08/04/2016 2:51PM

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
Mac930My More than 1 year ago
Spa. Friday. Pick 5. 50 cent play x 10
5,6 // 4,5 // all // 2,5 // 5,6,9,10,11

Good Luck!

Whackymacky Out!!!
Sinatra More than 1 year ago

I've been seeking the answer to the question you poised about betting three horses in a race to win.  I'm saving this, I've needed this answer for a long time.  #2 Get it all back and make some.

Turf Ruler
DavidM9999 More than 1 year ago


Excellent thoughts as always. You make me think. That is good but my head hurts. :- )

I think where we differ a bit may be the risk tolerance. I am not loss adverse or a even loss mitigator choosing to look at overall picture. I am not typically a singles Maury Wills type hitter. I play long ball realizing I may be a Dave Kingman with low .236 average with more dingers but a lot more whiffs.  When I have a strong opinion (not an action play) I tend to structure horizontals and verticals where I need that horse to win to hit the figurative “home run” like Divisdero  at CD in 2015 and 2016. I may do a WS or WP or an exacta instead of a PS wager where I key the horse under two horses I like but often it is just the horse wins or bust.


What I don’t like is seeing a structure where folks bet a 2x4x4x3 Pick 4 for example.  What is the opinion being reflected in this kind of ticket.  They may even say I love a horse in leg one. Then why did use two in leg one equally? They say I hate to leave off the favorite?  For example I was against Kareena totally in the Test. She was off all my Pick 4’s. Was that smart, maybe or maybe not. If she had won at 8/5 then a couple of prices hit later I would not have been depressed. My opinion of her would have been wrong. Instead I took the extra money playing the Pick 4 heavier with ones I liked. Have I had 3 out of 4 with prices and a favorite I was against beat me. Certainly, but again I have hit signers multiple times by using only the ones I like.   Hedging in a final leg is doable and not a negative. Personally I tend to avoid it unless  several thousands are at stake. A grand or under at risk I tend to go with just as I played it. I figure I am seeing the ball right in first three legs so I stick with the hot bat. Should I bet against my existing play to lock in a few hundred worst case.  Most do, I just don’t.


One thing I have seen over the years gambling is this. Gamblers have a fear of losing their bankrolls. Why, they have to stop gambling for a while. They bet a lot of "defensive" bets that may get them something back after a race but not anything significant to build up the bankroll. Successful folks seem to be cognizant of risk but if they are skillful in relation to the other gamblers it will work out in the long run .For me I have been up in 2013 substantially but down large in 2014 and 2015.Not sure how the future chapters will go but I will keep all abreast.


No one inside the AK Candy network bet a nickel on her in the debut or today to my knowledge. At least that is what they say. I certainly passed both times. That was public’s money each time. In start one Proctor’s horse was a class dropper named Just Like Lucy. I had her pegged about where she went off based on drop and connections. As to AK's performance....typical speed and fade. Like I warned everyone ....  air. Was she beating the other Jones even with an oxygen tank. Likely not but she should have held for second. No claim so I don’t know what is next. Personally I would head to Charlestown for 4.5F races. I don’t expect to see Larry driving the horse van to CT though. He has bigger fish to fry than AK's Candy.

Nancy Beningo More than 1 year ago
Watchlist update:
'Hockey did not get an appropriate ride and ran 3rd  to his short-priced stablemate and another South American @9-2. He is not a horse with a quick turn of foot, but rather a one-paced persister who needs to be within easy range of the pace, so he was too far out of it all around. I see that he has changed hands so maybe they will figure it out. Re South American horses in the slop -- there was a trainer here in So CA, Pico Perdomo who used to call them Soob-ma-RINES. The more water, the better.
Today's HTW:
Areed, Indiana, Race 7 -- a nice hard tryer, spotted a little ambitiously, but a big price.
True Ten, Canterbury, Race 7 - not a lock, 5-1 or better. For whatever reason, I have very little success following horses to Canterbury. I'm passing on this one.
Clickjab, Del Mar, Race 8 -- overdue to break maiden, no value as a win bet now, but good prospect for exotic inclusion
Dick Wright More than 1 year ago

Great job with that pick 4 yesterday !!!

Dick W
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I said I would comment on some of Saturday's Arlington races.

Lets start with Race 6, the American St Leger over 1 Mile and 11/16ths.

The M/L favourite DA BIG HOSS looks tough to beat, but Europe has 3 interesting candidates.

WASIR, (Jockey W Buick /  Trainer A. Wohler) has a best Racing Post Rating of 101.  He has 2 Wins from 10 starts (at 10 furlongs at a minor German track; and at 2 miles in a Group 3 race at Hoppegarten - he made virtually all that day, on good ground, and won by 2 lengths).

