03/20/2013 3:30PM

Joyful Victory = Sharp!


Larry Jones has JOYFUL VICTORY in career form.

The Tapit mare was always pretty good.  Heck, she was Grade 1-placed at two and favored in the Kentucky Oaks the following spring after winning her two prior starts, the Grade 2 Fantasy Stakes and Grade 3 Honeybee Stakes, by a combined 15 3/4 lengths.  After the Fantasy, however, Joyful Victory only won one of her next ten races and dropped seven starts at odds of 2-1 or less. 

The gray was beginning to earn a reputation as a money-burner, but Jones turned her right around in 2013.  After setting a new track record with a gate-to-wire jaunt in the $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic Stakes at Sam Houston on January 26, Joyful Victory shipped to Santa Anita and she was much the best in last week's Grade 1 Santa Margarita Stakes.  Ridden by Rosie Napravnik, Joyful Victory set solid splits of 23.02 and 46.50 while pressed by GREAT HOT.  Joyful Victory opened up a bit after six furlongs in 1:10.50 and never looked in danger.  She cruised under the wire four lengths in front of MORE CHOCOLATE and completed the nine furlongs in 1:49.53. 

When asked after the race by track publicity about long-term goals, Jones remarked that "We know we want to be back here for the Breeders’ Cup. We definitely will not turn her out but we may go light with her early for the rest of the summer and get serious in the fall and start trying to point to get back out here.  She had shown us this brilliance at times, but she’s just doing everything better right now. She’s grown up a lot mentally, because the Tapits, some of the can be a little high strung and tough, but she has settled into herself really well."

Joyful Victory received a 107 Beyer Speed Figure for her effort, her first triple-digit number in 17 lifetime starts.

*Speaking of fast, BRIGHT THOUGHT ran a hole in the wind in the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Stakes at Santa Anita last Saturday.  A perfect 3-3 on grass since being returned to trainer Jorge Gutierrez in Southern California, Bright Thought set a new world's record for 1 1/2 miles in the San Luis Rey.  Sent straight to the front by jockey Victor Espinoza, Bright Thought set fractions of 24.58 and 47.48 before the race really heated up.  Gary Stevens, aboard SLIM SHADEY, ranged up to take the lead through six furlongs in 1:10.48.  After a mile in 1:34.83, Bright Thought cranked up the pressure again.  He regained the lead and held off the closers while running his last two furlongs in 23.89.  The versatile Bright Thought has now won races at six furlongs on dirt, at 1 1/16 miles over "good" dirt, at one mile on grass, at ten furlongs on grass and now at 1 1/2 miles over the green.  Look for him next in the Grade 1, $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day, May 4.

*I just want to thank everyone that attended the FormBlog Convention at Gulfstream Park last weekend.  Laura did an amazing job of organizing the event, the staff at Gulfstream couldn't have been more accomodating, and Gulfstream's Director of Marketing, Mike Nyman, is simply a wonderful host. 

FormBloggers, I'm humbled by your kindness, grateful for your friendship and amazed by your seemingly unending passion for racing. 

As for the racing, we saw some excellent horses.  DISPOSABLEPLEASURE, winner of the Grade 2 Demoiselle at two and second in last year's Grade 1 Mother Goose, made her 4-year-old debut a winning one in gate-to-wire fashion for Todd Pletcher.  Disposablepleasure was pressed through moderate fractions in the 'n2x' optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles and always held a washed-out CENTRING at bay.

The consistent and talented CENTRE COURT, a multiple Grade 2 winner on turf last year and second in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Keeneland, took her seasonal bow in the Grade 2 Honey Fox Stakes going a mile.  Lugging 123 lbs, Centre Court's tactical speed placed her in an ideal stalking spot under Julien Leparoux and she got the jump on the late-running SAMITAR.  PIANIST, the uncoupled stablemate of Samitar, looked lethargic in the paddock and failed to fire after chasing pacesetting FRONTSIDE. 

Of all the horses we saw at Gulfstream over the weekend, perhaps the one with the most "wow" appeal was ZAIKOV, a Pletcher-trained 3-year-old that absolutely aired in his six-furlong debut.  Zaikov had worked with juvenile champion SHANGHAI BOBBY in preparation for this start and was pounded at the windows, eventually settling at 9/10 odds at post time.  After battling with TRINNI HEART through fractions of 22.85 and 45.77, Zaikov drew away under virtually no urging and cantered home to prevail by 14 1/4 lengths.  Zaikov ran his last quarter in 24.01, completed the distance in 1:09.78 and received a 99 Beyer.  He has the pedigree as a son of Distorted Humor out of Wait a While, a three-time Grade 1 winner on grass.  Wait a While wasn't a slouch on dirt, however, as she took three of eight starts on the surface and was third in the Kentucky Oaks.  A talented 3-year-old that got started a bit late for Derby dreams, Zaikov bears watching in the summer.

