07/09/2014 3:34PM

Onward to the Pacific Classic


*Please join the FormBlog Breeders' Cup Fantasy Handicapping league!

Head on over to www.fantasycapping.com/illman to create your account. The password for our league is DRF123.

Looking forward to playing with and against you all.

*The champ is back.

No, SHARED BELIEF didn't beat any freaks in the Grade 2 Los Alamitos Derby last Saturday, but he took the inaugural event in eye-catching fashion. Making only his second start since a foot injury knocked the 2013 champion 2-year-old colt off the Triple Crown trail, Shared Belief pounded his six rivals into the ground with Mike Smith never resorting to the stick in the stretch.

Some handicappers had reservations about Shared Belief in this spot. After all, it was his first start on dirt and he was stretching out three furlongs following a facile comeback victory at Golden Gate Fields. Their fears were unfounded as Shared Belief looked like a winner every step of the nine furlongs.

Breaking from post position five, Shared Belief prompted the early pacesetters, Grade 3 winner CAN THE MAN and EDDIE'S FIRST, while racing outside and in the clear. The fractions were sensible enough as the leaders rattled off splits of 23.54, 47.53, and 1:11.09. Entering the final turn, Shared Belief took command from Can the Man while the second-choice, Grade 2 winner CANDY BOY, revved up on the far outside. For the briefest of moments, it appeared that Candy Boy would give Shared Belief a fight. But once the favorite swung into the stretch, he poured it on, drawing away to score by 4 1/4 lengths while finishing his final three-eighths in 35.75. Shared Belief completed the distance in 1:47.01 and received a 105 Beyer Speed Figure.

The undefeated Shared Belief is expected to make his next appearance against older horses in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at 1 1/4 miles over the Del Mar polytrack. While some would consider that spot unconventional with the Travers on the horizon, the fact remains that Shared Belief is a gelding. A win in the prestigious Travers would be quite the accomplishment, but it does nothing for his future value. Meanwhile, by virtue of his Los Alamitos Derby victory, Shared Belief is in line for a $1 million bonus if he can also prevail in the Pacific Classic and Breeders' Cup Classic.

If things go according to plan, the Pacific Classic will feature a battle between two extremely popular racehores.

Shared Belief versus GAME ON DUDE.


Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 6/30/14 - 7/6/14

1. CLEARLY NOW - 112 - Belmont Sprint Championship (G3) - 7 Furlongs - Belmont
2. SHARED BELIEF - 105 - Los Alamitos Derby (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles - Los Alamitos
3. SAYAAD - 103 - Forbidden Apple Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - Belmont
4. ITSMYLUCKYDAY - 102 - Salvator Mile (G3) - 1 Mile - Monmouth
5. OUR LUCKY SON - 101 - Md Sp Wt 27k - 6 Furlongs - Canterbury
6. MAIN SEQUENCE - 100 - United Nations Stakes (G1) - 1 3/8 Miles (Turf) - Monmouth
6. MR. BAKER - 100 - Housebuster Stakes - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Gulfstream
6. SLIM SHADEY (GB) - 100 - Elkwood Stakes - 1 Mile - Monmouth
6. ZIVO - 100 - Suburban Handicap - 1 1/4 Miles - Belmont
10. ALPHA BETTOR - 99 - Alw 91839NC - 7 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Woodbine
10. CASTLETOWN - 99 - Alw 35000N$Y - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - Canterbury
10. I'M STEPPIN' IT UP - 99 - Carl Hanford Memorial Stakes - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Delaware
10. LA VERDAD - 99 - Dancin Renee Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Belmont
10. STAR HARBOUR - 99 - Alw 37100NC - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Mountaineer
15. IRISH YOU WELL - 98 - Long Branch Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - Monmouth
15. SOMETHING EXTRA - 98 - Highlander Stakes (G2-C) - 6 Furlongs (Turf) - Woodbine
17. QUIET FORCE - 96 - J. Kenneth Self Shelby County Boys and Girls Club Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Indiana
17. SOI PHET - 96 - Bertrando Stakes - 1 Mile - Los Alamitos
19. CONFRONTATION - 95 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - Belmont
19. COUP DE GRACE - 95 - Oh Say Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Delaware
19. JOY - 95 - Perfect Sting Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - Belmont
19. MR SPEAKER - 95 - Belmont Derby Invitational - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - Belmont
23. BUG JUICE - 94 - Alw 20000s - 7 Furlongs - Belmont
23. ENDLESS CHATTER - 94 - OC 25k/N2X -N - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Parx
23. LEGENDARY (GB) - 94 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - Belmont
23. SAINT LEON - 94 - Arlington Sprint Stakes - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Arlington
23. SKY KINGDOM - 94 - American Flag Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - Los Alamitos
23. TEA TIME - 94 - Beautiful Day Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Delaware
23. TIZNOWFORAMERICA - 94 - Alw 77000N1X - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Belmont

