11/04/2008 6:05PM

Horse of the Year? Beyers, etc.



Here are the winning Beyer Speed Figures from last week's stakes races:

*Best of Luck (Aqu):  Storm Play (J. Jerkens/J. Velazquez) - 109
*Long Island (Aqu):  Criticism - GB (T. Albertrani/J. Castellano) - 102

*Nashua (Aqu):  Break Water Edison (J. Kimmel/A. Garcia) - 98
*Zydeco (DeD):  Captain Buddy (V. Arceneaux/K. Clark) - 98
*Buck's Boy (Haw):  Stonehouse (J. Broussard/P. Compton) - 98
*Dream Supreme (CD):  Elope (B. Levine/J. Leparoux) - 96
*Ontario Fashion (WO):  Porte Bonheur (D. Duggan/C. Hill) - 96
*City of Phoenix (TuP):  Shesa Private I (B. Hone/G. Corbett) - 96
*John Henry (Med):  Hotstufanthensome (B. Perkins Jr./J. Bravo) - 95
*Dance in the Mood (Hol):  Queen Ofthe Catsle (H. Zucker/V. Espinoza) - 94
*Yankee Affair (Pha):  Whistle Pig (A. Carter/E. King Jr.) - 94
*Chilukki (CD):  Leah's Secret (T. Pletcher/R. Douglas) - 93
*Pocahontas (CD):  Sara Louise (D. Romans/R. Albarado) - 90

*Mademoiselle (DeD):  Coach Mike (T. Ritchey/G. Melancon) - 89
*Brandywine (Pha):  Just Jenda (J. Jones/T. Thompson) - 89
*Tempted (Aqu):  Livin Lovin (S. Klesaris/R. Dominguez) - 87
*It's In The Air (Hol):  Model (N. Drysdale/M. Baze) - 87
*Gardenia (DeD):  Collectzcat (R. Spencer/D. Simington) - 86
*Lightning Jet (Haw):  High Expectations (C. Janks/C. Emigh) - 85
*Cocodrie (DeD):  Southern Invasion (K. Bourgeois/G. Melancon) - 85
*Iroquois (CD):  Capt. Candyman Can (I. Wilkes/J. Leparoux) - 84
*Powerless (Haw):  Nicks (C. Janks/R. Fogelsonger) - 84
*Illini Princess (Haw):  Stop a Train (C. Janks/P. Compton) - 84
*Sun Power (Haw):  Devil's Halo (R. Hazelton/C. Silva) - 83
*Lea County Sprint (Zia):  Ducky Drake (B. Hone/M. Villa) - 83
*Witches Brew (Med):  Heckuva Good Time (M. Shuman/J. Lezcano) - 83
*All Brandy (Lrl):  Sales Tax (H. Smith/M. Franklin) - 81 (*Ten Bolts finished first with 82 Beyer, but was dq'd to second)

*M2 Technology La Senorita (Ret):  My Spanx (A. Milligan/M. Escobar) - 78
*Sharp Cat (Hol):  Pamona Ball (E. Harty/R. Bejarano) - 77
*Scarlet and Gray (Beu):  Conjuress (W. Danner/E. Paucar) - 76
*Princess Elizabeth (WO):  Retraceable (M. Casse/P. Husbands) - 74
*Finger Lakes Juvenile (FL):  Momsboy (J. Tebbutt/E. Castillo) - 73
*Skyy El Joven (Ret):  Valid Message (E. Williams/C. Bourque) - 71

*Showtime Deb (Haw):  Happy Henrietta (S. Fridley/T. Thornton) - 67
*Michigan Futurity (Pnl):  Mr. Conclusive (S. Adkins/T. Houghton) - 60

*John Kirby (Suf):  Wheelie (D. Cerundolo/C. Dooley) - 56
*Norman Hall (Suf):  Same Day Pleasure (L. Lockhart/D. Amiss) - 54

*Bill Wineberg (PM):  Chief Jafatica (J. Fergason/M. Anderson) - 46
*Michigan Juvenile Fillies (Pnl):  Moon Charmer (R. Gorham/F. Mata) - 46

*Janet Wineberg (PM):  Catalina Harbor (J. Fergason/M. Anderson) - 34

Here are the lifetime past performances of the Highest and Lowest Beyer stakes performers of the week:

Download StormHarbor.pdf


I noticed in your most recent post HG analysis that you said you were "Leparouxed."  I've seen several comments about Leparoux on the blog that have been less than favorable, but never any direct mention of  his shortcomings .  On the whole, I've had pretty good luck when I use him.  Like all jocks, occasionally I find myself wanting to reach through the screen and smack him, especially when he leaves himself too much to do on turf.  But for the most part, I haven't seen things that upset me too much.  I'm curious for those of you who don't like him, what are your reasons?

