07/31/2013 1:08PM

Points Offthebench, Fast Spa Babies


It's taken lots of time, love and tenderness, but Points Offthebench finally broke through with a Grade 1 win in last week's Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar.

The 4-year-old California-bred has hinted at immense talent throughout his abbrievated career, but injuries have kept him on the sidelines more often than not.  After winning his maiden over the Del Mar polytrack on August 25, 2011, Points Offthebench missed almost six months with a sore shin and a splint bone injury. 

Undaunted, he returned to take an entry-level optional claimer, but was then put on the shelf for almost a year after sustaining a non-displaced condylar fracture to his left front leg.  Two screws were inserted into the break during surgery, but Points Offthebench came back with a vengeance earlier this year.  He put up a triple-digit Beyer in his first race back, a good second to the salty Italian Rules, before promptly banging out his conditions against open company (4/6/13 at Santa Anita, 5/27/13 at Betfair Hollywood Park).  The sprint at Hollywood was especially eye-catching as jockey Tyler Baze remained as still as a statue until the final furlong.  Receiving his cue with a mere flick of the wrists, Points Offthebench drew away from his competition in the final sixteenth and received a 100 Beyer. 

That race looked like a perfect prep for the Bing Crosby and Points Offthebench showed great courage in fending off Santa Anita Derby hero GOLDENCENTS, a 3-year-old colt that loomed boldly in upper stretch.  The victory gave trainer Tim Yakteen a deserved first Grade 1 triumph. 

Points Offthebench will likely wait for Santa Anita before making his next appearance.  If he stays healthy, and hopefully he will, he is a horse to follow in a contentious sprint division.

*Two juveniles looked good winning fast races at Saratoga.  BIG SUGAR SODA put up a 94 Beyer in his second lifetime appearance, a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight on July 22.  Trained by Steve Asmussen, Big Sugar Soda showed high early speed en route to the gate-to-wire tally.  A $45,000 yearling purchase by Ready's Image, Big Sugar Soda is the first starter out of a winning half-sister to the multiple Grade 2 winner Randaroo. 

"He showed a lot of talent before we ran him. We honestly couldn’t believe he got beat the first time," Asmussen told NYRA publicity following the win. "He did everything right today, and he’s obviously a very nice horse.”

Asmussen excels with second-time juveniles.  According to DRF Formulator, he is 60-174 (34%, $2.52 ROI) over the past five years with second-time 2-year-olds in maiden special weight dirt sprints.

It wouldn't be Saratoga without an impressive Todd Pletcher baby.  OUR AMAZING ROSE, a filly by Yes It's True, looked really good in taking a maiden special weight at five furlongs on July 25.  Purchased for $325,000 by Mike Repole in March, Our Amazing Rose is out of an unraced three-quarter sister to Grade 3 Arlington Oaks winner Minister's Melody.  Our Amazing Rose professionally tracked pacesetter ZIP ON through a 21.80 opening quarter before blowing past that rival on the turn.  She won by 7 3/4 lengths with a 91 Beyer.

"I thought it was terrific," said Pletcher. "She broke well, but the filly who had already started [Zip On] showed a lot of speed, but she was able to pick her up pretty handily around the turn. It seemed like she did everything we could have hoped for her."

Expect to see Our Amazing Rose in the Grade 1 Spinaway on September 1.


Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures (7/22/13 - 7/28/13):

