03/02/2016 6:19PM

Possible Maker's 46 matchup


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.


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!




X Y JET.pdf756.43 KB
Copy of HG 2 27 16 GP MDN.xls51.5 KB
HGGOTHAM.pdf161.44 KB
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MKB UPDATE: The Tampa Bay Derby will be as I expected, except RODNEY'S Battery declined to run, and PETER'S Tale of S'avall decided to try it. ALFREDO'S Brody's Cause RICK'S Destin RKCCASSELBERRY'S Economic Model CURTIS V SLEWSTER'S Rafting SONNY CROCKETT'S Riker PETER'S Tale of S'avall Good luck, guys! Let's get an MKB superfecta! The San Felipe will have 4 MKBs: RON Z (AOS) Exaggerator YOCHEST ROCKWELL'S Danzing Candy LEFTYGOLFER'S Mor Spirit ALYDARANDEASY'S I Will Score Good luck!!! Actually, we could get an MKB superfecta there too. :) Annie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
YO, Really, no need to apologize. I certainly can take a bit of teasing; I even do it myself now and then. I wasn't offended in the least. I know going in that some of my Pick 5 endeavors are not going to be big payers, UNLESS one of my alternate horses surprises. You can imagine how longshot players fared that day. :) I am happy to be a contributing member of the best horse racing blog on the internet. There are many great people here, both male and female; and you may be right that women being welcome here makes for a friendlier atmosphere. :) Annie
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
YoChestRockwall ..you are a chest with many layers and surprises. One just has to open a drawer to find them. Nice post :) SR Vegas
pat More than 1 year ago
I always enjoy Mike's take on things. I can get to the same places as him(on occasion) but I don't follow the game as closely as he does...because I only follow ONE circuit with any kind of seriousness. But with gas prices so low...trainers are sending horses into spots that normally are a stretch. Not such a big deal IF you spot a horse at Parx, Charlestown, Penn National and THEY run poorly when it doesn't cost that much to keep them running. Keeping them running and keeping them...it doesn't always MESH. Hoping to be claimed...maybe making a private deal...or even doing a bit of networking and owner recruitment is sometimes the goal. One of the things that I've learned is that for large portions of a race.....the horses are running at the same speed....it is the burst or quicken that I look for. Holding the turns or accelerating on the turns is a super positive sign. I was watching a replay about 4 mnths ago in a Maiden Claimer and the WINNER lost ground on the turn and zoomed on the straight away to win by 6 lengths. THAT HORSE went on my naughty list and when he returned at 3-5 against winners he was an easy toss. He ran 4th and did the same exact thing. The horse is either out of shape, not athletic, poorly trained or slightly off in something physical. My "keys" but I disdain absolutes!! 1. Speed and fade...more negative than positive UNLESS the margin of fade is less than 10 lengths.....one paced is okay...but faltering is bad. 2. Press and fade.....semi positive over all, especially if little ground is lost in the stretch. Points added if they stay in the top 5 in a larger field. What this points out to me is a timing issue of when the jockey unleashes the "burst". 3. Merry go round. Little ground lost, little made up. One of my favorite sources of long priced winners. They can go as fast as the pace of the race....and a change of tactics is usually the tonic. These improvements are DYNAMIC analysis as opposed to STATIC analysis(which is heavily depended on what happened in the PP's). 4. Closers in sprints...if they stay in sprints FANTASTIC as changes in tactics(closer to the pace trained in) can help. When closers in sprints stretch out...LOVE TO THROW THEM OUT. Seems like a linear progression but doing what everyone else is doing is not the way. 5. Closers in routes. The race shape is paramount. I've stated this before but my favorite move is the stretch out. I LOVE horses(in a sprint)run5th, never do much and don't lose ground in the stretch. At Laurel I've seen the 6 furlong to One Mile(with the second wire finish) as one of the best money makers of my entire betting life.
DavidM9999 More than 1 year ago
Mike, If you have time could you expand on the rationale behind the rail being kind to front runners when the temp rails are down at GP. Intuitively one would think the course would drain to the inside allowing horses on the outside of equal ability to run well on a drier path .As we know in racing our sport can often be counter intuitive as Pat has mentioned. Dan, Good observation and question on Keen Ice. I am not a big supporter of him in this spot for top honors either however I have not deep dived the entire field or past performances. His last runs were uninspiring plus the horse can be pace dependent as you mention. I checked the Dubai web site for particulars of the purse. The race is $10M with splits of 6M, 2M, 1M, 500,000, 300,000 and 100,000. If a horse runs 4th at Dubai it would take a win about an $800,000 American race to make the same $500,000. So the cash is a motivator assuming you can get into the top 4 or 5. Interestingly the web site says travel includes two tickets for owner and trainer, one for jockey. Five nights of stay at the hotel also. I assume it is MUCH nicer than the one I stay at in Saratoga. I believe the flights to Dubai for the horse are covered but could not confirm it. I know years ago Roses in May won the World Cup for Romans too. So he has fond memories in the desert. That trainers cut of the purse certainly goes a long way back in Louisville, KY. I think all of this plays into why they are spotting Keen Ice there. The downside is sometimes the horses can take time to recover. You leave the U.S with X and may come back to the U.S. with Y. I think the other reason he may be going is horse owners are often dreamers rather than realists. They can be previously successful in business or visionary types. These people tend to see the goal then just go after it unabashed. Sometimes I wish I had that dreamer’s DNA but unfortunately I am not a dreamer as a person or new horse owner at all.
mike turfmonstr More than 1 year ago