Leparoux is obviously a top rider, but he sometimes can get a bit too "fine" with his mounts.  Lots of times, he'll sit and wait, and that can take away his horse's best attribute...his speed.  In the HandiGambling race, it looked like his mount was a serious pace player, but Leparoux not only took her off the pace, but placed her in a tight spot in and among rivals.  That may work for an experienced runner, but it can take a lightly-raced baby out of the game.  When it came time to pull the trigger turning for home, the barrel was predictably empty. 
It's possible that this is all just sour grapes from me as Leparoux doesn't win too often when I'm on board with him.  Still, I'd like to see him a bit more aggressive with front-running types.


Now, here's a question for the brain trust. Especially in those "chatty" Brisnet PPs, you see comments about "second or third from layoff, due to improve".
Is there a general wisdom  that most/all horses come back to run better from layoffs only after a couple of tries?  Would someone please explain to me what's the thinking behind these prognostications?  I would have thought it's pretty individualistic - some horses might rarin' to go after a time away from a race.  What's the rationale behind a supposed two or three times the charm?
Thank you!  I always appreciate learning from the experts.

The prevailing thought behind the angle is that a horse may not be trained up to the optimum performance level for the first start following a layoff, and will improve as it races itself into shape (shakes off the rust).  I've found it to be a strong angle, but it can't be taken as gospel.  Some trainers have their charges ready to fire straight off the bench.  Look at Midnight Lute.  He hadn't raced in two months prior to the Breeders' Cup Sprint (and had only one race in 2008 prior to the BC).  The layoff didn't bother him one bit due to the excellent training job by Mr. Baffert. 
Perhaps it would be wise to handicap trainers more than horses as it pertains to form cycles.  Which trainers do better second or third back than with first-time layoff horses? 
Also, it would probably help to discern the circumstances surrounding the layoff.  What precipitated the freshening?  Was the horse injured or simply off form and needed a break?  What is the horse's major goal?  Is this race (the return) at a distance shorter than the horse's best?  Does that make this race a prep for something longer?
With horses going second off the layoff, we must ask, "Did the horse get enough out of the return run, or will he need another race before he's 100% sharp?"
So many questions, so little room for error.  Form analysis is certainly a difficult part of handicapping, but when the peak of the form cycle is correctly predicted, it can lead to a windfall at the windows. 


Dan, have you used the Moss Pace figures ? If so what is your opinion of them ?

I've used them sparingly.  It's not that I don't like them, but I've grown accustomed to the homemade pace figures I've used for the last several years, and am too stubborn to change up my process.  The few times I have used Moss Pace Figures, I've found them to be an interesting tool.  Unfortunately, I don't have enough experience using the product to form a strong opinion.

Can anyone out there with user experience help Barry out?


Dan, since I won HG107 by a nose, if I still get to pick the race for HG108, I choose the Rare Blend Stakes (1 1/16 on the turf) which is the 7th race at Aqueduct on Wednesday.  I think it'll be a competitive race with some early speed and some good closers.  I checked the weather report and it should be dry from now until Wednesday so the race should stay on the grass.  Anyway, that's my suggestion, let us know...

Sounds good to me.  Here are the past performances.  Also, my co-host for the 'Race of the Day' video on the DRF homepage, Mike Beer, has selected that race for Wednesday's ROTD.  You can view our take later tonight.  Remember that you have a mythical $100 with which to wager on the HandiGambling race:

