10/30/2008 2:54PM

HG 107 post mortem, Donnaguska, questions


Dan, in the Meadowlands 6th race on October 20, Aqab won a 40K maiden claimer.  It was his first race for a tag after racing six times in Md Sp Wt company, with only one second to his credit.  Aqab was purchased at the Keeneland yearling sale in September 2006 for $1.45 million (!).

Of course the drastically reduced price of $40K indicates Aqab has physical problems, but still, I found it curious that Aqab was not claimed for less than 3 pennies on the dollar of his 9/06 purchase price.  Plus, he's listed as a colt, so wouldn't a $1.45 million colt have some stud potential?

So I'm wondering why nobody would taken a shot here for forty grand -- maybe the answer is obvious but I don't know what it is.      Do horsemen know about the physical problems of another trainer's horse?  Or can it be detected by the way a horse walks or runs? 
terry f

It's possible that the horse has physical problems, but I think it's more probable that Aqab doesn't have a lot of ability, was a terrible seven-figure purchase, and is worth $40,000 in the current market.  I don't think anyone is looking at claiming this soon-to-be 4-year-old in the hope of making him a stakes horses.  He's not that good.  The question is whether he could be a marketable stallion.  I'm saying that he isn't.  His dam, Top Rung, was a multiple Grade 2 winner, and has foaled two blacktype earners in the Grade 3-placed router Consistency, and stakes-placed turf runner Tremendous One.  But Aqab is by Empire Maker, a sire of slow-developing horses, and not a proven sire of sires (he's still too young to be one).  There's not enough pedigree on the bottom to indicate that the Aqabs would sell at auction.  He would have to be a regional sire at best and, in the current oversaturated stallion market, would likely be lost in the shuffle. 
I'm sure horsemen are looking at Aqab, and the fact that he wasn't claimed for $40,000 may be because of his physical condition.  Horsemen, for the most part, have keen eyes, and they aren't going to take damaged goods. 
I was more surprised that no one took the stakes-winning Papi Chullo for $16,000 on October 21 at Delaware.  He's an intact horse that had some ability early on in his career.


Someone (I think katieattherail) asked a similar question a day or two ago, and didn't get any responses that I saw.  Anybody know of any upcoming free handicapping contests?


What is PublicHandicapper for $200? Sorry, too much Jeopardy!

http://www.publichandicapper.com   has a free contest from Dec. - Jan.

For those who live near the track, Churchill Downs has a free 'capping contest with money prizes and a chance to visit Sharon in Las Vegas...er..compete in the National 'Capping contest in January.

Here's the info: http://www.churchilldowns.com/sites/churchilldowns.com/files/WhosTheChamp-Rules.pdf

Those are the only free contests that I'm aware of.

Here's the NHC page from drf.com.  They have the full schedule of NHC qualifiers.  I would assume that some are free to enter:



Any clue what BSF she got Dan and have you ever seen anything like that race?

Watch the number three in this race, and tell me what you think.


Here's the past performance line with Beyer Speed Figure:

Download Donnaguska.pdf

A racing fan sent me an e-mail a few days ago concerning this race, and the late kick exhibited by Donnaguska was one of the most spectacular things I've ever seen.  Of course, it's nice to get validation from the clock, and the 59 Beyer Speed Figure is pretty light, but still...that's not something you see every day.

How do you account for that performance, and is she playable coming back?
Ross B

I don't think you can account for the performance other to say it was freakish.  I have serious questions as to what she beat that day, and the Beyer came back light.  I wonder if winning that way was the worst possible outcome for her long-term career.  Her connections certainly can't put her in for a tag after that race - everyone will be climbing over themselves to claim her.  The number indicates she isn't ready for a stakes just yet.  The Beyer par for a six furlong  'n1x'  allowance at Hawthorne over the past five years is a 75 so she may not be ready for that just yet.  I hate to be cliche, but she's a "wait-and-see" for me next time.