Well respected German trainer and top class English jockey, riding at the top of his form.

However, in his last race the horse had his limitations fully exposed.  Starting at a massive 66/1 in the Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup, WASIR finished a well beaten 11th of 17 runners, although he did meet a little interference in running.

WASIR receives a useful 5 lbs weight advantage from the favourite. 

CLONDAW WARRIOR (S. Heffernan / W Mullins) has a best Racing Post Rating of 112.

A very good dual purpose horse, trained by Ireland's most successful jumps trainer, Willie Mullins.

The horse has won 8 times from 23 races on the flat, with a further 3 wins over hurdles.

CLONDAW WARRIOR runs well on any ground (which might be useful if it does rain before racing), and with a win over 2 and half miles at Ascot on his CV, distance should be no problem.

He won his last race on 28 July, a valuable handicap hurdle over 2 miles, carrying a hefty 159 lbs, so he may feel he is running free and easy carrying just 123 lbs on Saturday.  He gets a 2 lbs advantage from DA BIG HOSS.

BILLABONG (F. Prat / P. Barry) has a best Racing Post Rating of 107.

One of the more unusual race records I have studied, this horse appears to hail from Morocco - a first for me.

The Racing Post shows a race record of 11 wins from 21 races, but 9 of those wins were gained in Morocco.

Since moving to France, the horse has also raced in England, Italy and, most recently on 27 February 2016, in Doha, and so he should be used to the travelling.  He has 2 wins from 10 races in Europe (on the Polytrack at Chantilly; and on the grass at Longchamp). 

BILLABONG gets a 7 lbs weight advantage.

Race Summary

There is something intriguing about the Pascal Bary horse that screams ignore me at your peril, but on all known handicapping angles CLONDAW WARRIOR is much the best of the European horses.

One cautionary note, CLONDAW WARRIOR is not the most consistent of racehorses.  He does throw in the odd unexplained bad run.  In my view 9/2 would be a fair price for him to beat the favourite, but as some of you might say, I wouldn't "bet the farm" on it  

Best Regards - Bernard Downes


Mac930My More than 1 year ago
Late Pick 4 Spa 50 cent play 5 times.
1,2,3,7,9 // 1.4.5 // 6,8,9 // 1,7,8,9

$300 Win//$600 Place
7. #7
8. #4
9. #9
10. #9

Good Luck!!!
Whackymacky Out!!!
Mac930My More than 1 year ago
Turfruler. Thanks my friend!! Back on offense here...

Spa on a 95 degree day here in beantown!!!

Pick 5. 50 cent play 10 times.
3,4,5,6 // 3,5 // 1 // 2,4,7,11 // 2,4,5

$3/6 W/P
2= #6

Good Luck

Whackymacky Out!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ron Z,

I enjoyed reading your "Playing Defensively" posts, but there are a couple of points I should like to respond to if I may.

As someone who has pushed the line that MY BETTING is for fun, let me assure you that I never sought to criticize (or turn back) your own betting strategies and philosophy.  I merely stress that I don't bet in the EXPECTATION of increasing my annual income.  But make no mistake, I try very hard to do so.

While I will never have the dedication of a Mike A and others, when I sit down for 3 or 4 hours to handicap the days races, I am straining every part of my old brain to come up with some winners.  Equally, when I am placing a futures bet, I will have done my homework to try to assess the chances of the horse turning up in a particular race several days / weeks / months ahead.  And yes, its fun

The other point is more clarification than argument.

Yes, I often bet 2 or 3 horses in a race, but I regard handicapping as an art not a science, therefore if I think there are 3 horses with more or less similar chances of winning, betting each of them to Win is absolutely the way to go, and there is nothing defensive about it.  The other scenario for me is where you have a strong short priced favourite, seemingly a much better horse than his rivals, I am perfectly happy to bet against them, often WPS, and primarily aiming for 2nd or 3rd places, provided the odds are sufficiently attractive.  Again not "defensive" for me, I rather like your own word "prudent" in that situation.

Best Regards - Bernard Downes

God Bless Longshots More than 1 year ago

"The angle is:  A 3 year old that has beenracing against older horses
and is now entered back against straight 3 year olds'.  While the angle
may not be common place, it will provide some juicy prices in the right 
situation for an astute handicapper."


"One of the things I have noticed over the last few years with the horse shortage and with the changing race conditions, is that quite a few 3 year old and up races ONLY have 3 year olds in them.   No older horses at all."

Quite contrary to this, there is this lone 3yo DEAUVILLE making his first start against elders in The Arlington Million, any thoughts?