02/04/2015 5:44PM

New turf shooter


AVANZARE broke through with a career-best effort in last Saturday's Grade 2 Arcadia Stakes at one mile on turf at Santa Anita.

Trained by the always-dangerous Tom Proctor, Avanzare handled a solid field that included millionaire ZA APPROVAL and graded stakes winners HOME RUN KITTEN, BACCELO, KAIGUN and EDGE OF REALITY.

Utilizing his greatest asset, his positional speed, Avanzare tracked longshot leader EL NINO TERRIBLE from the outside through fractions of 23.05, 46.95, and 1:10.59. Avanzare forged to the front turning for home and always had enough to fend off ZA APPROVAL's late kick. Avanzare completed the distance in 1:34.17, good enough for a lifetime-best 98 Beyer Speed Figure.

"I breezed him five days ago on the dirt and when I looked at the work, he had the second-fastest work that morning (at the distance.)," jockey Gary Stevens told track publicity following the Arcadia. "I thought he went in 1:01 and he actually went in 59 and usually when they do that they’re doing awfully well."

Avanzare is a 5-year-old gelding by Grand Reward, a regally-bred son of Storm Cat and Serena's Song. Grand Reward was Group 2-placed on turf in England, but blossomed once moved to the Wayne Lukas barn. Grand Reward finished fourth in the 2005 Santa Anita Handicap before grabbying the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap at nine furlongs on dirt with a 108 Beyer Speed Figure.

Avanzare's third dam, Miss Turkana (by Turkoman), prevailed in six stakes races including the Grade 3 Hillsborough Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on turf at Bay Meadows. His fourth dam, Reigning Countess (by Far North), succeeded in the Grade 3 Railbird Stakes sprinting on dirt at Hollywood Park.

Avanzare sold for a mere $1,100 as a yearling, but was purchased for $52,000 the following June. He has been a beacon of consistency throughout his career. From 12 starts, Avanzare boasts a record of 6-3-2. The only time he finished off the board was in the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap at 1 1/4 miles on July 12, 2014. In that race, he placed fourth, beaten only three-quarters of a length for the victory.

Not only is Avanzare consistent, but he has a versatile running style. He pressed the pace in the Arcadia, went gate-to-wire in the Grade 3 Washington Park Handicap at nine furlongs over Arlington's polytrack last summer, and rallied from midpack to win an 'n2x' optional claimer on turf at Churchill Downs last spring.

Avanzare isn't the only horse that should be followed out of the Aracadia. While some might argue that Za Approval is getting a bit long in the tooth, he gave another good effort for trainer Mark Casse. Wide throughout at the back of the pack, Za Approval simply couldn't make up the tactical advantage Avanzare gained going into the first turn. He showed that he can still run.

Avanzare and Za Approval likely punched their tickets to the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita on March 7.


Here are the top WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 1/27/15 - 2/2/15:

1. CONQUEST TWO STEP - 105 - Palos Verdes Stakes (G2) - 6 Furlongs - 31Jan15-6SA
2. PRAETEREO - 102 - Alw 54500NC - 7 Furlongs - 1Feb15-9PRX
3. AVANZARE - 98 - Arcadia Stakes (G2) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 31Jan15-7SA
4. QUICK AND SILVER - 97 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 Mile (Tapeta) - 1Feb15-4GG
4. SCATTER JOY - 97 - OC35k/SAL25k - 6 Furlongs - 30Jan15-1GP
4. UNITARIAN - 97 - H. Allen Jerkens Stakes - 2 Miles (Turf) - 31Jan15-9GP
7. SMASH AND GRAB - 96 - OC 40k/N$Y -N - 7 Furlongs - 31Jan15-7LRL
8. STREET SPICE - 95 - OC 62k/N3X -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 1Feb15-7FG
9. LOVERBIL - 94 - OC10k/SAL8k - 6 Furlongs - 1Feb15-3GP
10. COPSE - 93 - Clm c-(10-8)N2L - 1 Mile - 29Jan15-1OP
10. CUTTY SHARK - 93 - OC 32k/N3X -N - 7 Furlongs - 30Jan15-6LRL
10. DARK BRAHMS - 93 - OC 20k/N2X - 6 Furlongs - 29Jan15-7FG
10. DOC ALMON - 93 - Clm c-25000 - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - 30Jan15-6AQU
10. DOIMAKEYAHAPPY - 93 - OC 32k/N2X - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 31Jan15-8TAM
10. OCEAN KNIGHT - 93 - Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles - 31Jan15-11TAM
10. PROSPECT PARK - 93 - OC 80k/N1X -N - 30Jan15-3SA
10. THE GREAT WAR - 93 - 96 Rock Stakes - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Polytrack) - 31Jan15-6TP
18. GOODTIMEHADBYALL - 92 - OC 62k/N2X - 1 Mile - 31Jan15-6GP
18. MAJESTIC AFFAIR - 92 - Frank Whiteley Stakes - 7 Furlongs - 29Jan15-9LRL
18. SACHEM SPIRIT - 92 - OC 62k/N2X - 7 1/2 Furlongs (TUrf) - 28Jan15-8GP
18. TARPY'S GOAL - 92 - OC35k/SAL25k - 1 1/16 Miles - 28Jan15-1GP
22. CAPTAIN GENIUS - 91 - Wcl c-(25-20) - 6 Furlongs - 31Jan15-6OP
22. DOUBLE OURS - 91 - OC 40k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - 29Jan15-8OP
22. LORD NELSON - 91 - San Vicente Stakes (G2) - 7 Furlongs - 1Feb15-6SA
22. PEPPER ROANI - 91 - Md Sp Wt 23k - 1 Mile (Polytrack) - 31Jan15-4TP
22. PERSUASIVE PAUL - 91 - Super Bowl Party Handicap - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 1Feb15-7SA