Dan - Perhaps I am just plain ole' dumb, but I'm just baffled that the BC Filly and Mare Sprint received "only" a 105. A 105?!? They went 1:19.3! I've never seen a 7F race run under 1:20. So how does that equate to a 105 when it seems like it should be about a 120? Similarly the Sprint in 1:07 and change - "only" a 112. Seems low. Can you "educate" me? I thought I was a pretty good handicapper...Thanks - and keep up your stellar work!
Michael M

I'm guessing that the Beyer folks believe that the track was much faster than usual on the two Breeders' Cup days.  The "raw" number for the Breeders' Cup Sprint was something like a 148.  After measuring the speed of the track versus the par, they deducted points (track variant). 


DAN, if you wouldn't mind, could i get a little help finding the chart for this?

Here's the Reverently race from Woodbine.  You could probably find the video footage for free on calracing.com.

Download Reverently.pdf


Did Street Cry do it, and was he the first one?

I'm pretty sure that Street Cry is the first stallion with two Breeders' Cup winners in his first crop (Zenyatta, Street Sense)


Santa Anita stewards also fined jockey Frankie Dettori $500 for failing to ride in Saturday's Damascus Stakes. Dettori won Saturday's ninth race, the Breeders' Cup Classic with Raven's Pass, and took off his mount in the Damascus Stakes, the 10th race, without sufficient notice, the stewards said.

Now, we'll ban the endzone celebrations as well.  From our friends at The Racing Post:

FRANKIE DETTORI yesterday expressed his surprise at hearing he may be in for a second reprimand from the Santa Anita stewards, this time for throwing his whip away in jubilation following his success aboard Raven's Pass in the Breeders' Cup Classic.
Dettori, who has made post-race celebrations his trademark, threw his whip into the air shortly after crossing the line before returning to the winner's enclosure and obliging the 55,000-strong crowd with a flying dismount.
The eight-time Breeders' Cup winning jockey has already been handed a ¿500 fine for failing to fulfil his riding engagements following Raven's Pass's victory on Saturday afternoon, but is now facing a further fine or even a suspension.
Dettori was due to partner Master Daniel in the subsequent Damascus Stakes but gave up the ride, with the three-year-old going on to finish ninth under Tyler Baze.
Although Santa Anita steward Albert Christiansen said the whip had not hit any of the 11 Classic rivals as they trailed home in Dettori's wake, officials are considering disciplinary action.
The whip was found 50 yards from the post and Christiansen added that he was uncertain when a decision regarding action may be made.
"First time I've ever seen it," the steward said. "Why would he throw a ¿100 whip away? To tell you the truth, I don't know if he got it back or not."
Dettori was unfazed by this latest slap on the wrist, explaining that no penalty detracted from winning the meeting's richest race.
"I got fined ¿500 for not riding in the race after the Classic and I spoke to the stewards then and that's all they said. I haven't heard anything else. I don't know what to say - I won the Classic and I'm very happy."
The Santa Anita stewards' reaction contrasts strongly with those of their French counterparts after Christophe Soumillon's extravagant celebrations following his Arc victory aboard Zarkava.
Also renowned for his line-crossing behaviour, Soumillon jubilantly threw his hat to the crowd following his two-length success, a gesture which would have been dimly viewed in any other country.
Christiansen stated that the stewards delayed post time for the Damascus to allow Dettori to participate in the post-Classic ceremonies but emotions might have played a role in his choosing not to ride again.
"He just was too excited would be a guess. He really didn't say anything,"
Christiansen said. "He accepted the fine very graciously and left it at that."


Someone please tell me that the gelding El Gato Malo is hitting the tracks again shortly!

"The Bad Cat" breezed three furlongs on October 26, and may be back for the Malibu in December.


Question for Dan about his new DVD.  Please forward to him.
I would like to purchase your DVD for my father who really enjoys handicapping yet doesn't go to the track that much. 
I think he would find it interesting being an old greyhound handicapper who use to watch replays on local tv.
What is the most efficient mechanism (service) for him to access race replays?

Thanks for the interest.  I would try calracing.com for free replays of selected tracks.  While the Churchill-owned tracks won't be available, races from California, Keeneland, Gulfstream, New York, Canada, and elsewhere are free with a painless registration.  If you have an account wagering provider (twinspires, youbet), you should be able to access race replays from them as well.


Next time, let's talk about the wagering debacle in California and elsewhere, and my selection for Horse of the Year.

Take care,