07/07/2016 1:50PM

Illman: Catching up with some questions

*As many of you have noticed, the "BLOG" tab on the home page has been removed. You can find this blog every week (usually published on Wednesday and Thursday) at drf.com/blogs or by going to the "NEWS" tab and clicking on the "Blogs" link. 
Let's get to some of the questions and requests posted over the last two weeks:
*Dan Illman – would it be possible to post Elusive Quality’s past performances? Last weekend Obviously had the second fastest turf mile at Belmont. I would love to see Elusive Quality’s running lines again.
Elusive Quality's past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post. He was a good dirt sprinter, but really took off when given a chance to strut his stuff on the turf. I have fond memories of watching from the Belmont grandstand as he swept through the Jaipur and Poker. The latter was one of the better performances I've seen live. 
*Hey Dan,
I was looking through the chart of the Mother Goose and saw that Off The Tracks' dam was named Harve De Grace.  I did a double take and looked her up and realized it wasn't the Havre De Grace of recent fame.  I was just wondering, what are the restrictions on naming a horse?  I know that a horse can have the name of a previous horse as long as there has been a specified number of years past.  The names were just so close, any insight would be appreciated. 
John Scharr
Thanks for the question. The following link from The Jockey Club might help with the answer. Please look under "6. NAMING" for all of the details.
*Dan, I have a question. How come in formulator the "owner" function - to see how a trainer has done with a particular owner, the horses they have together, and so on - works everywhere except New York? Is there a law that makes this information private in NY state? I find it odd that only NY past performances in formulator make this function unavailable. If anyone else knows why this is, speak up, please. 
For some reason, NYRA will not allow us to publish that information. As you mention, the owner/trainer function in Formulator is active for all other circuits. 
*...I sent Dan a screen shot of the new Trakus screen to post so you can see what it looks like. Let’s look at come home times for Belmont for all turf races from Belmont day to today; across all distances, all classes, and on both tracks. Data in next posts...
Steve T
The Trakus screenshot that Steve mentioned is available at the bottom of this blog post. 
*Video stakes previews for many of the weekend's major stakes will be available later this week at http://www.drf.com/videos
*Mike Beer and I will be on for free and fun live handicapping analysis at 4:00 ET on Saturday. You can find us at live.drf.com. This week, we'll cover Belmont, Parx, Delaware, Arlington and Santa Anita.
*You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.
*Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 6/22/16 - 6/28/16:
1. MELATONIN - 109 - Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles - 25Jun16-9SA 
2. FAR FROM OVER - 104 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - 24Jun16-3BEL
3. ARROGATE - 103 - OC 40k/N1X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - 24Jun16-2SA 
3. CHUBLICIOUS - 103 - Mr. Prospector Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 26Jun16-10MTH
3. SOI PHET - 103 - McCann's Mojave Handicap - 1 1/16 Miles - 26Jun16-8SA 
6. SHH SHE'S OURS - 101 - 6 Furlongs - Desert Stormer II Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 26Jun16-5SA 
7. LORD NELSON - 100 - Triple Bend Stakes (G1) - 7 Furlongs - 25Jun16-8SA 
8. SWEET LITTLE MAN - 98 - OC 60k/N2X - 7 Furlongs (Turf) - 25Jun16-7WO 
9. A M MILKY WAY - 97 - OC 40k/N2Y -N - 6 Furlongs - 26Jun16-6LS 
9. WHO'S OUT - 97 - OC 40k/N1X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 25Jun16-5SA 
11. BY THE MOON - 96 - Bed O'Roses Handicap - 7 Furlongs - 25Jun16-9BEL
11. ISABELLA SINGS - 96 - Eatontown Stakes (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 25Jun16-10MTH
11. PAGANOL - 96 - Clm 50000 - 1 1/16 Miles - 26Jun16-2CD 
14. DREAMING OF NENO - 95 - OC 20k/N1X - 6 Furlongs - 26Jun16-7MTH
14. ROBILLARD - 95 - OC 80k/C -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 23Jun16-7BEL
14. MO TOM - 95 - Ohio Derby - 1 1/8 Miles - 25Jun16-8TDN
17. THIS BOY'S SHARP - 94 - OC 50k/C -N - 6 Furlongs - 22Jun16-8DEL
18. LEWYS VAPROIZER - 92 - OC c-25k/N1X - 6 Furlongs - 25Jun16-8IND
18. WARRIOROFTHEROSES - 92 - OC 50k/C -N - 1 1/16 Miles - 23Jun16-6DEL
20. CITIZEN GELLER - 91 - O. D. McDonald Stakes - 7 Furlongs - 25Jun16-9ALB
20. FOR GOODNESS SAKE - 91 - Clm 25000 - 1 1/16 Miles - 23Jun16-6CD 
20. JONRAH - 91 - Clm 50000 - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 22Jun16-7BEL
20. SARAH SIS - 91 - Chicago Handicap (G3) - 7 Furlongs (Polytrack) - 25Jun16-6AP 
20. WE'RE ALL SET - 91 - Sea of Grass Stakes - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 26Jun16-10GP 