One thing to pay attention to if you bet turf races at Gulf. When judging times....i.e. How fast or slow by the variant alone is a slippery slope. I like to, if I didn't see that day's races, to look back at the charts for the day in question. To see it for "real". The reason is how Gulfs races are run. They vary between inside and out. Temp rail at 96 ft......temp rail at 12 ft....I guess just about anyone who has bet Gulf knows this, but what they may not have considered was the track variant for the day doesn't separate the 2. All races are lumped together. That can be significant if you judge how good a race was looking at the variant and final time along with "class". Gulf's turf course took a lot of rain for a period of 5 weeks. It rained at least once a week. The inside portion of the course was a bog. The outside much better....the difference in times inside and out varied as much as 15 lengths depending on the day. So after a rain the inside horses ran very slow...the outer temp rail races were par. Due to the slow races the average variant was high. So looking at a race run at 96 thru 120 ft you'd think the races were better than they were......and races with atemp rail posting of less than 48 weren't as good. So be aware....races run with high variants...say above 20 or so should be taken with a grain of salt...always check the results for the day in question......running fast over the outer portion of Gulfs course isn't anything to write home about...most of gulf's course records are at least 36ft and out to 108. Gulfs course drains well.....and the fact that they haven't had any significant rain in 3 weeks or so has evened things out, but looking at races that were run in january one needs to be careful....just keep in mind the variant doesn't reflect the true speed of the course inside to out...Mike A
YoChestRockwell More than 1 year ago
Annie- I owe you an explanation- and an apology. When I had fun with your $39 score on a $27 P5 ticket I sat on it overnight before submitting it thinking that it might have been over the top. I posted it anyway, reasoning it was making light of a hitting a wager that has a legacy of handsome payoffs which paid off that day like a Zenyatta win ticket. And that everyone here is fair game for razzing for a sequence that goes strict chalk. But I still should've pulled it. By this time most here, or let's say should, realize that my posts frequently have layers to them. Sometimes the discernment between razzing and blast is tight, too tight for the subject, and that is generally my fault, particularly if the subject is a woman. A woman who, along with SR Vegas and Turnbackthealarm, as well as others, is the primary reason Formblog doesn't devolve into the sinkhole Bloodhorse frequently does. People may dismiss Bill Maher as smug but he was an incisive mofo when he said a culture's decorum is measured by their women. It's possible you may think this whole thing is unnecessary as it was no big deal but it didn't sit well with me and that's why it's here. I still think collecting a single $39 P5 is a hoot but not if you have it for 5 or 10 bucks. If it looks like a chalk fest, hit it with some heft.
D More than 1 year ago
SRVegas, Thanks for nice words of encouragement. Going to reread Fornatale's book and try to sharpen my pick n pray skills. Yes, I'd love to qualify for NHC! Annie, Keeping Found Money is better idea. Figs scream 7-8 furlongs in his sweet spot. Once upon a time, 3YOs actually pointed to Met Mile. DavidM9999, Avoided bagel. Lol... My 3 best successes have all included cap horses. Great feeling indeed. Heck, capped place horse is day booster as well. Cathy, Bern Identity shipped into Delta Downs and won Jean Lafitte. I saw him run second to Goldencents in 2012 Jackpot. Yeah, Jamaican retirement makes me jealous! dylbert
mike turfmonstr More than 1 year ago
Annie learning to watch races...that is almost everything that is going on front to back isn't as hard as it seems. First you need to learn what is a good stride and what isn't.......you'll be able to tell head level...fluid......you don't she high steps or what I call the "rockinghorse effect". I recommend watching turf races because thoroughbreds have a better action over the grass...even the cheapest horses will stride out well over the surface...beautiful thing to watch. Once you see it and understand it you can literally see a field front to back and you'll notice things out of place.....something that is interfering with the flow of the race, be it a poor goer, a horse that is rank or one who is encountering trouble. Trust me you'll see horses moving while still being semi focused on the front runners I was taught that opportunity can arise from failure. You needn't explain that you only focus on the horses you bet...so does just about everyone else. It goes back to what I said the other day....some people just want to win...any kind of win....no matter the return. Because they do they focus on their horse. I know what my horse is doing in a second...I know how he's running, but to know if you have a shot you have to be able to see how everyone else is running too. I'm very good at it, but as much as it helps me it's also a curse because I'll know by the time they hit the middle of the turn if I have a chance, be my horse in front or coming from behind.....so if I know I don't have a chance why look at my horse anymore?..that point is moot. All the encouragement and screaming isn't going to make him or her win.....and I know people can't tell what a horse is doing because I'll see a horse that has no shot yet all I hear are people screaming...c'mon 5 c'mon 5....after the race is over I just look at them and say "I guess he didn't hear you"....... Once you bet a race, once the gates open focusing on one horse, the one you bet will surely tell you how he ran, but it won't tell you why he won or lost...unless you watch everything you can....including the splits....very important while you are trying to rate your horse's chances at any given point. Time.....I hear nobody has as much as I do....I say ok..whatever, because all I do all day is sit around watching replays....tell you what....watch races you didn't bet.....a race you have no interest in....keep doing that.Steve and I watch races we didn't bet all the time..hey you never know where your next winner will come from right?.....you keep watching, maybe you'll see something...watch to see what that horse does next.....you watch enough you're bound to get it eventually.....Mike A
Cathy More than 1 year ago
My MKB, Bern Identity, from many moons ago is off to a "working" beach vacation. http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/98231/bern-identity-to-stand-in-jamaica