07/17/2013 5:12PM

Pletcher Baby #'s


Upon downloading the past performances for Friday's Opening Day card at Saratoga, it wasn't surprising to see that Todd Pletcher trains the favored entry in the initial juvenile race of the meeting. 

We all know that Pletcher's Spa babies are potent, but his dominance of 2-year-old dirt racing at Saratoga has relegated some of the more well-known trainers to mere spectactor status as it pertains to those events. 

Let's take a look at some statistics courtest of DRF Formulator:

Past 5 Years - Saratoga - 2-year-old - First Time Starters - Maiden Special Weight - Dirt Sprints

T. Pletcher - 31-98, 32%, $2.57 ROI

T. Albertrani - 1-27, 4%, $1.63 ROI
G. Arnold - 0-10
T. Bush - 0-12
G. Contessa - 1-30, 3%, $1.18 ROI
E. Harty - 0-12
M. Hennig - 0-18
B. Levine - 0-18
D. Lukas - 1-32, 3%, $3.12 ROI
C. McGaughey - 0-20
K. McPeek - 0-17
W. Mott - 0-44
N. Zito - 1-51, 2%, $0.23 ROI

Such notables as Tony Dutrow, Michael Maker, Graham Motion and Wesley Ward have not sent out a debut winner from limited opportunities at Saratoga during that time span. 

Handicappers brave enough to oppose Pletcher with first-time starters in these races might depend on the following trainers:

S. Asmussen - 8-42, 19%, $1.75 ROI
C. Brown - 4-18, 22%, $2.26 ROI
J. Kimmel - 4-19 - 21%, $3.15 ROI
K. McLaughlin - 9-49, 18%, $1.60 ROI
L. Rice - 3-15, 20%, $1.87 ROI
D. Romans - 3-18, 17%, $3.34 ROI
B. Tagg - 2-12, 17%, $2.50 ROI
R. Violette - 5-19, 26%, $2.67 ROI

In juvenile maiden special weight dirt sprints relegated to statebreds, Pletcher is 6-13 (46%, $3.25 ROI).

Perhaps the time to take down a Pletcher juvenile firster is in maiden special weight turf routes.  In those races, he is "only" 6-37 (16%, $1.28 ROI).


Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures (7/1/13 - 7/7/13):

1. GAME ON DUDE - 114 - Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles (Cushion Track) - Betfair Hollywood
2. DELEGATION - 110 - Dominion Day Stakes (G3-C) - 1 1/4 Miles (Polytrack) - Woodbine
3. FLAT OUT - 107 - Suburban Handicap (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles - Belmont
4. BEN'S CAT - 103 - Parx Dash Handicap (G3) - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - Parx
4. EMILE - 103 - Clm 50000(50-40)N3X - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Arlington
4. KING KREESA - 103 - Poker Stakes (G3) - 1 Mile (Turf) - Belmont
7. BAHAMIAN SQUALL - 101 - Smile Sprint Handicap (G2) - 6 Furlongs - Calder
7. RAINBOW HEIR - 101 - Jersey shore Stakes (G3) - 6 Furlongs - Monmouth
9. MORENO - 100 - Dwyer Stakes (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - Belmont
9. WARREN'S KNOCKOUT - 100 - OC 40k/N1Y -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Lone Star
11. CHIEF HAVOC - 99 - Swaps Stakes (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles (Cushion Track) - Betfair Hollywood
11. PICKO'S PRIDE - 99 - Hockessin Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Delaware
11. TOM'S TRIBUTE - 99 - Md Sp Wt 52k - 7 Furlongs - Parx
14. COYOTE LEGEND - 98 - Assault Stakes - 1 Mile - Lone Star
14. GO BLUE OR GO HOME - 98 - Highlander Stakes (G3-C) - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Woodbine
14. IMMORTAL EYES - 98 - Mr. Prospector Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Monmouth
14. MIDNIGHT ARIA - 98 - Queen's Plate - 1 1/4 Miles (Polytrack) - Woodbine
14. RAGING DAOUST - 98 - Salvator Mile (G3) - 1 Mile - Monmouth
19. ABRA - 97 - Clm c-15000B - 6 Furlongs - Belmont
19. GOLDEN ITIZ - 97 - OC c-62k/N2X - 1 1/16 Miles (Cushion Track) Betfair Hollywood
19. MENTOR CANE - 97 - Md Sp Wt 70k - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Belmont
19. MIAMI MAKO - 97 - Alw 16000s - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Parx
19. SCHIAPARELLI - 97 - Royal Heroine Mile (G2) - 1 Mile (Turf) - Betfair Hollywood
24. GLOBAL STAGE - 96 - OC 25k/C -N - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Prairie Meadows
24. LASTING BUBBLES - 96 - Valor Farm Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Lone Star
24. LONGHUNTER (GB) - 96 - OC20k/SAL20k - 6 Furlongs (Turf) - Belmont
24. OCCASIONAL VIEW - 96 - OC 62k/N3X -N - 6 Furlongs (Tapeta) - Presque Isle
24. SAINT LEON - 96 - Arlington Sprint Stakes - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Arlington
24. STARSHIP TRUFFLES - 96 - Princess Rooney Handicap (G1) - 6 Furlongs - Calder
24. SUNBEAN - 96 - Louisiana Legends Mile Colts and Geldings Stakes - 1 Mile - Evangeline

