01/29/2014 5:22PM

NHC thoughts, 3-year-olds to follow


It was the Cairo Prince show at Gulfstream last week as the son of Pioneerof the Nile obliterated his competition in the Holy Bull Stakes.  Let's take a closer look at two other sophomores that stepped up in lesser races.

TOP BILLING (Curlin – Parade Queen, by A.P. Indy)
Breeder:  W. S. Farish & E. J. Hudson, Jr. Irrevocable Trust
Owner:  William S. Farish and E. J. Hudson, Jr.
Trainer:  Claude “Shug” McGaughey
Last Start:  1st, ‘n1x’ optional claimer, January 25, 1 1/16 Miles, Gulfstream, 90 Beyer
DP = 6-9-20-1-0 (36) DI = 2.27   CD = 0.56

Shug McGaughey won last year’s Kentucky Derby with Orb, and he now has a very promising 3-year-old in Top Billing, a son of Curlin that proved too classy for six others at Gulfstream last Saturday. After breaking from post two as the even-money favorite, Top Billing, ridden by Joel Rosario, lagged far behind the leaders for the first five furlongs of the 1 1/16-mile optional claimer.

Surfing U S A set fractions of 23.88 and 47.23, but Top Billing rattled off a 23.18 third-quarter clocking to advance on the leaders. With a four-wide sweep, Top Billing was in front turning for home and he drew away under minimal urging to prevail by 2 ¾ lengths in 1:42.66, a final time good enough for a 90 Beyer.

Top Billing is by Curlin, a seven-time Grade 1 winner that scored at distances from 7-10 furlongs. Named Horse of the Year both seasons he competed, Curlin took down such valuable events as the Preakness Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Classic, Woodward Stakes and two editions of the Jockey Club Gold Cup. He retired with over $10.5M in earnings.
Curlin sired a classic winner from his first crop as Palace Malice grabbed the Belmont Stakes last year at 12 furlongs. Ride On Curlin, one of Top Billing’s sophomore peers, finished third in last year’s Grade 1 Champagne Stakes and recently won an optional claiming event at Oaklawn.

Top Billing’s dam, Parade Queen (by the great A.P. Indy), excelled on turf. She won the Grade 3 Mrs. Revere Stakes at Churchill and the Grade 3 Joe Namath Handicap at Gulfstream. Both of those races were at 1 1/16 miles, but Parade Queen was also successful at nine furlongs. 

Along with Top Billing, Parade Queen has produced Grade 3 sprint winner Untouched Talent and stakes-winning sprinter King Gulch. Untouched Talent is the dam of Grade 1 winner Bodemeister, who also finished second in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. The turf influences continue deeper in the family as second dam Spanish Parade (by Roberto) also won the Mrs. Revere.

Top Billing has now won two of three races with the lone defeat a tough-trip nose loss to Commissioner at Gulfstream on January 3. He is bred to run all day, but his lack of early speed may make him dependent on pace and race luck when the competition gets saltier. That being said, he is expected to make noise in graded stakes in the immediate future.

QUICK INDIAN (Indian Charlie – Quick Temper, by A.P. Indy)
Breeder: Hill 'N' Dale Equine Holdings, Inc. & Edward McGhee
Owner:  Daniel J. Lynch and Merrill R. Scherer
Trainer:  Merrill Scherer
Auction:  $19,000 (RNA) Keeneland September Yearling
Last Start:  1st ‘n1x’ optional claimer, January 24, 1 Mile 70 Yards, Fair Grounds, 85 Beyer
DP = 3-6-9-0-0 (18) DI = 3.00   CD = 0.67

Flying further under the radar is Quick Indian, a colt that needed almost all of the long Fair Grounds stretch to wear down Border Hopper at 1 Mile and 70 Yards last Friday. Trained by Merrill Scherer, Quick Indian veered outward at the start and trailed the field going into the first turn. He gradually moved into contention, set his sights on pacesetter Border Hopper in midstretch and resolutely wore that foe down to earn a one-length victory. The final time of 1:44.46 computed to an 85 Beyer, a number 25 points higher than the figure Quick Indian received when placed first via disqualification in a maiden heat at Fair Grounds on December 13.

After winning his first four starts by a combined 25 ¾ lengths, Quick Indian’s sire, Indian Charlie, rambled into Louisville as the favorite for the 1998 Kentucky Derby. He ran well in the Derby, but faded to third in the final furlong behind stablemate Real Quiet and Victory Gallop. Indian Charlie triumphed at distances from 5 ½ furlongs to 1 1/8 miles and earned two Beyer Speed Figures of 110 or higher. His career-making performance came in the Santa Anita Derby, a race in which he beat Real Quiet with a 111 Beyer.

