04/10/2013 3:02PM

Goldencents Back on the Beam


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.


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



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


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?

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.


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


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


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 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.


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!



Best of luck to all.


You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman

Copy of Formblog Santa Anita Derby 4-6-13.xls65.5 KB
Alex More than 1 year ago
I'm sorry; I will keep this here and not bring it to the new post. p ensign took offense to an offensive comment. Why does this subject his opinion to being called dumb, inappropriate nonsense? I find nothing dumb, inappropriate, or nonsensical about what p ensign said. However, I find the responses troubling. The jist of his point seemed to be in the "anger and blame and self-righteousness gets us no where" sentiment. I agree with that. If you don't, that's fine, but you cannot condemn someone for speaking their opinion, especially when it is valid. And the "fully discredited" New York Times is still the best newspaper in this country, although that may not be saying much. If you feel politically offended by a statement and don't want to discuss it, ignore it. If you don't ignore it, you are entering the discourse and further politicizing the event.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DavidM9999, My previous comment about you switching to WPS betting was made somewhat tongue in cheek. I would not have the temerity to advise someone how best to win (or lose) on the horses. What does fascinate me is your comment associating WPS bets with "folks that have limited bankrolls". I realise you were generalising but, over here, I would have gone the opposite way. I believe that most full time professional gamblers (or just rich, occasional gamblers) would be much more likely to make straight Win bets, rather than combination bets. The one exception is our equivalent of your Pick 6, sometimes won by the high rollers. Given the abysmal record of my picks on here, you are courting trouble asking about the KY Oaks and Derby. But I am never one to shirk a challenge. The British experts on US racing believe Dreaming of Julia is the new Zenyatta. No price, but the probable Oaks winner. In the Derby I am totally confused - I need one of you to give ME the winner. Apart from the favourite I haven't been really knocked over by any of them. How about Black Onyx? My sort of price. Best Regards - Bernard Downes
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Black Caviar retired. Bernard, you will lose that chance to see her LIVE at Ascot, bummer. Lots of comments as to who she may be bred too... hmmm? http://www.drf.com/news/black-caviar-unbeaten-australian-champion-retired SR Vegas
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MKB UPDATE: COLIN'S General Election will be the only MKB in the Lexington. Good luck, Colin, wherever you are. :) I guess some of those on the bubble horses are not going to try for the extra points. Unless they're planning on the Derby Trial, and of course we know that rarely works. Annie
VanSavant More than 1 year ago
p. ensign; No problem...but I still want to argue with you about the Kentucky Derby :) late vs
p ensign More than 1 year ago
VS/all - apologies if I offended, i'll just shut my liberal mouth - I'm pretty sure I've never started one of these, but sometimes I can't sit here and say nothing... David, your horse traveled 59 feet more than the winner - if you're on the trakus page, go to "finish" in the scroll down menu and look for the Delta as for the Derby, with the race weeks away, not knowing who'll start, track conditions, etc. all I'm sure about is that I'll do what I usually do, go 4 or 5 deep in whatever horizontal wagers i'm playing...
DavidM9999 More than 1 year ago
Trakus I have a question. Does anyone know where you can get this information for KEE. On the KEE website I see Trakus gives internal raw splits but I was wondering about feet traveled not the splits. One horse I played Saturday was named Steel Dust Dancer. He broke out tof the 12 hole and was wide thru turn one. Then four wide up the backstretch was moving up. He continued wide thru the end of the race beaten 4L but I suspect he ran 30 feet or more farther. I was thinking Trakus used to show the distance traveled. Watch for Steel Dust Dancer most likely to surface at WO in May. Price won't be great but he probably will run well at WO.
DavidM9999 More than 1 year ago
Bernard: I used to play WPS for years. Once the exotics came around I slowly gravitated to those bets. I think several factors make horizontal bets attractive to me personally including: 1) Rather than bet each of three horses to win and pay three takeouts I prefer the pick 3 with one takeout. Same logic for Pick 4. 2) Picking win contenders for horizontal bets seems an easier lift than lasering in on one horse in many cases. I try to find a weak favorite or bad morning line and then play that sequence. I am amazed at how many bad players brainlessly take the first three ML choices in each race. At PARX I have noticed if you can get beyond the top three you can get an inflated payoff. That track has high takeouts but has been very good to me. 3) Bigger payoffs on small wagers. I like the concept of betting $18 and making $3,500 like I did at GP recently. Now usually it takes much more than that in a Pick 4 but not always. For folks that have limited bankrolls and cannot withstand dry spells WPS makes sense. I do bet win some mainly to cover my Pick 3-4 on the chance my main play wins but the other races do not. I just cannot see playing place or show regularly. Take for example my best play on Saturday Havelock who paid $18.60 and $7.80. I would rather double the win bet and live with the loss of the $7.80. As an alternative I also prefer playing exacta boxes instead of place bets if I think I want some bottom coverage. The exacta with Havelock and the post time favorite paid $83.40. My strategy may be to play the horse I like with a few under both ways. That gives me 6 combos for $6 using a $1 base or for a base of $12 and return of $83. There is added risk I may miss the exacta but I live with it. It also is imperative to check the exacta probables and do the math pre-race. I assume you have been following the KY Oaks and Derby. I would like to hear your picks on those two races if you have an opinion. Being a bit of distance away from all the white noise may be helpful. The next two weeks you will see horses work poorly over the track but their trainers will say they are peaking or it was perfect. The amount of rhetoric coming out of Louisville will be at an all-time high.
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Ok, I am going to try and get back to something I find normal and comforting ... MKB Workouts: 4/15/13 Belmont -dirt /fast Notacatbutallama- 4F 0:51.42 breezing - Patrick S Santa Anita- dirt/fast Power Broker -4F 0:47.60 Handily - Dan Illman Know More - 4F 0:50.40 Handily - Baltimore Brian Keenland - All weather/fast Positively -4F 0:49.60 Breezing- Meathead01/IMT Palm Meadows - dirt/fast Jocosity - 4F 0:49.48 Breezing - SR Vegas Payson Park - dirt/fast Bold Dance -4F 0:48.30 Breezing- Laura pick/IMT ------ 4/16/13 Betfair Hollywood - dirt/fast Omega Star- 5F 1:03.80 Handily - Ned Daly Churchill Downs - dirt/fast Central Banker- 3F 0:38.00 Breezing - AnneM SR Vegas
VanSavant More than 1 year ago
p ensign; First of all, most people are aware of the story in the liberally-dominated and fully discredited New York Times that chronicles the grievances and what-not of enemy combatants currently being held in Guantanamo. And all of that aside, but not your failed attempt at moral relevance, try and understand the spirit in which whacky’s comment was written. No need to further politicize this issue. But you are prone to this and come by it honestly as you are liberal/“progressive”. I am not, so I try and keep my political beliefs/thoughts out of this forum (until now, I suppose). I suggest that you do the same so that at least you and I can continue to disagree about just about everything horse racing. So who are you leaning towards right now for this year’s Kentucky Derby? late vs