Fittingly enough, our named race was won by MAGICAL WEEKEND, an Any Given Saturday 4-year-old filly that won second-out for trainer Allen Iwinski.

*If you want to see a good-looking debut, watch the replay of the seventh race at Turf Paradise on March 18.  BROADWAY EMPIRE, a three-year-old gelded son of Empire Maker, won the six-furlong maiden optional claimer by 16 1/2 lengths with a 90 Beyer.  Trained by Robertino Diodoro, Broadway Empire is a half-brother to Cinderella's Dream, a New York-bred filly that won the Maid of the Mist Stakes going a mile and was second in the nine-furlong, Grade 2 Demoiselle Stakes.

*It was a frustrating weekend of gambling for yours truly.  I truly felt that DON'T TELL SOPHIA would handle MY MISS AURELIA in the Azeri.  She did, but was still outfinished late by TIZ MIZ SUE. 
I believed that OXBOW could beat SUPER NINETY NINE in the Rebel.  He did, but was outfinished by uncoupled stablemate WILL TAKE CHARGE.  I really liked MORE CHOCOLATE against Joyful Victory, but she couldn't get within hailing distance of that sharp foe.  And if you told me that my 20-1 stab, FIRE WITH FIRE, would run 12 furlongs in 2:23.40 and still not finish second, I would have laughed and laughed and laughed.  The laugh was on me.  Fire With Fire finished third.


You can find the latest "Under the Radar" column here:



Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures (3/11/13 - 3/17/13):

1. JOYFUL VICTORY - 107 - Santa Margarita Stakes (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - Santa Anita
2. CLUSTER OF STARS - 106 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - Aqueduct
3. BRIGHT THOUGHT - 104 - San Luis Rey Stakes (G2) - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - Santa Anita
4. NORMAN ASBJORNSON - 102 - Harrison E. Johnson Memorial Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles - Laurel
5. ZAIKOV - 99 - Md Sp Wt 42k - 6 Furlongs - Gulfstream
6. BANJAMMER - 98 - OC20k/SAL10k - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Fair Grounds
6. CAIXA ELETRONICA - 98 - Uncle Mo Stakes - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - Aqueduct
6. WAR ACADEMY - 98 - OC 80k/N1X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - Santa Anita
9. PASS YOU BYE BYE - 97 - OC 25k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - Laurel
10. MAGICAL SEASON - 96 - Clm 25000(25-20)B - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Fair Grounds
10. STATIC KILL - 96 - Clm 25000(25-20) - 6 Furlongs - Hawthorne
12. CANDYMAN E - 95 - Bensalem Stakes - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Parx
12. COR COR - 95 - OBS Sprint Stakes (Filly Division) - 6 Furlongs (Safetrack) - Ocala
12. DISPOSABLEPLEASURE - 95 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - Gulfstream
12. FLASHY SUNRISE - 95 - OC 17k/N1X -N - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Fair Grounds
12. WILL TAKE CHARGE - 95 - Rebel Stakes (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - Oaklawn
17. ARROGANT OFFICER - 94 - Alw 47000N1X - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Parx
17. CENTRE COURT - 94 - Honey Fox Stakes (G2) - 1 Mile (Turf) - Gulfstream
17. PIONEERING NATIVE - 94 - Wcl 34000(40-35)N2Y - 1 1/16 Miles - Oaklawn
17. TIZ MIZ SUE - 94 - Azeri Stakes (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles - Oaklawn
17. WHY PRETEND - 94 - OC 100k/NC -N - 6 Furlongs - Tampa Bay
22. BAILOUTTHEMINISTER - 93 - Alw 40321NC - 93 - 6 Furlongs (Tapeta) - Golden Gate
22. BRIMSTONE ISLAND - 93 - Alw 7500s - 7 Furlongs - Laurel
22. ICON IKE - 93 - Colonel Power Stakes - About 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Fair Grounds
22. REGULUS - 93 - Alw 36344NC - 1 Mile (Tapeta) - Golden Gate
22. SCHIAPARELLI - 93 - OC 62k/N2X -N - About 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Santa Anita

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

*BRAVO HABIBI, runner-up to Magical Season, was claimed for $25,000 by trainer Ronald Matthieu from Steve Asmussen.


On The Passing of Event of the Year
I read about this today, and was saddened. I was enamored with this colt from early on. He was my “Derby Horse” in 1998 before I ultimately succumbed to Indian Charlie madness.
I remember when I read of his injury before the Kentucky Derby. DRF had an excellent write up by someone who no longer works there. I can’t remember who is was, but I will always remember how he ended the article: “And now they will tell the story of Event of the Year”.
Dan – If you can find that oldie, it might be neat to resurrect it. For Event of the year, of course.