25. LOVE THAT JAZZ - 90 - Ontario County Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 27Jun16-8FL 
25. READY DANCER - 90 - Alw 77000N1X - 1 1/8 Miles - 25Jun16-8BEL
25. SCHILLAIRESS - 90 - Alw 40000s - 6 Furlongs - 25Jun16-3SA 
25. SNOWDAY (FR) - 90 - OC 30k/N2X -N - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 25Jun16-5MTH
25. SPEEDY FOX - 90 - Clm 37500(40-37.5)N3L - 6 Furlongs (Tapeta) - 24Jun16-5WO 
*Melatonin's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.
*Lewys Vaporizer was claimed for $25,000 by trainer Kim Hammond from Larry Rivelli.
*Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 6/29/16 - 7/5/16:
1. COMFORT - 105 - State Dinner Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - 4Jul16-4BEL
1. WORLD APPROVAL - 105 - United Nations Stakes (G1) - 1 3/8 Miles (Turf) - 3Jul16-9MTH
3. DELTA BLUESMAN - 103 - Smile Sprint Stakes (G2) - 6 Furlongs - 2Jul16-10GP 
3. DREFONG - 103 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 4Jul16-4SA 
5. DALMORE - 102 - Affirmed Stakes (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles - 2Jul16-5SA 
5. LIFE IN SHAMBLES - 102 -  OC 62k/N2X - 6 Furlongs -2Jul16-7BEL
5. PINK POPPY - 102 - Spook Express Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 2Jul16-9GP 
8. NOHOLDINGBACK BEAR - 101 -  Alw 87327NC  - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Tapeta) - 1Jul16-6WO 
8. PASSION FOR ACTION - 101 - Highlander Stakes (G2-C) - 6 Furlongs (Turf) - 3Jul16-4WO 
10. BLACKTYPE (FR) - 100 - OC 80k/C -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - 3Jul16-8BEL
10. DIMENSION (GB) - 100 - King Edward (G2-C) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 2Jul16-8WO 
12. CANDIP - 99 - Iowa Sprint Handicap - 6 Furlongs - 2Jul16-8PRM
13. EDZACTLY - 98 - Alw 25000s - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 4Jul16-6PRX
13. EASY TO SAY - 98 - OC 30k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - 3Jul16-6MTH
13. SPRING TO THE SKY - 98 - OC 80k/C -N - 6 Furlongs (Turf) - 4Jul16-6BEL
16. ALSVID - 97 - Kelly's Landing Stakes - 7 Furlongs - 2Jul16-10CD 
16. HELLO DON JULIO - 97 - Alw 77000N1X - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - 4Jul16-8BEL
16. RATED R SUPERSTAR - 97 - Carry Back Stakes (G3) - 7 Furlongs - 2Jul16-8GP 
16. SPELLING AGAIN - 97 - Princess Rooney Stakes (G2) - 7 Furlongs - 2Jul16-12GP 
20. AMERICAN FREEDOM - 96 - Iowa Derby (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles - 1Jul16-9PRM
20. MELMICH - 96 - Dominion Day Stakes (G3-C) - 1 1/4 Miles (Tapeta) - 1Jul16-8WO 
20. OFF THE TRACKS - 96 - Mother Goose Stakes (G1) - 1 1/16 Miles - 2Jul16-9BEL
20. OUTSIDE NASHVILLE - 96 - Oak Tree Sprint Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 4Jul16-9OTP
20. TO THE BAR - 96 - OC 25k/C -N - 1 Mile - 2Jul16-8SA 
25. CHILANGO - 95 - Clm 16000B - 1 1/16 Miles (Polytrack) - 2Jul16-6AP 
25. HAVEYOUGONEAWAY - 95 - Dancin Renee Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 3Jul16-4BEL
25. PUNTROOSKIE - 95 - OC 62k/N2X - 6 Furlongs (Tapeta) - 3Jul16-2WO 
*The past performances for Comfort and World Approval are available at the bottom of this blog post.
*Congrats to God Bless Longshots for winning last week's HandiGambling challenge.
Rick M and SR VEGAS' HG scoreboard spreadsheet is available at the bottom of this blog post. 
Let's go with the Belmont Derby for this week's exercise. 
SR Vegas and Rick M. have graciously decided to update all of the HG rules in order to make them an easier read for everyone...
HANDIGAMBLING version 2016:
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 SPARE A SENTENCE OR TWO outlining your HANDICAPPING ANGLES and/or THOUGHT PROCESSES about WAGERING.
1. Start your post with HG or HANDIGAMBLING to find your entry in a thread.
2. You have a mythical $100 to wager in whatever format you choose that is available for that HG race. Anyone going over the $100 limit will be DISQUALIFIED.
3. Post your WAGER and ANALYSIS to the blog prior to the start of the designated race. SIGN OFF WITH YOUR NAME/OR MONIKER AT THE END OF YOUR 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 identify who you are.
4. (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.
5. Separate your analysis from the wager and use the PROGRAM # in your wager. Just like you would do in a real wager. No horse names.
6. If any of the rules listed above aren't met, the wager is subject to review which can lead to disqualification of your entry.
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 2016
The speed in this race are #1 Alpha, #2 Beta, and #8 Ocho. I like the works for layoff horse #5 Cinco who can sit off the pace. Lots of speed in here, so this could set up for a closer like  #6 Six Flags and I like the trainer's stats in these conditions. I’ll put the closer over the speed.
HG wager:
$10 EX   6 /   1,2,5, 8  = $40
$5 TRI   6 /   1,2,5,8  /  1,2,5,8  =  $60
Total $100
Thanks Dan!
Belmont Trakus Come Home Quarter.jpg42.34 KB
COMFORT.pdf687.08 KB
Copy of HG 6 25 16 Gold Cup.xls54.5 KB
pat 8 months ago


