08/19/2015 6:29PM

Panama Hat one to watch


THE PIZZA MAN, profiled in the August 20, 2014 edition of the blog (http://www.drf.com/blogs/delivers-again), sent his many Chicago-based supporters home happy after capturing last Saturday's Arlington Million, but one horse on the undercard caught the eye and seems ready for the watch list.

PANAMA HAT didn't win the Grade 3 American St. Leger, but the 4-year-old gelding ran a corker to be second in the 1 11/16-mile test. Away slowly from the inside post in the nine-horse field, Panama Hat settled in a nice stalking position under jockey Chris Hayes. Meanwhile, Illinois-bred outsider ALPHA KITALPHA set fractions of 24.15, 48.70 and 1:12.38 over the firm turf course.

Entering the third and final turn, Panama Hat attacked the leaders while four wide. He brushed to the front with a three-wide sweep entering the stretch and battled gamely when confronted from the outside by 2013 German Derby hero LUCKY SPEED.

Lucky Speed got the better of Panama Hat in the final sixteenth en route to a new course record of 2:46.50, but the latter's American St. Leger was the latest chapter of a Cinderella story that began with six consecutive losses by a combined 79 3/4 lengths.

Bred by Redland Bloodstock Limited, Panama Hat was foaled in England on March 8, 2011. His sire, Medicean, was a top-class performer in England for Sir Michael Stoute. Medicean's big wins came in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at a mile and the Group 1 Eclipse Stakes at 10 furlongs. At stud, Medicean is represented by Group 1 winners Dutch Art (England, France), Nannina (England), Siyouma (Canada, England), Bayrir (United Stakes), Neatico (Germany), Mr. Medici (Hong Kong), Capponi (Dubai), Almerita (Germany), Chevron (Singapore) and Al Shemali (Dubai).

Medicean's dam, Street Style (by Rock of Gibraltar), was a winner on turf in Ireland at 1 3/16 miles and is a half-sister to Turkish Group 2 winner Lost in the Moment (12 furlongs) and American Grade 1 turf winner Luas Line (1 1/8 miles).

Panama Hat was purchased by Team Valor for $71,055 at the Goffs Orby Sale. After showing some signs of life with a runner-up effort in his second start at three, Panama Hat went on a remarkable run. After cheek-pieces were re-introduced to his equipment, Panama Hat reeled off five consecutive victories over a 59-day span. He prevailed at distances ranging from 10 to 12 furlongs over turf and all-weather surfaces.

Panama Hat concluded his very successful campaign with a runner-up effort in a 12-furlong handicap at the Curragh and there were high hopes for stakes success in 2015. Unfortunately for Panama Hat, he's been a bit of an in-and-outer this year. A fifth-place finish off the layoff against Group 3 foes on May 17 was followed by a second-place performance in the listed Saval Beg Stakes 22 days later. Hiked back up into Group 3 company, Panama Hat was last of six in the Curragh Cup at 14 furlongs.

Hayes decided to shake things up by replacing the cheek-pieces with proper blinkers and the result was almost disastrous. A 5 to 1 chance in the listed Lenebane Stakes, Panama Hat, expected to be on the lead, was sluggish at the back. It appeared he was going nowhere fast, but the lightbulb turned on late and he mowed down the leaders to win in the final hundred yards.

Panama Hat wore his usual cheek pieces in the American St. Leger, earned a respectable 101 Beyer Speed Figure and finished ahead of such solid grass performers as Grade 3-placed ROMAN APPROVAL, Grade 3 winners CRUCERO and XTRA LUCK, multiple stakes-winner AZ RIDGE, Grade 2 winner Hyper and multiple Grade 3-placed HIGHBALL.

Panama Hat is a moody sort. He threw a bit of a fit in the paddock before the American St. Leger and his quirks often interfere with his zeal for training. He can run a little bit, though, and it appears that he'll be sent back to Europe for a tilt in the Irish St. Leger at The Curragh. He's an interesting contender in that spot.

Last year, The Pizza Man scored the American St. Leger. Perhaps we'll see Panama Hat in the 2016 edition of the Arlington Million.


Here are the WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 8/11/15 - 8/17/15

