05/09/2014 3:36PM

Potential Price Plays for Sunday

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Let's take a look at some potential price plays for Sunday.

The feature race at Belmont on Mother's Day is the Grade 1 Man O'War at 11 furlongs on the inner turf, and there's a little bit of something for everyone. GRANDEUR (#1, 4-1 ML) returns from Europe for trainer Jeremy Noseda. The gray gelding was sidelined by a fever prior to the Hong Kong Cup on December 8, but has returned to win two of three over the All-Weather surface at Lingfield. He is very capable on turf as well, with a pair of Grade 2 wins in North America in 2012. He probably will lag behind in the early stages and hope to mow these down with one late run.

IMAGINING (#2, 5-1 ML) is the prototypical Shug McGaughey/Phipps Stable performer in that he's really improved with maturity, distance, and turf. Second behind Lochte in his most recent start at Gulfstream, he had a worse trip than that foe as Lochte rode the hedge throughout while Imagining took the overland route.

FRAC DADDY (#4, 15-1 ML) recently won the Grade 3 Ben Ali Stakes over the Keeneland polytrack with a career-best 103 Beyer. He is capable on turf, but could be just a bit more effective on synthetic. He may also prefer slightly shorter distances, but is razor-sharp for good connections and will offer enticing odds. 

AMIRA'S PRINCE (#5, 5-2 ML) looks like the horse to beat for Bill Mott and John Velazquez. A good second over soft ground at Fair Grounds most recently, Amira's Prince will have no problem with the additional distance and has the tactical speed to find a good spot in the early going.

REAL SOLUTION (#6, 3-1 ML) finished behind Amira's Prince at Fair Grounds, but perhaps he needed the race - his first since the Breeders' Cup Turf - and he may not have appreciated the wet turf course. Real Solution has some ability, but I wonder if he's slightly better at 9-10 furlongs than at 11-12 panels.

LUCAYAN (#7, 6-1 ML) was forced to race closer to the pace than usual in the San Luis Rey, a race dominated on the front end by Fire With Fire, and that may have sapped his stretch kick. Expect Jose Lezcano to take him off the pace this time around and Lucayan, when he's right, boasts a strong stretch punch.

All of those horses make sense, but I will take a swing with VERTIFORMER (#3, 8-1 ML), a 7-year-old relegated to only 15 lifetime starts due to various infirmities. He enjoyed a perfect trip when third at Sam Houston on January 25 but, considering it was his first start in over a year, Vertiformer ran quite well to only lose by three-quarters of a length. He returned two months later in the Pan American Stakes at 12 furlongs, and I don't think he got the best trip. Joe Bravo seemed intent on finding the pocket just in behind the pacesetter and couldn't quite make it. Vertiformer was shuffled back along the inside on the first and third turn, raced in and among rivals when attempting to split horses swinging for home, had to alter back to the rail in upper stretch, and still rallied well to drop a neck decision to Newsdad, a salty performer that had a clear run on the outside. This is an ambitious spot, but Vertiformer looms a good price off a troubled run, and he won over good-to-soft ground in France way back when.

As for the Grade 3 Westchester Stakes, anything but a win for PALACE MALICE (#3, 1-9 ML) would be a huge disappointment for his fans and connections.

It's good to see GRACE HALL (#5, 5-2 ML) back off such a long absence in the Grade 2 Ruffian, but I can't take a short price not knowing if she can still run at all. MY WANDY'S GIRL (#2, 7-2 ML) did a good amount of work in winning the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie at Laurel (had to stay within range of the fleet La Verdad, and still ran her down despite giving five pounds), shows some bullet works leading up to the Ruffian, and stays a mile without much fuss. I'll take her over FIFTYSHADESOFGOLD (#6, 2-1 ML), who may work out a tracking trip while in the clear from the outside.

*The Vigil Stakes at Woodbine looks like one of the better betting races of the weekend. DELEGATION (#6, 5-2 ML) reportedly bled through Lasix when bombing as the 3-10 favorite in the Grade 3 Durham Cup on October 6. He is capable sprinting, but has been plying his trade at longer distances for the last year, and this spot might be a good steppingstone for future routes. He is the horse to beat, but a potential underlay off the layoff. 

