09/02/2015 7:01PM

Pharoah Iced in Travers


The 3-year-olds put on quite a show in last Saturday's "Midsummer Derby," the Grade 1 Travers Stakes at hallowed Saratoga.

KEEN ICE, seventh in the Kentucky Derby, third in the Belmont Stakes and second in the Haskell Invitational behind Triple Crown winner AMERICAN PHAROAH, finally got the better of the champion. Ridden by Javier Castellano, the son of Curlin wore down the favorite in the final sixteenth of a mile.

Both horses ran extremely well.

American Pharoah and Wood Memorial winner FROSTED sparred through moderate opening fractions of 24.28 and 48.30 seconds. Keen Ice, forced a bit wide in midpack going into the first turn, was maneuvered inward by a heady Castellano in order to save valuable ground on the backstretch.

The tipping point of the race occurred in the middle half. American Pharoah attempted to burst clear entering the final bend but Frosted wouldn't budge. The two sped their third quarter mile in 23.18 and followed that up with two more grueling furlongs in 23.60. That energy-draining sequence cooked the frontrunners as Keen Ice advanced into striking position on the outside.

Frosted finally cracked with three-sixteenths of a mile remaining, but American Pharoah was also running on fumes at this point. American Pharoah tried valiantly in the final sixteenth of a mile, but Keen Ice was there to pick the bones.

Trained by Dale Romans, Keen Ice completed the 10 furlongs in 2:01.57 and received a 106 Beyer Speed Figure. American Pharoah, three-quarters of a length back in second, earned a 105.

Keen Ice will likely train up to the Breeders' Cup Classic. That start would mark his first race against older horses, but he is extremely comfortable at the distance and would have a solid chance given a strong pace. He deserves credit for showing the ability to stay within range of the leaders when they quickened considerably. That was the key to his victory. Once in contention, he used his superior stamina to wear down a weakened American Pharoah.

American Pharoah lost little luster in defeat. He did all of the heavy lifting dueling on the lead only to lose the war. He is the horse to beat in any race he enters.

The question is whether he'll ever run again. His owner, Ahmed Zayat, seemed inclined to retire American Pharoah in the immediate aftermath, but no official announcement has been made. If the Travers was American Pharoah's final start, history will show that he went out on his shield. He probably, for whatever reason, wasn't at his absolute best, but displayed great courage and determination in the stretch.

If trainer Bob Baffert does soldier on with American Pharoah, we could see him in the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita or perhaps in races written for the champ at Churchill Downs or Monmouth.


Here are the WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 8/25/15 - 8/31/15 

1. RUNHAPPY - 113 - King's Bishop Stakes (G1) - 7 Furlongs - 29Aug15-8SAR
2. FLINTSHIRE (GB) - 112 - Sword Dancer Stakes (G1) - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - 29Aug15-10SAR
3. KEEN ICE - 106 - Travers Stakes (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles - 29Aug15-11SAR
3. SOCIAL INCLUSION - 106 - OC 25k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - 29Aug15-5PRX
5. PRIVATE ZONE - 105 - Forego Stakes (G1) - 7 Furlongs - 29Aug15-9SAR
6. LADY SHIPMAN - 104 - Smart N Fancy Stakes - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 30Aug15-5SAR
7. MARKET BLASTER - 102 - OC 40k/N3X -N - 1 Mile 70 Yards - 30Aug15-3PRX
8. DACITA (CHI) - 101 - Ballston Spa Stakes (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 29Aug15-12SAR
9. VALID - 100 - Philip H. Iselin Stakes (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles - 30Aug15-10MTH
10. GIMME DA LUTE - 99 - El Cajon Stakes - 1 Mile - 29Aug15-3DMR
11. ISLAND TOWN - 98 - Smarty Jones Stakes (G3) - 1 Mile 70 Yards - 29Aug15-10PRX
11. SHEER DRAMA - 98 - Personal Ensign Stakes (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - 29Aug15-6SAR
13. RICH DADDY - 97 - OC 16k/N1X -N - 1 Mile - 27Aug15-9GP
13. WACO - 97 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 30Aug15-8SAR
15. POINT PIPER - 96 - Harry F. Brubaker Stakes - 1 Mile - 26Aug15-7DMR
16. FREESTYLER - 95 - Alw 100600NC - 1 Mile 70 Yards - 29Aug15-7PRX
17. FLASHLIGHT (IRE) - 94 - Clm c-40000 - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 30Aug15-9SAR
17. STELLAR WIND - 94 - Torrey Pines Stakes (G3) - 1 Mile - 30Aug15-3DMR
19. DA BIG HOSS - 93 - John's Call Stakes - 1 5/8 Miles (Turf) - 26Aug15-9SAR
19. LUBASH - 93 - West Point Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 28Aug15-7SAR
19. PHOTO CALL (IRE) - 93 - Violet Stakes (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 29Aug15-11MTH
19. PROSPERO - 93 - Clm c-40000 - 1 1/8 Miles - 31Aug15-8SAR
23. PLEIADIAN - 92 - Clm 20000 - 1 Mile 70 Yards - 29Aug15-6PRX
23. TROUBLE KID - 92 - Alw 25000s - 5 1/2 Furlongs - 26Aug15-1DEL
23. UNBRIDLED FOREVER - 92 - Ballerina Stakes (G1) - 7 Furlongs - 29Aug15-7SAR
23. UNBRIDLED OCEAN - 92 - OC c-80k/N3X - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 27Aug15-6SAR
23. WAKE UP IN MALIBU - 92 - Clm c-35000N3L - 7 Furlongs - 30Aug15-3SAR