1. VERRAZANO - 116 - Haskell Invitational (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - Monmouth
2. PALACE MALICE - 107 - Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles - Saratoga
3. GOLDEN TICKET - 104 - Prairie Meadows Handicap - 1 1/4 Miles - Prairie Meadows
4. FORTY TALES - 102 - Amsterdam Stakes (G2) - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Saratoga
4. SILVER MAX - 102 - Oceanport Stakes (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Monmouth
6. INDY POINT (Arg) - 101 - Wickerr Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - Del Mar
6. KETTLE CORN - 101 - San Diego Handicap (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles (Polytrack) - Del Mar
8. RICHARD'S KID - 100 - Cougar II Handicap (G3) -  1 1/16 Miles (Polytrack) - Del Mar
9. SWEET LULU - 99 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 Mile (Polytrack) - Del Mar
10. GONNA FLY NOW - 98 - OC 40k/N1X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Del Mar
10. POINTS OFFTHEBENCH - 98 - Bing Crosby Stakes (G1) - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Del Mar
10. PANTS ON FIRE - 98 - Monmouth Cup (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - Monmouth
13. NO SILENT - 97 - Alw 94940C - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Del Mar
13. ROMANSH - 97 - Curlin Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles - Saratoga
15. JOYFUL VICTORY - 96 - Molly Pitcher Stakes (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - Monmouth
15. LAUGHING (Ire) - 96 - Diana Stakes (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Saratoga
15. RIBO BOBO - 96 - Alw 16000s - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Parx
18. IMMORTAL EYES - 95 - Teddy Drone Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Monmouth
18. IT HAPPENED AGAIN - 95 - OC 40k/N2X - 1 1/16 Miles - Indiana
18. JIM'S NO PREACHER - 95 - Clm 8000(8-7) - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Del Mar
21. BIG SUGAR SODA - 94 - Md Sp Wt 80k - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Saratoga
22. LIGHTHOUSE BAY - 93 - Prioress Stakes (G1) - 6 Furlongs - Saratoga
22. SHRINKING VIOLET - 93 - OC 40k/N1X -N - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - Del Mar
22. STARSTRUCK (Ire) - 93 - Matchmaker Stakes (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Monmouth
25. WESTERN ELEGANCE - 92 - Md Sp Wt 38k - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Arlington
25. FOREIGN PRODUCTION - 92 - OC 12k/N1X - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Louisiana
25. GEEKY GORGEOUS - 92 - Regret Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Monmouth
25. NATES MINESHAFT - 92 - OC 80k/C -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - Arlington

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


Hey Dan, there is a race at Saratoga on Sunday where the changes include no whip for a jockey. What is the rationale or reason for this?

I would guess it's a behavioral issue as the horse probably doesn't respond well to whip urging.


Dan - On Saturday at the Spa, Caixa Electronica is entered in what appears to be a violation of the race conditions. Race 1, an optional claimer/SAL is for horses who either run for a tag or have started for a tag of $25k or less in 2011-13. Caixa isn't entered for a tag and hasn't run for a tag that cheap since '09, according to his DRF PPs.
His last race also had the same issue. Am I missing something here? Thanks
Hoarse Whisperer

It's not clear in the conditions, but I believe the starter handicap races (one for $25,000 or less, one for $16,000 or less) that CAIXA ELETRONICA competed in back in 2011 make him eligible for these kind of events.


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

You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman


Congrats to Dick W. for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling exercise.

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

Dick W selects Friday's Real Good Deal Stakes at Del Mar for this week's event.


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.

