08/14/2013 6:08PM

A LoPresti Double


Trainer Charles LoPresti had an amazing week at Saratoga. 

His 2012 Horse of the Year, WISE DAN, successfully toted 129 pounds in the Grade 2 Fourstardave Handicap and looked none the worse for wear after eight furlongs on turf.  Good horses get good trips and Wise Dan has the tactical speed to find forward position in almost every start.  In the Fourstardave, Wise Dan again grabbed the pocket before easing out on the final turn to challenge KING KREESA.  The pacesetter was game, but Wise Dan was simply in another league. 

"To prove that he's a great horse like everybody's talking about, he had to carry that weight," LoPresti told NYRA Communications after the Fourstardave. "I think he proved that he's a very good horse. I was worried about that front-runner. When he cruised up to him on equal terms, he had so much horse he just went right on by him. Johnny [Velazquez] just kind of rode him out. Johnny had so much confidence in him. They started to pick it up and ran fast the last part of it. I know that horse of ours has a great kick. And he proved he's a great horse today."

While Wise Dan got the applause, LoPresti's WINDSWEPT continues to lurk under the radar.  Seemingly over the physical problems that have relegated the 5-year-old to only eight lifetime races, Windswept dominated a short field in an 'n2x' optional claimer at nine furlongs on the main track.  Windswept looked powerful in the stretch and will likely next contest the $175,000 Hometown Classic Stakes at Churchill Downs on September 28. 

*SEANEEN GIRL may not be at the very top of the 3-year-old filly rankings, but I was quite taken by her romp in the Grade 2 Monmouth Oaks.  She overwhelmed her five rivals en route to a career-best 95 Beyer Speed Figure and her only bad race from six starts on dirt was the Kentucky Oaks.  Don't be fooled by some of her subpar turf and polytrack lines.  Seaneen Girl is okay and may be rounding into her best form for trainer Bernie Flint.

*TIZ FLIRTATIOUS was also visually impressive.  The 5-year-old mare, trained by Marty Jones in Southern California, steamrolled her opponents in the John Mabee Stakes at Del Mar despite being held up at the rear of the field through dawdling fractions.  Never off the board from 11 races, Tiz Flirtatious will likely contest the Rodeo Drive Stakes at Santa Anita in preparation for the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

*ET TU WALKER may be bound for bigger and better after another sharp effort in Southern California. Since being switched to the turf in the spring by trainer Doug O'Neill, Et Tu Walker has compiled a 5-4-1-0 record with the only loss a tough-trip nose defeat at the hooves of SIROCCO STRIKE.  Comfortable from on the lead or off the pace, Et Tu Walker battled on the front end in his 'n2x' optional claiming win at Del Mar on August 7.  While pace rival SUMMER EXCLUSIVE packed it in turning for home, Et Tu Walker kept on going. 


Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures (8/5/13 - 8/11/13):

1. WISE DAN - 106 - Fourstardave Handicap (G2) - 1 Mile (Turf) - Saratoga
2. SERVICE FOR TEN - 103 - Vincent A. Moscarelli Memorial Stakes - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Delaware
2. WINDSWEPT - 103 - OC 35k/N2X -N - 1 1/8 Miles - Saratoga
4. BRETHREN - 97 - Evangeline Mile Handicap - 1 Mile - Evangeline
5. HOLIDAY SOIREE - 96 - Shine Again Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Saratoga
5. PITCH N ROLL - 96 - OC 62k/N3X -N - 6 Furlongs (Tapeta) - Presque Isle Downs
7. FLASHY AMERICAN - 95 - Alada Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles - Saratoga
7. SEANEEN GIRL - 95 - Monmouth Oaks (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles - Monmouth
9. BLACK BEAR - 94 - OC 30k/C -N - 6 Furlongs - Prairie Meadows
9. BOND VIGILANTE - 94 - Claramount Stakes - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Saratoga
9. CHONGO - 94 - OC 25k/N2X -N - 7 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Canterbury
9. CONTROL TOWER - 94 - OC 40k/N2X - 1 Mile (Turf) - Arlington
9. MOONLIGHT SONG - 94 - Alw 82000N1X - 7 Furlongs - Saratoga
14. CONSOLE - 93 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Saratoga
14. ET TU WALKER - 93 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - Del Mar
14. HOLY LUTE - 93 - Md Sp Wt 76k - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Del Mar
14. ROCKYSHOMERUN - 93 - Hard Spun Stakes - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Delaware
14. SOI PHET - 93 - Alw 91860N1X - 1 Mile (Polytrack) - Del Mar
14. XBALANQUE - 93 - OC 40k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Arlington
20. CLEAR TO CANADA - 92 - Clm 10000 - 6 Furlongs - Canterbury
20. QUSHCHI (GB) - 92 - Waya Stakes - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - Saratoga
20. SUNDAY MASS - 92 - OC 25k/N1X - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Indiana
20. TIZ FLIRTATIOUS - 92 - John C. Mabee Stakes (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Del Mar
24. DANCINGTOTHESTARTS - 91 - OC 100k/C -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - Del Mar
24. RES JUDICATA - 91 - OC 40k/N3X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Parx
24. WARREN'S KNOCKOUT - 91 - Budweiser Special Stakes - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Albuquerque

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


When you get the chance, you're definitely going to want to check out "RACEHORSE," the latest production from Jessica Pacheco, racing analyst at Arlington Park. 