Indian Charlie was a solid sire prior to his death in 2011. He has three American champions under his name (Uncle Mo, Indian Blessing, Fleet Indian) and also produced North American Grade 1 winners Pampered Princess and Liaison.

Quick Indian receives stamina from his female family.  His dam, Quick Temper (by A.P. Indy), was Grade 2-placed at 1 1/16 miles. She also won at nine furlongs and was a close second in the Grade 3-C Maple Leaf Stakes traveling 1 ¼ miles at Woodbine. Quick Temper is a half-sister to Marino Marini, a Grade/Group 1-placed sprinter on both turf and dirt. Their dam, Halo America (by Waquoit), was a four-length winner over champion Jewel Princess in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom Handicap at 1 1/16 miles. Halo America won nine stakes races and over $1.4M in earnings.

Quick Indian still has lots to prove. The 1-5 favorite last Friday, Unknown Road, failed to fire and the rest of the horses in the five-horse field were of questionable quality. Quick Indian acts like he’ll go at least nine furlongs, however, and he deserves an opportunity in a race like the Risen Star and/or Louisiana Derby.

*Nice to see DELAUNAY back to his best form. The 7-year-old son of Smoke Glacken looked like one of the better sprinters last year after winning the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes by four facile lengths on May 4. Following two chalky defeats, he was sent to the sidelines for some rest and relaxation. After he missed his intended return in the Thanksgiving Handicap at Fair Grounds due to illness, Delaunay was given some more time to recuperate. Last Saturday, he handled his usual whipping-boy, GANTRY, and three others in the F. W. Gaudin Memorial at Fair Grounds. It was the fifth time that Gantry has finished second to Delaunay since September 8, 2012. Delaunay has now earned nine consecutive triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures and is approaching 900K in earnings.

*LAKERVILLE is a warrior. The talented 6-year-old has been plagued with one injury after another throughout his career, but he returned from an over 17-month layoff to roll by a decent group of turf sprinters in last Sunday's Clocker's Corner Stakes. Lakerville hasn't been out of the exacta in seven lifetime appearances and both of his losses have come by less than a length. If he stays healthy, he can be a major force in this division in 2014 for trainer Barry Abrams.

*SUM OF THE PARTS has competed in the past two Breeders' Cup Sprints, but it's possible that the Turf Sprint will be more his speed in 2014. The 5-year-old has won his last two going short on the lawn, including a record-breaking performance at Sam Houston last Saturday (5 furlongs in 56.21). Tom Amoss trains the 5-year-old, a stakes winner on dirt, turf and synthetic.


Last week's National Handicapping Championship featured some of the top tournament players in the country. 

The winner, Jose Arias, is a soft-spoken fellow with ice water in his veins. He dominated the contest, taking the lead with a couple of price-capped horses at the end of Day 1 and maintaining the advantage all the way to the wire. 

Arias held off the consistent Tony Brice, who hovered on the leaderboard throughout the tournament before rallying furiously at the final table of ten.  Brice, who maintains that it is important for horseplayers to know their strengths and weaknesses (he favors dirt routes and devotes most of his play to those races), scored in the final contest race, a dirt sprint, only to fall $1.20 short. Brice mentioned to me that his wife lost her job last year, and he was almost overcome with emotion as he described what the $200,000 second-place prize money meant to his family.

Arias favors trip handicapping and he studiously devoted his time to replay watching during the contest.  Most of his big scores came at Santa Anita and some felt that he would be at a disadvantage during the "Final 50" portion of the tournament as there were no races from Southern California to handicap. Arias slumped a bit late, but hit a $7.00 place runner at Gulfstream on the first race at the "Final 10" table. That horse eventually made all the difference.

One of our esteemed FormBloggers, Alan Levitt, once again qualified for the tournament. After a tough first couple of days, Alan caught fire during the consolation contest for entrants that didn't crack the top fifty scores. Alan finished second in that tournament, good enough for $13,000.

At Alan's table, there were some very sharp handicappers that did extremely well during the three-day tournament format. I was honored when they asked me to take part in their Santa Anita Pick 6 syndicate on Sunday. I'd love to say that my opinions were the catalyst for the winning bet, but I was merely a passenger. Those guys handicapped the card perfectly, constructed some beautiful tickets, and deserved to cash a big one. I'm thankful for their kindness and friendship. I'd also be remiss if I didn't thank S R Vegas for being such a wonderful hostess during my stay in Las Vegas.


Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures (1/20/13 - 1/26/13):

1. EVOLUTION ROCKS - 106 - Thrillin Discovery Handicap - 6 Furlongs - Calder
2. DELAUNAY - 104 - F. W. Gaudin Memorial Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Fair Grounds.
3. AMMAROO - 102 - Alw 12500s - 6 Furlongs - Oaklawn
4. SAN ONOFRE - 99 - Alw 74258N1X - 7 Furlongs - Santa Anita
5. BOLD CURLIN - 98 - Native Dancer Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - Laurel
5. L. A. WEEKEND - 98 - Swift Stakes - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Turf Paradise
7. GROUND TRANSPORT - 97 - OC 40k/N2X -N - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Fair Grounds
7. INDIANAPOLIS - 97 - San Pedro Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Santa Anita
7. ROSE TO GOLD - 97 - Houston Ladies Classic Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - Sam Houston
7. TEEN PAULINE - 97 - Ladies Handicap - 1 1/8 Miles (Inner Dirt) - Aqueduct
11. BIG MACHER - 96 - Donald Valpredo California Cup Sprint Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Santa Anita
11. LAKERVILLE - 96 - Clocker's Corner Stakes - About 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Santa Anita
11. MR. ONLINE - 96 - OC25k/SAL25k - 1 Mile (Turf) - Gulfstream
11. SKIP THE PINOT - 96 - OC 35k/N4L -N - 6 Furlongs - Fair Grounds
15. ADMIRAL KITTEN - 95 - John B. Connally Turf Cup Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Sam Houston
15. CAIRO PRINCE - 95 - Holy Bull Stakes (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - Gulfstream
15. DAWLY - 95 - OC 50k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Inner Dirt) - Aqueduct
15. POINT TO THE WILD - 95 - OC 40k/N2X -N - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Fair Grounds
19. SHRINKING VIOLET - 94 - Lightning City Stakes - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - Tampa Bay
19. SUM OF THE PARTS - 94 - Champion Energy Services Stakes - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - Sam Houston
21. APROPOS - 93 - American Beauty Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Oaklawn
21. WEEWINNIN - 93 - California Cup Turf Classic - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Santa Anita
23. EXTRASEXYHIPPZSTER - 92 - Miracle Wood Stakes - 1 Mile - Laurel
23. SCHERZINGER - 92 - Santa Monica Stakes (G2) - 7 Furlongs - Santa Anita
23. ZIMMER - 92 - Clm 50000(50-45) - About 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Santa Anita

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


Dan thanks for the incite on Indianapolis, can’t wait when he goes to a longer distance hopefully he can handle it and with some racing luck another victory and some Derby dreams to boot for the connections. Also me too, MKB! Hey someone said “We are the music makers and the dreamers of dreams.”
Could you put Medaglia d'Oro’s pp’s in your next blog? Thanks!

Medaglia d'Oro's past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.


HI Dan
looks like my request for super$6kclaim Ribo B got lost in the ether...
if you would't mind tossing up his pps, would appreciate

RIBO BOBO's lifetime past performances are at the bottom of this blog post.


Dan can you post the PPs for Megahertz

They're at the bottom of the page with the other lifetime past performances.


Just watched the replay of the Cal Cup Derby...Checking out my MKB Tamarando to see his performance. Can you post his PP's? Also, given a slightly faster pace and take away the huge wide move towards the top of the stretch...is he still a viable derby contender or pretender?

You can find TAMARANDO's past performances below. I'm not his biggest fan. He's a talented horse, but comes from way out of it and is usually at the mercy of racing luck.  Plus, it seems as if all of his fast races are on synthetic surfaces. 


We'll have our annual FormBlog Convention at Gulfstream Park the weekend of February 28.  Our gracious hostess, Laura, has an update for us...

UPDATE on the DRF Formblog Convention!

The Convention is Feb. 28 - March 3 at GP Park. (Fri - Sun). We get a discount on rooms at Hampton Inn, across from the track. The price is $172/night (plus the dreaded $18 tax). To receive the correct rate, call the hotel directly (954-874-3006) and ask for the Gulfstream Park rate. If there's any difficulty, please email me at:


As usual, we'll be given a suite overlooking the track with our own private balcony and betting terminals, trips to the paddock, a race named for our group and photo in the winner's circle. We'll also have plenty of swag from the BC and other fun stuff.

This is always a fantastic weekend so don't miss out! Come handicap with our Fearless Leader, Sheriff Dan Who! I can supply rides to/from the airport (about 10 minutes away), if needed. Check out this page for more info:




The weekend handicapping previews should be available on the site soon.

You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman


Congrats to Hunter4fun for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling exercise.

Rick M's scoresheet is available at the bottom of this blog post.

This week's HandiGambling exercise will be Friday's seventh race from Santa Anita.


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 "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!




Best of luck to all.

Medaglia d'Oro.pdf683.54 KB
RIBO BOBO.pdf731.48 KB
MEGAHERTZ.pdf687.43 KB
TAMARANDO.pdf614.03 KB
Copy of Formblog Gulfstream 1-24-14.xls68.5 KB