05/15/2014 10:28AM

Lying In Wait

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All eyes will be on CALIFORNIA CHROME this Saturday as the Kentucky Derby hero continues his quest for racing's elusive Triple Crown in the Preakness at Pimlico.

Meanwhile, a very dangerous 3-year-old is lurking in wait.

TONALIST served notice that he will be a strong contender in the Belmont Stakes with an excellent effort in last Saturday's Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes at nine furlongs. Tonalist hadn't started since a runner-up effort on February 22 behind next-out Florida Derby winner Constitution (Tonalist finished ahead of next-out Wood Memorial winner Wicked Strong) due to a lung infection and some feet problems that forced trainer Christophe Clement to train the colt in bar shoes.

He wasn't rusty in the least.

Tonalist bobbled a bit at the start of the Peter Pan, but jockey Joel Rosario sent him up nearest the inside to contest the pace with stakes-placed FABULOUS KID, the expected pacesetter. Racing off the rail, Tonalist opened up a clear lead on the backstretch, pulled away again on the far turn, and was never threatened in the stretch en route to a four-length score in 1:48.30, a final time over the sealed, sloppy track good enough for a 101 Beyer Speed Figure.

"What impressed me was the last eighth of a mile, when he opened up again," offered Clement to track publicity following the Peter Pan. "I thought he was fit [coming off the layoff]. I was very worried about the wet track. I don't breeze my horses on the wet track so that was a complete question mark. He answered that pretty nicely."

Rosario was also extremely pleased with the winner. "He was doing it easy; he was doing it on his own. I don't think we were going that fast. He can go a mile and a half; I think he can run all day. He's a big horse with a long stride, when you get him in the bridle, the more you ask, the more he'll give."

Tonalist, profiled in this space back in January (http://www.drf.com/blogs/daddy-nose-best-3-year-olds-follow), didn't face the strongest field in the world in the local Belmont Stakes prep. COMMISSIONER, the runner-up, is a one-paced plodder that lacks tactical speed and explosiveness. Third-finisher IRISH YOU WELL is still a maiden. In fact, the lone stakes-winner entering the Peter Pan was OUR CARAVAN (finished sixth), who prevailed in a lackluster edition of the Calder Derby over Preakness hopeful Ring Weekend.

No, Tonalist didn't beat much in the Peter Pan but he was extremely impressive from a visual standpoint, earned a solid speed rating, and is in the hands of a master horseman. If California Chrome emerges unscathed from the Preakness, Tonalist could very well loom the main danger to a Triple Crown bid.

*Friday's Black-Eyed Susan looks like a contentious betting race without much in the way of early speed. SLOANE SQUARE could be loose on the backstretch with, perhaps, EUPHROSYNE, in closest attendance.

Despite that scenario, I'm interested in AMERICA (#2, 8-1 ML), who might show a bit more early interest with a pair of bullet workouts on her form. America only raced evenly in the Gulfstream Park Oaks, but that race was her fastest yet and I believe there is still a bit of upside potential for this daughter of A.P. Indy from the family of Better Than Honour (dam of Rags to Riches). I think she'll stay this trip better than some of the others.

I'll also use Euphrosyne and ARETHUSA in multiple-race wagers. The latter, like America, is bred to last the distance, but I wonder if she'll get enough pace to adequately setup her late charge. I have a feeling that the Santa Anita highway didn't play to her strengths, and she may appreciate getting onto a deeper surface.

*REVOLUTIONARY looms the horse to beat in the Pimlico Special and I'll use him in the multi-race wagers with CAT BURGLAR (see scouting report http://www.drf.com/blogs/cat-burglar-creeping-upward) and GOLDEN LAD (#4, 6-1 ML), my top selection. Golden Lad wasn't going to win the Oaklawn Handicap with a clear trip, but he may have finished closer had he not been impeded badly (he was eliminated in midstretch when sandwiched in between horses).

In his prior start, over wet-fast going, he gave a career-best effort by prompting the leader and attacking on the turn before drawing away in the stretch. There is rain in the forecast and Golden Lad may try similar tactics by laying just off both MORENO and VALID before getting first jump on the last bend. There are some distance and class questions to answer so I'll need win odds close to the morning line.

*I'm curious as to what we'll get from the undefeated OUR LESMIS (#9, 5-1 ML) in the Miss Preakness. Our Lesmis (see scouting report http://www.drf.com/blogs/cat-burglar-creeping-upward) handled mud just fine when a facile winner of a Pennsylvania-bred allowance at Parx on April 8 and may attempt a similar outside stalking trip on Friday. The second- and third-place finishers from that heat returned to win, albeit at Penn National. I think Our Lesmis has tons of potential and I'll use her along with JOJO WARRIOR in the $250,000 Guaranteed Pick 4.

