08/08/2008 7:03PM

Million, some questions


I have a question for the other handicappers (including Dan):
At what point do you no longer consider a class drop? For example you have a runner in a $32K maiden claimer whose last run was in a $53K MSW. If they fail to hit the board in their first run on a drop, do you consider the drop significant in their next run?

Not unless the horse had a legitimate excuse that prevented him from performing at his best (trouble, track condition, bias, etc).  If a horse drops, does nothing, and is entered back at the same level for his next start, I don't even factor that he was in a tougher spot two back. 

My next class drop question is at what point do you consider a drop as significant? For instance do you consider a drop from $12.5K to $10K a factor? Or should the spread be wider, like from a $32K maiden claimer down to a $25K?

I view most class drops with absolute suspicion unless the horse is conditioned by a trainer that knows how to play the "claiming game," and is a whiz at placing horses where they can win.  For me, the only exception is in maiden races.  Here, any class drop is extremely powerful and potent.  It doesn't matter to me if it's from a maiden special weight to a maiden claimer, or from a $16 MCL to a $12.5K.  The levels of competition drop off significantly with each level of maiden claimer. 

Last question. At what point do you become suspicious of the drop? For example a horse was running well in open company allowances, is on a layoff for three months and now is back in a $25K claimer? I could see a $40K claimer at the low end. At what point does it become a "bridge too far"?
Steve T

I'm suspicious of all drops.  No one is giving anything away in this game.  Again, if the trainer has shown a great deal of success with his dropdowns, I may give the runner a mulligan.


...With regards to my earlier post, the evidence which I have has been available to anyone close to New York racing during the 1990's. It is circumstantial, yet completely damning.
There were three trainers during the early-mid '90's who, to put it kindly, had achieved only modest success up until that point. Then, suddenly, they began to ascend the standings and started to win at a startling rate. They enjoyed a golden period, winning plenty of races, including some important ones with good horses.
They also had another thing in common: they all employed the same veterinarian.
The trainers I'm referring to are Gary Sciacca, James Bond, and Leo O'Brien. Their golden period continued until Dr. Galvin was caught milkshaking one of Sciacca's horses. This was well reported, but because of of the ineptitude of the NYRA investigators (and lawyers, perhaps), the case was blown, and, of all things, Galvin won a lawsuit, and NYRA had to both pay him off and allow him back onto the grounds!...

Here's some information from the Galvin case:










I was wondering what the historical Beyer par is for the Secretariat Stakes?

According to the 2008 American Racing Manual, the Beyer par for the Secretariat (1991-2007, race not run in 1998-99) is 103.80.


If you have any stats through formulator or whatever, on 1st time Levine acquisitions I would be interested to know (and ROI).
Steve V

Here's what I found from Formulator 4.1:

Bruce Levine
(first time after trainer switch - includes off claim - past five years) - 61-209 (29%, $2.43 ROI)
(past year) - 13-37 (35%, $3.99 ROI)


Can anyone tell me whether the evolution of Indian Blessing into a relaxed stalking specialists was by design or did she just finally figure it out. She seemed like the need the lead type and after Proud Spell got to her early in the year, I thought Baffert said she was a free runner and they were going to just let her go. She is on the verge of being something else, now how far can she go?

I think it's a combination of both.  Baffert has always wanted to get her to rate, and he's done a wonderful job in getting her to do so (not an easy task to be sure), but I also think Indian Blessing woke up one morning, the "light came on," and she realized what she had to do.  We know she can go 1 1/16 miles, and that's probably her limit, but she's so good sprinting right now that I would keep her going short.


Dan what ever happened to Vaudeville, one of my earliest handicapping successes in the Sec?  Did he ever produce any quality horses?
jim tully

Here are Vaudeville's lifetime past performances:

Download vaudeville.pdf

Vaudeville entered stud in 1998, and passed away in 2007.  His best performers include V'ville Lady (stakes-placed at Turf Paradise, earned $151,362), Night Dash (multiple stakes-placed at Turf Paradise, earned $67,641), Mr. Playwright (stakes-placed at Turf Paradise, earned $67,318), and Night Gig (multiple stakes-placed at Turf Paradise, earned $57,713.  Currently, he has 87 starters, 45 winners, and 0 stakes winners.


How do racing post ratings equate to beyer numbers? I know the rough estimate with timeform numbers was to subtract 12-13. Info would be useful in getting a jump on the Arlington card.

In theory, they don't equate at all.  RPR's, like Timeform Ratings, are an all-inclusive number that uses speed, class of race, pace, etc.  Beyers are all about final time and variant.  If you absolutely must attempt a conversion, perhaps a 10 point subtraction would be effective, but there really isn't anything scientific about that number (just happens to be what I look at).


Great job with picks and analysis over the last week.  I appreciate it.