*CLEARLY NOW's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post


Hi Dan....with the opening of Saratoga
less than two weeks away I will usually
ask you for the PP"s of a horse that runs
well up here....but today I am asking you
if you have any Harvey Pack stories...I
always loved to listen to Harvey every
chance I got to hear him in his seminars
Joe L.

Here's one from Harvey's book (https://store.drf.com/stores/1/MAY_THE_HORSE_BE_WITH_YOU_Pac_P19926C1026.cfm), one of the most entertaining reads out there:

"...At the hotel pool, I spotted actor Walter Matthau and introduced myself as a friend of Mike Gray's. Matthau wasn't yet famous but he was a respected character actor on TV dramas. Mike had been the resident publicist on Matthau's on-location TV series of dubious quality, Tallahassee 7000.

At the time Matthau did that particular show, he was as desperate for money as I had been for the Roney due bill. He had wagered a substantial sum on the Yankees in the first game of a doubleheader against the Baltimore Orioles. The Yankees lost. Walter, being an astute observer of baseball, knew that the Yankees had never lost a doubleheader to the Orioles. He doubled his wager on the nightcap. In his own words, "The Yankees were down two in the seventh and Hoyt Wilhelm came in to pitch. He was tossing those matzoh balls..."

He walked out of the stadium, knowing the knuckleballer was in control and he was dead. He crossed the street to the Nedick's frankfurter store, and listened to the inevitable end on the radio. Now he had a problem. He owed the mob, and he owed the government. He met the boys and told them the situation. Their response? "The government will wait, we won't."

It wasn't long after that he agreed to be Lex Rogers, the Tallahassee detective.

Mike told me a story about going to the dog track with Walter for dinner. While they were eating, Walter said to Mike, "The 3 dog is 10-1. It's a tremendous overlay."

Mike handed him a five and continued eating. Walter went up to bet. When Walter got back to the table he said to Mike, "There must be some information out on this dog."

Mike looked up at the board and saw that the 10-1 had become 2-5.

"Walter, how much did you bet?"

"Just a thousand."

Walter had unwittingly tilted the pool. And then, showing that he was no better at handicapping dogs than baseball, the hound never got near the rabbit.

Matthau and I chatted for a while at poolside and when I mentioned I was going to the track, he asked if he could come along. We got a ride from Buck Jerry, who wintered in Florida, and off we went to Tropical Park (now you know how long ago this was).

Matthau didn't cash a ticket. He was tapped. He went and called his then-wife, asking her to wire him some money. She refused the collect call. Walter's bill at the hotel was being picked up by his agent, and he eventually arranged a cash advance from them.

He joined my family for dinner that night and ordered a $50 bottle of Dom Perignon, pointing out that he wasn't paying the bill anyway. My son kept the cork in his room for years. This was Walter's final vacation before going to New York to begin rehearsals for a new play.

