08/04/2016 1:51PM

Lord Nelson and some babies to watch

*As many of you have noticed, the "BLOG" tab on the home page has been removed. You can find this blog every week (usually published on Wednesday and Thursday) at drf.com/blogs or by going to the "NEWS" tab and clicking on the "Blogs" link. 
LORD NELSON stamped himself as the leading sprinter in the country after an authoritative victory in last Sunday's Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar.
Trained by Bob Baffert, the 4-year-old Pulpit colt tracked outside in third as speedsters JUSTIN SQUARED and SUBTLE INDIAN scorched through fractions of 21.16 and 43.73. Predictably, both were gasping for air when the field turned into the stretch. Once Lord Nelson grabbed the lead, the only question left was the margin. Lord Nelson completed the six furlongs in 1:07.65 and received a career-best 107 Beyer Speed Figure while four lengths to the good of fellow stalker INDEXICAL.
While the pace-tracking trip behind two duelers certainly worked out for Lord Nelson, the colt deserves credit for finishing so strongly despite being close to those blazing splits, and it appears he is beginning to reach the potential he showed as a younger horse. 
A $340,000 yearling purchase, Lord Nelson's second dam is Grade 1 winner Miss Linda, a mare that took the Grade 1 Spinster Stakes at nine furlongs on dirt. Despite Miss Linda's stamina, Lord Nelson is much more comfortable at shorter distances. When looking at his past performances (posted at the bottom of this blog post), you'll see a colt with a record of 8-6-1-1 in sprints. When stretched out to a mile and beyond, his record stands at 4-0-0-0. 
"He’s become a serious sprinter," Baffert told Del Mar track publicity after the Bing Crosby. "I was worried about the cutback (to six furlongs) but he has been training so well. He’s getting better and better. He was pretty close to those fast splits and he still had a kick left. So that was really impressive."
Although the Bing Crosby was a career-defining victory for Lord Nelson, he's enjoyed some other bright moments. In last year's Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita, Lord Nelson held off the late-kicking TEXAS RED, winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile in 2014. 
Take a look at the trouble Lord Nelson endured in last year's Grade 3 Bay Shore Stakes at Aqueduct. He's buried on the inside, is shuffled back terribly and appears ready to be eased on the turn by Joel Rosario. Rosario does persevere, however, and Lord Nelson rallies well for second. 
Unbeaten from three starts this year, Lord Nelson will look to races like the Grade 2, $200,000 Pat O'Brien Stakes at seven furlongs on August 27, or the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship at six panels on October 8. 
*While it's far too early to proclaim a lightly-raced 2-year-old a future star, two well-bred runners gave extremely promising debut efforts last week. 
First, THEORY dominated a field of maidens at Saratoga for trainer Todd Pletcher. A $120,000 yearling purchase that resold for $335,000 in April, Theory is by first-crop stallion Gemologist, the winner of the nine-furlong, Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. Theory's dam, Gem Sleuth (by Officer), placed third in the six-furlong, $83,000 Bennington Stakes at Saratoga. Gem Sleuth is a half-sister to multiple synthetic stakes-winner Buddy Got Even and Grade 3-placed dirt router Glittergem.
Theory was no secret as the 3 to 5 favorite and he rebuffed a strong turn challenge from Steve Asmussen-trained RECKLING en route to the 84-Beyer score. He looks like a strong candidate for the Hopeful on September 5.
At Del Mar, jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr. remained still as a statue as BIG LEAGUE cruised to a debut win for Peter Miller. Sent away the 5 to 2 second choice, Big League pressed the early pace, cruised to the front and dominated from there. You won't see an easier 3 1/4-length win and Big League earned a respectable 74 Beyer. 
Big League went through the auction ring three times. A $155,000 yearling purchase, he went for $100,000 in March before being listed as a $275,000 RNA in May. He's by Speightstown out of the fleet Reunited (by Dixie Union). Reunited earned a 107 Beyer when winning the $65,000 Oh What a Windfall Stakes going 6 1/2 furlongs at Belmont and backed that race up with a Grade 3 triumph in the six-furlong Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland. 
*Video stakes previews for many of the weekend's major stakes will be available later this week at http://www.drf.com/videos
*Mike Beer, Matt Bernier and I will be on for free and fun live handicapping analysis at 4:00 ET on Saturday. You can find us at live.drf.com. This week, we'll cover Saratoga, Del Mar, Ellis Park and Mountaineer.