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

*ABRA was claimed for $15,000 by trainer Linda Rice from David Jacobson.

*GOLDEN ITIZ was claimed for $62,500 by trainer John Sadler from Ron Ellis.


Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures (7/8/13 - 7/14/13):

1. BLUE TONE - 102 - Md Sp Wt 52k - 1 1/16 Miles (Cushion Track) - Betfair Hollywood
2. ADIRONDACK DANCER - 101 - OC 35k/N2X -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - Belmont
2. GRANDE SHORES - 101 - OC32k/SAL25k - 6 Furlongs - Calder
4. WORK ALL WEEK - 99 - OC 40k/N2X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Arlington
5. MEGALITH - 98 - OC32k/SAL25k - 6 Furlongs - Gulfstream
5. MARKETING MIX - 98 - Sunset Handicap (G3) - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - Betfair Hollywood
7. BOISTEROUS - 97 - Man O' War Stakes (G1) - 1 3/8 Miles (Turf) - Belmont
7. BOOK REVIEW - 97 - A Gleam Handicap (G2) - 7 Furlongs (Cushion Track) - Betfair Hollywood
7. FERSMILEY - 97 - OC 40k/N3X -N - 6 Furlongs - Parx
10. DARK COVE - 95 - Stars N Stripes Stakes (G3) - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - Arlington
10. WAR DANCER - 95 - Virginia Derby (G2) - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - Colonial
12. AUSUS - 94 - Modesty Handicap (G3) - 1 3/16 Miles (Turf) - Arlington
13. DREAMING OF SOPHIA - 93 - Cellars Shiraz Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - Gulfstream
13. PONZI SCHEME - 93 - Stymie Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - Delaware
13. RELAY BILL - 93 - OC 25k/N2X -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - Parx
13. RAHYSTRADA - 93 - Arlington Handicap (G3) - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - Arlington
17. COP A TUDE - 92 - OC 25k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - Penn National
17. FORDUBAI - 92 - OC 40k/N2X -N - 1 Mile (Polytrack) - Arlington
17. JUSTA RUNNER - 92 - Md Sp Wt 56k - 6 Furlongs (Cushion Track) - Betfair Hollywood
17. LUCKY RAVE (GB) - 92 - Clm 25000 - 1 Mile (Turf) - Indiana
17. LUNARWARFAORE - 92 - Md Sp Wt 44k - 4 1/2 Furlongs - Gulfstream
22. CAMEO APPEARANCE - 91 - Alw 39546N1X - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Arlington
22. KHARAFA - 91 - Alw 77000N1X - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Belmont
22. RIDE ON CURLIN - 91 - Md Sp Wt 29k - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Ellis
22. ROADHOG - 91 - Leemat Stakes - 1 Mile (Tapeta) - Presque Isle

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


*When you get the chance, you're definitely going to want to check out "RACEHORSE," the latest production from Jessica Pacheco, racing analyst at Arlington Park.  You can find "RACEHORSE" at the following links:

Episode 4 of RACEHORSE -

Like Owner, like horse; doctor visits for both Givenchi and owner/trainer Al Ali. Then we go from barn to farm to answer the two questions on everybody's mind: "What happened to Taxi?" and "Where is he?"




In Formulator, when I click on a trainer's name and get to their profile, the horses that have raced for that trainer come up in alphabetical order. Is their a way I can change that to chronological order so that I can see hot and cold streaks?
Ron Zuercher

Ron, once you are in the trainer profile, click on the "DATE" column.  You will get a chronological view of the statistics.


Dan with the Grand Old Lady opening in 11 days, can you provide the PP's for many fans two favorite horse for the courses, Quick Call and Fourstardave? Thanks...
Joe Labunski

The past performances for FOURSTARDAVE and QUICK CALL are available at the bottom of this blog post.


