10/30/2013 1:54PM

Looking for opinions


I'm looking for some opinions on the following Breeders' Cup horses. Some of them are pretty good prices on the morning line.  Please note they aren't necessarily "top picks."  I'm just fishing for thoughts.



#3 - GOT SHADES (30-1)

A multiple stakes-winner at Louisiana Downs over the summer, Got Shades shipped to Santa Anita for a prep run in the $100,000 Zuma Beach Stakes on October 6.  He was forced out four wide on the backstretch and was in contention when the field turned for home.  Racing in between horses in upper stretch, he didn't seem to want to go through a tight opening and ended up an even third.  He's still green and his numbers pale in comparison to those of the main contenders, but I think there may be some ability here at a very good price. 



#11 - PANTS ON FIRE (6-1)

While Pants On Fire's very best races at a mile have come around one turn, he is more than capable around multiple bends (three-time graded winner around two turns).  I'm not sure I believe that 107 Beyer from his most recent start, but he looked good running down TAPTOWNE in the stretch with a 24.06 final quarter.  Trainer Kelly Breen seems to have this horse in great form and he bounced out of the Ack Ack with a pair of bullet half-mile workouts.



#2 - AL THAKHIRA (6-1)

Trainer Marco Botti generally means business when he brings his quality European stock to this country.  According to Formulator, Botti is 4-8 with 5 in-the-money finishes over the past five years in the United States.  AL THAKHIRA, undefeated from two starts in England, will get the acid test in this contentious affair, but she was visually impressive in running away from seven others in the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket on October 12.  She draws an excellent inside post position and may work out a ground-saving, pace-tracking trip under the great Ryan Moore.




The Todd Pletcher-trained Authenticity feels like one of the "wise guy" horses for this year's Breeders' Cup.  Consistently good this season, Authenticity was up against the race flow when second to BEHOLDER in the Grade 1 Zenyatta at Santa Anita on September 28.  She didn't get out the gate very quickly and ended up last on the rail going into the first turn.  Held up along the inside while Beholder set leisurely fractions, Authenticity couldn't overcome that filly's tactical advantage but tried hard all the way to the wire and galloped out past that foe. With ROYAL DELTA here to ensure good fractions, Authenticity figures to get a fair shake from a pace perspective.  The problem is whether she's good enough to beat three horses with championship credentials (Royal Delta, Beholder, likely PRINCESS OF SYLMAR).



#5 - RIA ANTONIA (30-1)

This longshot was no match for race favorites SWEET REASON and ARTEMIS AGROTERA in the Grade 1 Frizette, but it was her first start on dirt and she looked to be in strong contention while racing along the inside turning for home.  The pace of that race wasn't very fast and the winner scooted away from her when the real racing began.  She'll need a good amount of improvement to turn the tables on those two, but all of these 2-year-olds are racing "Lasix off" and that makes taking a short price even more unappetizing than usual.  Perhaps the addition of blinkers will move her forward.



#12 - SWEET LULU (8-1)

The game winner of the Grade 1 Test Stakes at this distance on August 24, Sweet Lulu tasted defeat for the first time when second to Distaff hopeful Close Hatches in the Grade 1 Cotillion.  She ran pretty well at Parx, battling for the lead with Close Hatches and My Happy Face before succumbing to the winner in midstretch.  She showed some heart by fighting hard for the runner-up spot and the cutback to a sprint may be just what the doctor ordered. 



#13 - DIMENSION (12-1)

Class and distance relief should help Dimension in the Turf Sprint.  Last time out, he tried to stretch his speed to a mile against Horse of the Year Wise Dan in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile.  He probably wasn't going to beat Wise Dan under any circumstances, but it certainly didn't help that he was involved in a hot-and-heavy pace duel with eventual last-place finisher EXCAPER.  Two starts back, sprinting in the Grade 2 Play the King Stakes, Dimension didn't break very well from the inside, but scooted up to battle with two others before drawing away nicely in the stretch.  He doesn't need to be on the lead to be effective and may end up stalking quick splits while in the clear.



#3 - MEXIKOMA (12-1)

Perhaps the second "wise-guy" horse of this grouping, Mexikoma could not have been more impressive winning his maiden around two turns at Delaware.  He tracked the pace, took over at will on the final turn, and drew off to win by almost 15 lengths in good time.  Purchased privately by Team Valor following the race, Mexikoma is giving up experience, but the juvenile division doesn't seem particularly strong this year.  Don't be discouraged that he made his debut on the turf at Saratoga as there are no two-turn main track races for babies at the Spa and this horse needs distance.