*You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.
*Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 7/27/16 - 8/2/16:
1. LORD NELSON - 107 - Bing Crosby Stakes (G1) - 6 Furlongs - 31Jul16-8DMR
2. A.P. INDIAN - 106 - Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (G1) - 6 Furlongs - 30Jul16-9SAR
3. STONETASTIC - 105 - Regret Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 30Jul16-9MTH
4. CURALINA - 104 - Shuvee Handicap (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles - 31Jul16-3SAR
4. FLINTSHIRE (GB) - 104 - Bowling Green Stakes (G2) - 1 3/8 Miles (Turf) - 30Jul16-7SAR
6. CONQUEST COBRA - 103 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 7 Furlongs - 30Jul16-4DMR
7. BLACKTYPE (FR) - 101 - Oceanport Stakes (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 31Jul16-9MTH
7. EXAGGERATOR - 101 - Haskell Invitational (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - 31Jul16-12MTH
7. JAZZY TIMES - 101 - OC 40k/N1X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 31Jul16-7DMR
7. LAOBAN - 101 - Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles - 30Jul16-10SAR
11. BRADESTER - 100 - Monmouth Cup (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - 31Jul16-8MTH
11. BREAKING LUCKY - 100 - Seagram Cup (G3-C) - 1 1/16 Miles (Tapeta) - 1Aug16-8WO 
11. CONNECT - 100 - Curlin Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles - 29Jul16-9SAR
11. STELLAR WIND - 100 - Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (G1) - 1 1/16 Miles - 30Jul16-8DMR
15. LADY SHIPMAN - 99 - Royal North Stakes (G3-C) - 6 Furlongs (Turf) - 31Jul16-8WO 
16. CAMMACK -  97 - OC 80k/C -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - 31Jul16-7AP 
16. LUMINANCE - 97 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - 27Jul16-3DMR
18. HAVEYOUGONEAWAY - 96 - Honorable Miss Handicap (G2) - 6 Furlongs - 27Jul16-8SAR
18. ITSONLYACTINGDAD - 96 - Matchmaker Stakes (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 31Jul16-11MTH
20. HAMMERS VISION - 95 - Alw 83300N1X - 7 Furlongs - 31Jul16-6SAR
20. LIFE IN SHAMBLES - 95 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 5 1/2 Furlongs - 1Aug16-6SAR
20. WANSTEAD GARDENS - 95 - OC 80k/C -N - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 30Jul16-2DMR
23. A FLEET ATTITUDE - 93 - OC c-40k/N3X - 6 Furlongs - 1Aug16-7PRX
23. GLENVILLE GARDENS - 94 - Alw 79519NC - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 29Jul16-8WO 
23. MIND YOUR BISCUITS - 94 - Amsterdam Stakes (G2) - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 30Jul16-4SAR
23. SIR GENGHIS - 94 - OC 30k/C -N - 1 1/16 Miles - 29Jul16-8EVD
*Lord Nelson's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post. 
*A Fleet Attitude was claimed for $40,000 by trainer Marcos Zulueta from Michael Pino.
*Congrats to Pig Bodine for winning the most recent HandiGambling challenge.
Rick M and SR VEGAS' HG scoreboard spreadsheet is available at the bottom of this blog post. 
Pig Bodine selected the West Virginia Derby for this week's exercise. 
SR Vegas and Rick M. have graciously decided to update all of the HG rules in order to make them an easier read for everyone...
HANDIGAMBLING version 2016:
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 SPARE A SENTENCE OR TWO outlining your HANDICAPPING ANGLES and/or THOUGHT PROCESSES about WAGERING.
1. Start your post with HG or HANDIGAMBLING to find your entry in a thread.
2. You have a mythical $100 to wager in whatever format you choose that is available for that HG race. Anyone going over the $100 limit will be DISQUALIFIED.
3. Post your WAGER and ANALYSIS to the blog prior to the start of the designated race. SIGN OFF WITH YOUR NAME/OR MONIKER AT THE END OF YOUR 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 identify who you are.
4. (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.
5. Separate your analysis from the wager and use the PROGRAM # in your wager. Just like you would do in a real wager. No horse names.
6. If any of the rules listed above aren't met, the wager is subject to review which can lead to disqualification of your entry.
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 2016
The speed in this race are #1 Alpha, #2 Beta, and #8 Ocho. I like the works for layoff horse #5 Cinco who can sit off the pace. Lots of speed in here, so this could set up for a closer like  #6 Six Flags and I like the trainer's stats in these conditions. I’ll put the closer over the speed.
HG wager:
$10 EX   6 /   1,2,5, 8  = $40
$5 TRI   6 /   1,2,5,8  /  1,2,5,8  =  $60
Total $100
Thanks Dan!


Copy of HG 7 30 16 Jim Dandy.xls55.5 KB
HGWVDERBY.pdf200.42 KB