Things take a tragic turn in Episode 6 of Racehorse, as Ali's Racing Stable is forced to deal with the loss of Givenchi.


Previous episodes can be found at:


The weekend handicapping videos should be up on the homepage later this week.

You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman


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

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

Let's go with the Arlington Million for this week's race.


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.

WISEDAN.pdf61.25 KB
Copy of Formblog Saratoga Alada 8-9-13.xls68 KB
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Annie, It would be useful to be able to read a unanimous community view of the best looking horses, but what happens if conflicting views are posted? Best Regards - Bernard Downes
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
David M, Wouldn't that be nice: "to have keen eyed folk placed strategically around the country". However, since I don't tweet, twitter or chirp, I'd prefer that they post their impressions right here on Formblog. :) Also could be helpful through the three-year-old season telling us WHICH MKB horse is looking the best. You know those MKBs win most of those races, but often there are more than one in a race, sometimes even several. Annie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Penguin, Well now there's an original thought. That high percentage claiming trainers just have the ability to "see" impending talent in a racehorse. That would certainly answer the question that I have often wondered about. It seems so often it is the winner of a claiming race that is claimed, even though the horse was only the 5th or 6th choice or longer going into the race. I've often asked myself, "How did he know?" It also follows then that even if the horse doesn't win that race, some of the trainers that are known for "improving" a horse (and often accused of ulterior means) may simply have "seen" the potential of a given horse and have the ability to bring out the best in the animal. It certainly is possible that some trainers are just more "savvy" when it comes to spotting potential ability than others. Annie
DavidM9999 More than 1 year ago
B+ Workouts at Saratoga – 08-21-13 Let’s see how these strong recent workers fare on today’s card. Race 1 – Court Dancer (6-1 ML) Race 4 MTO – Bradester (7-5 ML) Race 8 – Ireland (15-1 ML), Zindaya (5-1 ML) This race is interesting as Ireland worked with once highly regarded Broken Spell holding own. Zindaya held own with Bella Castani who is talented on grass. She will be on all my tickets. Super Sky also got a good mark at B holding own with Winning Cause (Pletcher stakes filly also on card earlier). The fact he paired her up with WC makes me think she is well meant. Race 9 – Smooth Bert (5-1 ML) and EscapefromReality (7-2 ML) Good luck to all!
DavidM9999 More than 1 year ago
Ron Z You make some great points about appearance and body language. I enjoyed reading it. Over the last few years on the blog I have become more cognizant of this angle. Going to the KEE Sales and being around some barns has helped me learn a bit about conformation and such but I am a green as an unraced colt. This summer I have gravitated a bit to workouts prior to a race and have scored many double digit horses while having my best betting summer. However I am only at the 8th pole so lot of racing to go. Appearance assessment could be a nice addition to the compete handicapping skill set. On Nellie Cashman let me ask you a few things as a follow up. Late in the pre-race warm up I noticed she was washy with lather on her neck. I believe the TVG crew noted it also. Did you consider that a negative or just her being a high strung young filly? When will pre-race washing out or warm up antics make you go another direction? I often play multi-race wagers so I may only get to see one of the post parades out of a three or four race sequence. I assume you do also. Do you augment those with WP or vertical wagers when you see something positive that has massive value like Nellie? TBTA We need keen eyed folks like you placed strategically around the country using Twitter to give us informed opinions on matters of the flesh. On TVG you are lucky to get a full unobstructed post parade. They do excel with Donna Brothers when she is on track to give us paddock impressions. Thanks for the recap. Bernard Thanks again for your astute thoughts and picks Saturday. I used several in a Pick 3 over the Bev D, Million and next stakes. I was disgusted with myself as I went 3 deep in leg one (Dunkle, Dank, MM) went four deep in Million pitching both favorites (Granduer and Indy Point while running 1-2-3) but only used a Kitten and Frivolous in the finale. IO Ireland is a horse I have been betting and know well. She was a last pitch. That cost me dearly as I had the sequence live a few times but you get no reward for these daily coulda shoulda’s. Frivolous was over bet in the win pool and I should have seen that one coming. That Pick 3 was only paying $235 if memory serves me. She was not my style of play but you swing and miss, assess the damage while learning and move on to the next card.
Ned Daly More than 1 year ago