Now that I have calmed down a little (courtesy of cheering home my 5th and 6th winners from 7 races at Haydock), can I ask a more serious question?
Do you think that the Miler versus Classic distance horses question is a subject worthy of your excellent analytical mind (yes, I can flatter with the best of them). I am not trying to put words in your mouth, you may well agree that Milers cannot be rated as equal, but I would nonetheless enjoy reading your thoughts.
Best Regards - Bernard Downes

I think it's rather narrow-minded to simply claim a horse is great, or greater, ONLY if he or she succeeded at Classic distances.  To deny Goldikova her due because she wasn't a "Classic" horse seems a bit silly to me.  There are great sprinters, great milers, great classic performers, great turf horses, etc. 
The way to decide which "great" horse is best is on the racetrack.  Thus, it seems fruitless to debate the merits of Kelso vs. Secretariat, or other superstars from different eras. 

Not that the world's number one Kelso supporter doesn't call me every week to complain about "those damn Secretariat fans". 

And it is impossible to compare the great turf sprinter Black Caviar with Zenyatta.  An objective observer would watch both horses compete and come away with the feeling that something special occurred.  Who was better?  I have no idea.  They both were great horses.  Should Black Caviar be penalized for not shipping to the United States, stretching out to 1 1/4 miles, and racing on dirt?  Of course not.  That wasn't her game. These are arguments that are fun to have, on occasion, but can never be won.


The weekend handicapping videos should be up on the homepage later this week.

You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman


Congrats to Mike from Michigan for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling exercise.

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

Mike from Michigan selected Saturday's Delaware Handicap as this week's race, but it's a short field with a couple of cross-entries so I went with Friday's James Marvin Stakes at Saratoga instead.


Remember that you have a mythical $100 with which to wager on the race, and the entrant with the highest money total will receive a "Monthly Enhanced 60-Card Past Performance Plan."
Anyone going over the $100 limit will be disqualified.
Please post your plays and analysis to the blog.

Please separate the play from the analysis and label the play "HG" with the program numbers (instead of the horse's name) for easier scoring.
In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference. One entry per person please.
I reserve the right to approve or deny any entries.
I know that there is a time issue for some of you, but 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. I'm 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.


I read some entries on here and there are some people who put their heart out on their picks(such as DavidM9999) and give you great analysis on who they like and why and then there are others who elect not to give any reasoning behind their entries. The rule I will implement EFFECTIVE 3/1/13 will be... any entry without ANY analysis will be ignored. We are not asking you to put out a novel, but again a sentence or two. Also, I will put communication out when Dan puts out new blogs.
My intent is not to be jerk on this, but what's fair is fair. I'm not taking away from this week or past winners regarding all of this, but we do need to make the change.
If you have any questions/concerns...please send an email to FORMBLOG@DRF.COM and it will get forwarded to me.
Thank You!



Best of luck to all.