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

*FREESTYLER was claimed for $40,000 by trainer Michael Maker from Brian Lynch.

*PROSPERO was claimed for $40,000 by trainer Bret Calhoun from Jeremiah Englehart.

*UNBRIDLED OCEAN was claimed for $80,000 by trainer David Jacobson from Bill Mott.

*WAKE UP IN MALIBU was claimed for $35,000 by trainer John Parisella from George Weaver.


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 on Thursday. Lonnie Goldfeder co-hosts with me on Friday and I'll be joined by Eric Wing on Saturday.


Congrats to Lil Debbie 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 Woodward at Saratoga 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!




RUNHAPPY.pdf651.45 KB
Copy of Formblog Travers 8-29-15.xls208.42 KB
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Bernard Thank you for your responses. I always enjoy your take on topics . I'll have to keep my eye on VENTUROUS. I saw that SPEED HAWK did well, and Next Stop a 2nd at 16-1. Enjoy the racing ! SR Vegas
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SR Vegas, A number of responses if I may. 1. Yes, I believe the US is much more enlightened than Britain about female jockeys. They are given rides over here in lower to mid value races (the top female has ridden 23 winners since the beginning of May), but rarely do they get the opportunity to ride in Group races. I think I am correct in saying that British female jockeys have won just 2 Group 1 races. That's 2, EVER! 2. Re a turf course at Newcastle racetrack, there is an irony about the situation. As I understand it to date, they will keep a turf course for the Jumpers, but not for Flat racing. But, as you say, one can only hope. Someone may have second thoughts. 3. I am happy to echo your thoughts about Bart Cummings being a legend in Australia, and nobody can argue with his extraordinary success in the Melbourne Cup, but he was a bit of a character (I am being charitable in my choice of words). He was no great fan of British racing and was happy to tell the World. In a recent interview he was asked why he didn't follow some of his compatriots and bring some of his good horses to Royal Ascot. After expressing his disdain for mixing with idiots wearing top hat and tails (I agree with Mr Cummings), he said he had absolutely no interest in racing for prestige, he was much keener to race for better prize money back home. Sad, but perhaps he deserves credit for speaking his mind. 4. You mentioned US breds racing at Doncaster. We are a cosmopolitan lot in Britain, and are perfectly happy to race well bred US horses over here. I thought VENTUROUS was particularly impressive in the 2.30 and that horse could well have a big future. Best Regards - Bernard Downes
Dick W More than 1 year ago
Lil Deb I will join my old partner the Penguin (Ron Z) by enrollimg myself in the 'Better Late than Never' club and offering you a welcome to the blog and a belated congrats on the HG win. I am slap wondering if you have noticed the ACRONYM MKB being tossed around on here. You might want to ask Annie what that is all about since she is the MKB Commisioner. If you choose to participate then you will get your very own 3 year old next year and be able to follow him on the Derby trail. It's a fun tradition here on form blog. Dick W
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
..duh, my typo... RALIS . is 'Silar' spelled backward . Not RILAS. SR Vegas
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