#7 - THE FUGUE (3-1)

Sharp filly beat males impressively in the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes at 10 furlongs and she handles 1 1/2 miles without any problem.  The beaten favorite in last year's Filly and Mare Turf, she was arguably best in that race as she had a good amount of traffic trouble in the stretch.  This is a pretty tough spot against some salty males so it may not be worth taking any less than her morning line price.  Still, she catches POINT OF ENTRY following an injury-induced layoff, and the horses exiting the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic really had to throw it down for the final three-eighths of a mile.  The Fugue may have the best combination of "sharp and fresh" all at the same time.




The connections had to be upset after Justin Phillip drew the daunting inside post in the Sprint.  He's had his best season ever this year with five triple-digit Beyers and two graded wins.  This year's Sprint division isn't the toughest and Justin Phillip's usual effort should put him right in the mix.  Now, all he needs is the right trip from the rail.  He may need to drift a tick or two from the morning line odds in order to represent true value.



#5 - OLYMPIC GLORY (4-1)

A Group 1 winner at two, Olympic Glory took a big leap forward with the addition of blinkers in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on October 19.  He's run well on firm ground in the past and should get a pretty honest pace to attack.  Beating Wise Dan will not be an easy task and Olympic Glory's trainer, Richard Hannon, doesn't have good numbers in North America (14-0-1-0).  He's a classy European that must be respected, but is another that may need higher odds in order to truly entice.



#6 - MUCHO MACHO MAN (5-1)

Second in this race last year, Mucho Macho Man seems to have an affinity for the Santa Anita dirt.  His last race, in my opinion, was his lifetime best as he just dominated nine others in the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes.  He can be a bit inconsistent at times, but the early portion of 2013 was compromised by illness and he looks to be in peak form entering the Classic.  The pace should be lively up front and Mucho Macho Man's stalking style should come in quite handy.

Anyway, looking forward to your thoughts on these, and other, Breeders' Cup contenders.  Best of luck at the betting windows.

Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures (10/21/13 - 10/27/13)

1. CLEARLY NOW - 108 - Bold Ruler Handicap (G3) - 7 Furlongs - Belmont
2. JOSHUA TREE (IRE) - 102 - Canadian International Stakes (G1-C) - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - Woodbine
3. L. A. WEEKEND - 99 - OC 30k/C -N - 6 Furlongs - Turf Paradise
4. DETERMINATO - 98 - Kaiser Handicap - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - Calder
4. TANNERY (IRE) - 98 - E. P. Taylor Stakes (G1-C) - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - Woodbine
6. TIZ THE TRUTH - 97 - Alw 54500N2X - 1 Mile - Santa Anita
7. AFFLICTION - 94 - Clm 12500N2L - 1 Mile - Santa Anita
7. BIO PRO - 94 - Lure Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - Santa Anita
7. DREAMINGOFUNCLREDA - 94 - Clm c-25000N3L - 6 Furlongs - Gulfstream
7. KEEP UP - 94 - Alw 65472C - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Keeneland
7. NIKKI'S SANDCASTLE - 94 - Fayette Stakes (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles (Polytrack) - Keeneland
12. LONG RIVER - 93 - OC 25k/N1X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - Belmont
12. MAJOR HIGHWAY - 93 - OC 25k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - Parx
12. OCCASIONAL VIEW - 93 - OC c-100k/N3X - 7 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Keeneland
12. STARSPANGLED HEAT - 93 - OC 80k/C -N - About 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Santa Anita
16. BAFFLE ME - 92 - Finney Stakes - 7 Furlongs (Turf) - Belmont
16. SHMOOZ TALKER - 92 - Clm c-32000 - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Keeneland
16. STANWYCK - 92 - Turnback the Alarm Handicap (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles - Belmont
16. THUNDER HOLE - 92 - Clm 25000N2L - 6 Furlongs - Gulfstream
16. WEDDING TOAST - 92 - Belle Cherie Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - Belmont
21. FUNKY WARRIOR - 91 - OC20k/SAL20k - 6 Furlongs - Finger Lakes
21. KATIE THE LADY - 91 - Illini Princess Handicap - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Hawthorne
21. MASASI - 91 - Md Sp Wt 70k - 6 Furlongs - Belmont
21. REV HILLS - 91 - OC 25k/N1X - 1 1/16 Miles - Gulfstream
21. UNCLE TODD - 91 - Clm 4000N2Y - 5 Furlongs - Penn National

*The lifetime past performances for CLEARLY NOW are available at the bottom of this blog post.

