04/23/2014 3:41PM

Hail Mary Claim


For the second year in a row, Nicholas Gonzalez made a prescient claim at Gulfstream for Tucci Stables. In 2013, the trainer-owner combination haltered Midnight Aria for $35,000 out of a runner-up performance in a nine-furlong turf race. Six starts later, Midnight Aria placed his name in the record books with a gate-to-wire triumph in the Queen's Plate, the first jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown.

Puntrooskie, a Florida-bred 3-year-old, won't win this year's Queen's Plate, but he looks like a very promising sprint and middle-distance prospect. Taken for $50,000 following a second-place finish in a one-mile dirt race on February 8, Puntrooskie dominated the $127,000 Woodstock Stakes traveling six furlongs last Sunday at Woodbine.

Making his synthetic debut, Puntrooskie brushed the side of the gate at the start and ended up trailing the six-horse field while three wide on the backstretch. Meanwhile, up front, 27-1 longshot Callmeoldfashion battled with Go Greeley through fractions of 22.19 and 44.85. Puntrooskie, ridden by Jesse Campbell, swept to the front with a three-wide bid on the turn and was geared down in the final sixteenth of a mile. He scored by five lengths in 1:09.31 and received a career-best 98 Beyer Speed Figure.

Puntrooskie didn't beat up on a bunch of tomato cans, either. Go Greeley was named Canada's champion 2-year-old of 2013 after reeling off three stakes victories; Only I Know won both prior starts by a combined 14 1/4 lengths; Tuscan Getaway is multiple stakes-placed at Woodbine; favored Jose Sea View won a pair of stakes last year and finished a solid fifth behind Cairo Prince in the Grade 2 Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct; Callmeoldfashion overcame a closer's bias to win his lone prior outing on polytrack.

Puntrooskie is from the first crop of In Summation, a crack sprinter that won 12 of 29 races for over $1.2M in career earnings. In Summation prevailed at distances ranging from 4 1/2 to 7 Furlongs on dirt, turf, polytrack and Pro-Ride. He took his first five starts on dirt at two by a combined 25 1/4 lengths, received a career-best 108 Beyer in nabbing the Grade 2 Palos Verdes Stakes over Pro-Ride, and won the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Handicap on polytrack. In Summation set or broke track records at six furlongs over the Santa Anita Pro-Ride (1:06.67), 5 1/2 furlongs on Pro-Ride (1:01.27), six furlongs on Del Mar's polytrack (1:11.06) and 5 1/2 furlongs on turf at Monmouth (1:01.85). In Summation stands for a $4,000 fee at Ocala Stud in Florida.

Puntrooskie's dam, Siren Cove (by Montbrook), was never off the board from four starts. She won her debut on dirt at five furlongs and finished third in the $400,000 Florida Stallion Stakes at 1 1/16 miles. This is the female family of Mindy Gayle, who succeeded in both the Grade 3 Florida Oaks at 1 1/16 miles and the Grade 2 Forward Gal Stakes at 7 furlongs.

Bred by John David O'Farrell, J. Michael O'Farrell, Jr. & Our Sugar Bear Stable, Puntrooskie was foaled on March 15, 2011. After breezing two furlongs in 21.3, he sold for $62,000 at the OBS June auction of 2-Year-Olds and Horses of Racing Age.

Puntrooskie showed some promise in his four unsuccessful starts for Our Sugar Bear Stable and trainer David Braddy. He finished third in his second start, his 3-year-old debut, in a six-furlong statebred maiden special weight at Gulfstream on January 4, and received a 73 Beyer.

Puntrooskie raced on turf in his first try for Gonzalez, a $75,000 maiden claimer at Gulfstream going 1 1/16 miles. He finished a decent fifth in a race that produced four next-out winners. One of them was Puntrooskie, who handled five others in a statebred maiden special weight at 6 1/2 furlongs on dirt. Puntrooskie received an 82 Beyer for that 6 3/4-length win and was flattered when the runner-up, Souper Lucky, returned to graduate by seven lengths with a 79 Beyer.

That maiden race set Puntrooskie up perfectly for the Woodstock and he came through with flying colors to become his sire's first stakes winner.

