08/06/2014 12:39PM

Palace rules Vanderbilt


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This week's race is Sunday's Saratoga Special.


At least one "Palace" came through at Saratoga last Saturday.

While heavily-favored PALACE MALICE flopped royally in the Grade 1 Whitney, the plucky New York-bred PALACE came through with a game and determined effort in the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt at 6 furlongs.


It wasn't the strongest edition of the Vanderbilt, to be sure, but Palace faced a daunting task turning into the stretch at the Spa. Up front, two lengths ahead, was favored HAPPY MY WAY, a red-hot 4-year-old gelding that entered the fray off five consecutive triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures. Trained by Joe Orseno, Happy My Way scooted clear at the start and reeled off fractions of 22.13 and 44.49. For a moment or three, Happy My Way looked home free.

But Palace kept chugging under Cornelio Velasquez and he wore down Happy My Way to score in 1:08.56. Claimed for a mere $20,000 by Linda Rice from Bill Mott on October 6, 2012, Palace has compiled a record of 16-9-5-0 for owner Antonino Miuccio. Among his major victories are the Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap and the Grade 2 True North Stakes.

Palace broke a half-step slowly in the Vanderbilt and found himself pocketed behind Happy My Way on the turn. Once clear, his determined late run paid dividends.

"I was a little concerned about the No. 1 post position," Rice told NYRA Communications after the Vanderbilt. "It's not ideal. It looked like he broke a step slow, so I was a little concerned at that point. It looked like the No. 5 horse, Happy My Way, was on a loose lead. Obviously, I was somewhat concerned, but this horse is such a competitor. He's got the heart of a lion. Cornelio [Velasquez] went after [Happy My Way] early, and he was able to run him down in the stretch. This horse really has a strong finish, and once he switched to his right lead and he was in reach of [Happy My Way] - he's such a tremendous competitor - I knew that he would get to him."
Rice indicated that she believes six furlongs is Palace's best distance, but she wouldn't rule out a run in the Grade 1 Forego at seven panels on August 30 at Saratoga. He's a horse to definitely consider in future graded sprints.


Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 7/28/14 - 8/3/14

1. MORENO - 109 - Whitney (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - Saratoga - August 2, Race 10
2. REGALLY READY - 108 - West Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Stakes - 1 Mile 70 Yards, Mountaineer - August 2, Race 9
3. PALACE - 107 - Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (G1) - 6 Furlongs - Saratoga - August 2, Race 8
4. MICO MARGARITA - 102 - Senator Robert C. Byrd Memorial Stakes - Mountaineer - August 2, Race 6
5. FILIMBI - 101 - De La Rose Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - Saratoga - August 2, Race 7
5. TAPITURE - 101 - West Virginia Derby (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles - Mountaineer - August 2, Race 8
5. R FREE ROLL - 101- Honorable Miss Handicap (G2) - 6 Furlongs - Saratoga - July 28, Race 8
8. BIG BLUE KITTEN - 100 - Lure Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Saratoga - August 2, Race 11
8. PALMY BAY - 100 - Louisiana Cup Sprint Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Louisiana - August 2, Race 4
10. NOTACATBUTALLAMA - 98 - Alw 85000NC - 1 Mile (Turf) - Saratoga, August 3, Race 4
10. WILLET - 98 - Alw 85000NC - 6 Furlongs - Saratoga - July 30, Race 3
12. AFTERNOON TANGO - 97 - Louisiana Cup Filly and Mare Sprint Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Louisiana - August 2, Race 2
12. CARVE - 97 - West Virginia Governor's Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - Mountaineer - August 2, Race 7
14. ANKENY HILL - 96 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 5 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Del Mar - August 2, Race 1
14. EVER RIDER (ARG) - 96 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/8 Miles - Saratoga - August 1, Race 4
14. SINISTRA - 96 - Evan Shipman Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles - Saratoga - July 31, Race 9
17. SPUN CAP - 95 - Hcp 34500 - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Ellis - August 2, Race 8
18. MASOCHISTIC - 94 - OC 20k/N1X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Del Mar - July 31, Race 1
19. BET SEATTLE - 93 - West Virginia Legislature Chairman's Cup - 4 1/2 Furlongs - Mountaineer - August 2, Race 2
19. BIG JOHN B - 93 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 3/8 Miles (Turf) - Del Mar - July 30, Race 1
19. CAT'S CLAW - 93 - Waya Stakes - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - Saratoga - August 3, Race 9
19. COLTIMUS PRIME - 93 - Prince Of Wales Stakes - 1 3/16 Miles - Fort Erie - July 29, Race 8
19. GRANDE SHORES - 93 - OC35k/SAL25k - 6 Furlongs - Gulfstream - August 3, Race 3
19. HELOOKSTHEPART - 93 - OC 50k/C - 6 Furlongs - Prairie Meadows - July 31, Race 8
19. HIS RACE TO WIN - 93 - Seagram Cup Stakes (G3-C) - 1 1/16 Miles (Polytrack) - Woodbine - August 3, Race 8
19. KNOCKITDOWNHARD - 93 - OC 35k/C -N - 5 Furlongs - Louisiana - July 31, Race 3
19. MAGICAL MOMENT - 93 - StDonKMemStr30k - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Indiana - August 2, Race 7
19. SWEET REASON - 93 - Test Stakes (G1) - 7 Furlongs - Saratoga - August 2, Race 9
19. TREND - 93 - Joseph T. Grace Handicap - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Santa Rosa - August 3, Race 9

