10/30/2014 12:21AM

Let's talk Breeders' Cup


I'm very interested in your thoughts on the following Breeders' Cup contenders.

Let 'em rip.

#1 WET SAIL (15 to 1 ML)
He might well be the longest price of the European invaders in the Juvenile Turf as he lacks experience versus top-notch competition, but I think this guy has some ability. Although no match for the top two when third in the Totepool Two-Year-Old Trophy at Redcar on October 4, he faced some decent competition (Limato is now 4 for 4 and could be the best juvenile turf sprinter in England while the runner-up returned to win in listed company), and acquitted himself well.
He drew an excellent inside post position, and I'm hoping Jamie Spencer can work out a pace-tracking, ground-saving trip in behind the speeds. The price will certainly be right, that's for sure. Is he good enough?

#4 LADY ELI (6 to 1 ML)
She was super-impressive in both of her starts in New York, and I think she has the potential to be really good. In her debut, she was stuck behind horses turning for home, spotted a rival a big late lead, and closed like a freight train to get up at the wire. She won by a nose, but was many lengths the best.
Last time out, she chased a glacial pace while three wide. Despite giving up ground throughout, she showed eye-catching acceleration in the stretch to win going away.
The main concern is the price. I have a feeling she's going to be hit hard off her 6 to 1 morning line.

#2 TIZ MIDNIGHT (10 to 1 ML)
It's possible we've already seen the best from most of these gals. I'm not sure that's the case with Tiz Midnight, a lightly-raced 4-year-old that seems to be trending the right way for Bob Baffert. Tiz Midnight was no match for champion Beholder in the Zenyatta, but she refused to give ground when beaten, tried hard all the way to the wire, and galloped out with some interest. She's a well-bred filly that should handle the extra sixteenth, but I wonder what kind of trip she'll get. There are some other speeds in this race, and Tiz Midnight can't afford to get involved in a prolonged pace skirmish.

#6 LEIGH COURT (4 to 1 ML)
She's come back razor-sharp this year at four for trainer Josie Carroll. After over ten months on the sidelines, Leigh Court wired a decent field in the Grade 3 Seaway Stakes over the Woodbine polytrack. Most recently, she looked really good winning the Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America on dirt at Keeneland. In the TCA, she cruised up to the leaders with an effortless three-wide bid on the turn, and put those horses to bed without much fuss. She earned a very competitive Beyer for that event, is undefeated from three starts at seven furlongs, and has the tactical speed to sit just off the early leaders while in the clear.
The worry is that she refused to board the plane that was going to ship her to Southern California, and she had to endure a long van ride instead.


#13 CASPAR NETSCHER (10 to 1 ML)
It's been a long and winding road for Caspar Netscher. A multiple Group 2 winner sprinting on turf in England at two, he competed without success in the 2011 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. The following year, he took a Group 3 at seven furlongs and was retired to stud at the end of the year. He proved infertile, however, and returned to the races for a lackluster 4-year-old campaign (Group 2-placed). He didn't show much in his first three starts this year, but improved a bit when fifth in the Group 3 John Guest Bengough Stakes. In that race, he never got cover when leading a group of horses. That's not his style as he likes to make one run from the back of the pack.
Last time out, in the Grade 2 Nearctic Stakes at Woodbine, Caspar Netscher received Lasix, some cover, and some pace to attack. The result: His first win in over two years. Caspar Netscher will obviously face tougher horses on Saturday, but I wonder if his various experiences over European-style turf courses will help him as he navigates the quirky downhill configuration at Santa Anita.

#11 ONE LUCKY DANE (8 to 1 ML):
Baffert lost American Pharaoh to injury, but perhaps One Lucky Dane will soften the blow. A $490,000 yearling by Lookin At Lucky, One Lucky Dane took to dirt like a duck to water, winning a maiden race in fast and visually-impressive fashion here on October 4. He had to go pretty quick to get the lead, but rated professionally in the middle stages despite being confronted by two other rivals. Once let loose in the stretch, he drew away to win by as much as he pleased. 
He has to step up in class against one of the deepest Juvenile fields in recent memory, and the bottom of his pedigree is littered with sprint influences that could hamper his ability to stretch out to 1 1/16 miles. That ability to relax on the lead has me hoping that he'll successfully sit off the pace in the Juvenile, and the price should be square.

It seems like a crazy move for David Jacobson to wheel Salutos Amigos back in seven days, but he's quietly become one of the fastest sprinters in 2014. In eight starts for Jacobson, he's earned Beyers of 98 or greater on seven occasions with four triple-digit numbers (three in a row coming into this race). Why not look for a price horse in a division that's been fairly unpredictable for most of the season? I know Salutos Amigos is sharp (he looked strong finishing off his opponents in the Bold Ruler), and he's quietly become one of the fastest sprinters in 2014. In eight starts for Jacobson, he's earned Beyers of 98 or greater on seven occasions with four triple-digit numbers (three in a row coming into this race).
He might not be good enough, he might want seven furlongs, and he might definitely want a wet track. All of those factors mean that he has to drift off his 6 to 1 morning line (I think he will) in order to become playable.

#4 MUSTAJEEB (6 to 1 ML)
TORONADO is the big name in the Mile, but Mustajeeb might have a bit more upside. The winner of the Group 3 Jersey Stakes two back at seven furlongs, Mustajeeb was denied most recently in the Group 2 Boomerang Mile after a prolonged stretch battle. In that race, he still finished ahead of Gordon Lord Byron, who came back to finish second in the Prix de la Foret before winning the QIPCO Champions Sprint. Some may think that he's more of a seven-furlong horse, but he's won at a mile in the past, and a testing seven furlongs in Europe might equate well to a stiff mile here.

