04/01/2015 4:30PM

Materiality and Apollo


With three furlongs to go in last Saturday's Grade 1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, the two favorites dispensed with the preliminaries, sized each other up and began furiously slugging it out.

MATERIALITY, the lightly-raced, undefeated phenom, had secured the rail from a retreating JACK TRIPP and braced for the battle-tested UPSTART's challenge. The pair swung into the stretch with Materiality always holding a slight advantage.

To his credit, despite being hung wide on the first turn after breaking from a disadvantageous outside post position, Upstart never gave up. He continued to jab away at Materiality and lost some momentum when the Pletcher-trained runner drifted out for a stride or two in upper stretch.

Materiality then slowly pulled clear from his game rival. Materiality completed the nine furlongs in 1:52.30 over a dull racetrack. He received a whopping 110 Beyer Speed Figure, a number sure to place him among the betting favorites for this year's Kentucky Derby.

Materiality's sire, Afleet Alex, could carry his ability a long way. Although quick enough to grab the Grade 2 Sanford at 6 furlongs and the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes at seven panels as a juvenile, Afleet Alex is best known for his exploits the following spring.

He was named champion 3-year-old colt of 2005 after winning the Preakness and Belmont following a third-place finish in the Kentucky Derby.

At stud, Afleet Alex is represented by Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red, Travers Stakes hero Afleet Express, and Grade 1 winners Iotapa and Dublin.

According to DRF statistics, Afleet Alex's progeny have won three races from 23 starts at 1 1/4 miles.

Materiality's female family also carries stamina. Although the dam, Wildwood Flower (by Langfuhr), was a stakes-winner sprinting on dirt at Golden Gate Fields (88 Beyer top), she has foaled My Miss Sophia, a filly that captured the Grade 2 Gazelle Stakes at nine furlongs.

Wildwood Flower is a half-sister to the versatile Grade 2 route winner Eye of the Tiger and stakes-placed dirt sprinter Expanse (the dam of Afleet Express).

Materiality is a strapping colt with a build that hints at true classic distance potential. From a pedigree and physicality standpoint, Materiality shouldn't have an issue with 10 furlongs.

The elephant in the room remains, however.

That is the shadow of Apollo, the last horse to win the Kentucky Derby without the benefit of a 2-year-old start.

Apollo notched his Derby win in 1882.

Here are the 3-year-olds that have tried to break the curse (some of them have been top horses) with their Derby finish position:

Verrazano (2013) 14th
Bodemeister(2012) 2nd
Midnight Interlude (2011) 16th
Summer Bird (2009) 6th
Dunkirk (2009) 11th
Curlin (2007) 3rd
Showing Up (2006) 6th
Greeley’s Galaxy (2005) 11th
Song of the Sword (2004) 11th
Atswhatimtalknbout (2003) 4th
Wheelaway (2000) 5th
Curule (2000) 7th
Trippi (2000) 11th
Desert Hero (1999) 13th
Valhol (1999) 15th
Pulpit (1997) 4th
Strodes Creek (1994) 2nd
Devil His Due (1992) 12th
Disposal (1992) 18th
Corporate Report (1991) 9th
Alydavid (1991) 14th
Pendleton Ridge (1990) 13th
Wheatly Hall (1986) 6th
Zabaleta (1986) 12th
Irish Fighter (1985) 11th
Majestic Shore (1984) DNF
Reinvested (1982) 3rd
Air Forbes Won (1982) 7th
Wavering Monarch (1982) 12th
Flying Nashua (1981) 8th
Great Redeemer (1979) 10th
Chief of Dixieland (1978) 9th
Affiliate (1977) 9th
Best Person (1977) 15th
Amano (1976) 4th
On the Sly (1976) 5th
Media (1975) 5th
Bold Chapeau (1975) 8th
Agitate (1974) 3rd
Confederate Yankee (1974) 12th
Forego (1973) 4th
Twice a Prince (1973) 12th
Big Spruce (1972) 7th
Kentuckian (1972) 10th
Dr. Neale (1972) 15th
Fourulla (1971) 19th
Gleaming Sword (1968) 13th
Our Dad (1959) 15th
Gone Fishin’ (1958) 8th
No Regrets (1956) 7th
Fanfare (1951) 5th
Golden Birch (1951) 19th
Coaltown (1948) 2nd
Hampden (1946) 3rd
Perfect Bahram (1946) 9th
Rippey (1946) 10th
Bert G. (1945) 14th
Comenow (1944) 12th

That's a record of 58-0-3-4 since 1937, a worrisome stat for Materiality backers.