1. THE PIZZA MAN - 103 - Arlington Million (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - 15Aug15-10AP
2. GRAND ARCH - 102 - Fourstardave Handicap (G2) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 15Aug15-10SAR
2. HIGHLAND REEL (IRE) - 102 - Secretariat Stakes (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - 15Aug15-8AP
2. LUCKY SPEED (IRE) - 102 - American St. Leger (G3) - 1 11/16 Miles (Turf) - 15Aug15-7AP
2. SPIRIT RULES - 102 - OC 80k/C -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 16Aug15-3DMR
6. STRYKER PHD - 99 - Longacres Mile Handicap (G3) - 1 Mile - 16Aug15-8EMD
7. JAKE N ELWOOD - 98 - OC 55k/C -N - 6 Furlongs - 17Aug15-8DEL
7. SCAT DADDYBABY - 98 - Alw 25200NC - 1 Mile - 16Aug15-10EMD
9. IVAN FALLUNOVALOT - 97 - David M. Vance Sprint Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 15Aug15-6RP
9. SMACK SMACK - 97 - Governor's Cup Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles - 15Aug15-8RP
11. BRIMSTONED - 96 - Alw 40000s - 1 Mile - 14Aug15-2DMR
11. CALGARY CAT - 96 - Ontario Jockey Club Stakes - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - 12Aug15-6WO
13. LUCY'S BOB BOY - 95 - Frank Gall Memorial Stakes - 7 Furlongs - 15Aug15-7CT
13. SENTIERO ITALIA - 95 - Lake Placid Stakes (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 14Aug15-9SAR
13. SHARLA RAE - 95 - Del Mar Oaks (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 15Aug15-8DMR
13. WATSDACHANCES - 95 - Beverly D. Stakes (G1) - 1 3/16 Miles (Turf) - 15Aug15-9AP
17. CURLIN'S FOX - 94 - Sandy Blue Handicap - 1 Mile (Turf) - 14Aug15-3DMR
17. FOR CASH - 94 - Westerner Handicap - 1 1/16 Miles - 15Aug15-8NP
17. INTERPOL - 94 - Sky Classic Stakes (G2-C) - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - 16Aug15-6WO
17. SPELLING AGAIN - 94 - OC 40k/N2X -N - 1 Mile - 12Aug15-2IND
17. WANSTEAD GARDENS - 94 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 3/8 Miles (Turf) - 14Aug15-7DMR
22. FRISKY WARRIOR - 93 - Alw 26263NC - 6 Furlongs - 15Aug15-7FL
22. ONUS - 93 - Alw 42000N1X - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 14Aug15-8LRL
22. WARRIOROFTHEROSES - 93 - OC 55k/C -N - 1 Mile - 11Aug15-6DEL
25. HOT STONES - 92 - Saratoga Dew Stakes  1 1/8 Miles - 17Aug15-9SAR
25. MELATONIN - 92 - OC 40k/N1X -N - 6 Furlongs - 15Aug15-9DMR
25. TURKISH - 92 - OC 80k/N3X -N - 1 1/8 Miles (Polytrack) - 14Aug15-8WO

*THE PIZZA MAN's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.


I'm having a discussion about great horses can you post the PPs of spectacular bid

You can find his lifetime past performances at the bottom of this blog post.


Dan thank you for you blog I look forward to it every week. I do have a request, with the Canadian Derby and Blue Dance running this weekend reminds me of Let's Go Blue a Canadian Champ based at Woodbine and did really well in the Western Canada series. If you could post his PP's next week that would be awesome!

His lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.


You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.

Remember to check out DRF LIVE's VIDEO handicapping coverage at live.drf.com. Matt Bernier and I will be on at 4pm ET Wednesday through Saturday to take you through the final few races at Saratoga.


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

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

Let's go with Saturday's Pacific Classic at Del Mar for 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!