*DREAMINGOFUNCLREDA was claimed for $25,000 by trainer Aubrey Maragh from Kirk Ziadie.

*OCCASIONAL VIEW was claimed for $100,000 by trainer Kenneth McPeek from Graham Motion

*SHMOOZ TALKER was claimed for $32,000 by trainer Dane Kobiskie from Michael Maker


Rick M. and DAN:
On the 10/18 HG I bet PLACE for $100 and my horse came in first. That is
a win for a PLACE bettor, but your Excel file doesn't show me. Is there a
rule against PLACE betting? Let me know before the BC this week. ?
Thanks, PAUL G

Place betting is certainly allowed.  I'm sure your omission was simply an oversight.  Good luck this week.


Dan, would love to see pp's from two older Ca horses called Bold Windy & Pharoh's Heart...I absolutely loved these two great horses!

The past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.


Dan, can you please post the pp's for 2 old CA horses: Big Jag, Golden Half

They're available at the bottom of this post.


The Breeders' Cup handicapping previews should be available on the site soon.

You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman


Congrats to Phil D. for finishing first in the most recent HandiGambling contest.

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

Let's go with Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic from Santa Anita as this week's exercise.


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.

CLEARLY NOW.pdf616.18 KB
BigGolden.pdf69.61 KB
Copy of Formblog Belmont Claiming Turf(2) 10-25-13.xls68.5 KB
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ned Daly I forgot to mention that Posse - Gold Ginny - Gold Legend were all those 1111111 thingamajigs . This filly should be loaded with the fisherman's vaunted 111111111s and she should have a half sister that won her debut in a NYbred MSW @ belmont .She should have two of 3 siblings that have won. Gold Legend wasn't bad with 1sters or mudders - sooooooooo take a chance with a few bucks on her if she runs.
mike turfmonstr More than 1 year ago
Ned, You did ask 'anyone" so I'll give the the quick answer. Posse's a sire I like.....both on dirt and turf, though on turf he seems to get a bit more ground. It's hard to get a good line on the dam, Gold Ginny as she did most of her racing at a second rate track, albeit in "stakes".....She did manage a 4th in the Fla. Oaks at tampa as a 3 year old. Now her damsire Gold legend never raced, but is bred well. Know I may sound like a broken record, but with her breeding I'd might give her a race or two to give her experience but I'd put her on turf asap.....she could really be a nice one if she has anything to offer.......Her works are ok.....she may need to mature a bit, but I think he has a good shot of her being a nice filly.......Mike A
Curtis V Slewster More than 1 year ago
Ned Daly, I'm gonna have to add my 3 cents. This filly is a Slewster Ned. Goldstandardlady-NY. Posse-Gold Ginny, by Gold Legend....Son of WHO ? Gold Legend{Dam Sire} is a unraced horse with a DI{17-3-18-4-0} of 2.23, CD of .79..Sounds good so far. She has had 7 workouts. Latest one today @Bel. 4F 49.4B..31/56.. All her works are in the middle of the aisle. I'd keep a keen eye on her. I'm already adding her to the vaunted Slewster line. & BTW: She's also loaded w/the other notables too. Mr. P., Round Table 2X's, Bold Ruler 2X's..etal... C V Slewster.........
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Welcome back to the MKB, Dominic. Since you signed off with Bodine, I will use that name in the list. If you would prefer Dominic, I can always change it. Good luck in the draw!! 28. BODINE Annie
Todd More than 1 year ago
Annie, Please add me to the list. I would like to thank you and SR in advance for all the work that you do. Longwaytomay
dominicp More than 1 year ago
Annie, Please sign me up MKB horse. Thank you, Bodine
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Annie LOL! Yes, Señor Vegas.....It appears I had a senior moment :) SR Vegas
Okiesharp More than 1 year ago
Van Savant If you feel the need to repent for your a grievous transgressions of this past weekend, you can send a donation to the non-profit Okiesharp foundation.....:-) Okiesharp
Ned Daly More than 1 year ago
East Boston voters failed to endorse the Suffolk Downs casino proposal. Another nail in the coffin.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rando6, Glad you had a good time with your ORB! And even won the big one. :) Good luck in the draw. Maybe lightning will strike again. You never know. 27. RANDO6 Annie