Download HandiGambling108.pdf


Talk to you tomorrow,


cayman01 More than 1 year ago
Handi 108: Welcome to Obamaland! Everybody gets an equal amount of the purse and there are no winners or losers........ahhhhhh, bad dream! 3: JOYFUL may have found a home on grass. Nice kick home to win turf debut, but seems a bit overmatched here. Possible under. 4: TEMPEST STORM has definitely found a home on the weeds and will be the speed of the speed here.Won her two turf races with ease, but jumps up in class here.We'll find out how good she is in the lane today. Major threat to wire them. 1: LOOKALIKE brought $475k 2 the Keeneland sale and has a ways to go to pay for herself.Seems a cut below here and cold jock doesn't lend confidence. Pass. 5: SEA CHANTER should work out a nice stalking trip here and take dead aim in the lane.Major player here who should get first run at speed types. 6:POSSESSIVE is another who looks overmatched here. Pass. 7:NEVER RETREAT is the mystery horse here. No turf starts, got beat soundly bt Music Note twice, seems to be lacking any confidence at all. She'll have to beat me.Should stalk but how will she take to the weeds? 2:NAMASTE'S WISH gives an honest effort every time out. Upgrades to Velasquez and should find herself in the gardenspot. Bit of a hanger though, i'll keep her underneath. 8:POLAR CIRCLE is the only real pace threat to TS and she'll really not much of one. her splits are much slower than Tempest Storm and she doesn't pass anybody.Pass. 9:BLITZEN TOO is a great finisher who adds Prado in the reins.Should work out a nice trip and be in contention when theycome down the lane. 10:OCEAN GODDESS , C. Hill gets off Tempest storm for this one? Not sure I understand that one.... 11:SENIOR RITA LADY was flying and just missed last out. Needs to work out a trip from far outside post to contend here. 2b:REMARABLE REMY, see #11. Good horse in compromised post. I really find it hard to pass up the speed of Tempest Storm here. The 20-1 ML is too tempting for me with a horses that has a real shot here.I'll play her with the stalkers and closers. $30 WP 4 $60 $2 EX 4/2,3,5,9,11 $10 $2 EX 2,3,5,9,11/4 $10 $1 TRI 4/2,3,5,9,11/2,3,5,9,11 $20 and now on to Hollywood.....
Steve T. More than 1 year ago
afleetalexforever, Hold on a sec - exactly how many top level fillies and mares came West to race in the races you cited? Other than the Breeders Cup, there was no Ginger Punch or any other East coast F/M to be seen. So if Zenyatta doesn't go to New York, she is dodging competition - but if Ginger Punch, Music Note, et al do exactly the same thing by not coming to California they are in the "heat of competition"?? California Fillies and Mares who shipped East and won: Ruffian - Tough Tiz's Sis Ballerina - Intangaroo Apple Blossom - Zenyatta Humana - Intangaroo New York Fillies and Mares who shipped West and won: We are still waiting... Pretty one way. Neither coast has been very active in shipping the other direction, but fortunately there are Grade 1's aplenty... Zenyatta met the best East coast mare out there in Ginger Punch twice, and she beat her very soundly, twice. But to say that she was dodging competition when the facts are that the East coast fillies and mares come West far less often than the other way around.
johnnyz More than 1 year ago
Horse Of The Year, I really don't care who wins as in my mind Zarkava is horse of the year, maybe the decade! Anyone that doubts her talents should go back and watch the Diane S and, the Pouliches @ Longchamp in which Zarkava spanked Goldikova. In my mind even though Zenyatta won her BC race hands down the most impressive performance in the 2008 BC was Goldikova in the mile. There has been no bigger fan of Zenyatta than me on this blog. Matter of fact, I was probably shouting her merits before most of you knew anything about her. Here is my problem with her being horse of the year. #1 I don't think you deserve horse of the year when you duck competition. We all know as did her connections that she was a sure winner in the Distaff. While was no doubt the most competitive and maybe the deepest talent pool in the US this year, that is no way to win Horse OF The Year! IMO, you don't go into prevent defense when you want the most prestigious title in horse racing. On that aspect alone I feel Curlin deserves HOY. After all, Curlin didn't duck anyone, or any competition. He set the new $ earnings record running against any that would enter the gate. In the two races he didn't win this year one has to be honest with the circumstances. In the Man O'War, Curlin finished 2'nd between two past BC Turf winners with only ONE work on turf. I feel if he would had 2/3 more works or God forbid a race on turf he would have won easily. In the BC Classic that is anyone's guess. Although I stand firm with my post after the Classic that Curlin did not take to the track. Yes, Curlin did make a move in the turn, but he was so far out at first call compared to all of his other races that it is very apparent to me Curlin was not himself on the ProRide. Bottom line is I don't think Zenyatta deserves horse of the year as her connections did not do the right thing for her to win Horse Of The Year by not running in the Classic! If she runs there and, even if she doesn't win as long as she finishes in front of Curlin she gets my vote. BTW, would someone please explain to me why J Moss didn't run Zenyatta in the BC Classic?