..off topic, kinda' Bernard and Rodney...and also a shout to Al who also follows the races over the pond. Doncaster..first day .Wed... I'm most interested in how the "USA" bred horses do. I'm watching them as a sire and Dam influence. I have no wagering interests, but hope and root them on. Doncaster 2:00 Grizzley Bear 2:30 Ventorous 3:00 Speed Hawk 3:35 There is 7 of 19 ( 7 USA bred) just glad to see sooo many. Coin toss ! Commissar Next Step Sword Bearer Dark Avenger Mujaaher Dr Red Eye Munaawib 4:45 Innocently Yes, that's me....Innocent and a bit naïve :) I've been looking at the the next few days at Doncaster, and see the same. There are many USA bred horses running in the upcoming races over the next 5 days. Take note. Good luck to our friends over the pond, or those here, who enjoy and follow UK racing :) I'll be back later with more...for better or worse, ha ! SR Vegas
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Bernard "Moan over. Be lucky." Your last post was eye opening indeed. I would not have thought that there could be any prejudice/bias against female jockeys. Female jockeys are more common here now, but it took dozens of years and some tough women to make it so. Is there any chance that Newcastle may have some type of a turf course, in addition to a synthetic surface? One can only hope. On other over seas news, I read about the passing of Bart Cummings. (Australian racing, 12 victories in the G1 Melbourne Cup) ... in part the article says, ..." a state funeral" ...and " stopped a nation, a number of television networks interrupting regular coverage to telecast the service " Can anyone here remember when a horseman/ Trainer was ever respected in such a fashion? Here is a link. May he RIP. http://www.thoroughbreddailynews.com/racing-says-goodbye-to-bart-cummings-in-sydney/ SR Vegas
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Annie ...you ever think how weird it Is that we both seem to write a comment at about the same time about the same thing?....que the Twilight Zone music , lol! I saw some nice 2 yos this weekend. RALIS, NYQUIST, SMOKEY IMAGE . I'm sure you are starting the hunt for new MKB participants to put into the Magic Kleenex Box later this year :) I think RILAS was named after his Dam, Silar Rules ...spell Silar backwards = RALIS SR Vegas
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Jay Van Horn JAYZZ82 We will have to reconsider your hunt for pumpkins , as we now know WISE DAN is retired. I like your list. I'm also glad to see the Zayat connections reconsider and train American Pharoah up to the BC Classic. I'm sure C will be drooling for the next 2 months ...lol! BTW, any thoughts that GOLDEN HORN is a ' name' bet ? hmmmm? Your previous post from several days ago. "The 2015 Breeders Cup is approximately 2 months away so why not start the first draft of some late P4 tickets.....and it's never too early to begin your pumpkin hunts for all hallows eve as well..... Trick or Treat! B.C. Turf: - FLINTSHIRE - THE GREY GATSBY - GOLDEN HORN B.C. Sprint: - PRIVATE ZONE - ROCK FALL - WORK ALL WEEK - SPEIGHTSTER B.C. Mile: - WISE DAN - KARAKONTIE - SOLOW - GLENEAGLES - AROD B.C. Classic: - AMERICAN PHAROAH - BEHOLDER - HONOR CODE - KEEN ICE JAYZZ82 SR Vegas
Penguin ymous More than 1 year ago
Lil Deb You can call me "Better late than never" also. Family also "got in the way" of playing the three last days of Saratoga and Del Mar for me. A hearty welcome and a belated congrats on the HG win. Any secrets to divulge? Also, to all the other Blue Thongs who have been Red Hot, Hot, Hot, congrtatulations also. Knm for tearing it up on Public Handicapper, Lil Deb, Annie, SR Vegas for winning recent additions of HG, Jean Ferret and Nancyb for being in positive territory on Public Handicapper. I'll also tip my hat to Rodney for his PH picks last Saturday. Rodney, could you possibly be a cross dresser? I personally like blue thongs myself. Best to all RonZ
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rodney, One small correction, Doncaster have added an extra day to the meeting - it starts 2.00 pm on Wednesday. Hope they haven't diluted the quality by adding quantity. An interesting race tomorrow featuring retired jockeys. I am hoping for a good day for the Hills family. Best Regards - Bernard Downes