03/26/2014 4:15PM

Looking for some Luck

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THE FUGUE is the kind of horse that deserves more press.

Sure, the 5-year-old mare has banked over $2.6M, owns three Group 1 victories (Nassau Stakes, Yorkshire Oaks, Irish Champion Stakes) and has cracked the trifecta in two Breeders' Cup events.

If not for some bad luck, however, her record would look even better.

The Fugue was bet to 8-5 favoritism in the 2012 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Santa Anita based on a rock-solid English campaign (third in the Epsom Oaks, second in the Ribblesdale, won the Nassau, necked in the Yorkshire Oaks). Ridden by William Buick, The Fugue was buried inside until the quarter pole. Buick then hoped to split rivals by easing out, but he was stymied by a wall of horses. Finally, in late stretch, The Fugue shook clear nearer to the inside. It was too late, however, as she ran out of racetrack. She finished third, beaten 1 1/2 lengths by Zagora, but was probably best.

Last year, The Fugue bypassed the Filly and Mare Turf to try the boys in the Breeders' Cup Turf. It was a very logical decision considering The Fugue had just whipped males in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown, and she was sent away the 3-2 favorite in the 12-horse field.

The pace was very hot by Breeders' Cup Turf standards (24.02, 46.94, 1:10.67) and The Fugue went for home a bit early after Little Mike attempted to break the race open entering the third turn. The Fugue put away Little Mike and Vagabond Shoes in upper stretch, but was run down in the shadow of the wire by the more patiently-handled Magician.

The Fugue hoped to end her 2013 campaign on a high note in the Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin on December 8, but another tough trip forced her to settle for bridesmaid status. This time, Buick had her in and among horses from the get-go, and The Fugue was shuffled back to last entering the straight. She finally eased widest in upper stretch and came with a big late kick, but couldn't run down Dominant, who simply got the jump.

This Saturday, on the Dubai World Cup undercard, The Fugue will try again. She is entered in the Dubai Duty Free at nine furlongs, a distance that may be a bit short for her. She'll also face a salty field that includes Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf heroine Dank, the undefeated Vercingetorix, and Grade/Group 1 winners Anaerobio (Argentina), Blazing Speed (Hong Kong), Hunter's Light (UAE), Just a Way (Japan) and Longtype (Japan).

It won't be an easy task, but if you give The Fugue a fair trip, she'll make her presence felt.

***

Chitu and We Miss Artie received all of the accolades last week, as well as 50 Kentucky Derby points, but another very promising colt broke his maiden in an absolute romp. Let’s take a closer look.
 
BAY OF PLENTY (Medaglia d'Oro - Kotuku, by A.P. Indy)

*FOAL DATE, STATE: February 7, 2011, Kentucky
*TRAINER: Kiaran McLaughlin
*BREEDER: Darley
*OWNER: Darley Stable
*LAST RACE:  1st Maiden Special Weight, 1 1/16 Miles, Aqueduct Inner Dirt, March 22, 93 Beyer
*DP = 9-12-17-2-0 (40) DI = 2.81   CD = 0.70
*10F DIRT TOMLINSON:  296

A Darley stable homebred trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Bay of Plenty spread-eagled a field of eight maidens traveling 1 1/16 miles last Saturday over the Aqueduct inner dirt.

Making his third lifetime start, Bay of Plenty bobbled slightly after breaking from the far outside post, but showed good speed and agility to grab the lead from the two-path. Bay of Plenty cleared to the inside entering the backstretch and set fractions of 23.59 and 47.80 under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. Entering the final turn, Bay of Plenty had his nearest pursuer, Profluent, off the bridle, and he began to open up following six furlongs in 1:12.78. Ortiz kept busy on Bay of Plenty in the stretch and the colt crossed the wire 7 1/4 lengths better than runner Goodnewsisnonews. Bay of Plenty completed the distance in 1:43.86 and received a 93 Beyer Speed Figure.

Bay of Plenty is by top stallion Medaglia d'Oro, who won seven graded races over a four-year career. Medaglia d'Oro's big victories came in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes at 1 1/4 miles, the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap at 1 1/8 miles, and the Grade 1 Donn Handicap at nine furlongs. Medaglia d'Oro also finished second in such Grade 1 mainstays as the Belmont Stakes, Breeders' Cup Classic (twice), Dubai World Cup, Pacific Classic and Wood Memorial Stakes. Medaglia d'Oro prevailed at distances ranging from 6-10 furlongs and received a career-best 120 Beyer when a 13 3/4-length winner of the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes at 1 1/8 miles.

Medaglia d'Oro is best known as the sire of Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, but he has also produced North American Grade 1 winners Champagne d'Oro, C. S. Silk, Gabby's Golden Gal, Lochte, Marketing Mix, Plum Pretty,  Violence and Warrior's Reward.

Bay of Plenty is a half-brother to Fortify, a Distorted Humor colt that finished third in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at one mile. Their dam, Kotuku (by A.P. Indy), only placed once from five starts, but she hails from an extremely classy female. Kotuku is a full sister to Grade 3-placed router Anasheed and is a half-sibling to European stakes-placed turf performers Dubai Belle and Marhoob. Dubai Belle is the dam of Grade 1 Ashland Stakes winner Little Belle.

Bay of Plenty's second dam, Flagbird (by Nureyev), was a Group 1 winner in Italy. Flagbird is kin to multiple Grade 1 route winner Prospectors Delite (dam of multiple Grade 1 route winner Tomisue's Delight and Horse of the Year Mineshaft), Grade 1 route winner Runup the Colors, Grade 2 sprint winner Top Account, stakes-winning sprinter Fold the Flag, and stakes-winners Allied Flag and Long View. The third dam, Up the Flagpole (by Hoist the Flag), scored the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks.