*CONQUEST TWO STEP's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.

*COPSE, a 5-year-old gelded half-brother to Grade 1 winner LEA, was claimed for $10,000 by trainer Steve Asmussen from Al Stall Jr.

*DOC ALMON was claimed for $25,000 by trainer Rudy Rodriguez from Gary Gullo.

*CAPTAIN GENIUS was claimed for $25,000 by trainer Scott Young from Brad Cox.


Dan, what was Prospect Park's beyer from the Allowance Race on 1/30 at SA?

PROSPECT PARK received a 93 Beyer for his visually-impressive 'n1x' optional claiming win at Santa Anita. A half-brother to graded stakes winners Silent Sighs and Proposed by top stallion Tapit, Prospect Park is certainly one to watch on the Kentucky Derby trail.


I have asked these questions to some people I know at Laurel...but am not satisfied with the answer,
1. How long is the process of moving the temporary rails...man hours and equipment needed?
2. Who determines the "run up" distances? Is it all determined by preserving the course?
3. Are the rails moved for the Entire course/?
Thanks in advance
pat G.

I found a couple of links that might help:




i've been watching Ruby Gonzalez at Sunland for a couple months, and she went down in a spill a couple weeks ago not to return - wondered if you could learn any news, i've searched and come up with nada
much appreciated

After Go See Too broke down in the seventh race on January 18, Gonzalez reportedly rode the next race before taking off her mounts. She went to the hospital for x-rays, but I don't know the results. If I find out more, I'll let you know.


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 "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.

The video previews for the weekend graded stakes races will be available later in the week at the following link:



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

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.

Let's go with Saturday's Donn Handicap from Gulfstream for this week's HandiGambling event.


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!




