03/02/2016 6:19PM

Possible Maker's 46 matchup

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Last week's graded stakes results should lead to fascinating head-to-head matchups in the upcoming weeks.

Mohaymen remained undefeated with a confident win in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream. He'll host the flawless juvenile champion of 2015, NYQUIST, in the Grade 1 Florida Derby on April 2. They are the consensus top two 3-year-old colts in the country and their upcoming battle will deservedly dominate the Kentucky Derby discussion.

I'm also tantalized by the possibility of TEPIN vs. HEART TO HEART in the Grade 1 Maker's 46 Mile Stakes at Keeneland on April 14.

We all know Tepin's credentials. Voted champion Female Turf Horse of 2015 after dusting off the boys in the Breeders' Cup Mile to the tune of a 110 Beyer Speed Figure, she compiled a 7-5-2-0 record last year with her only losses coming by a nose in the Diana and a head in the Ballston Spa over the summer at Saratoga.

Now 5, Tepin made her seasonal debut in the Grade 3 Endeavour Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. Sent away the prohibitive 3 to 10 favorite in a surprisingly strong field, she made short work of Lady Lara and company with a professional pace-pressing victory.

Heart to Heart, on the other hand, has utilized his excellent early speed and agility to win four of his last five races dating back to August 2, 2015. He would enter the Maker's 46 off three consecutive 104 Beyers and hasn't been headed in any of those runs.

Heart to Heart has been somewhat of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde performer throughout his career. When allowed to control proceedings from the start, Heart to Heart turns into an exceptional middle-distance turf performer. When faced with early pressure, he doesn't seem like the same horse.

Let's look at some of his GOOD running lines:

2/27/16 - Canadian Turf Stakes (1 Mile) - set 23.86 (led by 1 length), 48.01 (+1), 1:11.48 - WON (104 Beyer)

1/9/16 - Ft. Lauderdale Stakes (1 1/16 Miles) - set 24.28 (led by 1 1/2 lengths), 48.38 (+ 1 1/2), 1:11.90 - WON (104 Beyer)

11/26/16 - River City Handicap (1 1/8 Miles) - set 24.43 (led by 1 1/2 lengths), 48.86 (+ 1), 1:13.55 - WON (104 Beyer)

8/15/15 - Oceanport Stakes (1 1/16 Miles) - set 25.56 (led by 1 length), 48.46 (+ 1 1/2), 1:11.27 - WON (103 Beyer)

11/15/14 - Commonwealth Turf Stakes (1 1/16 Miles) - set 23.60 (led by length), 47.53 (+ 1/2), 1:11.53 - WON (100 Beyer)

9/27/15 - Jefferson Cup Stakes (1 Mile) - set 24.31 (led by length), 47.86 (+ 1), 1:11.46 - WON (94 Beyer)

8/20/14 - Better Talk Now Stakes (1 Mile) - set  23.48 (led by length), 47.03 (+ 1), 1:10.78 - WON (96 Beyer)

Now, some of the bombs:

10/3/15 - Shadwell Turf Mile (1 Mile) - 3rd (1 1/2 behind), 3rd (2 lengths behind) - 10TH (70 Beyer)

6/13/15 - Poker Stakes (1 Mile) - 2nd (1 1/2 behind), 2nd (1 1/2 behind) - 7TH (91 Beyer)

12/26/14 - Mathis Brothers Mile (1 Mile) - 2nd (1/2 behind), 2nd (head behind) - 4TH (88 Beyer)

It certainly appears that Heart to Heart is a one-dimensional front-runner, albeit a very talented one. When allowed an easy lead through moderate fractions, he can sprint home his final quarter in 22 seconds or so. That gives the stalkers and closers chasing him an extremely difficult task. When denied an easy lead, he lacks that same stretch pop.

In the Canadian Turf, he scooted to the front, backed down the pace. cut the corner beautifully turning for home, and was gone. "He’s done it that way most of his career and (his style) sort of speaks for itself out there," trainer Brian Lynch told track publicity following the race. "He runs the turn so well, that’s a real asset to him. By the time you get to him, he’s stolen a couple lengths. It’s a great combination (with jockey Julien Leparoux) and the two get along together very well. He just knows how much gas is in the tank. The horse has come into himself as a 5-year-old, he’s gotten bigger and stronger."

It's worth noting that Leparoux is also the regular rider of Tepin. One would think he will choose the champion mare in the Maker's 46.

Both horses appreciate Keeneland. Tepin is basically a horse for course with a 7-length romp in the Grade 1 First Lady along with the Breeders' Cup tally on her record. Although Heart to Heart bombed in the Shadwell Turf Mile over yielding ground, he won an entry-level allowance race by 6 1/4 lengths at Keeneland in 2014.

If there are no other confirmed front-runners in the Maker's 46, Heart to Heart becomes an interesting play. Although Tepin's excellent tactical speed should have her perched just off Heart to Heart, it would be a test for her to run down the sharp speedster if he gets a chance to relax on the backstretch. It should be a fantastic cat-and-mouse battle, a test for rider as well as horse.

