03/09/2016 4:30PM

Nice win for Blofeld

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BLOFELD reached the winner's circle for the first time in over 16 months with his rail-skimming score in last Saturday's Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap.

Profiled in detail in the October 8, 2014 edition of FormBlog (http://www.drf.com/blogs/watch-out-blofeld), Blofeld's career stagnated following a promising juvenile campaign that saw him reel off three consecutive victories with two of those tallies in graded company.

Blofeld never took a step on the Kentucky Derby trail the following spring. Instead, he made his debut in the $100,000 William Walker Stakes over "good" going under the lights at Churchill Downs on April 25. He finished an even third behind the solid sophomore sprinter Cinco Charlie in a decent-enough starting point to the season, but then was one of a plethora of Todd Pletcher-trained, Belmont-based horses that came down with a virus.

Blofeld tried again on the Fourth of July, but was no match for Speightster in the Grade 3 Dwyer Stakes. That was it for the Quality Road colt's 3-year-old year.

Highly disappointing, to say the least.

Pletcher gave Blofeld plenty of time and it appears his patience is being rewarded. In his first start back, Blofeld finished fourth in an optional claimer on January 27 at Gulfstream. That race was at six furlongs and had the appearance of a strong prep. Outrun early at a distance that might be too sharp for him at this point of his career, Blofeld ran on in the stretch and galloped out well.

That start set him up perfectly for the Gulfstream Park Handicap, a race that featured four from the Pletcher barn. A little luck goes a long way in this business and Blofeld was probably helped greatly by a scary incident that occurred in midstretch. Race favorite VALID loomed menacingly on the outside with some momentum, but went down to his nose after ANCHOR DOWN drifted into his path. That left Blofeld, a horse that enjoys running on the rail, to scoot on through and deny stablemate STANFORD in the shadow of the wire. Blofeld completed the mile in 1:35.03 and received a career-best 103 Beyer Speed Figure. Thankfully, Valid emerged with only a couple of minor cuts.

"We were expecting a big performance from him [Blofeld]," Pletcher told track publicity after the race. "I thought he got a race off the layoff, so we were looking for a big effort from him. It’s nice to see him get back to the form we knew he was capable of."

Blofeld has always had immense potential. If you believe he's starting to finally put it all together, then he's worth following in similar middle-distance graded stakes races.

***

Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 3/1/16 - 3/7/16:

1. TOLEDO EDDIE - 106 - Clm 50000(50-45) - 1 1/16 Miles - 6Mar16-3SA
2. GRAND TITO - 104 - Mac Diarmida Stakes (G2) - 1 3/8 Miles (Turf) - 5Mar16-12GP
3. BLOFELD - 103 - Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) - 1 Mile - 5Mar16-11GP
3. LIGHTSTREAM - 103 - Md Sp Wt 40k - 7 Furlongs - 6Mar16-6GP
5. AWESOME GENT - 99 - Jimmy Winkfield Stakes - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - 6Mar16-5AQU
5. WABEL - 99 - Alw 73000N2L - 6 Furlongs - 5Mar16-5OP 
5. W. B. SMUDGE - 99 - OC 40k/C -N - 6 Furlongs - 3Mar16-8OP
5. WORLD APPROVAL - 99 - OC 100k/C -N - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 5Mar16-7GP
9. REGALLY READY - 98 - OC 50k/C -N - 1 Mile - 5Mar16-6OP
9. W. GILES - 98 - Alw 10000s - 5 1/2 Furlongs - 6Mar16-1SA
11. MATT KING COAL - 97 - OC 80k/N1X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - 6Mar16-3AQU
12. DONEGAL MOON - 96 - Alw 51000N1X - 1 Mile - 5Mar16-8PRX
12. LITTLE POPSIE - 96 - OC 40k/ -N - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - 5Mar16-8AQU
12. SUBTLE INDIAN - 96 - Hot Springs Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 5Mar16-8OP
15. LIEUTENANT COLONEL - 95 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/8 Miles - 6Mar16-5SA
15. OHIO (BRZ) - 95 - OC 40k/N1X -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - 5Mar16-7SA
17. MEI LING - 94 - Heavenly Prize Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Inner Dirt) - 5Mar16-7AQU
18. HOBBITS HERO - 93 - 1 Mile (Turf) - Clm c-(25-22.5) - 4Mar16-1SA
18. QUICK AND SILVER - 93 - OC 62k/N2X - 6 Furlongs (Tapeta) - 5Mar16-8GG
18. SONGBIRD - 93 - Santa Ysabel Stakes (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles - 5Mar16-5SA
21. A RED TIE DAY - 92 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - 3Mar16-7SA
21. CARDS OF STONE - 92 - OC 75k/N1X -N - 1 Mile (Inner Dirt) - 4Mar16-3AQU
21. LATENT REVENGE - 92 - OC 40k/N2X -N - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 6Mar16-3FG
21. OLORDA (GER) - 92 - The Very One Stakes (G3) - 1 3/16 Miles (Turf) - 5Mar16-5GP
21. SAVOY STOMP - 92 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - 3Mar16-10GP
21. S'MAVERLOUS - 92 - OC 40k/N2X -N - 1 Mile 70 Yards - 3Mar16-8FG