Bay of Plenty didn't start at two. He finished second in his career debut on New Year's Day, a six-furlong maiden special weight at Gulfstream. That afternoon, he broke slowly and attempted to rally over a speed-favoring track. He received a good education, taking dirt in his face while racing along the inside before angling wider on the turn. He seemed a bit green, but galloped out well after the fact and was flattered when the third-finisher returned to graduate with an 81 Beyer.

The following month, McLaughlin gave Bay of Plenty the opportunity to stretch out in distance and he tackled next-out Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby winner Ring Weekend. Bay of Plenty was hung out four wide on the final turn yet was only beaten 1 1/2 lengths for the win.

Bay of Plenty has a lovely stride, a beautiful route-oriented pedigree, and is improving with every start. He does need to work on his break as he has a tendency to be caught flat-footed at the opening bell. While it is probably too late for him to make an impact on the Triple Crown trail, he looks like one to watch for later in the year.

***

Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures (3/17/14 - 3/23/14):

1. ROMANSH - 106 - Excelsior Stakes (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles (Inner Dirt) - Aqueduct
2. CHITU - 102 - Sunland Derby (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles - Sunland
2. GROUND TRANSPORT - 102 - Harrison E. Johnson Memorial Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles - Laurel
4. JAKE MO - 98 - OC 50k/C -N - 6 Furlongs - Oaklawn
4. PROHIBITION - 98 - OC 30k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Inner Dirt) - Aqueduct
6. WARREN'S KNOCKOUT - 97 - Bill Thomas Memorial Stakes - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Sunland
7. DANCE INTHE FOREST - 96 - OC 25k/N1X - 6 Furlongs - Oaklawn
7. GHOST IS CLEAR - 96 - Hansen Starter Handicap - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Turfway
7. HEART STEALER - 96 - Inside Information Stakes (G2) - 7 Furlongs - Gulfstream
7. SENSATIONAL SLAM - 96 - OC 50k/N2X - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - Aqueduct
11. FIRE WITH FIRE - 95 - San Luis Rey Stakes (G2) - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - Santa Anita
11. HALO DOLLY - 95 - Dream of Summer Stakes - 1 Mile - Santa Anita
11. PALATINE HILL - 95 - Clm 20000 - 1 Mile - Gulfstream
14. SCHOOLYARD DREAMS - 94 - Alw 16000s - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - Aqueduct
15. BAY OF PLENTY - 93 - Md Sp Wt 65k - 1 1/16 Miles (Inner Dirt) - Aqueduct
15. CRAFTY CONCORDE - 93 - Alw 8000s - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Parx
15. ZANE - 93 - OC25k/SAL25k - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Gulfstream
18. ARBORVILLE - 92 - Clm 35000(35-30) - 6 Furlongs - Oaklawn
18. DRUNKEN LOVE - 92 - OC20k/SAL20k - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - Gulfstream
18. I'M STEPPIN' IT UP - 92 - OC 100k/C -N - 1 Mile - Calder
18. JIMMY SIMMS - 92 - OC 40k/N2X - 1 Mile (Turf) - Fair Grounds
18. RANGI (GB) - 92 - Alw 61686N1X - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Santa Anita
18. SPIRIT RULES - 92 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - Santa Anita
24. DO NOT ENTER - 91 - OC c-75k/N1X - 6 Furlongs - Hawthorne
24. ENGLISH CLASS - 91 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Gulfstream
24. GLACKEN TOO - 91 - OC 75k/N1X -N - 6 Furlongs - Oaklawn
24. MONUMENT HILL - 91 - Clm 50000(50-40) - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Gulfstream
24. PEACENIK - 91 - Clm 16000(16-14) - 6 Furlongs - Santa Anita
24. STORMY RUSH - 91 - OC 62k/N2X - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - Gulfstream

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

*Do Not Enter was claimed for $75,000 by trainer Tammy Domenosky from Larry Rivelli.

***

Can you post these two Trakus screen captures to this board? It is a horse that I found “conventionally” through watching races but now that I am using Trakus it becomes very clear in my mind why I was on watch for next out. Take a look at his December 19 race where he finished 5th, but look at his come home time and how many feet farther he raced. Then next out he took on Major Marvel (no small task) and he beat him, easily, and he had the best come home and he traveled farther than anyone other than the one who trailed the field (how can you trail the entire f’ing field and manage to go farther than any other horse in the race…). I think the pony in my run-up research may very well be Trackus...
Steve T

The Trakus screen captures for Hey Leroy are available at the bottom of this blog post.

***

The weekend handicapping previews should be available in the video player on the homepage soon.


You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman


***

Congrats to TBTA 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.

TBTA selects Saturday's Louisiana Derby for this week's exercise.

PAST PERFORMANCES ARE AVAILABLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG POST.

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.

HANDIGAMBLING:

-  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 "Monthly Enhanced 60-Card 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!

Harpo
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A MORE DETAILED ANALYSIS IS ALWAYS APPRECIATED !
 
REMEMBER, IF YOU ARE DECLARED THE WINNER OF THE HANDIGAMBLING EXERCISE; PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM WITH YOUR DRF LOGIN AND PASSWORD IN ORDER TO ACCESS YOUR PRIZE PACKAGE.

ALSO, IF THE WINNER WOULD LIKE TO SELECT THE FOLLOWING WEEK'S RACE, PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM NO LATER THAN THE FOLLOWING WEDNESDAY MORNING (A FRIDAY RACE IS MOST IDEAL).

Best of luck to all.

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ROMANSH.pdf614.48 KB
HeyLeroyTrakus2.JPG48.69 KB
HeyLeroyTrakus.JPG55.67 KB
Copy of Formblog Spiral Stakes 3-22-14.xls71 KB
HGLADERBY.pdf174.42 KB