Puntrooskie looks strong on both dirt and polytrack, but may have some trouble in races beyond a mile. Keep an eye on him throughout the spring and summer in shorter-distance heats.


Let's take a look at some interesting Formulator Facts for Keeneland's Thursday card:

Race 1:

Trainer:  Al Stall Jr.
Past 5 Years, 2yo FTS, synthetic sprint, maiden special weight (3-12, 25%, $2.30 ROI)

Trainer:  Wesley Ward
Past 2 Years, 2yo FTS, synthetic sprint, maiden special weight, Keeneland (8-17, 47%, $3.11 ROI)

Race 2:

Trainer:  Michael Maker
Past 5 Years, Turf-Synthetic Route, 2nd After Layoff, Claiming (5-16, 31%, $3.01 ROI)

Race 7:

Trainer:  George Arnold II
Past 4 Years, Turf-Synthetic Route, 61-180 Day Layoff (3-10, 30%, $3.23 ROI)

Trainer:  Todd Pletcher
Past 4 Years, Turf-Synthetic Route, 2nd After Layoff (3-11, 27%, $3.01 ROI)

#11 CODE WEST (5-1 ML)
Trainer:  Wayne Catalano
Past 1 Years: Dirt-Synthetic Route (4-11, 36%, $5.30 ROI)

Race 8:

Trainer:  Michael Maker
Past 2 Years, Turf Routes, Winner Last Out, Graded Stakes:   5-19 (26%, $4.00 ROI)

Trainer:  Christophe Clement
Past 2 Years, Turf Routes, 3rd After Layoff, Graded Stakes:  4-11 (36%, $3.31 ROI)

Race 9:

#9 FORMAT V (4-1 ML)
Trainer:  Thomas Amoss
Past 5 Years, Turf-Synthetic Sprint, Claiming (6-21, 29%, $3.35 ROI)


Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from last week's races (4/14/14 - 4/20/14):

1. IMPERATIVE - 107 - Charles Town Classic (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles - Charles Town
2. FRAC DADDY - 103 - Ben Ali Stakes (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles (Polytrack) - Keeneland
3. BET SEATTLE - 102 - OC 50k/C -N - 6 Furlongs - Hawthorne
3. DYNAMIC IMPACT - 102 - Illinois Derby (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles - Hawthorne
4. MORGAN'S GUERRILLA - 99 - Alw 29120N$Y - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Hawthorne
4. RISE UP - 99 - Robert Hilton Memorial Stakes - 7 Furlongs - Charles Town
7. BEHOLDER - 98 - Santa Lucia Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - Santa Anita
7. COPUS - 98 - OC 30k/C -N - 1 1/16 Miles - Hawthorne
7. LA VERDAD - 98 - Distaff Handicap (G2) - 6 Furlongs - Aqueduct
7. PUNTROOSKIE - 98 - Woodstock Stakes - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Woodbine
7. UNCLE TODD - 98 - Charles Town Dash Handicap - 4 1/2 Furlongs - Charles Town
12. QUICK MONEY - 97 - OC c-30k/N2X - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Aqueduct
13. BURNT OFFERING - 96 - OC 25k/N2X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Charles Town
13. GRAND TITO - 96 - Miami Mile Handicap (G3) - 1 Mile - Calder
13. SISTERLY LOVE - 96 - Doubledogdare Stakes (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles (Polytrack) - Keeneland
13. STORMY RUSH - 96 - Lincoln Stakes - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - Gulfstream
13. TANGO ON - 96 - Alw 37400N2R - 6 Furlongs - Parx
18. ZEALEVO - 95 - OC 25k/N2X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Parx
19. SCREENPLAY - 94 - OC25k/SAL16k - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Gulfstream
20. CHEPSTOW - 93 - Clm 16000N3L - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Calder
20. DRAW TWO - 93 - Alw 60200N2X - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - Keeneland
22. BELLARMINE - 92 - Alw 61625N2X - 1 1/8 Miles (Polytrack) - Keeneland
22. HIS RACE TO WIN - 92 - Alw 59093N3X - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Keeneland
22. SAFETY BELT (ARG) - 92 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Santa Anita
25. AGELESS - 91 - Giant's Causeway Stakes - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Keeneland
25. VALENTINO BEAUTY - 91 - Alw 62747N3X - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Keeneland

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

QUICK MONEY was claimed for $30,000 by trainer Michelle Nevin from Joseph Imperio.