*Toledo Eddie's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.

*Hobbits Hero was claimed for $25,000 by trainer Peter Miller from Richard Baltas.

***

Dan,
I just heard you and Matt discussing poor decision making in today's Gotham by Shagaf's rider, Irad Ortiz.
After the race, Richard Migliore interviewed Chad Brown and he said taking back and taking some dirt was the plan as they wanted to make this a training race. They would be happy if they won, but they wanted a different experience for the horse.
Penguinymous


After further review, Ortiz actually gave the horse a great trip, saving ground on the gold rail for most of the way before angling out turning into the stretch. What was shocking watching the race live was that LAOBAN broke poorly and that gave SHAGAF a perfect opportunity to grab the lead, the rail and, most likely, a pretty easy win.

I don't doubt that Ortiz rode to trainer Chad Brown's instructions, and Shagaf will probably benefit from this ride in the long run. He successfully took dirt in his face for the first time and had to fight hard in the stretch once against the grain of the track. Still, it was risky to ride the horse that way considering the bias. Horseplayers betting the chalk experienced more anxious moments than necessary, although I doubt their feelings were part of the pre-race decision-making process.

***

Video stakes analyses for many of the weekend's major stakes will be available later this week at http://www.drf.com/videos

You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.

Matt Bernier, Mike Beer and I will be on for free and fun live handicapping analysis for Tampa Bay Downs, Santa Anita, Gulfsteam, Aqueduct and Oaklawn beginning at 3pm ET on live.drf.com.


***

Congrats to Phil D. for winning last week's HandiGambling challenge.

Phil selected Saturday's Tampa Bay Derby for this week's exercise.

PAST PERFORMANCES ARE AVAILABLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG POST.

Rick M and SR VEGAS' HG scoreboard spreadsheet is available at the bottom of this blog post.

SR Vegas and Rick M. have graciously decided to update all of the HG rules in order to make them an easier read for everyone...

HANDIGAMBLING version 2016:

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 SPARE A SENTENCE OR TWO outlining your HANDICAPPING ANGLES and/or THOUGHT PROCESSES about WAGERING .

1. Start your post with HG or HANDIGAMBLING to find your entry in a thread.

2. You have a mythical $100 to wager in whatever format you choose that is available for that HG race. Anyone going over the $100 limit will be DISQUALIFIED.

3. Post your WAGER and ANALYSIS to the blog prior to the start of the designated race. SIGN OFF WITH YOUR NAME/OR MONIKER AT THE END OF YOUR 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 identify who you are.

4. (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.

5. Separate your analysis from the wager and use the PROGRAM # 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 2016
The speed in this race are #1 Alpha, #2 Beta, and #8 Ocho. I like the works for layoff horse #5 Cinco who can sit off the pace. Lots of speed in here, so this could set up for a closer like  #6 Six Flags and I like the trainer's stats in these conditions. I’ll put the closer over the speed.

HG wager:
$10 EX   6 /   1,2,5, 8  = $40
$5 TRI   6 /   1,2,5,8  /  1,2,5,8  =  $60
Total $100

Thanks Dan!
Harpo

A MORE DETAILED ANALYSIS  IS  ALWAYS  APPRECIATED !

REMEMBER, IF YOU ARE DECLARED THE WINNER OF THE HANDIGAMBLING EXERCISE; PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM WITH YOUR DRF LOGIN AND PASSWORD IN ORDER TO ACCESS YOUR PRIZE PACKAGE.

ALSO, IF THE WINNER WOULD LIKE TO SELECT THE FOLLOWING WEEK'S RACE, PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM NO LATER THAN THE FOLLOWING WEDNESDAY MORNING (A SATURDAY RACE IS MOST IDEAL)

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TOLEDO EDDIE.pdf763.77 KB
Copy of HG 3 5 16 Gotham AQU.xls51 KB
HGTAMPADERBY.pdf165.92 KB