I think he's a tremendously talented colt with a big, big future. His inexperience, while perhaps the main reason some horseplayers will pitch him in the Derby, doesn't bother me as much as his running style.

Materiality is a colt that likes to race close to the pace before quickening on the final turn. While the Florida Derby pace was fast considering the deep track, I'm not sure Materiality has faced the kind of fractions that usually occur in the Derby. I'm talking 45's and 46's to the half.

If they go that fast early at Churchill Downs, Materiality could find himself in an unfamiliar position stalking the leaders from four or five or seven lengths off the lead. Can Materiality overcome that spot as well as his inexperience? 

As always, let price be your guide.


Here are the top WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 3/24/15 - 3/30/15:

1. MATERIALITY - 110 - Florida Derby (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - 28Mar15-14GP
2. COMMISSIONER - 109 - Skip Away Stakes (G3) - 1 3/16 Miles - 28Mar15-5GP
3. PANTS ON FIRE - 104 - Sir Shackleton Stakes - 7 Furlongs - 28Mar15-8GP
4. IMAGINING - 102 - Pan American Stakes (G3) - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - 28Mar15-13GP
4. TALK SHOW MAN - 102 - OC 40k/C -N - 1 Mile - 26Mar15-8LRL
6. SKY KINGDOM - 101 - Tokyo City Cup (G3) - 1 1/2 Miles - 28Mar15-8SA
7. EFFINEX - 100 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 Mile 70 Yards (Inner Dirt) - 27Mar15-8AQU
8. CHOCOLATE RIDE - 98 - Mervin Muniz Jr. Handicap (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 28Mar15-8FG
8. HEITAI - 98 - Costa Rising Stakes - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 28Mar15-6FG
8. INTERNATIONAL STAR - 98 - Louisiana Derby (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles - 28Mar15-11FG
11. LADY LARA (IRE) - 97 - Honey Fox Stakes (G2) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 28Mar15-10GP
12. ABBEY VALE (IRE) - 96 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 27Mar15-6SA
12. SIETE DE OROS - 96 - Alw 37600N2X - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 24Mar15-6PRX
12. WAR CORRESPONDENT - 96 - Appleton Stakes (G3) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 28Mar15-6GP
15. ALSVID - 95 - OC 40k/N1Y -N - 6 Furlongs - 27Mar15-7OP
15. BEAUTY PARLOR - 95 - Orchid Stakes (G3) - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - 28Mar15-11GP
15. COMPETITIVE EDGE - 95 - Tamarac Stakes - 7 Furlongs - 27Mar15-2GP
15. RUN WITH HONOR - 95 - Clm 30000(30-25)B - 6 Furlongs - 27Mar15-5FG
19. CALL ME GEORGE - 94 - New Orleans Handicap (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles - 28Mar15-10FG
19. I'M A CHATTERBOX - 94 - Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - 28Mar15-9FG
19. MIDDLEBURG - 94 - OC 100k/C -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 29Mar15-11GP
22. BLUE TONE - 93 - Santana Mile Stakes - 1 Mile - 29Mar15-8SA
22. GRASSHOPPIN - 93 - Alw 58300N1X - 1 Mile 70 Yards - 29Mar15-6PRX
22. MARINO'S WILD CAT - 93 - Alw 42702NC - 6 Furlongs (Tapeta) - 29Mar15-4GG
22. RED STRIKE - 93 - OC 40k/N2X - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 28Mar15-3FG
22. TEXAS AIR - 93 - OC 45k/B -N - 1 Mile - 26Mar15-8OP

*The lifetime past performances for MATERIALITY are available at the bottom of this blog post.


Sheriff Dan or others – does anyone know where King Bishop was rated going into the World Cup. I searched and could not find him weighted.

Here are the last-race Racing Post Ratings for the World Cup runners prior to the event:

Prince Bishop - 118
California Chrome - 125
Lea - 118
Candy Boy - 112
Hokko Tarumae - 112
African Story - 119
Long River - 56
Side Glance - 115T
Epiphaneia - 119T


For those of you beginning to come down with a dose of Kentucky Derby fever, I've posted the lifetime past performances of the last 22 winners. Let me know if you find any interesting patterns.


Annie and SR Vegas have compiled a second updated version of "The 2015 MKB Book of Kentucky Derby Prospects." I have attached it to the bottom of this blog post. Enjoy!


You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.

Remember to tune in to DRF LIVE's streaming coverage. I'll be with Matt Bernier recapping, previewing, handicapping and, hopefully, winning.

Here's the schedule:

Wednesday - Friday:  12:30 - 1:30 ET

Saturday:  2:00 ET thru last graded stakes race


Congrats to dodgevadar for finishing first in the most recent HandiGambling tournament.

dodgevadar selected Saturday's Santa Anita Oaks for this week's exercise.