Astute handicapping on the Illinois Derby. Dynamic Impact won the final agonzing nod and we rejoiced. Midnight Hawk surprised with his staying power. Where do these two go next??

DYNAMIC IMPACT may point for the Preakness, but I have serious doubts as to whether he's good enough to win that race. MIDNIGHT HAWK desperately needs a cutback in distance. Expect to see him going seven furlongs in the Woody Stephens Stakes on the Belmont Stakes undercard.


*Just want to thank everyone for sticking with me as I begin to blog more often. The links to the previous blogs (and blog comments) are listed below.













You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman

All of the weekend stakes videos should be available at the following link by Friday afternoon.



Congrats to Joe L for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling race.

Rick M's 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.

Joe L. picked Saturday's first race at Churchill Downs 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 "Monthly Enhanced 60-Card 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 Formblog Lexington 4-19-14.xls72 KB
HGCD1.pdf155.64 KB
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
HG Revised $100 cold tri:6/2/7 Little Giddling; class drop..gets the Frenchmen.. vive la France Steal Cut: class drop Nspeightofvickie:3f..35 and change GL Thx Dan/Pnr Hot 'N' Nasty
Dale Tillotson More than 1 year ago
HGCD opening night at the downs. I will take a shot that the 5 horse had that bump in last start take away her chances,whilI feel the 2horse will set the pace and just get nailed at the wire and the cut back in distance will hurt the chances of the 6horse. The bets for HGCD race 1 of 2014 season are as follows. $60.00 trifecta 5-2-6. $20.00 exacta 5-2. $20.00 win 5. Happy Darby week in Derby town to all, and good luck.
Russ Jenkins More than 1 year ago
Hate the new format. Dan, i have missed many of your blog entries because now you have to go searching for them, instead of their being an obvious link to it on the front page like in the past. I really hate the fact that just about everyone in every format of information feels the need to change things for change sake at some point. What was wrong with the old format?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loving the new DRF thing where if you click on a Derby horse's name in an article, you get a huge picture of him along with his prep performances, including Beyers. Helpful for me getting the Beyer point differences of their last two races. But, I was aghast at the record of HARRY'S HOLIDAY (-37 points) and VINCEREMOS (-42 points). Horses do not win the Kentucky Derby coming off races like those! These two should not be going in the Derby. They may just be keeping real contenders out. JMHO Annie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
PNR, Interesting fact about your TAMARANDO that I didn't know. He is a sibling to LUCKARACK, who made plenty of money on the grass. Should be no problem then, should it? Good luck!!! Annie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JJ, Loved your Derby poem! So nice when you tough guys channel your creative side. :) Annie
AJ More than 1 year ago
This HG race is exactly the kind I would pass on during a day at the track. Lousy horses and hard to find an angle but here goes. The two is the fastest by a mile of those who have run. When running at this price before, almost won. Dropping back in after a failed step up. The connections of the 6 deserve respect. Leparoux stays on in this kind of race says the trainer thinks the horse is something. A Mineshaft, so should handle the switch to dirt. HG $50 exacta box. 2/6 AJ
Jackson Jackson More than 1 year ago
Hot' N ' Nasty - Roflmao :) You are the meanest nastiest dart thrower of them all :) You're like Margaret O'Brien on Halloween in Meet Me In St. Louis . You are definitely the most horrible :) Paz JJ
AZ Wildcat More than 1 year ago
Frankel's half brother Morpheus runs at Keeneland in about 2 minutes.
AZ Wildcat More than 1 year ago
"Now if you want to wait till Friday and the 6th race there are three horses in there on my watch list.....Can'thelpbelieving, Morning Calm and Afortable......I'm waiting to see who actually runs.....as I have one more in the mix to whittle down and that's Special Envoy." And who finished 3rd in the race? That would be Special Envoy you red, err, black... err greenboarder.