"You know," he said to me, "there might be a small part in here for you. There's a poker game, and I think you'd fit in."

I told him, "I'm not an actor, but I'll settle for opening-night tickets."

The play was The Odd Couple. The tickets arrived. And I never saw Walter Matthau again..."


*The links to the five most recent blogs (and blog comments) are listed below:







You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman


Congrats to JackStraw21 for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling race.

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

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 Grade 3 Parx Dash for this week's contest.


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!




CLEARLY NOW.pdf683.87 KB
Copy of Formblog Belmont Derby 7-5-14.xls75 KB
PARX DASH.pdf182.62 KB
Adele Custode-Coppola More than 1 year ago
HG $50 ex box 9-10 = $100 Ben's Cat 6 for 6 ITM at Parx; trainer 42% wins graded stakes; Marchman last two troubled trips and still finished well Carl C.
Dale Tillotson More than 1 year ago
HG Parx. 2= could be roaring up to beat best beyer of 107. 7= lets see if those 100 beyers are real. 9= Old boy orbably at least a top 3 placing. 10=Has not shown best from outside posts in past. The bets. $76.00 win #2. $2.00 trifecta box 2-7-9. $12.00 exacta 2-7. Good luck to all and 7 days until the SPPPPPPPAAAAAAAAA.
MICHEL More than 1 year ago
HG: Lots of speed in this one, looking for a longshot with Mongolian saturday to be the one outlasting the others and the honorable Bens Cat to complete the exacta $50 exacta box 1-9 Michel de Botton
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Hi everyone : I saw this ..DRF Plus. FREE weekend. If anyone is interested to try it out, Here's a link: http://www.drf.com/free-plus?utm_source=NewPlus_nonsubguysEmail071114&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DRFPlusPromo SR Vegas
Bernard Downes More than 1 year ago
Professor Molesap, Thanks for the congratulations. Although I have been catching more than my fair share of nice price winners most weeks this year, whenever I have posted picks on here, I have been rather less successful. I am sure some thought I was a complete fraud. So you could say I was due a change of luck (and believe me, I do mean luck, because you don't find big longshots without an element of luck) Just one small correction. The 3 winners ARABIAN QUEEN, DEEDS NOT WORDS and ASTRONEREUS were picks for Friday. And just for once the British Bookies were not their usual generous selves - 4/1, 39/1 and 15/2 respectively, no better than the American market. Even so, throw in a 5/1 at Ascot, and I had a really good day. Best Regards - Bernard Downes
Bernard Downes More than 1 year ago
Yuwipi, In theory, Saturday should be great card at Newmarket, especially the July Cup, but the rain is threatening to spoil things. For some reason I don't understand, Trainers have taken fright at the rain and we have had masses of non-runners Thursday and Friday, and Saturday could be a joke unless the rain relents. So you fancy the Spanish horse for the July Cup? So do some other good judges over here. He ran very fast for a long way in the one mile 2000 Gns, and 6 furlongs might suit better. However, I just think that at least one or two of the natural sprinters may just be a little faster. I don't wish to sound like a wet blanket, but I would say that I am pleased and hopeful about Arsenal signing Sanchez, rather than ecstatic. He certainly had a good World Cup, but not every top player adjusts to the requirements of the Premier League. Its not the best league for pure football, but its the toughest. 9 months of unrelenting pressure, on and off the pitch. That Argentina v Holland semi was horrible. The Beautiful Game gone sour. But I blame both Managers, not just Van Gaal. Both were too scared to try to win. Both played not to lose. You asked about Timeform. The company has been in operation for more than 60 years and some bettors swear by their products. Me, I have never been a big fan of time analysis, and on the few occasions when I have purchased their paper publications, I have never been particularly successful. I will post my Saturday picks (without the aid of Timeform) in a couple of hours. SR Vegas, Thanks for the link to The Fugue newspiece. I absolutely endorse your sentiments. She had lots of fans on the racecourse. I hope she has a long and successful breeding life. Best Regards - Bernard Downes