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


Saratoga, race 9, Sunday. The winner, Cat's Claw, has a (W) in one of her workouts where usually a (H) or (B) would be. Do you know what the (W) stands for?
Ron Z

Ashwell Stables has a wood-chip track. Below is a link to Marcus Hersh's piece on Ashwell from 2010:



The Whitney ? I am quite baffled as to why Paco LopeZ aboard Itsmyluckyday, decided to move off the rail in the stretch run vs. Moreno. He basically had the rail the entire race. So, why switch off the rail in the home stretch ? He cut the corner coming home & had it all his own way. There was room for a Mack Truck. Even Moreno went a few paths wide. He looked prime to take Moreno head on as he was approaching him. Then abruptly decided to alter course. If he was content o stay the rail during 80 % of the race, then why at the end ? I don't see the logic. He can't say the rail was dead, as he used it the whole way. ThanX. Please don't give the usual. If U might.
Curt V.

One more thing pleaZe, if U will. I watched a race @the Spa last Saturday, July 26th ?....... I believe. A MSW{2 yr. olds} featuring Competitive Edge{Pletcher} who obliterated the field by 11 widening lengths in a robust 1:09.4. This Double Slewster, top & bottom was a $750K purchase sired by Super Saver & has Seaside Attraction{by WHO} on the bottom. According to the pundits this guy is approaching eighteen{18} hands tall, & he is still growing. & it was a sprint{6F}. This is downright scary. Wait 'til he grows up. What ? 19 hands ? Ur impression & his Beyer pleaZe. & is he going directly to the Champagne ? If it was me, I'd skip the prelims. Let's get it over with real quick.
Curt V.

Regarding the Whitney, I wondered the same thing as the field turned into the stretch. Looking back, however, I don't think it would have made any difference. ITSMYLUCKYDAY was eased out into the clear and had his chance for the last three-sixteenths of a mile. He wasn't good enough on the day. He has a tendency to drift in under pressure and Lopez might not have wanted him down on the rail when the real racing started. Also, it's possible that MORENO would have tightened him up if Itsmyluckyday tried to move up the rail. I have no problem with the ride.

I don't know COMPETITIVE EDGE's height. I just know he's pretty talented. He received an 89 Beyer Speed Figure for his debut and will be pointed for Saratoga's Hopeful Stakes at seven furlongs on September 1.

Here's a video that Brad Free produced for HRTV about Competitive Edge:



Beau Genius the sire of your highlighted runner Big Macher has died (DRF July 29th). I'd love to see the PPs for Beau Genius.
Thanks so much.

The past performances for BEAU GENIUS are available at the bottom of this blog post.


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







You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman


Congrats to Biggar W. 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.

Annie selected Friday's fourth from Del Mar as this week's exercise.


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!




MORENO.pdf684.66 KB
BEAU GENIUS.pdf603.74 KB
Copy of Formblog Arlington 8-1-14.xls74.5 KB
HGDMR.pdf181.65 KB