Rating the tracks near me.

1. Charlestown. Great Drive with almost immeasurable beauty(especially in the fall). Coming down the hill at dusk(on the way back home) where the Shenadoah and Potomac River meet is one of the most glorious sites in America. The racing is decent and the Casino is close. A wee bit crowded and smoking is allowed inside. EASY pickings at times as most of the crowd has "summer teeth"( some are there some ain't)..but they don't bother you and begging is non-existent. Okay food.

2. Timonium. Not much for amenities, but the races are ONLY running in conjunction with the Maryland State Fair(which I love). VERY CLOSE to the action....and the ROARS cascade around the open grandstand like days of yore. Everyone is in a good mood. Some riff raff but the large entrance fee(State Fair included) makes the usual Pimlico beggars stay home. Great food

3. Delaware Park Unbelievable paddock and picnic area. great views from the track apron. Slightly below par on field size and the race is usually decided in the 1st quarter mile(speed holds). Casino very close and MOST of the people are there. Very few race fans. Excellent simulcast facility. Good food.

4. Pimlico. My favorite track in some areas. Historic, iconic and has one of the most peculiar grandstands in the country. Spacious and spooky. Lousy paddock, horrid regulars, bad security, surly tellers, food is awful......if I was 96 years old....I wouldn't mind dying there. I love it with all of its warts.

5. Penn National. I haven't been there in about 5 years. Before the casino it was fantastic. Lovely back drop and a great paddock. Lovely clubhouse with great food. Racing is below average. It always feels like shenanigans going on as the trainers and other "odd" looking guys congregate after they saddle the horses. I have felt that something weird happens every time I go there. Have had TREMENDOUS days there. I have been about 12 times and can't remember ever losing.

6. Laurel Park.  I have been there more than any other track. I know it like the back of my hand. It lacks any personality. Very cold feeling. The improvements in the past year has made the experience better, but the place only uses a small portion of the giant plant. Great paddock that is quite a hike from the grand stand and club house. Many a winner picked and more importantly many a favorite tossed as you get about 3 feet away from the horses in the paddock. IT PAYS TO MAKE THE HIKE. Lots of irritating regulars but the trainers are very accessible and most will chat it up with you.

7. Parx. sterile plant with zero personality. Racing is not great. decent paddock. Bad food. Casino is in another building(far away). Tellers and other personnel are not friendly. Hard to get to(for me). Not a great drive(lots of traffic and lots of tolls). I likely will never go back.

8. Rosecroft. Harness track right outside DC(about 45 minutes away). Lousy food, lousy racing, Lousy patrons. Just purchased by the Stronach group. Very tiny physical plant. Close to the National Harbor(which is a sight to see on the Potomac) which is building a casino. Tough to find. No stakes races or decent harness ever show up.

