11/04/2015 5:01PM

Horse of the Year!


Give a good horse an easy lead and, more often than not, you'll find that horse in the winner's circle. Give American Pharoah an easy lead and, well, you get what we saw last Saturday afternoon at Keeneland.

AMERICAN PHAROAH closed out his brilliant career with a 120-Beyer romp in last Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic.

Forget the rest.

In the weeks leading up to the Classic, American Pharoah stamped himself as the horse to beat in America's richest race. All reports had the Triple Crown winner in fine fettle and working up a storm. After his upset defeat at the hooves of Classic contender KEEN ICE in the Travers Stakes, this was refreshing news for American Pharoah's legion of fans, supporters that drove the Triple Crown winner's price down to a deserving 7 to 10 at Classic post time.

It wasn't as if American Pharoah needed much help, but the early Classic-week defections of supermare BEHOLDER and the up-and-coming SMOOTH ROLLER severely affected the race's pace scenario. That left Victor Espinoza and American Pharoah alone on the lead with a bunch of midpack runners and closers on the chase.

It seemed like a foregone conclusion and American Pharoah didn't disappoint. He broke running, carved out easy fractions of 23.99, 47.50 and 1:11.21, and began to lengthen his stride on the far turn.

"On the backside, the path I was in was a little deep, so I decided to move out and he accelerated a little," Espinoza told reporters after the Classic."

Multiple Grade 1 winner TONALIST and Grade 1 winner FROSTED, two of the horses tracking American Pharoah, were soon off the bridle and running in quicksand. Late-kickers HONOR CODE and KEEN ICE had spotted American Pharoah an insurmountable lead and couldn't make up the necessary ground. European invader GLENEAGLES seemed flummoxed by the dirt surface and never got involved. That left the plucky New York-bred EFFINEX, who had inherited the role of stalker. Under Mike Smith, Effinex relaxed in second without putting too much heat on American Pharoah.

"Turning for home, I knew I was gone," said Espinoza.

Effinex tried to go with the favorite turning into the stretch, but didn't class up. American Pharoah was asked to run for the final furlong of his career and he streaked under the wire a 6 1/2-length winner of a game Effinex. American Pharoah polished off his last quarter-mile in 24.60 to complete the 1 1/4-miles in 2:00.07.

American Pharoah retires to Ashford Stud in Kentucky, a subsidiary of the vast Coolmore breeding operation. He's already been reportedly booked to such stalwart mares as Grade 1 winner Awesome Maria, Ivanavinalot (dam of undefeated Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Songbird), 2014 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf heroine Judy the Beauty, Refugee (dam of Grade 1 winners Hoppertunity and Executiveprivilege), Storm Dixie (dam of four-time Grade 1 winner Princess of Sylmar), Take Charge Lady (dam of Grade 1 winners Take Charge Indy and Will Take Charge) and Untouched Talent (dam of Grade 1 winner Bodemeister).

He ticks all the boxes for history's sake. 

A multiple Grade 1 winner at two? Check.

Triple Crown winner? Check.

Breeders' Cup Classic winner? Check.

120+-Beyer club? Check.

Soon, he'll be named Horse of the Year and Champion 3-year-old colt. We'll miss him.


Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 10/27/15 - 11/2/15:

1. AMERICAN PHAROAH - 120 - Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles - 31Oct15-11KEE
2. LIAM'S MAP - 114 - Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1) - 1 Mile - 30Oct15-7KEE
3. RUNHAPPY - 108 - Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) - 6 Furlongs - 31Oct15-7KEE
3. TEPIN - 108 - Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 31Oct15-8KEE
5. FOUND (IRE) - 107 - Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - 31Oct15-10KEE
6. MATROOH - 105 - Bold Ruler Handicap (G3) - 7 Furlongs - 31Oct15-4BEL
6. RACE DAY - 105 - Fayette Stakes (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles - 30Oct15-5KEE
8. MONGOLIAN SATURDAY - 104 - Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1) - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 31Oct15-4KEE
8. STEPHANIE'S KITTEN - 104 - Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) - 1 3/16 Miles (Turf) - 31Oct15-6KEE
10. STORMIN MONARCHO - 103 - OC 100k/C - 1 Mile - 28Oct15-8BEL
11. LADY SABELIA - 101 - Pumkin Pie Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 1Nov15-7BEL
12. BAL A BALI (BRZ) - 100 - OC 80k/C -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - 30Oct15-8DMR
13. SONGBIRD - 99 - Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) - 1 1/16 Miles - 31Oct15-3KEE
14. STOPCHARGINGMARIA - 98 - Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - 30Oct15-9KEE
15. CARINA MIA - 97 - Md Sp Wt 56k - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 29Oct15-5KEE
16. MATT KING COAL - 96 - Md Sp Wt 75k - 1 Mile - 29Oct15-6BEL
17. FILIMBI - 95 - OC 100k/C -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - 1Nov15-3BEL
17. BAILOUTBOBBY - 95 - Marathon Stakes (G2) - 1 3/4 Miles - 30Oct15-10KEE
17. OH BABY OH BABY - 95 - OC 15k/N1X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 28Oct15-10DED
17. WAVELL AVENUE - 95 - Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) - 7 Furlongs - 31Oct15-5KEE
21. AMERICA - 93 - Turnback the Alarm Handicap (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles - 30Oct15-8BEL
21. GOODOLDHOCKEYGAME - 93 - Alw 117420NC - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - 31Oct15-9WO
21. UZZIEL - 93 - Goldikova Stakes (G2) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 1Nov15-7DMR
24. CATHRYN SOPHIA - 92 - Md Sp Wt 52k - 6 Furlongs - 30Oct15-5PRX
24. FLIPCUP - 92 - Maple Leaf Stakes (G3-C) - 1 1/4 Miles (Polytrack) - 31Oct15-8WO
24. HOT CITY GIRL - 92 - OC 62k/C -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 29Oct15-8BEL
24. HOUSE OF SOLE - 92 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 7 Furlongs - 29Oct15-6KEE
24. INDYCOTT - 92 - Alw 35000s - 1 1/8 Miles - 1Nov15-8LRL
24. JUST CALL KENNY - 92 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - 31Oct15-2BEL
24. PABLO DEL MONTE - 92 - OC c-80k/N3X - 6 Furlongs - 30Oct15-1KEE
24. ROCKINN ON BYE - 92 - Alw 16000s - 7 Furlongs - 1Nov15-3LRL
24. TWEET KITTEN - 92 - Bryan Station Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 30Oct15-4KEE

*American Pharoah's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.

*Pablo Del Monte was claimed for $80,000 by trainer David Jacobson from Wesley Ward.


Video stakes analyses for many of the weekend's major stakes will be available later this week at http://www.drf.com/videos

You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.

I'll be with Mike Beer and Matt Bernier for live coverage of racing at Aqueduct, Del Mar, Gulfstream West, etc. beginning at 3pm ET at live.drf.com.


Congrats to Tyren for finishing first in the most recent HandiGambling event.

We'll go with the Long Island from Aqueduct for this week's exercise.


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 "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!




