06/16/2009 4:15PM

Miss Isella, Beyers, post position stats, etc.

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Miss Isella is Butch Lehr's worst nightmare.  The track super at Churchill Downs needs to rush out and buy a new can of paint for the inside rail whenever the gray daughter of Silver Charm takes to the track.  Although Churchill Downs is making money hand over fist with its racetrack empire, we're still in the midst of a recession, and paint ain't cheap.  The newest honorary member of the Flying Wallendas (her jockey, Calvin Borel, is already in) did it again in Saturday's Fleur de Lis Handicap.  There wasn't a hole on the inside turning for home in the Fleur de Lis, but there was a sliver of light, and Borel once again threw caution to the wind.  Miss Isella checked the rail like Scott Stevens going after some hapless New York Ranger, bounced off her befuddled opposition, took the lead, and dug in determinedly to win the Fleur de Lis in much the same fashion as she ended the undefeated streak of One Caroline in the Louisville Distaff on Kentucky Oaks day.
One has to wonder if Borel has a deathwish.  While he has received kudos and plaudits from just about everyone in the racing industry for the courageous ground-saving rides that have defined his career, the move with Miss Isella looked downright scary.  One wrong step, and jockey and filly go down.  You can't argue with results, however.  Since May 1,  Borel is 43-164 (26%) with a $3.19 return on investment.  In stakes races, he is 6-17 (35%) with a Mine That Bird-aided $8.83 ROI.  Forget about graded stakes.  Cal is 6-15 (40%) with a $10.01 ROI.  Borel probably wouldn't be the first pick in any racing fan's fantasy stable.  Most would side with the Terrell Owens superstar like a Garrett Gomez or a Rafael Bejarano or a John Velazquez.  But Borel is a Moose Johnston-type jockey, a hard-nosed professional that isn't afraid to do the dirty work.
My goodness, what has happened to the handicap division?  Can someone page Curlin, and have him return to the track?  Einstein, as he is wont to do, had an extremely tough trip in the Stephen Foster Handicap, but he's better suited to the plucky underdog role than as a true division leader.  Commentator's big win over statebreds on Friday didn't change anyone's opinion about him.  He's fast with class, but it's doubtful whether Zito will even try him ten furlongs over Pro-Ride in the Breeders' Cup.  Albertus Maximus and Tiago are either injured or MIA.  Macho Again is inconsistent, Well Armed must prove the Dubai World Cup wasn't a bias-induced fluke, and It's a Bird has plenty of other issues to worry about right now.  If ever this was a season for a three-year-old to dominate their elders, it's this one.  Of course, the Europeans are probably licking their chops, as they patiently await another Breeders' Cup invasion.  And then there's Zenyatta, waiting for a new world to conquer.  Here's hoping she gets the opportunity.

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Here are the winning Beyer Speed Figures from last week's stakes races:

*Poker (Bel):  Sailor's Cap (J. Toner/A. Garcia) - 106
*Desert Stormer (Hol):  Coco Belle (J. Sadler/M. Smith) - 103
*U Can Do It (Crc):  Marina Ballerina (K. Ziadie/P. Lopez) - 103
*Californian (Hol):  Informed (D. O'Neill/T. Baze) - 101
*Fleur de Lis (CD):  Miss Isella (I. Wilkes/C. Borel) - 101
*Monmouth (Mth):  Presious Passion (M. Hartmann/E. Trujillo) - 101
*Ponche (Crc):  How's Your Halo (B. Prichard/M. Cruz) - 100