Rick M's scoresheet is 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.


-  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 "60-Card Quarterly Formulator 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!




Materiality.pdf631.87 KB
2015 MKB Bio Document 3 31 15.pdf459.01 KB
HGSAOAKS.pdf166.64 KB
Copy of Formblog Florida Derby 3-28-15.xls75 KB
mooch More than 1 year ago
Early developer's run at 2, the late bloomers wait until 3 or else get beat and/or injured. The late bloomers have to wait a while to catch up with their peers. At 2 it's just brut strength but at derby time talent comes into play. Still most late bloomers haven't caught up with the early developer's yet. Just like with kids and the 12 year old that excels until their peers catch up with them a few years later. So it's no jinx, it's just nature. Early development plus talent wins the Derby
tommy More than 1 year ago
I can't wait to do workout analysis !!! Based on your workouts, you can determine fitness levels , physiological response, and what physiological state the horses will be in. One of these days I plan to revolutionize the sport of horse racing to include heart rate !!! That's right, all horses will be running with heart rate monitors during the race and during their workouts!! This will enable a handicapper like me to be 95% correct , if not 100 % There are many errors in the forms and I lose because of it some times !! Example one horse workout was 5 furlong in 58 seconds handily!! Now how do you know it is handily and not breezing?? Just because you hit a horse with whip doesn't make it handily!! It all depends on his heart rate to determine how hard the horse is really working!! That's why all professional athletes I train along in cardiac rehab center, I make sure they are all hooked on heart rate monitors!! Not only that , based on their heart rate during each session, I can monitor the intensity and know when it's time to either increase the distance or intensity !!!!
Rickey Cooper More than 1 year ago
Can someone tell me if their has ever been three consecutive favorites win the derby as their already have been two.?
rvraynmary More than 1 year ago
Hi everyone, I was "foaled" on this date in Arkansas a long while back. My first bet was at Oaklawn and I won $27.20 on the daily double. It's been a good ride ever since. I've noticed a few trends on the blog regarding the KY Derby. Just about every blogger is mentioning Beyers, the numbers not the man. Heretofore it seemed that only a few believed them to be of any real value in handicapping a race. They have been maligned, insulted and worse. Yet, now that the big race is around the corner the numbers are getting new life. Even Steve has mentioned them. Like some who create their own odds lines I think we all should create our own Beyers. That way we would know they are accurate and worth including in our handicapping plan. My other thought is about Upstart. Before the Fla Derby it was mentioned by a few that he didn't "NEED" to win because he already had enough points to make the KY Derby field. I haven't read much about this now that he raced as a very tired place horse to the real-life upstart Materiality, who also finished "very tired." Somebody had to win. My friend Van Savant is keeping him in his thoughts for the KY Derby. So thanks for listening. Ray
Jay Van Horn More than 1 year ago
Molesap... Average "last out Beyer" for Derby winners between 1993 - 2003 = 105.45 .................Average "last out Beyer" for Derby winners between 2004 -2014 = 98 Does this trend suggest that it is in fact better to not hit that hundred Beyer mark prior to the Derby but to instead, gradually work towards it, or does this trend suggest that current breeding trends have deteriorated the product? Or something entirely different? JAYZZ82
Professor Molesap More than 1 year ago
Turnbackthealarm, I had heard that Hushion was sick too, but I was confused because of the short turn around time and that he still continued to train some horses in the interim. The whole thing seemed kind of strange to me. More on Derby Beyers Below is the raw data for the Kentucky Derby winner’s last two Beyers. For the Beyer difference, a positive number indicates the Beyer increased between starts. Of the seven horses that increased 8 or more Beyer points, two went up exactly eight points, while five increased between 11 and 14 Beyer points. As I stated earlier, while Annie has a great point with the Beyer increases, I think even more significant that not a single horse except for Street Sense (and his number certainly has to be looked at as possibly biased on synthetics) went down more than three Beyer points from the second to the last to the last Kentucky Derby prep and has won. Year, two back, one back, Beyer Diff 1992, 95, 107, +12 1993, 91, 91, 0 1994, 104, 107, +3 1995, 101, 101, 0 1996, 102, 100, -2 1997, 102, 110, +8 1998, 108, 107, -1 1999, 94, 108, +14 2000, 106, 111, +5 2001, 105, 103, -2 2002, 98, 112, +14 2003, 99, 110, +11 2004, 112, 109, -3 2005, 93, 95, +2 2006, 95, 103, +8 2007, 102, 93, -9 2008, 106, 106, 0 2009, 81, 80, -1 2010, 93, 98, +5 2011, 83, 94, +11 2012, 96, 95, -1 2013, 97, 97, 0 2014, 107, 108, +1