EVENT OF THE YEAR's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.


Any chance I could get PPs posted for a 90s runner named Dr. Fong? Would be most appreciated.

Group 1 winner DR. FONG's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.

Congrats to DYLBERT for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling exercise. 


Dylbert selected Friday's eighth race at Delta Downs for this week's event.


Remember that you have a mythical $100 with which to wager on the race, and the entrant with the highest money total will receive a "Monthly Enhanced 60-Card Past Performance Plan."
Anyone going over the $100 limit will be disqualified.
Please post your plays and analysis to the blog.

Please separate the play from the analysis and label the play "HG" with the program numbers (instead of the horse's name) for easier scoring.
In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference. One entry per person please.
I reserve the right to approve or deny any entries.
I know that there is a time issue for some of you, but 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. I'm 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.


I read some entries on here and there are some people who put their heart out on their picks(such as DavidM9999) and give you great analysis on who they like and why and then there are others who elect not to give any reasoning behind their entries. The rule I will implement EFFECTIVE 3/1/13 will be... any entry without ANY analysis will be ignored. We are not asking you to put out a novel, but again a sentence or two. Also, I will put communication out when Dan puts out new blogs.
My intent is not to be jerk on this, but what's fair is fair. I'm not taking away from this week or past winners regarding all of this, but we do need to make the change.
If you have any questions/conce­rns...please send an email to FORMBLOG@DRF.CO­M and it will get forwarded to me.
Thank You!



Best of luck to all.


You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman

eventoftheyear.pdf50.84 KB
DR. FONG.pdf65.37 KB
Copy of Formblog Gulfstream 3-15-13.xls67 KB
HGDED.pdf165.16 KB
Barbara More than 1 year ago
HG Delta Downs The obvious chalk and best closer looks like a standout, (#7 on top) -with best early speed, #6 for second. After that, for third either 4,5,9 or 10. $25 tri 7/6/4,5,9,10 Barbara P
dylbert More than 1 year ago
HGDED aka Welcome to Vinton! Scratch odds on favorite and you suddenly have a horse race. #6 gets class relief from OP. Calhoun batting 35% at DeD #7 absolutely loves Sabine Sand surface. Devereux cashing at 45% #2 long shot closer $25 exacta: 6,7 // 2,6,7
Ed Kay More than 1 year ago
HG (re-submission after the scratch of 3) $ 5 superfecta 7 with 10 with 2 9 6 with all ($90) $10 place on 10 Scratch of 3) wipes out my original entry. But pushes the 10 into the place slot now. Who can complete the tri in this scenario? Seat of the pants handicapping comes up with the 2 9 6. Thanks, Ed Kay
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Curtis, My fault entirely. It seems it was JAY VAN HORN that was talking about the horses from Canada liking the 20 degree weather at Turfway. And that he didn't like the northern invaders because Turfway isn't Woodbine. I was surmising that they would think they were still in Canada and perhaps run like they did there. :) Annie
Jerry Cumberland More than 1 year ago
HGDED: Esther Carl gets up to beat Little Miss Protocol who carries too much weight today. $100 Win #9 Jerry
Jerry Cumberland More than 1 year ago
HGDED: Esther Carl gets up to beat Little Miss Protocol who carries too much weight today. $100 Win #9
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
opps my HG wager should read: $50 WP #4 =$100 sorry PNR SR Vegas
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
HGDED Dylbert ..Congrats again on your HG Win :) I don't know anything about this track, trainers or jockeys. I read through the posts and everyone has such good thoughts and analysis.There is really not much I can add, so I'm going to take a stab with a longer shot, ouch. #4 A Runnin Pop ML 12-1 Though light in beyers compared to others, I like her off the pace style and she likes DeD.. Very light works and comming off layoff does concern, but we shall see. Wager $50 WP = $100 Thanks Dan and PNR . Good Luck ! SR vegas
Joe Labunski More than 1 year ago
Revised handi picks due to the scratch of the 3 horse" $5.00 exacta box 4-5-6-7 = 60 $1.00 triple box 4-5-6-7 = 24 10c superfecta box 4-5-6-7-9 $4 win 2 Like that the 5 and 7 both like the mile distance... Joe L.
PHILD333 More than 1 year ago
geeez, my 3 was scratched in my HG, still in it though keyed 5 in exacta boxes, but i would have went 5 deep if its an off track. i see it might rain i would have put in 8 and 4 both ran good on an off track but more for the 4 though. i would have used 5-7-1-4-8 in tri boxes and exacta's and in supers. Good luck to everyone today!