*Stephen Foster (CD):  Macho Again (D. Stewart/R. Albarado) - 99
*Skip Away (Mth):  Chirac (J. Cibelli/E. Trujillo) - 98
*Northern Dancer (CD):  Successful Dan (C. Lopresti/J. Leparoux) - 98
*Kashatreya (Bel):  Commentator (N. Zito/J. Velazquez) - 97
*Round Table (Hol):  Obrigato - Fr (N. Drysdale/J. Rosario) - 97
*Ogden Phipps (Bel):  Seattle Smooth (A. Dutrow/R. Dominguez) - 97
*Unbridled (Crc):  You Luckie Mann (M. Wolfson/J. Bridgmohan) - 97
*Blazing Sword (Crc):  Mambo Meister (P. Gleaves/M. Cruz) - 96
*Zadracarta (WO):  Saskawea (S. Attard/J. Jones) - 96
*Journal (NP):  Zuri Mwana (G. Amthor/S. Beauregard) - 95
*Blue Sparkler (Mth):  Fearless Leader (M. Lerman/D. Centeno) - 94
*Top Corsage (LaD):  Hotlantic (D. Keen/J. Figueroa) - 94
*Carter McGregor Jr. Memorial (LS):  Gold Coyote (W. Calhoun/B. Walker Jr.) - 92
*Daniel Van Clief (Cnl):  Pleasant Strike (T. Pletcher/R. Homeister Jr.) - 92
*Jefferson Cup (CD):  Florentino - Jpn (K. McLaughlin/A. Garcia) - 91
*Golden Bear (Ind):  Furthest Land (M. Maker/O. Mojica) - 91
*Whata Summer (Bel):  Matchless Orinda (H. Jerkens/C. Velasquez) - 91

*Barksdale (LaD):  Classy Deelites (D. Moran Sr./P. Valenzuela) - 89
*Lost in the Fog (GG):  Smiling Tiger (J. Bonde/M. Baze) - 88
*Free Spirits (Rui):  Happy Humor (J. Arnett/K. Tohill) - 87
*Regret (CD):  Keertana (T. Proctor/R. Albarado) - 87
*Victoria (WO):  Olredlgetcha (G. De Gannes/E. Ramsammy) - 87
*Jostle (Pha):  Trusty Temper (R. Werner/J. Shepherd) - 87
*Possibly Perfect (AP):  Cherokee Queen (H. Motion/J. Campbell) - 86
*Cyclones (PrM):  Red Hot N Gold (K. Von Hemel/T. Thompson) - 85
*Cinderella (Hol):  Well Deserved (D. Hofmans/J. Rosario) - 85
*Sydney Gendelman Memorial (RD):  Catlaunch (I. Vazquez/H. Rosario Jr.) - 84
*Bold Ruckus (WO) - Me the Sea and G T (S. Owens/T. Pizarro) - 82
*Susan B. Anthony (FL):  Me the Sea and G T (S. Owens/T. Pizarro) - 82
*Susan B. Anthony (FL):  Bob's Dylan (M. Ferraro/J. Davila Jr.) - 80
*Acclaim (EvD):  Break Up (B. Brinkman/G. Melancon) - 80
*Leave Me Alone (Crc):  First Passage (M. Wolfson/J. Bridgmohan) - 80
*Wild Rose (NP):  Jasper's Valentine (J. Meyaard/R. Walcott) - 80
*Irish Day (EmD):  Ladyledue (B. Jenne/R. Frazier) - 80

*Magic City Classic (RD):  Ikan (R. Nunley/W. Hollick) - 78
*John W. Rooney Memorial (Del):  No Use Denying (H. Motion/J. Rocco Jr.) - 78
*Salute (EvD):  Seven Seventythree (S. Asmussen/G. Melancon) - 78
*CTHS Sales (Hst):  Gotta Find Bubba (S. Henson/F. Fuentes) - 76
*Matchmaker (Lnn):  Dazzling Seville (C. Legrande/L. Ranilla) - 75
*Ellen's Lucky Star (Ind):  Trust N Seven (M. Lauer/L. Goncalves) - 75
*Ballade (WO):  Authenicat (J. Carroll/R. Landry) - 73
*President's Cup (Lnn):  Heso (R. Riggs/C. Fackler) - 73
*Snack (Ind): Hoosier Kingdom (R. Herrell/O. Mojica) - 73
*La Verendrye (AsD):  Preservata (C. Willson/T. Nelson) - 71
*Hawkeyes (PrM):  L D's Shes Special (L. Dunbar/T. Doocy) - 70