#11 TONALIST (5 to 1 ML)
I believed in him in the Belmont and Jockey Club Gold Cup, and will believe in him one more time in the Classic. He won the Jockey Club Gold Cup despite falling far off the pace. He cruised up to the leaders down inside, and weaved his way through under ultra-confident handling from Joel Rosario. He'll get pace to attack, and he wants 10 furlongs.
Does he want Santa Anita, especially if that track plays to speed? That could be the big question concerning Tonalist.


I'll be back next week with the last couple of weeks worth of top Beyer Speed Figures as well as your questions and comments.


You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.

The video previews for the Breeders' Cup races will be available later today at the following link:



Congrats to ELWOOD BLAZE for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling race.

Rick M's scoresheet is available at the bottom of this blog post.

On tab 2 you will see each HG Race we've held and they are color coded to denote if the race was run on Turf, Dirt or Poly.

Let's go with the Breeders' Cup Classic 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 Keeneland Allowance 10-24-14.xls76 KB
HGCLASSIC.pdf220.44 KB
mike turfmonstr More than 1 year ago
Ashleyluvssugar is entered at DMR Friday on the "all weather"......it's an AOC 40,000....he's 5-2 and I'm passing......I wouldn't bet the "winged Pegasus" at 5-2......Mike A
mike turfmonstr More than 1 year ago
Pat, Correct..... Ring Weekend isn't the type of horse I'd bet, but after a few losses and better odds against a field I thought he could beat I would. It's about value and ability......Now I can attest that we don't see things the same way because I saw minimal trouble early and except for a wide first turn he was comfortable 2-3 paths out...the fractions were soft,,,24:1 48:0...he did accelerate around the turn but had little thereafter being passed by 4 others down the lane.......on a good note he didn't lose ground in the stretch.....he gave what he had......your "wide trip" turned into exactly 6 feet more than the winner...... It's one's perception that counts.......he did run ok. In the grand scheme of things he is probably better than a few who finished in front of him, given the trips, but that is the thing I think you're missing......horses who are probably lesser beat him when he didn't get the ideal trip and that's where most folks go wrong.....when you like a horse, any horse you have to take into account post position, how the race will unfold and if there is a degree of difficulty on your horses part . Then you have to ask "is he that much better to overcome it.and still win".....Unfortunately except for Quarter horses and some across the pond they don't run in a straight line so there are factors to consider. A simple glitch like a slight bobble and two paths out he was done....As I said yesterday he was all out to beat Daddy's Kid with an absolute perfect trip.......and Daddy's Kid couldn't beat an older Starter alw 8000 horse. I wish you luck.....as far as Grade one's? winning a grade one isn't all it's cracked up to be at times......depends on whose running.....look at some of those Grade one horses they run out west.......Just because a horse wins a grade one that doesn't mean they are a grace one horse......Ring Weekend has earned 850,000.....that with a record of 13-4-3-2...more than a third of it coming from the Tampa Bay Derby where he beat no one in particular. OK...a nickle is a nickle......but if you win I'll deliver it in person......Mike A
Dick W More than 1 year ago
Annie Count me in for yet another MKB. Thanks in advance. Dick W
Thomas Whitten More than 1 year ago
Annie: Please include me in the MKB picks again this year. You do a great job and I really enjoy tracking the horses I owned and trained (poorly) the last two years. Tom W.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MKB 2015: 8. PAT GAVIN Good luck in the draw! Maybe a horse with not quite as much sass as TAP IT RICH. I was able to get a hold of some recent excerpts from the log of renowned horse psychiatrist, Dr. Sigmund Whinny. 9/10 BB: He's been working great. Can I put him in a race? SW: He's not ready. 9/17 BB: How about now? SW: He's not ready. 10/2 BB: Now SW: He's a difficult case. He's not ready. 10/8 BB: Surely now. SW: Nope No word yet on the status of TIR, but that last work looks promising: 10/29 1:13.60 bullet (of 6) from the gate. Maybe he will even run in a race. :) Annie
pat gavin More than 1 year ago
JJ Ron Hunt got hit 50 times in one year....he must have been one big bruise. He said he never "intentionally" tried to get hit..but stood up straight and "leaned into" the pitch. Sounds about right...... for a crazy man. Dirty dancing? When I finally found out what "twerking" was....all I could say was...I've been doing that since the 70's!
VanSavant More than 1 year ago
Jackson Jacksón; Sí, correcto. But you already knew that. I don’t know why I tallied my ledger incorrectly. Fascinating. Later gator vs
rvraynmary More than 1 year ago
What's all this fuss about horse of the year? The winner, whomever, never puts cash in any bettor's pocket unless you bet with dark-moneyed bookies. He may earn a few extra bucks in the Breeders" sheds unless it's a gelding or filly/mare. So, please let's not continue this moot discussion for the next few weeks. Just give it to Bayern and call it a day. He won the biggest race, beat older and has a white-haired trainer named Bob, who loves frontrunners. I could read Mike's analyses all day. And M9s too. Ray
rvraynmary More than 1 year ago
Annie, Please give me an MKB. I love this game. Ray or stuckinarizona
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OK, before I go to lunch, we have two more who have signed up for MKB 2015: 6. TURNBACKTHEALARM 7. ANDERSON TBTA - Well, the Commish was at least a trier, and we know the good luck you have had in previous years. Good luck again! Anderson - As owner of one of the Hawk boys, your horse had showed promise just like the other one, but unfortunately didn't rise to the top. Better luck for 2015! Annie