*Despite the very real possibility of a pace collapse, I like WINNING IMAGE (#9, 4-1 ML) in the Skipat Stakes. She is a veritable win machine (27-13-4-4) and she doesn't fool around as she goes to the front and takes them as fast as she can for as far as she can. We'll see if she can shake clear of MUNNINGS SISTER and SHE'S ORDAINED, but she's a fun lass to watch and will give you a big thrill for a little while, at the very least.

***

Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from last week's races (5/5/14 - 5/11/14):

1. PALACE MALICE - 111 - Westchester Stakes (G3) - 1 Mile - Belmont
2. READTHEBYLINE - 106 - Clm c-25000 - 1 Mile - Belmont
3. HOGY - 102 - OC 80k/C -N - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Arlington
4. ROCK FALL - 101 - Md Sp Wt 75k - 6 Furlongs - Belmont
4. TONALIST - 101 - Peter Pan Stakes (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles - Belmont
6. DAD'Z LAUGH - 100 - Big Drama Stakes - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Gulfstream
6. EDDIE'S FIRST - 100 - Md Sp Wt 56k - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Santa Anita
6. SALUTOS AMIGOS - 100 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Belmont
6. TOLEDO EDDIE - 100 - Clm 45000(50-40) - 1 Mile - Santa Anita
10. IMAGINING - 98 - Man O'War Stakes (G1) - 1 3/8 Miles (Turf) - Belmont
10. RIBO BOBO - 98 - Decathlon Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Monmouth
12. IRSAAL - 97 - OC 80k/N3X - 1 Mile - Belmont
13. RAZZO SUOCO - 96 - OC10k/SAL5k - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Arlington
14. BAY OF PLENTY - 94 - Alw 77000N1X - 1 Mile - Belmont
14. CRUSHING - 94 - OC 40k/N3X -N - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Parx
14. ERIUGENA (IRE) - 94 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/8 Miles - Churchill
14. SWEET CASSIOPEIA - 94 - 5 Furlongs - Unbridled Sidney Stakes - Churchill
18. PALATINE HILL - 93 - OC35k/SAL30k - 7 Furlongs - Gulfstream
19. ALPHA BETTOR - 92 - Alw 75692NC - 1 1/16 Miles (Polytrack) - Woodbine
19. ARTFEST - 92 - OC 75k/N3X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Santa Anita
19. FIFTYSHADESOFHAY - 92 - Ruffian Stakes (G2) - 1 Mile - Belmont
19. GO APPEAL - 92 - OC 30k/N2X -N - 1 Mile - Monmouth
19. HERBAL PROSPECTOR - 92 - OC 25k/N2X -N - 1 Mile - Parx
24. RICHIES SWEETHEART - 91 - Alw 38500N1X - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Arlington
24. SHARP SENSATION - 91 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Woodbine

*The past performances for PALACE MALICE are available at the bottom of this blog post.

*READTHEBYLINE was claimed for $25,000 by trainer Bruce Brown from Michelle Nevin.

*SON OF A GENERAL, second in the Readthebyline race, was taken for $25,000 by Robert Falcone Jr. from Todd Pletcher.

***
 
*The links to the previous blogs (and blog comments) are listed below:

http://www.drf.com/blogs/potential-price-plays-sunday

http://www.drf.com/blogs/unstoppable-untapable

http://www.drf.com/blogs/kentucky-derby-non-opinions

http://www.drf.com/blogs/davona-dale

http://www.drf.com/blogs/can-hudson-landing-still-go

http://www.drf.com/blogs/tricky-elkhorn

http://www.drf.com/blogs/hail-mary-claim

http://www.drf.com/blogs/grounding-hawk

http://www.drf.com/blogs/cat-burglar-creeping-upward

http://www.drf.com/blogs/3-year-old-filly-sprinter-watch

http://www.drf.com/blogs/tale-two-wins

http://www.drf.com/blogs/beatable-favorites

http://www.drf.com/blogs/baker-cooks-calder

http://www.drf.com/blogs/keeneland-baby

http://www.drf.com/blogs/derby-prep-thoughts

http://www.drf.com/blogs/fishing-opinions

http://www.drf.com/blogs/keeneland-its-spring-again

http://www.drf.com/blogs/sprinter-rise

***

You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman

Check out the Friday graded stakes, and late Pick 4, videos here:

http://www.drf.com/events/black-eyed-susan-stakes-pimlico

***

Congrats to Carl C. 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.

We'll go with the Preakness for this week's HandiGambling event.

Here are the betting options for HG:

A) Pimlico Special/Preakness Double

B) Special/Dixie/Preakness Pick 3

C) Preakness Stakes.

PAST PERFORMANCES FOR THE PREAKNESS 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
---------------------------------

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).

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PALACE MALICE.pdf723.89 KB
Copy of Formblog Mamie Eisenhower 5-9-14.xls72.5 KB
HGPREAK.pdf178.57 KB