Copy of Formblog BC Classic 10-31-15.xls17.29 KB
Tracy Smith More than 1 year ago
HORSE RACING NATION UNITE! The popular vote portion, of Sports Illustrated's contest for Sportsman of the Year, appears to be coming down to the Kansas City Royals and the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years, AMERICAN PHAROAH. While the Kansas City Star is busy soliciting votes for the Royals, AMERICAN PHAROAH needs his legions of fans to act in his behalf. Please help spread the word and encourage friends, family, coworkers and neighbors to vote in any/all the following ways: Feel free to post this text to your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels along with the link below. If you have access to web sites, please post the link below and request votes. If you are conducting a live racing meet at this time, please have the track announcer spread the word between races. If you have customer reward programs/membership lists, please send out an e-mail asking all to cast a vote for AMERICAN PHAROAH. If you know a teacher, ask them to have all the students vote! If you know someone in the newspaper business, ask them to take on the Kansas City Star! If you know someone who, "knows someone," please forward this e-mail to them! http://www.si.com/sportsmanofyear/2015/11/10/vote-si-sportsman-poll Thanks for your time and assistance in this matter! We can do this! Go PHAROAH!!!!!!!!!!
Harold Crenshaw More than 1 year ago
C Not D-Level...but certainly not A level......Laurel WPS pools are about 50 to 70 on average....and when the pool has 24,000 when they are loading and 65,000 after the race departs....the POWER of the tote is meaningless. Again, not calling shenanigans...just the appearance of them.
CM Vongole More than 1 year ago
Harold, Most people place their bets within 2 minutes of post-time. Nothing surprising there. I have never been the victim of betting a 5-1 horse that turned out to be 5-2. That's a pretty extreme drop in price and I have to believe you were betting a D-level track with very small pools. Bernard, The herd mentality is real. Favorites are over-bet at times because most of the general public puts more emphasis on hit rate rather than value... they want to cash a ticket, regardless of price, and know the best way to do that is to bet the favorite. As for blindly betting the "early money"... you'd be surprised how many players believe in that stuff.
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Laura Before I lose your post in all the wagering manipulation comments (great stuff!) I'll give a couple thoughts. "So, here's a question for the Formbloggers - If you had a vote for the other categories, who would you choose and why? " 3YO Filly - Found - only 1 US appearance, but what a performance winning BC Turf. Older Male - Liam's Map - Honor Code, a toss up for me. Older Female - Beholder (I'm looking for her return in 2016) StopchargingMaria Turf Male - Pizza Man ...just kept delivering all year ( ok, that's corny) also love Golden Horn ...classy UK and Arc winner , a head short for ARC/BC History. Turf Female - Tepin.. BC Turf winner beat the boys or Found .. BC Mile winner beat the boys :) Sprinter Male - Run Happy, BC winner and a record. Sprinter Female - Wavell Aveune, La Verdad SR Vegas
VanSavant More than 1 year ago
"If we are on the outside, we assume a conspiracy is the perfect working of a scheme. Silent nameless men with unadorned hearts. A conspiracy is everything that ordinary life is not. It's the inside game, cold, sure, undistracted, forever closed off to us. We are the flawed ones, the innocents, trying to make some rough sense of the daily jostle. Conspirators have a logic and a daring beyond our reach. All conspiracies are the same taut story of men who find coherence in some criminal act." — Don Delillo
Harold Crenshaw More than 1 year ago
Bernard...my point was really not about nefarious deeds....it is just that last minute BETS are out of the purview of many players....in other words the APPEARANCE of shenanigans is what is haunts me. I am not a player who demands a certain PRICE for a win ticket...I like WINNING.....but sometimes when I feel I don't get the price that I think I should....well I get a little ticked. I also CAN NOT subscribe to the theory that every race is predetermined......because of I did....I would be a FOOL for attempting to play the game....I am a lot of things...but foolish is not one of them. In the great movie "The Wild Bunch"...my favorite scene is when the gang gets back together after the failed robbery in the railroad town....the great actor Edmund O'Brien is laughing at the gang....and not sympathetic with the "THEY" who foiled the attempt. His great quote of "Who the hell is THEY'?...when William Holden tells him it was one of their old criminal partners.....he grew deeply concerned....and scared. We might not want to know who THEY are.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Laura, That's great! Hope everything goes well for you. It sure would be fun to have a "live" draw again. Keep me posted. Annie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Harold Crenshaw, Thanks for your posts about "past posting". Interesting example of pool manipulation - hope your friend recovered his $500 social experiment. Your other example of 5/1 into 7/2 into 5/2 is obviously galling (or a stronger word), but isn't that sort of thing a natural product of Pari Mutuel betting? You used the term "HERD MENTALITY". Nice when the herd wins, but isn't it sad that experienced bettors feel the need to believe that some handicappers know something they don't know themselves? it is not a problem I face too often myself, because I am usually looking to bet against the crowd and find a longshot or two. I am not claiming any superiority for my system of betting, certainly not, but I have the contentment of knowing that I usually get a fair price, and if I do lose, I have only got myself to blame. Best Regards - Bernard Downes
Sinatra More than 1 year ago
They and them: Computer Programmer Chris Harn; Another lottery scandal where numbers shown on screen...before it was drawn; medication and performance enhancing drugs in horse racing; trainers accused then before the matter is resolved a case similar to the sibling pair of veteran horse jockeys with successful but controversial histories in winning races are implicated in an alleged race-fixing scheme, just wait there will be another trainer scandal and jockeys accusation. Insider trading case against Dr. Yves Benhamou and FrontPoint Partners; there was also Martha Stewart. Former Pequot Capital CEO Art Samberg blatantly asked Microsoft employee David Zilkha for insider information about the tech company in several emails during 2001, which then helped net his hedge fund $2.1 million. Then there was this man Robby Rose, family man, business owner and bass tournament competitor, admits he put a 1-pound lead weight down the gullet of a fish he caught in an event at Lake Ray Hubbard. At stake that day was the tournament's top prize, a $55,000 boat. I can find incidents of scandals and money making schemes and greed. Are there races fixed, well just a few weeks ago the male horse racing against fillies paid $200 plus to win. Oh hum just an innocent mistake. TurfRuler
Harold Crenshaw More than 1 year ago
Bernard Pool manipulation. I had a friend who was semi-crazy and very wealthy and loved to screw with people and was a bit of a tinkerer and social scientist. He loved horses and traveling. He went to a harness race track in Maine where the pools were TINY and the racing was modest. To mess with peoples heads as soon as the 3rd race went "live"(he didn't want to mess with the Daily Double pool and this was way before pick 3's and other horizontal bets)....he put $500 win on a 12-1 morning line horse with an outside post, pedestrian form and middling connections. He did it because he wanted to see what the "public" would do......with those pools the horse opened at 1-9...and stayed there for most of the betting......it drifted up and then a curious thing happened.....MOST OF THE LATE MONEY WENT TO THIS HORSE and he was bet back down to 1-9......it even affected the DRIVER as he even he thought that sharpies KNEW something. The horse's only chance was to work out a perfect trip and hope the race came back to him.......the driver went 3 wide down the back stretch(very aggressive drive..which was way different from previous drives) and the horse finished 6th. As the driver finished the crowd BOOED the finish......HERD MENTALITY.