*CTHS Sales (Hst):  Notis Her (B. Heads/R. Hamel) - 66
*Molly Brown (ArP):  Derby Cat (S. Davis/D. Frazier) - 64
*Lansing (Pnl):  Juggle (R. Gorham/J. Skerrett) - 61

*Altitude Sports Race of the Day (ArP):  Notimetobemad (B. Stivers/V. Scantling) - 37

Here are the lifetime past performances for the highest and lowest Beyer Speed Figures from last week's stakes races:

Download SailorMad


***

Another quick point, Dunkirk is such a beautiful animal but good lord how many times do we have to see that pedigree line have injuries before we say "well something is not right here?".
desertrailrat

It does seem that the Unbridled's Song's are as unsound as they are brilliant, and that creates a dilemma for buyers.  Not for breeders, but for buyers at yearling and juvenile sales.  Most breeders aren't overly concerned with producing unsound horses.  As long as they sell, those breeders won't have trouble sleeping at night.  And the Unbridled's Song babies sell.  Really, really well.  Buyers have to always wonder what they're getting with an Unbridled's Song runner.  Will they squeeze enough quality starts out of them so they can become viable options at stud? 
Besides Dunkirk (non-displaced condylar fracture left hind cannon bone), we have Midshipman (soft tissue left foreleg), One Caroline (undisclosed), and Silent Roar (surgery for right front ankle chip) as progeny of Unbridled's Song currently on our Disabled List.  Remember that Old Fashioned was retired earlier in the season with a non-displaced slab fracture to his right knee, and Eight Belles had to be euthanized on the racetrack after last year's Kentucky Derby due to compound fractures in both forelegs.
I wonder if the great home-breeders of the golden age of racing (the Vanderbilts, Paul Mellon, etc.) would have sent their mares to Unbridled's Song given the various ailments of the progeny.  Of course, that era was when we bred horses to race instead of to sell.

***

I'd also wonder if a confirmed rabbit has ever won a race of any significance in modern times?
Terry F

Whenever anyone asks me about this topic, I always go back in time to the 2001 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.  The QE II is usually the race that determines Europe's champion miler, but the whole division was thrown into turmoil that season when Godolphin's pacemaker, Summoner, stole the whole kit-and-kaboodle at 33-1 odds under Richard Hills.  Summoner only won one out of his next 15 races, and that was a listed event at Abu Dhabi three years later.  It doesn't happen very often, but once in a long while, a rabbit steals a weak renewal of a major stakes race.

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Does anyone know if Shake the Bank ever runs on his own in a well meant race?
Turn Back The Alarm

As you can see from the below past performances, Shake the Bank was put into a few spots on his own, but he didn't win a race after his prime job became Better Talk Now's pacemaker.

Download Shake the Bank

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Dan,
Are we no longer Formblog???
And now you're bumped to #3 on the DRF blog list???
Who's your agent???

In my mind, we're always going to be "Blue Boxers" and "Blue Thongs" here on "FormBlog" whether the marketing geniuses at DRF realize it or not.
As for being "bumped" down the pecking order, I'm told that we're listed in alphabetical name order although I wouldn't be surprised if it's based on salary  : )
I talked to my agent about the issue, but she's rather unhappy about the game since Flying Private ruined her undefeated handicapping streak in the Preakness.  Back to fingerpainting for Olivia!

Anyway, I second CM's comments on the situation (9:45 am on June 12)


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...yes, that's right, I took Nowhere to Hide away ("name" 3YO?). Apparently, he's pretty good at hiding because he's never been on my radar.
C

I think Annie meant Runaway and Hide, a two-year-old that went 3-3 last year including wins in the Kentucky Breeders' Cup at Churchill and the Saratoga Special.  He had knee surgery after the Spa race, and is now at stud.  