Take care,


Steve T More than 1 year ago
Dan, Can you see if there are any works for Mama Rosa (Unusual Heat x Penpont)? When I enter her name in workout search it comes back "next". She is a full sister to Golden Doc A, Rushen Heat, Master Heat, Solid Fuel, and Unusual Suspect. So now there are two Unusual Heat's to watch - Heatology and Mama Rosa. The Unusual Heat fillies fire very quickly, and are a great way to make some easy $$$. Here are a few more (with nice dams) that are headed to the track: Laird's Lassie Logan's Heat Bell Canyon Road I'm Hot Not Unusual Smokin Charlotte When I win the lottery I am going to buy Lethal Heat and breed her to Street Cry - hey it's not like we are talking a 176,000,000 to 1 shot or anything... If it's a big pay, then add Zenyatta to the list (love to breed her to AP Indy). Then on to the auction to buy Vallenzeri (AP Indy x Azeri) then next year Gone North (Gone West by Ouija Board)and the Unnamed Colt (Storm Cat x Ashado) and then...
nancyb More than 1 year ago
Mike S -- Not sure if you want to work with horses or people. If you want to work at the track with horses (and you are in CA, I believe) check to see if there are current basic horse-handling classes run by the CHBPA. It's very basic -- picking hooves, wrapping bandages, getting halters and stud chains on with confidence, efficiently shaking out a stall. Whichever trainer is running the program will help you get your initial placement. I did it back in the day but washed out as a hotwalker when I tried to juggle both it and my day job (swing shift at a newspaper). It was lots of fun, though, and you could move up to groom pretty quickly if you have a feel for horses and a good work ethic. Also you get to hang out at the stable kitchen and you'll meet some nice people. (and hear more contradictory hot tips than you can imagine ) If you're thinking not so hands-on why not just start hanging out at clocker's corner in the morning and talking to people. Plenty of jock agents out and about to observe, and once the works wind down lots of trainers, owners and touts have time to shmooze. You don't say what your background is in, but there's a racing world equivalent to just about everything -- clerical, business administration, accounting, hospitality, public relations. I note that Santa Anita is giving teller training in advance of the Breeder's Cup. The link is http://www.santaanita.com/ Good luck!
Steve T More than 1 year ago
Johnnyz, Look out for another freshman sire, Pleasantly Perfect. They will probably be just OK in a sprint and will probably be less than precocious, but look out when they start them in routes.
Mike S More than 1 year ago
Hi Nancyb... Thank you for taking the time to offer advice! I appreciate it. It looks like I'll have to start at the bottom of the pile and not make any money for a long time. I didn't think it was going to be easy, though. I have to give this a lot of thought. Thanks again for the advice.
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Turn back the Alarm Very funny with Dr Pleasure & Blue's Equilube ..he-he-he ........................... Blue Horseshoe Alter ego De Kock.. Ok, well, I'll bet the Fillys at Siro whinny, whinny a bit, neigh, neigh, snort, snort & whinny somemore over your jelly and De Kock ring.... he-he-he ........................ Turn Back the Alarm You just experianced what they say in the movies... never go up against a child, or an animal... They will be better you in what ever shot you take! Thanks for sharing the story. ..................... Johnnyz I have Backbackbackgone on my horse watch, & have seen zero lately. Good question...anyone in the know? .............................. Steve T Thanks for the sincere post about how to deal with family issues and how to prepare. SR Vegas
RobertSD More than 1 year ago
Alan - Sorry about the very sad news regarding your father. My sincerest condolences to you and your entire family. - RobertSD
C More than 1 year ago
Am I the only one who thinks Spirit One, NOT Archipenko, was the best horse on Saturday?
buffalo joe More than 1 year ago
Alan, So very sad to hear of your fathers passing, May God be with you and your family during these trying times.
Ivan More than 1 year ago
I think the #10 on the Best Pal should have come down, but instead of fourth, I would have placed him second. Im my opinion, the #5 was as responsible as the #10 for the problems of the #8, and for me it is not clear the 8 lost a placing because of his problems.
Ray Manley More than 1 year ago
Jim Tully and BlueHorseshoe, I have to admit I bought into the Discreet Treasure hype and it cost me. I rarely will play a 3yo against an older horse. And the only horse I could have played was the winner. But I made the foolish decision that Dr. Pleasure had no interest in having his picture taken. At the 1/2 mile pole yesterday I was wishing I had DP. Once he found room it was all over. Nice call and congrats. Hillbilly, I too share your feelings about Keeneland. I try to get to Keeneland as often as possible because it is such a wonderful place. I will say I don't care for the polytrack (and that's being kind). We can only hope that the folks in charge will keep the charm the track currently has. I think if you are going to spend a fortune to lure the Breeders Cup every few years for one or two days I say pass. I am from the school of "if it ain't broke, then don't fix it". It sounds like the Travers will have a nice size field. Anyone with a connection to the Man upstairs, could you ask him to please turn off the waterworks for a while in upstate NY. Thanks.