Verrazano.pdf676.36 KB
Copy of Formblog Cougar II 7-26-13.xls67 KB
HGRealGoodDeal.pdf169 KB
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
CHALKY! Wake up. Your DAWN APPROACH is likely to go in the Jacques Le Marois. :) Annie
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Bernard - Rodney ..anyone? a UK question. Is The British Champions Day (Ascot Oct 19) considered one of the best/better days of racing over there? The line up looks terrific! All names we have been talking about or have seen here . Here's the link from The racingpost. http://www.racingpost.com/news/live.sd?event_id=1087215&category=0 Thanks! SR Vegas ..a HW 'name' favorite is VENUS DE MILO ...I have a golf buddy who has two cats named Venus and Milo :)
DavidM9999 More than 1 year ago
TBTA: You husband is a smart man making a very wise call even though cable TV cost is atrocious. Horse racing channels are money well spent. I would go without heat before cutting off my channels. Saratoga These horses all got good marks from DRF on today’s card: Race 1 - Little Boss; Belly of the Whale Race 2 - Longfor The City Race 4 - Favorite Uncle Race 5 – Orino (12-1 ML), Jesse’s Giant Dunk Race 7 – Caribean Beat (12-1 ML); Sally’s Dream (two B+ works) Race 9 – Perrgaux; Quality Council; Palace; NF’s Destiny( tough race) Poor marks on recent workouts: Race 1 – Catfive; All Cash; War Hawk- poor gallop out in latest earning C+ (will go favored – selected by Dan on Spa babies so its breeding vs. workouts I suppose) Race 3 – Gingee Race 5 – Escapefromreality Race 6 – Hidden Music Race 7 – Princess Mara; Downtown Hottie Race 10 – Solo Approach (5-1 ML) Let's make some money, good luck to all!
Gerty Golittle More than 1 year ago
TBTA, Congratulations to your husband! He sure knows how to stay married, lol! knm
Ned Daly More than 1 year ago
As to PED's While I am totally opposed to anyone damaging their body this way and even more opposed to anyone tampering with an animal's health for short term gain, we must remember that the penalties in MLB are a matter of the contract between the Player's Association and the owners. The duration of suspensions and the other financial penalties were negotiated as part of a package of costs and benefits. Who knows which party might have given up something in order to arrive at the listed terms? It is likely all of these things were compromises. Ned (Hay, oats and water) Daly
Turnbackthealarm More than 1 year ago
DavidM999, Love your musings on the PEDs. I'd add that what is particularly odious to me is that horses don't have a choice about what is put in their bodies and the money they earn enriches someone else as the drugs (or supplements) damage the athlete with no say. I thought Starsilouette looked off too. Cornwall Boy, I am lucky enough to get both HRTV and TVG on my cable package. I watched and enjoyed the Hambletonian coverage too. The trotters in full flight are so beautiful. The heats are impressive too. Could you imagine today's thoroughbreds running heats before coming back in the same afternoon and running in the KY Derby? Special shout out to my wonderful husband who was looking to reduce the amount of our cable bill which would have required jettisoning the package that included the racing channels. He never even mentioned it to me until I inquired. He just decided to cut expenses elsewhere. :)
DavidM9999 More than 1 year ago
A Rod - Horse Racing Seeing the baseball PED fiasco play out yesterday was crazy. Last night I watched A Rod get a seeing eye single then called it a night. The press conference was surreal. So A Rod gets 211 games but is still playing while pursuing his legal options. This saga reminded me of the Dutrow case where legal options had to be exhausted. I wonder when the Tom Amoss case ever gets adjudicated. Iws thinking he was facing some ugly charges but nothing for months.I am very patient. At 57 there is litlle need to to rush. It will play out one way or the other in due time after the parties involved finish due process . Injuries Sure seems we have experienced a rash of injuries in our sport. The latest was Nippising who left us Sunday unfortunately. Gropie Doll I am shocked a full field will line up at Ellis Park in the Gardenia Sunday. I figured she would chase off most of the competition. If she wins, that means the rest of the field is running for $40,000 and some black type. Starsilhoette In the SAR finale yesterday on paper I thought she looked good but not 6-5 good. On the track she did not look like the horse I had seen earlier in the year. Once the race started her action and stride was short. If I can notice it believe me she was not moving well. I hope she can regain her run but will definitely tread carefully with her moving forward. For her level she had a powerful late kick on grass. I suppose Maker will have her in the bariatric chamber today.
Cornwall Boy More than 1 year ago
SR Vegas; ..... It is very nice to know that you enjoyed Hambletonian day too. I had to watch it on DRF since I do not get TVG. My cable company, Time Warner, doesn't offer it here. Anyway, it was a great day of quality racing, the kind I like. It's like watching the Breeders Cup, but with every race run the same day. ..... I was amused that the horse that impressed you the most, was the three-year-old filly, "Bee A Magician", while the one that impressed me the most was the three-year-old colt, "Royalty For Life". Your reasons are well taken though, since we are talking about the best in each division. Do read Jay Bergman's OP-ED piece on DRF news--- "Patience pays off in Hambletonian win for connections of Royalty For Life" (8/5/13). ..... Anyway, as you've shown, it is good to be open-minded, and I am glad that you enjoyed it. It can be as much fun as playing and watching the thoroughbreds, especially when dealing with the top echelon of each group. So, with that, I wish you happy racing and good luck in the next HG contest. Cornwallboy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Turf Ruler...thanks for your comments. Actually, I probably didn't make mysellf clear...if I'm guilty of anything, is that I tend to bet long odds horses and let too many winners get away because I think the price is too short. I probabky do need to pass on more races. As David suggests, P3/4 bets, which I often play (butu didn't this weekend) may be the way to go, as well. Brutus
Sinatra Jeter More than 1 year ago
Brutus: My advice is based on what I would do in a similar situation. You still appear from what I've read that you are going to keep on picking the same low odds horses for your win bets. What you may want to consider is why you are selecting these types of horses to win. One theory I may suggest is that the reason they are low priced is that everyone who is wagering on the horse see's the same thing you see and are folllowing the same logic as you. One thing I believe from my reading handicapping literature is that "horses are not motorcycles". They do have form cycle's where they are in winning form today and are completely off form tomorrow. What you see is how the horse did yesterday, you must imagine what the horse will do today compared to the others that may be coming into form. As I mentioned, I would rather watch a race with low paying odds and not wager rather than gnash my teeth and throw my newspaper down and curse the jockey and trainer for allowing a tired horse to run so badly. TurfRuler