***

Remember that name, TRUEST LEGEND, because he is going to be a good one.
Dan,
Can you tell me what BSF they assigned for his run?
Steve T

Truest Legend earned a whopping 99 Beyer Speed Figure for his big win on Saturday.  While he is fast as heck, I wonder how he'll react to pressure on the front end.  In his maiden win two back, Truest Legend started flagging his tail once Victor went to the stick.  No whip was necessary on Saturday as he simply ran his opponents into the ground. 

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Dan-With the out of the money finish of Indian Blessing, it made me think of a 1973 race when the filly Marian Bender was defeated at 1-9 and I believe the three horses that finished in the money all paid  more than $100 to show. Can you print the chart on that race?
Howard Dreizen

Unfortunately, our database doesn't go back that far so I can't post the chart.  Marian Bender, a three-year-old filly by Bold Monarch, won four sprint stakes races in 1973.

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Dan the Man:  Zan the Man checking in here with my suggestion for HG this week.  Race # 8 at Hollywood Park on Thursday - a full field (14 is considered full, right?) of cheap claimers on the Cushion.
Zan the Man

Congrats to Zan the Man for his excellent play in last week's HandiGambling exercise.  Here are the early past performances for this week's race:

Download HandiGambling

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I have always assumed that the time attached to someone's post was EDT.  Therefore, when  tencentcielo, Steve T. or Slew post something, I presume for them, it's 3 hours earlier than it says on the post, as I believe they're West Coasters. 
Is this correct, Dan?
knm

Yep, the time attached to a post is East Coast time.

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dan,as the saratoga meet is getting closer:) could you please scrunch some #"s from last years meet
 post position winning %
   main track routes
   """" """"  sprints
   turf course routes
   """" """""  sprints
$BILL


Here they are:

Main Track Routes

1.  11-45  (24%)
2.  4-45   (9%)
3.  2-45   (4%)
4.  6-45   (13%)
5.  11-45  (24%)
6.  6-42   (14%)
7.  2-31   (6%)
8.  2-13   (15%)
9.  0-7
10. 1-4    (25%)
11. 0-2
12. 0-1

Main Track Sprints

1.  23-173 (13%)
2.  18-173 (10%)
3.  22-173 (13%)
4.  22-173 (13%)
5.  28-170 (16%)
6.  20-158 (13%)
7.  8-123  (7%)
8.  17-93  (18%)
9.  9-51   (18%)
10. 3-26   (12%)
11. 2-12   (17%)
12. 1-6    (17%)
13. 0-2
14. 0-1


Turf Routes

1.  11-98 (11%)
2.  15-98 (15%)
3.  7-98  (7%)
4.  13-98 (13%)
5.  13-98 (13%)
6.  7-96  (7%)
7.  9-91  (10%)
8.  10-87 (11%)
9.  7-72  (10%)
10. 5-51  (10%)
11. 2-17  (12%)
12. 1-11  (9%)

Turf Sprints

1.  3-36 (8%)
2.  2-36 (6%)
3.  3-36 (8%)
4.  6-36 (17%)
5.  4-36 (11%)
6.  6-35 (17%)
7.  2-35 (6%)
8.  4-35 (11%)
9.  3-30 (10%)
10. 1-21 (5%)
11. 1-10 (10%)
12. 1-6  (17%)

Be aware that there are two turf courses at Saratoga, and the grass stats are for both courses combined.

***

Folks, it's safe to say there's been some negativity among the posters over the last couple of days so let's all take a step back and remember why our community is regarded as one of the bright lights on our website.  We have always shown patience and respect as well as superb knowledge and insight.  Let's call the recent issues water under the bridge and move on.  I, for one, am befuddled by Wednesday's Race of the Day at Belmont, and would appreciate any help.  Past performances are on the homepage.

Best always,

Dan