09/22/2016 12:30PM

Pennsylvania Derby thoughts

In the September 1, edition of FormBlog, I wrote that "GUN RUNNER ran a solid third in the Travers after receiving a beautiful trip and ride under Florent Geroux. He probably doesn't want to go 10 furlongs, but looms an intriguing cut-back option against horses like NYQUIST and EXAGGERATOR in a race like the Pennsylvania Derby." 
Three weeks later, I'm sticking to my guns. 
While I'm not sure I'll get the 6 to 1 morning line quote on Gun Runner (#7), odds of 9 to 2 or 5 to 1 seem fair on the best-last Beyer performer as he turns back to a comfortable distance. 
Gun Runner's best attribute is his tactical speed, and I can envision him sitting in the second or third flight behind AWESOME SLEW (1) (went gate-to-wire in the local prep over a speed-favoring track), CUPID (5) (went gate-to-wire in the West Virginia Derby while staying on the outside, the best part of the Mountaineer track), HIT IT ONCE MORE (12) and Nyquist (9) before gearing up under Florent Geroux on the final turn. 
Although beaten 15 lengths in the Mid-Summer Derby, nobody was beating Arrogate the way that horse ran off the screen. Gun Runner sat a beautiful spot tracking outside before Geroux angled to the pocket position entering the final turn. At that point, Arrogate spurted away and Gun Runner got tired during that demanding final furlong. I did like that Gun Runner was more fluid with his lead changes. He switched over turning into the stretch and stayed there all the way to the wire. Contrast that to many of his previous efforts where he would often hop back to his left lead late. Perhaps Gun Runner is becoming more professional as he matures. 
Nyquist must be respected as he's never lost on dry footing and was cooked up in prolonged pace disputes in both the soggy Preakness and sloppy Haskell. It's tough to get an attractive win price on the Kentucky Derby winner, but he looms a must-use in multiple-race exotics.

The last four victories for EXAGGERATOR (2) have come on wet tracks and he was beaten a combined 47 lengths in both the Travers and Belmont on dry footing. He's a very capable, if not completely trustworthy, entrant.