***

Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 2/23/16 - 2/29/16:

1. X Y JET - 105 - Gulfstream Park Sprint Stakes (G3) - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 27Feb16-4GP
2. HEART TO HEART - 104 - Canadian Turf Stakes (G3) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 27Feb16-8GP
3. ANGRY MOON - 99 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - 28Feb16-8AQU
4. CATHRYN SOPHIA - 98 - Davona Dale Stakes (G2) - 1 Mile - 27Feb16-5GP
5. BOOZER - 97 - Sensational Star Stakes - About 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 27Feb16-6SA
6. FAUFILER (IRE) - 96 - Sand Springs Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - 27Feb16-9GP
7. GO AROUND - 95 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 27Feb16-10GP
7. GUNS LOADED - 95 - Joe Hernandez Stakes - About 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 28Feb16-4SA
7. MOHAYMEN - 95 - Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - 27Feb16-12GP
7. UNION JACKSON - 95 - OC 35k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - 26Feb16-7OP
11. ALEX THE TERROR - 94 - OC 100k/C -N - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - 25Feb16-8AQU
11. TENIENTE CORONEL - 94 - OC 35k/N2Y -N - 1 Mile - 25Feb16-6DED
13. HOWDY - 93 - Alw 57185N1X - 1 1/16 Miles - 26Feb16-6SA
14. AMORAL - 92 - Md Sp Wt 60k - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - 25Feb16-4AQU
14. UNCHARTED COURSE - 92 - Alw 57000N1X - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - 27Feb16-6AQU
16. WEAST HILL - 91 - Nodouble Breeders' Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 28Feb16-8OP
17. BEARS PERSONALITY - 90 - OC 40k/N3X -N - 1 Mile - 29Feb16-8PRX
17. INDIVIDUALIST - 90 - Md Sp Wt 56k - 5 1/2 Furlongs - 27Feb16-3SA
17. NITE OF THE HUNTER - 90 - OC 40k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - 28Feb16-5FG
17. SHORTSTORMCOMING - 90 - Md Sp Wt 60k - 1 Mile (Turf) - 26Feb16-4SA
21. ANIMAL INSTINCT - 89 - Md Sp Wt 38k - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 26Feb16-7GP
21. JENSEN - 89 - OC 50k/N1X -N - 1 Mile 70 Yards - 25Feb16-8FG
21. MANHATTAN DAN - 89 - Texas Glitter Stakes - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - 27Feb16-1GP
21. NOBLE KENT - 89 - Clm 22500(25-22.5) - 1 1/16 Miles - 28Feb16-2SA
21. PACIFIC NIGHTS - 89 - OC 20k/N2X - 7 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 28Feb16-7TUP
21. SECURITIZ - 89 - Alw 38000N1X - 1 1/16 Miles - 24Feb16-3GP

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

***

Dan -- The "Beyer Scale" description on the website links a 100 Beyer to a "good allowance or low grade stakes horse" and a 90 Beyer to a "typical $25,000 claiming race." Based on the figures I see week after week on your top 25 winning Beyers list, it seems like the "good allowance or low grade stakes horses" are generally receiving scores of 90 or even considerably less. Has the scale been adjusted downwards over the years? (The $25,000 claiming number should obviously be adjusted for inflation, but it seems like that number would now be approx 10 points below the good allowance number of 90or 85 or whatever.
Tx for your response.
Best regards,
G. Ginat

This is something I'll have to research more closely. I haven't noticed a shift and haven't heard about any sort of change. Thanks for the question. I'll try to find out more.

***

Video stakes analyses for many of the weekend's major stakes will be available later this week at http://www.drf.com/videos

You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.

Matt Bernier, Mike Beer and I will be on for free and fun live handicapping analysis for Aqueduct, Gulfstream, Oaklawn and Santa Anita beginning at 3pm ET on live.drf.com.

***

Congrats to USAdusty for winning last week's HandiGambling challenge.

We'll go with Saturday's Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct for this week's exercise.

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

Rick M and SR VEGAS' HG scoreboard spreadsheet is available at the bottom of this blog post.

SR Vegas and Rick M. have graciously decided to update all of the HG rules in order to make them an easier read for everyone...

HANDIGAMBLING version 2016:

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 SPARE A SENTENCE OR TWO outlining your HANDICAPPING ANGLES and/or THOUGHT PROCESSES about WAGERING .

1. Start your post with HG or HANDIGAMBLING to find your entry in a thread.

2. You have a mythical $100 to wager in whatever format you choose that is available for that HG race. Anyone going over the $100 limit will be DISQUALIFIED.

3. Post your WAGER and ANALYSIS to the blog prior to the start of the designated race. SIGN OFF WITH YOUR NAME/OR MONIKER AT THE END OF YOUR 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 identify who you are.

4. (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.

5. Separate your analysis from the wager and use the PROGRAM # 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 2016
The speed in this race are #1 Alpha, #2 Beta, and #8 Ocho. I like the works for layoff horse #5 Cinco who can sit off the pace. Lots of speed in here, so this could set up for a closer like  #6 Six Flags and I like the trainer's stats in these conditions. I’ll put the closer over the speed.

HG wager:
$10 EX   6 /   1,2,5, 8  = $40
$5 TRI   6 /   1,2,5,8  /  1,2,5,8  =  $60
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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X Y JET.pdf756.43 KB
Copy of HG 2 27 16 GP MDN.xls51.5 KB
HGGOTHAM.pdf161.44 KB