rr More than 1 year ago
Dan: Nice job breaking down the argument for Zenyatta. I agree, but would not be upset or cry foul should Curlin prevail. I think the formblog respondents so far have been too harsh on Curlin's post-Dubai results. Recall that many champion caliber horses have perfromed less than admirably after venturing to Dubai and back. From that perspective, I think Curlin had a tremendous post-Spring campaign. Nevertheless, Zenyatta's Apple Blossom was incredible (I was ready to tear up my tickets when the leaders hit the top of the stretch), and yes, was on dirt. I was fortunate to see Zenyatta's brilliance in person a few times, and she is truly something special... HOY special. Onto HG108. 2B looks like quite a class play. Having the 2 as a backup doesn't hurt. The 3 looks a bit cheap and light figurewise, but I like the progression with blinkers, the strung out nature of her victims, and the presence of repeat winners in her company lines... I think she'll outrun her odds. The 8 has been setting softer splits, and working slower as of late, and I think will get a great trip laying 2nd and will inherit the lead at the top of the stretch. The 8 seems to run better on firmer turf, and she might get that tomorrow. $40 win 2/2B. $10 EXB 2-3-8.
jim tully More than 1 year ago
Let's take away Favorite Trick's HOTY title because he only beat two year olds. If he was any good, he could have beaten 3 year olds. Azeri, we're gonna need your award too. You never beat the boys. Cigar, give it up. C'mon. You couldn't win on turf. Charismatic, nope,you never beat older. We will take that trophy back. Holy Bull, sorry, you passed on the Classic. Hand it over.
David W More than 1 year ago
handigambling 108 $10 win 5 $10 $5 tri 5,7,/2,5,7,11,/2,5,7,8,11 $90
Alex More than 1 year ago
Revised HG108 picks... $60 Win - 8 $10 Exacta - 8-6 $10 Exacta - 8-11 $10 Exacta - 6-8 $10 Exacta - 11-8
Hillbilly More than 1 year ago
Dan, Regarding HOY! I am with some of the others on HOY! By your account Peppers Pride should easily have been HOY. The media people are in this industry are nuts they beg for someone to do something out of the ordinary and then give their votes to someone who did the same old thing. Zenyatta is brilliant but her campaign was no where near as impressive as Big Brown's or Curlins.
Steve T. More than 1 year ago
C, I don't think fillies are inferior to males at all - I think we are boneheads for purposely keeping them away from the colts. It is an American racing myth that they are inferior, yet many cling to the fallacy. I still hear today about Ruffian breaking down because she was racing a colt (which had way more to do with her parents - who really were the king and queen of unsoundness). Then Eight Belles goes down and you hear "aha! I told you". I think the stickers were her downfall, not racing the boys. But I also understand Moss/Shirrefs reasoning that if by chance she did breakdown in the BC Classic, horse racing would be pretty much mortally wounded. Personally I would be okay with dramatically reducing the number of fillies and mares restricted races and abolishing all statebred races.
Steve T. More than 1 year ago
Travers, So you believe that the breeders and owners have no part of the current mess? They should be exempt from the discussion? There were 37,000 thoroughbreds foaled last year of which 10,360 will never make it to the track - where exactly do these 10,000 horses end up and how did they get there? 2008 will be the lowest attendance figures since the Great Depression, and handle is off dramatically at almost all tracks - exactly how much do you think a sire is worth today versus two years ago (or two months ago)? The breeders and owners have their fair share of culpability in that decline. Look at everybody but me and my interests, because we are not to blame - well the fact is that everyone is to blame, including the owners and breeders. I certainly have not singled them out, in fact I have decried the fact that they are losing money at the rate they are (they make .46 for every dollar of cost). I have tried to point out that this is a problem that is rooted in so many issues and with some many groups that there really is no choice but to look at each group and make an honest assessment of their role - whether it is the breeders or the horseplayers. I have certainly taken up more than my fair share of blog space recently trying to analyze what is going on and how we fix it - what do YOU think are the problems and solutions?