09/02/2015 6:01PM

Pharoah Iced in Travers

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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. 

PAST PERFORMANCES ARE AVAILABLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG POST.

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.

HANDIGAMBLING:

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!

Harpo
---------------------------------

A MORE DETAILED ANALYSIS IS ALWAYS APPRECIATED !
 
REMEMBER, IF YOU ARE DECLARED THE WINNER OF THE HANDIGAMBLING EXERCISE; PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM WITH YOUR DRF LOGIN AND PASSWORD IN ORDER TO ACCESS YOUR PRIZE PACKAGE.

ALSO, IF THE WINNER WOULD LIKE TO SELECT THE FOLLOWING WEEK'S RACE, PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM NO LATER THAN THE FOLLOWING WEDNESDAY MORNING (A SATURDAY RACE IS MOST IDEAL)

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RUNHAPPY.pdf651.45 KB
Copy of Formblog Travers 8-29-15.xls208.42 KB
HGWOODWARD.pdf175.81 KB