I'll try to beat him with ULTIMATE DESTINY (#7, 10-1 ML), who found his killer instinct during a 2013 season that saw him rattle off a record of 8-5-2-0. Ultimate Destiny looked really good beating restricted company in the Sir Barton on December 4 as he had to alter course four wide turning for home before resolutely wearing down the pacesetters despite giving them nine pounds. He won his seasonal debut sprinting last year and should get enough pace to attack at seven furlongs.

More importantly, who do you like this weekend?  I want to know.


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Dan Illman – question – when using Formulator is it possible to print pp’s without the BSF. I may want to try a solo voyage. I think I am not speed figure dependent but why not try it for a while. By the way Mr. Baker came back at GP. Now two wins in row after the questionable “hang’ in deep stretch that would have taken down the GP Millions pool.
DavidM9999

I tried to filter them out and couldn't do it. I'll try and ask around and find out if there's a possibility. If there is, I'll let you know.

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Dan or anyone,
What happened to Albano? The last I heard he was preparing for the Peter Pan. What happened? Is he still with the Jones stable and where is he being pointed to?
Geronimo123

ALBANO took ill earlier in the week and that was enough to take him out of consideration for the Peter Pan. It's too early to tell where he'll pop up next.

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*The links to the previous blogs (and blog comments) are listed below:

http://www.drf.com/blogs/unstoppable-untapable

http://www.drf.com/blogs/kentucky-derby-non-opinions

http://www.drf.com/blogs/davona-dale

http://www.drf.com/blogs/can-hudson-landing-still-go

http://www.drf.com/blogs/tricky-elkhorn

http://www.drf.com/blogs/hail-mary-claim

http://www.drf.com/blogs/grounding-hawk

http://www.drf.com/blogs/cat-burglar-creeping-upward

http://www.drf.com/blogs/3-year-old-filly-sprinter-watch

http://www.drf.com/blogs/tale-two-wins

http://www.drf.com/blogs/beatable-favorites

http://www.drf.com/blogs/baker-cooks-calder

http://www.drf.com/blogs/keeneland-baby

http://www.drf.com/blogs/derby-prep-thoughts

http://www.drf.com/blogs/fishing-opinions

http://www.drf.com/blogs/keeneland-its-spring-again

http://www.drf.com/blogs/sprinter-rise

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You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman

All of the weekend's graded stakes videos should be available at the following link by Friday afternoon.

http://www.drf.com/events/weekend-stakes-previews-picks-analysis-more

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Congrats to Ron Z. for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling race.

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

On tab 2 you will see each HG Race we've held and they are color coded to denote if the race was run on Turf, Dirt or Poly.

We'll go with Friday's eighth race at Prairie Meadows for this week's HandiGambling event.

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

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

With so many new people attending Dan's Formblog we thought it would be a good time to update the Handigambling Guidelines and Rules as we go forward in 2014.

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 if you could spare a sentence or two outlining your handicapping angles and thought processes about wagering, it would be appreciated.

HANDIGAMBLING:

-  Please start your post with  HG or HANDIGAMBLING to better recognize and find your entry.

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

- Post your WAGER and ANALYSIS to the blog WITH YOUR NAME/OR MONIKER AT THE END OF THE 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 recognize you .

- (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.

- Separate your analysis from the wager and use the horses # 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 "Monthly Enhanced 60-Card Past Performance Plan"

As an example :

HG 2014
The speed in this race goes to  horses # 1, 4 ,6 ..Ennie , Meenie, and Mo
Since it's a sprint I don't see any closers catching them.. like # 9 Miney.
I think trainer Groucho with the #6 Mo has the best stats in this condition, route to sprint.. just a gut feeling at large odds ML 20-1

HG wager
50$ Ex box 1-6
total $100

Thanks Dan!

Harpo
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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 FRIDAY RACE IS MOST IDEAL).

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Copy of Formblog Kentucky Derby 5-3-14.xls74 KB
HGPRM.pdf185.24 KB