DavidM9999) and give you great analysis on who they like and why and then there are others who elect not to give any reasoning behind their entries. The rule I will implement EFFECTIVE 3/1/13 will be... any entry without ANY analysis will be ignored. We are not asking you to put out a novel, but again a sentence or two. Also, I will put communication out when Dan puts out new blogs.
My intent is not to be jerk on this, but what's fair is fair. I'm not taking away from this week or past winners regarding all of this, but we do need to make the change.
If you have any questions/concerns...please send an email to FORMBLOG@DRF.COM and it will get forwarded to me.
Thank You!
Rick

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 LATE THAN THE FOLLOWING WEDNESDAY MORNING (A FRIDAY RACE IS MOST IDEAL).

Best of luck to all.

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You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman

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GOLDENSWAGGER.pdf91.03 KB
Copy of Formblog Santa Anita Derby 4-6-13.xls65.5 KB
HGBLUEGRASS.pdf360.42 KB