David Benning More than 1 year ago
There's no doubt whatsoever that Materiality was gassed after dispatching the most accomplished graded stakes Derby aspirant east of California, as was Upstart himself. Ironically, Upstart had rebounded beautifully from a rather dull, albeit winning, performance in the FOY. If Materiality is being tossed for tiredness, so too should Upstart. His gallop out was every bit as much abridged as Materiality's. Competitively speaking, and performance-wise, the FD was easily the strongest Derby prep, unless the AD turns out to be more than its counterparts in CA and KY, a coronation for the 1 to 2 shot. So, for reasons of "tiredness" or "aborted gallop-out" the two colts from the best Derby prep have to be tossed for running too hard and too long on a criminally-slow track. Just one question. How long of a recovery-time, typically, would 3yos at this time of year need after their grueling tries? I mean: is a 60-day layoff enough? The reality is that both of these colts are getting 35 days. Does Upstart's "foundation" give him an edge in recovering his form in such a time-frame? Who's going to break it to Materiality that he's not eligible for another move forward? I doubt he knows that he's supposed to bounce off of his pretty spectacular FD win, well after 3 noteworthy, forward-moving triumphs. I hope they don't tell him, today. 4/9 is his birthday. He's 3yo, today.
Steven More than 1 year ago
Here is another add to my Kentucky Derby outliers - FIRING LINE. If you believe that Dortmund is the best three year old in the country then you would have to believe that Firing Line is the 2nd best. He is the only horse that has ever tested Dortmund, beated by a head both times, but with a better race he could have actually won. Dortmnd had to fight him the whole length of the stretch to put him away. No one else has done that and Firing Line did it twice. Then he went to the Sunland Derby and won by 14 lengths and set a new track record... Ignore this horse at your own peril. Back to my other outlier INTERNATIONAL STAR - his time in the Louisiana Derby seems slow, but was it really? They ran a 1:50/3 and he came home in 12/3.. The G-2 New Orleans Handicap for older horses at 9F was run the same day, the field had quality horses like Moreno. They ran in 1:51 and came home in 14/1... So don't let the times of International Star deter you - the Fair Grounds was ugly slow, especially the stretch and he performed better than the older horses in a Grade 2. Watch the replay of the Louisiana Derby, he was on the rail, accelerated through the turn and skipped heels to the 3 path and ground Stanford into submission. This horse has set a new lifetime Beyer every time he has raced, has won on turf, dirt and Poly and ran faster than the older horses at the distance. So those are the two outliers I like right now, I will keep going through them and will post any others I find. Mike and I were talking this morning and said if we had to be today our choices would be Dortmund, Carpe Diem, International Star and Firing Line. That could change but that is what we are thinking today.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OVERHEARD CONVERSATION BETWEEN DICK W AND AMERICAN PHAROAH DICK: How you doin', buddy? AP: Just fine, thank you. DICK: There's been a lot of talk on FormBlog about how the previous Derby winners ran in their final prep. Apparently you don't want to overdo it in the Arkansas Derby on Sat. You don't want your Beyer to go up or down by more than 8 points. AP: Well, I'm sure to look sensational, so you never know what those Beyer boys will come up with, but I'll try not to win by 20 lengths or anything like that. They might go ballistic. DICK: OK, good. See you in the winner's circle. Annie
Jackson Jackson More than 1 year ago
SteveT - I have 3 that I'm considering for the top spot at the moment . You just named one of them . He's a BSB 4 . He's fearless and he's the kind that doesn't make the Beyer . Nobody will know if this horse is fast until he runs down somebody that's making a high Beyer . Regardless of what happens in the Derby he's a real racehorse. DavidM - This isn't the most eagerly awaited Mdn. race ever on formblog . Before you were around "folks" pestered me to "prove" I could hit certain kinds of Mdns. 50/50 . Being too lazy to test what I told them for themselves they insisted I " show them " . Although I dislike that kind of malarkey I finally relented and picked 5 winners from 8 races at 6 different tracks . The average winning mutual was what I said it would be dang near on the button . Those "folks " are still around here but they claim memory loss :) A couple of people here remember that . Most "folks " dismissed it out of hand because there wasn't any Big Bombers and everybody knows BSB is just a simple toothless shoeless fisherman . As you know formblog is all about bombers all the time 24 /7/ 365 . Everybody on formblog knows you can't make money hitting 5/2 shots half the time :) Or can you ? JJ Enigma