slewof damascus More than 1 year ago
Three Alarm Fire (great name!), a FTS, made my watch-list today from Belmont's 2nd, a MSW going 1 mile for 3yo-up. This 3yo gelding (West Point homebred) ran 2nd today on his considerable natural ability alone. First of all, he made a tremendous appearance in the paddock and in the post parade. He was practically gliding in the post parade, which sounds strange, but that's the only way I have of explaining it. You could just tell he was waiting for his take-off instructions ("proceed to runway three-niner-niner"), and after a sluggish start befitting his training schedule (per T. Albertrani, who couldn't win with Secretariat first-time-out, lol) - he indeed flew into action, actually making up about 6-7 lengths in the process down the backstretch (catching Tom Durkin by surprise), and taking a contested outside (too wide) lead before they hit the turn - most FTSs who make this kind of move inevitably wilt when the real running commences, and Three Alarm Fire had every reason to spit the bit at the top of the lane given the pressure he had all around him - stubborn company on his inside (one of the favorites) and the actual favorite bearing down on him outside while negotiating Belmont's large turn and if it wasn't for the way he strode so beautifully, you'd figure a normal FTS would just pack it in by the top of the stretch but not this FTS. Even though the well-experienced, professional-like winner was able to forge to the lead outside of TAF (a cue for most inexperienced horses to just quit), Three Alarm Fire kept on very smartly, and there was even a point in mid-stretch in which it looked like he was about to re-break and get after the winner, but Rosario was having none of it, and reined him back-in to finish a clear 2nd (3 lengths behind winner?). This 3yo gelding was not prepared by his trainer to win today, although the many slow works suggested fitness. But what a great educational debut he received. He has sublime action. He's by Pyro (who many of you may recall) and he looks like he shares many of the same attributes as his daddy. He's out of an unraced Gone West mare (which bodes extremely well) - unfortunately, I have conflicting info regarding her produce records - brisnet claims 3 starters/3 winners, while Equibase claims no starters. This 3yo colt could be any kind. But if I were among his connections I would have very high hopes indeed. I wish I had an updated APR so I could check the dam's wider family (siblings, etc) - I will be ordering one soon and try to update you.
Phil D More than 1 year ago
Hello everyone, Dan liked the Harvey Pack story you posted, seems it’s definitely a book worth buying for summer reading. This weeks HG I like 9-3-7-8. 9(Ben’s Cat) goes back to 5 furs and on Parx’s turf. Won on firm surface and got one of his highest beyers on it and it was this race. Two times in a row like Tightend Touchdown’s PaGovCup? One of the rally horses coming on in the lane late. Thinking enough pace to run into. 3(Stormofthecentury) Definitely likes Parx’s turf, last two won twice. Like post to save ground, I think he will be close to pace, thinking 1 and 2 on the inside will be coming out fast leaving 3 to get rail and stay behind them most of way and then spring it on everyone in the end. Last two works look good, 47 and 2 and 47 and 1. 7(Sharp Sensation) Interesting number, all races on ploy and if likes turf should be in contention. Another one that could be in the lead or just off it. Last two works look decent and the attraction of one of parx’s top jocks gets the call. Kind of all or nothing horse, either wins or doesn’t come in the money. 8(Quality Lass) I just like the fact that last four 5 furlong races on turf and always in the money but is facing some tough customers in this one, things got the break just right for this one to be in the money again or spring an upset. Could go for pace or near lead but I would like to see behind pace or 4th or 5th place most of way, and like last came again late, save as much gas for end to make strong run. If hot pace and some racing luck, who knows? HG $20 exacta box 9 with 3-7 $20 win 8 Phil D Good luck!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JohnnyLoc, Much better! :) Annie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Johnny Loc, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, we've just been talking repeatedly about the fact that you MUST use the horse's number, not his name for your contest wager. :) Annie