THE PIZZA MAN.pdf723.83 KB
Spectacular Bid.pdf67.29 KB
LET'S GO BLUE.pdf601.37 KB
Copy of Formblog Arlington Million 8-15-15.xls208.63 KB
CM Vongole More than 1 year ago
Last year's Classic was one of the worst non-DQs in the history of the sport... and I'd feel the same way about it if it were a Wednesday claimer at any track. That said, Bayern still ran a great race that day... perhaps good enough to win regardless. But his number should've never stayed up. At the time, the stewards claimed that the start of the race is meaningless and does not affect the outcome... a shockingly ridiculous statement.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi Nancy, Thank you and congrats also to you for getting a part of it. As it turned out, the key to that race was being able to eliminate BAYERN from consideration. Once that was done, those four became the most likely to be in the superfecta. I knew MIDNIGHT STORM had speed and I couldn't imagine he wouldn't need to use his only asset for any chance at a placing. That, of course, would make it harder on Bayern, who hasn't been in the best of form lately anyway. And that was that. And, of course, we have a mutual love for BEHOLDER and because of your lovely gift of the calendar, I had a constant reminder of her all month. :) I, too, was delighted by her performance. No way would I leave her off my superfecta. Annie
nancyb More than 1 year ago
Congratulations Annie, well done on a bold (and lucrative)play. I'm delighted by Beholder's performance. I've said many times that she's my favorite horse in training but I didn't expect that otherworldly run around the turn. She practically dragged Gary up there! It's great to see patience and good horsemanship rewarded and also to see what a great difference mental maturity can do for an already good race horse. I wish I could have seen it live, or at least as it happened live via tv or internet. The difference in our profits speak pretty much to my timidity as a bettor; I hate to lose and when I realized the straight win bet on Beholder wouldn't gain much, I didn't really have a clear idea on how to make my opinion pay. I obviously need some wager construction advice. But in this case, I felt I had to use all the horses I thought had a shot to be ITM and I was nowhere near as decisive as you concerning Bayern. Re the BC non-dq -- I have started a bit of research into what actually constitutes a foul meriting a disqualification and already it's been surprising. I had no idea that individual state's 'rules of racing' varied so much. So far, the most astounding bit of info is that Florida seems to have completely done away with any rules whatsoever in an effort to support laissez-faire capitalism. I guess each racetrack is free to make it up as they go. Check this out: http://floridahorsemen.com/2012/03/23/florida-thoroughbred-racing-rules-and-regulations-quietly-deleted-on-january-4-2012/ So far out of a small sample, California is the only commission who seems to demand the stewards have a crystal ball and base their decisions solely on whether a horse might have had a better placing. That's bad news for the BC races, given that they're planning to run here again soon. I think the BC should take a leaf from ML Baseball which rewards the best umpires with the World Series gig. And I think the Super Bowl does something similar. BC should have its own rules that hopefully will take into account behavior and actions that happen at all points of the race.(Maybe even appoint its own stewards ) For the record, I also did not feel that Bayern's number deserved to stay up. I suppose NYRA limited attendance based on their utter fiasco on Belmont Stakes day last year.
Joe Labunski More than 1 year ago
Ed, a few years ago there were 62,000 on Travers day the track handled it well and with the improvements that have been made the past few years I was surprised when they put the cap at 50,000.... Joe L.
Turnbackthealarm More than 1 year ago
Biggar W, The non claims of foul by the other riders baffled me or maybe I should say "Bafferted" me. I can only assume that they didn't think they had a chance in hell of prevailing on his home track or that they would like to ride for him in the future. As for the stewards, "we all agreed there was interference" says it all. I believe they just didn't know who to reward with the win when the interference changed the complexion of the race so drastically. I know I don't know who I would think "deserved" the win, and I'm pretty strongly opinionated about my dissatisfaction with the outcome. Bernard, I am a big sap when horses do something thrilling or they are favorites of mine. I got goosebumps as Jess's Dream came steaming down the outside. I got teary when he won. SR Vegas and I spent a special hour with Rachel Alexandra after she retired and I have pics of the two of us petting Curlin. Although I really liked Curlin a lot, Hard Spun was my favorite boy of 2007. My girlfriends and I screamed, hugged, jumped around and yes, cried tears of joy when Rags to Riches nipped him in the Belmont after going down to her nose at the start. Our emotions were very high because we all had sentimental bets ATB on her even though NONE of us thought she would win. We had to root on our fellow female! ( For the record, my real opinion bet was a Curlin-Hard Spun losing exacta ticket) EDB, I wish I could report that it is getting better, but I'd be lying. I'm in Texas again and have been for more than a week.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bernard & CVS: here is a link to an old DRF article mentioning American horses who have run in the Arc (that is, American-trained horses): http://www.drf.com/news/hovdey-arc-de-triomphe-thrives-even-without-american-involvement. The article was a bit sloppy, and several of the comments underneath were correct (Cash Asmussen did win the Arc, in 1991; El Senor ran in it in 1991 and was 9th). Also, Tom Rolfe (by Ribot), was 6th in the Arc not in 1966 but in 1965 (behind Sea Bird). I believe that Manila was being pointed to the Arc as a 4 YO in 1987, but got hurt after the Arlington Million and was retired. TBTA – Nice to read your paddock comments from Arlington Million Day. Al
Turnbackthealarm More than 1 year ago
Jess's Dream looked more like the son of Zenyatta than Rachel yesterday. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TBTA , Thanks for the response. As usual, you provide great food for thought. I hate disqualifications, for and against (yes honestly) - my natural inclination is that the best horse on the day should get to keep the prize, but I can see that there has to be some constraints (in the interests of safety, if nothing else). I am smiling trying to picture you crying after winning with TIZNOW. I also felt like crying after losing heavily on SAKHEE, but my tears would have been of pain, not joy. Joe Labunski, Your post reminded me of my last visit to Saratoga. It was the only time I ever remember buying bottled water - its not that I am mean with my money, but in my crazy mixed up mind its a matter of principle - clean water should be freely available everywhere in the civilized World. Anyway, that day at Saratoga, I was so dehydrated after a full day's racing (too much alcohol the night before plus 90 degree heat), to hell with principles, I would gladly have paid $20 for a bottle of cold water. Instead, $1 for a bottle was easily the best purchase I made during the whole trip. Best Regards - Bernard Downes
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow, looks like Rachel's boy, JESS'S DREAM, did himself proud in his debut today. And guess what, he's an MKB! That is TAZ' MKB. Too bad he got such a late start, but perhaps he will continue to do well. Annie
Biggar W More than 1 year ago
Turnbackthealarm This quote from one of the stewards was on the Paulick report the weekend of the 2014 classic: “We all agree there was interference,” said steward Scott Chaney. “It (the decision) was about whether the horse cost another horse better placing in the race.” Chaney said that stewards met with winning jockey Martin Garcia and Shared Belief’s jockey Mike Smith about the incident, but not Javier Castellano, the jockey aboard Moreno. There were no claims of foul from any of the riders involved. “We conferred,” Chaney said. “We all voted unanimously.” It may not be a satisfactory explanation to you but it was their explanation and does tell how they voted. The overhead view that I saw did not leave me with the impression of a wipeout of any of the horses. There was really very little contact, although I agree there was interference. Why do you think that the other riders made a claim of foul?