DavidM9999 8 months ago


As always you make some solid points. Your post made me rethink a bit... always dangerous.  I believe we agree on the following:

Being able to have a BetFair type wagering platform would allow bettors to leverage the opinion the horse is a “no hope”. We are both peeved when horses are injured and pulled up. I can live with any gambling loss but do hate to see a horse injured. We agree some trainers use races to prep their animals. It has been done for a century. Competent gamblers can spot this eight furlongs away.

I  think our areas of respectful differences are these:

It may have been financially prudent to do what he did. From what I read in the charts the Suburban has some hefty fees to start($7,500 to get to the gate and $7,500 more if supplemented) but apparently he netted a profit. In my view I see starting overmatched low level claiming animals in prestigious pari-mutuel stakes races as a bit disrespectful to the game. I may be off but I don’t think America wants a Zippy Chippy versus American Pharoah scenario played out in graded races just so a 4% trainer can eat. Does Chatterpaul really need $2,500 or $5,000 net to survive. If so, start a Go Fund Me page and I will be the first to send him something. A better idea would be for him to run horses where they belong and also train where he fits too not knocking heads with Todd, Chad, Kiaran, DavidJ, Jason, etc. Possibly consider running at a track (Finger, Penn, CT, PARX, Mountaineer, etc.) where he can make a living with those kinds of horses. Thankfully Tappin Mojo did not impact the race in any fashion but he could have easily cost a contender a placing with an erratic run.

I certainly agree with the concept that trainers need to eat, but since they are professionals freely working in a profession I hope they love one would hope they would be mindful of the sport, animals and the public. All the NYRA trainers with claimers read the same condition book as Chatterpaul. Every single one knew the math but chose to forgo entering. That tells me something.  I thought it was embarrassing to see Mojo race but was worried more for Mojo himself than Chatterpaul.

When I said “protect” the gamblers I was not talking you or I. We knew better even at 9,999-1odds. I was thinking of a first time race goer or a general newbie who cannot even read a DRF. They see a long shot, like a name, like a color and say how about $5WPS only to see the horse be non-competitive. Not sure of the specific NYRA rules but couldn’t the track could have said Mojo is running for purse only? The newbies or small rainbow chasers would have bet their dimes on another horse so the track gets their same cut. In summary in my personal view  the “right thing financially” is not always the “right thing”. Hopefully most outside Gordon Gecko and Naipaul Chatterpaul would agree. Thanks again for the engagement and the dialogue on this topic. You can have the last word.


I see Mike Watchmaker again is talking about timing issues in his weekend recap. He says… “issues with times and fractions this meet at BEL, some on dirt, primarily turf. Timing issues not restricted to BEL. You cannot entirely trust the times you see.” I don’t get it. Why not a full blown front page DRF investigative article and cut the innuendo.Times matter to “most” gamblers. If not just put the tick tocks away then go with Euro style ratings.  What puzzles me also is why are gamblers not grabbing pitch forks and torches demanding something be explained and better yet solved. Are we just to the point where gamblers accept their fate not even having the will to push back anymore. Apparently we are pretty close to that.

Ned, Pat G,

Thanks for specifics on Suffolk's situation.

Pat - my goodness, you sure have a ton of options. How do you decide where to go? Closest, favorite environment, best card?

SR Vegas 8 months ago
Ned Daly
I understand and Thank you.. I hope there is a red carpet to walk on  :)

SR Vegas
Ned Daly 8 months ago
SR Vegas
Trying to protect the festivals by keeping the work off free media. How could they charge someone for a ticket to see something they already saw on line for free? I know some folks have figured out how to monetize Youtube channels, but not me.
Penguin ymous 8 months ago
Ned's film work and handicapping picks are always worth a look.
I was fortunate to see a sneak preview of his latest short film.  

7 pm sounds almost the feature presentation.  Break a leg!

Ned does not appear to be bored in his retirement either!  

Ned Daly 8 months ago
David M9
Suffolk - as far as I can tell, Sterling Suffolk has been losing money for years. Last couple of years they ran a very limited schedule. Last year 3 dates. This year 6 dates (I went Sunday and cashed on 8 of 11). This is a requirement to keep the simulcast license which must be worth something.

Bid on the casino license but lost. Still gets purse money from the slots parlor (elsewhere and owned by others) so the "festival" dates have some money for Massbreds.

An experienced guy, Carney, owns the Brockton Fair dates and wants to run at that bullring. Still needs the Legislature (!) to agree and is backed by a splinter group of Mass. horsemen. Recently said he would build a new thoroughbred track at the greyhound faciilty he owns nearby.