2015 MKB Bio Document.pdf373.07 KB
HGDONN.pdf172.09 KB
Rodney More than 1 year ago
Cali Chome...3 yo champ & HOY... But since the two legs of the TC, he's lost races to Tonalist, Bayern twice, and now to Shared Belief. Leaves people to come to their own conclusions. No doubt a very popular horse, and I hope he runs well in Dubai.
Jackson Jackson More than 1 year ago
So what can the Champs of the 90s show us if we make them into numbers ?? Hmmm well ... The 3yr old Champs needed 42 excuses in 90 races . 47% excuses . 60% needed more excuses than Chrome . 20% needed fewer excuses . ( one of those only raced 7 times ) ALL of them needed more than 1 excuse . 80% won fewer Gr. I . 10% won more Gr. I . Chrome easily fits with these . HOYs ... needed 27 excuses in 93 races . 29% excuses . 50% needed fewer excuses than Chrome . 30% needed more excuses . 40% won more Gr. I . 50% won fewer Gr. I . He fits in decently with these too. JJ
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Van Savant I am living vicariously thru you and your kids in all they do and achieve and I was nervous just reading your recap :) Congratulations to your daughters spectacular showing and to her Proud Dad . Good luck next weekend. SR Vegas
Turnbackthealarm More than 1 year ago
Pat, I totally agree with you on the physical handicapping in the cheaper claiming races. My best betting days are on track at Arlington. Some handicappers are specialists, well, my specialty seems to be Illinois bred 5K claimers............or in previous days, NJ bred 5K claimers. I never left Monmouth before the "get out" race, because it was usually my most profitable. The other time physical handicapping is really helpful is of stakes quality animals. It's harder to pick the winner than it is the "loser". Magician comes to mind at the AP Millions. I was much more confident about Hardest Core as a potential winner because Magician did not look as good this year as he did last. Or it could be that I was just really really lucky. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Also, of course, good luck to EDDIE BUSTER LEWIS and Mr. Z in the Southwest!!! :) Annie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rick, (not to be confused with Penn National Rick) Now that you won the HG, is the next step to win the Southwest with FAR RIGHT? :) Good luck!! Annie
pat gavin More than 1 year ago
In a pique of good luck I stumbled across a video on YOU TUBE which will "change your life" when it comes to physical handicapping. That may be a bit extreme, but IF you have no inclination or "all the horses look the same" or numbers rule you...avoid this video. If, perchance you might like to dabble a bit and you want to enhance your experience...watch it. What it did for me was validate what I think I know about Horses as Athletes.. It is dated and parts of it will be a tad grating but overall good stuff. It is called "the Trainers Edge" type that in the youtube search and it comes right up...only watch the first hour as the last 30 minutes are Pincay talking about all the greats he rode. My thoughts on winning after a layoff.....I DON"T CARE how long they have been OFF, I care what they look like TODAY. "Needed one" "racing him into shape" are all antiquated terms that have no place in modern training methods. The horses race so sporadically that I have to assume that(outside a few big old money stables) EVERY race is legit in terms of intent. I also can discern when(in cheap races) the pressure exerted by the racing secretaries is of HEAVY influence..... so I can eliminate some by this tactic...but are mostly done in the el cheapo races. In fact I would tend to say that my favorite races to handicap are the lower claimers, because shape, intent, running style, appearance and fodder(race fillers) are somewhat easier for me to cull through. Back in the day, horses worked more(by the time clockers) and raced more. Can you imagine what would be said if Secretariat we alive for the TC and had that workout between the Preakness and Belmont.? But whatever the "other methods" that these guys do(it may be a cause why no horse can win the TC any longer), horses are either chemically "cranked up' or never "cranked up". Times seem slower over all. IF that is the case.....what do we have? A cabal of guys who are putting out horses NOT in the best shape...and everyone "does it" the same way. Sounds like NASCAR making everyone's car equal. Weird time with all these "program" trainers. Do guys like Pletcher, Brown and Baffert ever touch the horses they train???
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Van Savant, Congratulations to your daughter on her swimming success! You have a right to be a proud papa. :) The rest of us will have to content ourselves with hoping our MKB horses make us proud. :) Annie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rick, Congratulations on winning the HG! I was confused for a minute as we have two Ricks. You, of course, are the Rick of FAR RIGHT fame. Our scorekeeper is Penn National Rick of ALDRIN fame who signed as just Rick, thus the confusion. :) Congrats also to TURF RULER! Very close, but at least you scored nicely. I, at least, managed to put money on the winner. My superfecta loss was Pletcher's fault, of course, his other two were supposed to fill out my super. :) Annie
Jackson Jackson More than 1 year ago
Excuses...excuses :) continued .... 1990 - 3yr champ - Unbridled = needed 7 excuses in 11 races . Won 3 Gr. I . 1990 - HOY - Criminal Type = needed 4 excuses in 11 races (including 3 in a row ) Won 4 Gr. I "91 - 3yr champ - Hansel = needed 5 excuses in 9 races. Won 2 Gr. I . "91 - HOY - Black Tie Affair = Needed 3 excuses in 10 races . Won ...1... Gr. I (in 45 races) "92 - 3yr champ - AP Indy = needed 2 excuses in 7 races . Won 3 Gr. I . "92 - HOY - AP Indy "93 - 3yr champ - Prairie Bayou = needed 3 excuses in 8 races . Won .. 1 .. Gr. I "93 - HOY - Kotashaan = needed 4 excuses in 10 races . Won 5 grass Gr. I "94 - 3yr champ - Holy Bull = needed 2 excuses in 10 races . Won 5 Gr. I "94 - HOY - Holy Bull 95 - 3yr champ - Thunder Gulch = needed 3 excuses in 10 races . Won 4 Gr. I 95 - Cigar = No excuses in 10 races . 8 Gr. I 96 - 3yr champ - Skip Away = needed 6 excuses in 12 races . Won 3 Gr. I 96 - HOY - Cigar = needed 3 excuses in 8 races . Won 3 Gr. I 97 - 3yr champ - Silver Charm = needed 4 excuses in 7 races . Won 2 Gr . I 97 - HOY - Favorite Trick = no excuses in 8 races . 2 Gr. I baby races (2 lifetime) 98 -3yr champ - Real Quiet = needed 4 excuses in 6 races . Won 2 Gr. I 98 - HOY - Skip Away = needed 2 excuses in 9 races . Won 5 Gr. I 99 - 3yr champ - Charismatic = needed 7 excuses in 10 races . Won 2 Gr. I 99 - HOY - Charismatic JJ