Ron Z Thanks for the reminder of the importance of physical handicapping and your shout outs to some Formbloggers who practice it to great effect.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ron Z, I wasn't entirely sure if your question was rhetorical or not. Ryan Moore was probably saying that the horse was fighting him rather than helping him. Hunter's Light was hanging to the left on each stride, rather than devoting his full energy to moving forward in a straight line. It is an expression that is sometimes used over here, although I have never seen an explanation of why it happens. I suppose if he was unable to shift his horse right, he couldn't get that clearer run down the centre. Ron, I hope you don't mind me correcting your spelling of centre. I thought it more appropriate to use the Queen's English when posting about the Sport of Kings. Best Regards - Bernard Downes
Biggar W More than 1 year ago
I vote for King's Bishop. Everyone will get to play on the Travelers as the Race of the Day,so we just as well have two races to handicap. Biggar W
Penguin ymous More than 1 year ago
JUST MAYBE THEY CAN These thoughts have been banging around my head for a while now and Turnbackthealarm's recap of Arlington Million day nudged these thoughts onto paper. TBTA was hanging around the paddock assessing the horses body language and a few of her comments were: "Dandino, in the American ST Leger, looked like a monster in the paddock." He went on to win. "Gifted Girl was, by far, the best looking horse in the Bev D. Marketing Mix did not have the look of a winner, body language wise,..." Gifted Girl ran 2nd at 12-1 and paid more to place than the winner to win. $13.40 to $8.40 . Marketing Mix was fourth. "Rydilluc was the best looking horse in the Secretariat, but it will be rare when a son of Tapit gets a mile and a quarter in top company..........Every horse in the race had good coats and nice body language." TBTA used her head and her eyes to properly assess the runners in this race. "IO Ireland is not a very pretty horse, but anyone who saw her live, knew she was sitting on a big race. She was very shiny and on the muscle." IO Ireland won and paid $47.40. TBTA "sees it". I "saw it" in the Nellie Cashman race where every horse looked pretty good, but my comment for Nellie was "on her toes and fluid way of going" meaning basically an athlete and she looked just a little better than the rest. She won. (temporarily until dq'd) Maggie Wolfendale from the NYRA broadcast "sees it" and after you learn to read between the lines of her comments, she is right about horses way more often than she is wrong. I am pretty sure Laura from Ironmaidenthoroughbreds "sees it" from her experience of working with horses as Calvin Carter just might "see it" from his work with the herd instinct and the horses breaking loose or separating from each other during a race. Mike Beer "saw it" in Cross Traffic when he tweeted something like "the best horse I've ever seen" . Cross Traffic won and paid $9.10 . I did a quick survey of the last three racing days at Saratoga and Del Mar of all of the horses eligible to be claimed. At Saratoga, there were 83 horses eligible to be claimed and 16 of them were claimed, or 19% . If you subtract the 7 horses eligible to be claimed from a maiden claimer $20,000 and none were claimed as these horses can be picked up very cheap in a few more races, then you have 16/76 or 21% . Two of those horses finished first in the races they were claimed from, four finished 2nd, three finished 3rd and two finished 4th. So, 11/16 horses were 1st through 4th. I am guessing that maybe these claiming trainers "saw" something in the horses they claimed, either in the mornings or in past races. At Del Mar, the last three racing days, very similar statistics. 74 horses eligible to be claimed and 13 were claimed, with three horses winning the race they were claimed from, three were 2nd, one third and one fourth. 13/74 = 17.5 %. Again, if you subtract the nine horses in a 2yo $50,000 mcl, you get 13 claims out of 65 eligible for 20%. The claiming game appears to be alive and well at Saratoga and Del Mar. My point here is, why can't good claiming trainers have high win percentages because they can "see it" too. Why does so much of the public immediately jump to the conclusion that every successful claiming trainer is depending on drugs? Personally, I don't see much difference between pinhookers, who also "see it" and are trying to make a buck in the future off of what other buyers have missed. Or, much difference in baseball scouts, who travel the world looking for talent or the scouts at the football combines, also looking for talent that others might have missed than the trainers scouring the entries and condition books also looking for talent and where to spot newly acquired talent. Body language is out there for all to see and pay attention if they want to. People have it, horses have it, dogs and bees have it. Of course, the language itself is open to interpretation, but with some study and effort the body language of the racehorse can pay dividends to the handicappers and to successful claiming trainers. Ron Zuercher
PennNatRick More than 1 year ago
Hello All, Sorry No HG winners this week! I throw the suggestion out there pending on entries...Travers or King's Bishop on Saturday?!? Have a great week! --Rick