A separate group, one I consider pretty marginal, has been proposing a track/horsepark (?), etc. at Suffolk. I think the land ( a healthy young person would think the walk to the airport was no big deal) is much too valuable for this use. Most is in the City of Boston and the Mayor is no fan. The numbers do not add up for horses.

Carney at Raynham or driving to New York looks like my future.

SR Vegas 8 months ago
Little Deb
Thank you !

Thank you for offering the HG race pick. Unfortunately I'll have to pass. I'm about to get 'on the road again'  to CA to help my Mom post surgery. Have some projects here to wrap up before leaving.
The honor is all yours  :)

Google and Yahoo and Eldaarfer...Oh my !!  what a fun story . HA!

You're welcome. Just keep the Chandelier reserved for Chalky and I. You never know when we may drop by :) 

Ned Daly
Congrats on your latest film. Will  "Why we went to the Moon" be viewed elsewhere ? you tube perhaps ?  

SR Vegas

pat 9 months ago

"Economic Impact".  Definition. Not definable. Think the Butterfly Effect. Think the "invisible hand" of capitalism. The problem with the studies is that they are done using static analysis.....things are not moving and one thing has nothing to do with another. DYNAMIC analysis is better. As we learned in "It's a Wonderful Life".  One life touches so many. The issue is that building things with tax payer money is certain to enrich those who control it. Many benefits, but in our crony capitalism that goes on....winners are picked out in advance. Big Shots NEVER lose their fortunes. Boom and Bust is now softened by the elites covering for their friends. Risk has been eliminated by and for the top tier. Only middling business people are susceptible to failing.

And David is 100% right about the outcomes matching the wants of the study. We are seeing that here in MD with an "economic impact study" going on right now about the "great" and "historic" Pimlico Race Course. It will write itself. Almost $300,000 to come the wanted conclusion. The game is rigged and I am not talking horse racing. $300,000 to an out of state firm......and what will we see/? Can't pour money into Pimlico.....even though they "deserve" to have the exact same amenities and high roller areas as Churchill even though the Preakness CAN NEVER be the same as the Kentucky Derby. It, by laws of nature must be LESS than 1st leg, because it is 2nd.  It does fine. My bottom line in life is that the pursuit of PERFECTION is folly....just make things a bit better as we go along.

Delaware Park is such a lovely place. One of the best paddock/picnic areas in the country. Too bad that trainers are not keen on the racing surface(it bakes out and is hard). Small fields are a problem. Too much racing and I can get there in 50 minutes, I can get to Parx in 1 hour and 40 minutes, Laurel in 15 minutes, Charlestown in one hour, Pimlico in 25 minutes, Timonium in 30 minutes, Penn National in One hour and 45 minutes. Lots of tracks too close together....and all of them are running at the same time(if you combine the MD tracks). For cheap Irishmen like me.....it also is expensive to get there.....$5 toll to get out of MD(some say money well spent) and then about $6 to get through Delaware(and DP is not far over the line). There used to be ways to "cheapen" the ride, but clever bureaucrats have figured out my game.

pat g

Anonymous 9 months ago

I cannot argue with either of your descriptions of England's performance in the 2016 Euros.  Its sad really - leave aside the small minority of drunks and hooligans, the English supporters don't deserve to be treated so badly.  Every tournament thousands of them turn up all over the World, full of pent-up expectation, and every time apart from 1966, the Engllsh team find different ways to lose.

I don't, however, agree with you about Mr Ronaldo.  I don't hate him, and nobody can doubt his special talent, but there is something about his attitude on the pitch that grates with me.  Football is very much a team game, but Ronaldo's on field personna seems to scream, look at me, I am the star.

As for the final, I was fairly neutral.  Yes, I generally prefer the underdog, but Portugal had played a very defensive tournament (relying on penalties on 2 occasions), whereas France had played in a more expansive, more entertaining fashion.  That said, I thought Portugal did very well to win without their "star".   


Wow, you have a new cricket field?  So thats Football replacing the NFL; and now Cricket replacing Baseball.  Common sense rules in the US, at last.

Best Regards - Bernard Downes

Rick 9 months ago
Thanks everyone (Little Deb, SR Vegas, Dick W, Felton and anyone else I missed) for the congrats on HG. SR Vegas, you did such a good job of picking races, if you'd like to pick again, go for it. I like to watch races I bet and unfortunately was not around on Saturday, so no real dollars. I was very surprised to see the high odds on Deauville.