GAME ON DUDE.pdf69.18 KB
BLUE TONE.pdf614.18 KB
Spa-lovers.pdf92.56 KB
Copy of Formblog Ellis Park 7-5-13.xls67 KB
HGSPA.pdf163.54 KB
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Cornwall Boy "Without seeming presumptuous, I would like to suggest that you form a Lead Group at some time.." That's a nice thought. Has some pros and cons. We have many formbloggers here who give freely of handicapping angles and thoughts, and will do so with any questions that are asked here. If someone knows an answer they will post it, or some may google or do some research to help out. Real time answers are kind of tough, since this blog format does not update immediately when a post is sent. There is a time delay( as it is moderated) Another thought, is that one would need to read the Formblog everyday to catch inquirys. As a friend says "don't fix what not's broke' and I think here at Dan's formblog ...it's so far so good :) Keep your posts coming as I enjoy them. Okay ...have to run , TBTA, Laura, PGM... CHICAGO here I come !!! SR Vegas
Chris Lowe More than 1 year ago
Well, I was partially right in the 1st at Toga. where Midnight Magic ran a decent second to the favorite, Majestic Marquet clunked up for third in the 2nd, and my two in the 4th decided to speed duel themselves to the back of the pack. On to the P-6.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DavidM9999, Thanks for that jackpot info. Sounds a bit of a hit or miss type bet. You asked about THE BROTHERS WAR. I wasn't familiar with the horse, but I have enjoyed reading the form book for him. Overall, 3 wins from 8 races, made up of 3 from 6 on the grass and 0 for 2 on the all weather. Earned a very decent, but not outstanding Racing Post Rating. Well bred. I am absolutely not a breeding expert, but there appears to be more obvious stamina than sprint speed. But on the race track, which counts for much more in my eyes, he CAN run fast with all 3 wins at 6 furlongs. In France he raced for a top class stable, and was ridden by very good jockeys. Two points emerged very strongly from that race record. - Of the 6 races on grass, 5 (YES 5) were on rain softened ground. It doesn't rain every day in Europe, does he deliberately avoid fast ground? - In his first 7 races he was VERY well bet - 2/1, 4/5, 3/5, 1/2, Evens, 2/1 and 9/5. And even in his last race, the very tough Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot, he was sent off fifth favourite in a field of 21 horses. My conclusion, someone (owner, trainer or bettors) thinks he is a good racehorse. That last race, the Jersey Stakes, did throw up a significant question mark for my suspicious mind. The race reader recorded that The Brothers War was in midfield, "keeping on under pressure" but that he "faltered inside the final furlong". What caused the falter? Was it physical or did he simply run out of gas? He was racing at 7 furlongs, not his preferred(???) 6 furlongs. In summary David (and apologies for all the twaddle), would I bet the horse if I was lucky enough to be with you at Saratoga? Presuming that someone checked for soundness before his move to the US, the question is will he be fast enough from his post position to beat US sprinters at the slightly shorter distance? If the ground is soft I would be intrigued enough to try a modest win bet. If the ground is not soft I might just stick to a WPS. Good luck whichever way you play, and I hope you find a nice place to spend your winnings. Best Regards - Bernard Downes
Chris Lowe More than 1 year ago
Well, that'll learn me to post before scratches! Race 1 @ Toga 2 of the 3 speeds are out. I still like the #8, but not as much. He'll have to go after the 4 early.....
Whackymacky More than 1 year ago
Royal Delta...Nice animal... But, that was a joke of a Race!!!!! Running for free $$$ with no competition!!!!! Why have these races?? Short field, big purse, Mike Smith gets easy $$ Not good for the sport when races like this are built up... Trash to me... Whackymacky out!!!
Whackymacky More than 1 year ago
Hello all, Dan what happened to my selections from Del Mar on Saturday??? Free speech is a good thing...had some winner's that paid nice.... i will post them latter...I was at a golf outing for the bombing victims on Sunday...worth every penny.... Back in a bit... I will be betting all day today... Good Luck!!!!! Whackymacky Out!!!
Chris Lowe More than 1 year ago
Some Saratoga thoughts for Wednesday 7/24: A big P-6 carryover looms, but it looks almost impossible, so here are a few thoughts on a few races. Race 1 $35000 Clm #8 Midnight Music I know Kentucky shippers have not fared well to start the meet, but this colt has good tactical speed, two works over the track, and is only dropping slightly from the claimed level. He should be able to track #3 Datts Happy, #4 Much Stronger, and #6 Ten Items or Less and collar all three in the stretch. Race 2 The Broom Dance 1 1/8 mile stake 3 yo f #6 Majestic Market She finished a good third behind My Happy Face, who finished decently behind Princess of Sylmar in the CCA Oaks. Another successful stalk behind speedsters #4 Profetiza and # 2 Montana Native I hope will result in victory at a good price. Race 4 MSW 3 up f& m 1 1/16 turf. #7 Forever Road gets my check mark over the probable favorite # 6 Callana. She has valuable experience over this grass last year and ran a nice even race going 1 1/2 furlongs further than her debut last year first off the layoff, which she does again today ( 7 furlongs to a mile and sixteenth) I'll shoot for good tri and super payoffs putting # 4 Pleasant Cat ( 4th beaten 1 1/2 lengths in her debut at the distance and identical course last year and now off a 6 month layoff), #2 Shortbread Scotty, and # 8 Industrial Policy( a head apart in a Md $65000 claimer in their last encounter) underneath. Good luck to all. If my picks here yield any profits for myself and fellow bloggers, it's all good and I'll post some picks for Del Mar later. If I'm all wet, I'll go cower in my lonely corner in parimutuel shame!
VanSavant More than 1 year ago
Dan; There is a maiden in today's 1st at Del Mar, #5, SOPHIE'S SECRET. The Belong To Me's are a heady 19% Win on the Del Mar Polytrack, and while the morning line of 3/1 screams underlay, it may be a race worth watching and maybe even playing if the odds miraculously drift upwards into the 5/1 range. Later gator vs
PennNatRick More than 1 year ago
Annie, $200k purse is great for a small track like Canterbury. Not sure with timing and all they will get some top 3yo turf studs, but at least it could appear that the money can stay local. When Penn Nat ran the Mile...a lot of the horsemen were in central pa were hoping that a local would be in the top 3...didn't happen. I would say keep an eye on August 3rd with Mountaineer. This is their day with every race being a stakes race. Would be interesting to see how much stays local. --Rick
Gerty Golittle More than 1 year ago
Ron Z, Thanks for your explanation. I find it very difficult to play more than one track at a time, although lots of people seem to manage just fine. knm