SUMMER REVOLUTION (3) is being asked to do a great deal as he stretches out for the first time in his fourth start, but one gets the feeling that the natural ability is there for him to be a quality stakes performer. Some might view this as a case of too-much too-soon, but trainer Rudy Rodriguez is showing strong confidence as he bypasses the Gallant Bob, a graded stake for 3-year-olds, earlier on the Parx card. Summer Revolution might have been favored in the Gallant Bob, by the way. I don't mind taking lightly-raced horses at this time of year as they tackle 3-year-olds that have been through the grind, and am expecting Summer Revolution to give a good account.
SUNNY RIDGE (10) might be the surprise package for trainer Jason Servis. He got the right pace scenario when third in the Haskell over a wet track he likes, but that race was off a long layoff and he has licence to move forward with that effort under his belt as he switches to Joe Bravo. 
I'll play Gun Runner to Win at 9 to 2 odds or greater and will use Gun Runner, Summer Revolution and Nyquist in multiple-race wagers. 
*The sensational SONGBIRD (5) has done nothing wrong throughout her brilliant career, but I believe she'll have to be at her best in the Grade 1 Cotillion on the Pennsylvania Derby undercard. Not only does she battle CARINA MIA (1), the filly that tested Songbird in the Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga on July 24, but she also must deny Kentucky Oaks heroine CATHRYN SOPHIA (2). 
Wisely freshened after a disappointing performance behind CARINA MIA in the Grade 1 Acorn, Cathryn Sophia returned with a vengeance at Parx on September 3. Facing five completely overmatched horses, Cathryn Sophia merely breezed around the track en route to an open-lengths victory with a 95 Beyer Speed Figure. 
Cathryn Sophia can step and this is her home course. Perhaps she's worth a small play against the undefeated champion. 
*Matt Bernier, Mike Beer and I will be on for free and fun live handicapping analysis at 3:00 ET on Saturday. You can find us at live.drf.com. This week, we'll cover Parx, Laurel, Belmont, Los Alamitos and more.
*Please take a look at our FREE handicapping videos for most of this weekend's major races. They should be available beginning late Thursday at http://video.drf.com/
*You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.
*Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 9/14/16 - 9/20/16
1. TEPIN - 106 - Woodbine Mile (G1-C) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 17Sep16-12WO 
2. RAINHA DA BATERIA - 101 - Canadian Stakes (G2-C) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 17Sep16-8WO 
2. THE PIZZA MAN - 101 - Northern Dancer Turf Stakes (G1-C) - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - 17Sep16-10WO 
4. DIXIE RUNNER - 98 - Alw 52000N2L - 7 Furlongs - 18Sep16-5PRX
4. JOHN JONES - 98 - OC 32k/N2X -N - 1 Mile - 16Sep16-7LRL
4. RISE UP - 98 - Wild and Wonderful Stakes - 7 Furlongs - 17Sep16-9CT 
4. WILBO - 98 - OC 100k/C -N - 5 Furlongs - 18Sep16-1CD 
8. AMIS GIZMO - 97 - Ontario Derby (G3-C) - 1 1/8 Miles (Tapeta) - 17Sep16-4WO 
9. JUSTALITTLESMOKE - 96 - Scarlet and Gray Handicap - 6 Furlongs - 17Sep16-7TDN
10. DELTA BLUESMAN - 95 - Hall of Fame Stakes - 5 Furlongs - 17Sep16-8PRX
11. GOOD SAMARITAN - 94 - Summer Stakes (G2-C) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 18Sep16-6WO 
11. GREEN MASK - 94 - OC 80k/C -N - 6 Furlongs - 16Sep16-8BEL
11. LUBASH - 94 - OC 80k/C -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 17Sep16-4BEL
11. ON LEAVE - 94 - Sands Point Stakes (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 17Sep16-9BEL
15. AL'S GAL - 93 - Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon - 1 5/16 Miles (Turf) - 15Sep16-9KD 
15. BUCCHERO - 93 - Brickyard Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 14Sep16-8IND
15. DONE DEAL - 93 - Alw 45586N1X - 6 Furlongs - 17Sep16-7CD 
15. VULCAN'S FORGE - 93 - Alw 75460N1X - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 16Sep16-3BEL
19. ANYTHINGSCOOKIN - 92 - OC 62k/N2X - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 18Sep16-7GG 
19. CEE 'N O - 92 - OC18k/SAL8k - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - 15Sep16-1AP 
19. GO BRO - 92 - OC 62k/C -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Tapeta) - 18Sep16-3WO 
19. QUIDURA (GB) - 92 - Alw 77000N1X - 1 Mile (Turf) - 18Sep16-8BEL
19. ROCA ROJO (IRE) - 92 - OC 80k/C -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - 15Sep16-3BEL
24. RIVERS RUN DEEP - 91 - OC 100k/N3X -N - 6 Furlongs - 18Sep16-9CD 
25. BILLY THE BULL - 90 - Alw 10000s - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - 17Sep16-6PRX
25. TOASTING MASTER - 90 - OC 62k/N2X - 1 1/16 Miles - 16Sep16-8CD 
25. WE'RE ALL SET - 90 - OC 62k/C - 7 Furlongs - 15Sep16-6GP 
TEPIN's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post. 
*Congrats to Mooch for winning the most recent HandiGambling challenge.
Rick M and SR VEGAS' HG scoreboard spreadsheet is available at the bottom of this blog post. 
Mooch selected Saturday's Pennsylvania Derby from Parx as this week's exercise. 
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.
6. If any of the rules listed above aren't met, the wager is subject to review which can lead to disqualification of your entry.
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!


TEPIN.pdf839.58 KB
Copy of HG 9 17 16 Woodbine Mile.xls53 KB
HGPADRBY.pdf192.27 KB