07/31/2013 1:08PM

Points Offthebench, Fast Spa Babies

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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.

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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?
bornstar75

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.

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

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 GIVE YOUR NAME OR BLOG MONIKER AT THE END OF THE HG PLAY AND/OR ANALYSIS.
 
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.

***FROM SCOREKEEPER PENN NATIONAL RICK***

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!
Rick

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 LATE THAN THE FOLLOWING WEDNESDAY MORNING (A FRIDAY RACE IS MOST IDEAL).

Best of luck to all.

AttachmentSize
Verrazano.pdf676.36 KB
Copy of Formblog Cougar II 7-26-13.xls67 KB
HGRealGoodDeal.pdf169 KB