10/02/2009 5:36PM

Questions to Ponder, Cal Cup Beyer Pars, Breeding Stats


Some of racing's biggest stars will be on display this weekend at Belmont Park, but is there any money to be made betting them?  These and other questions need to be answered.

Music Note seems to lay over the field in the sixth race on Saturday, the Grade 1 Beldame at 1 1/8 miles.  After whipping the classy sprinters Indian Blessing and Informed Decision while playing their game in the seven-furlong Ballerina at Saratoga, shouldn't Music Note have no trouble with Unbridled Belle and Copper State over her preferred trip?

Morning Line on Music Note:  2-5

Isn't it hard to find a hole in Gio Ponti?  He's won his last four starts, all in Grade 1 competition, at distances between 1 mile and 11 furlongs over all sorts of footing.  If the course comes up wet, doesn't it give him an advantage over the game Presious Passion, a confirmed front-runner that likes to hear his feet rattle on harder surfaces? 

Morning Line on Gio Ponti:  6-5

Isn't Summer Bird better equipped to handle 1 1/4 miles than Quality Road?  What has Summer Bird done in his last few races to make you think he'll throw in a clunker now?

Morning Line on Summer Bird:  2-1

I have to admit that I don't have a very strong feeling in the Vosburgh.  I do like Fabulous Strike better than Munnings.  From a tactical standpoint, I'm expecting a repeat of the Vanderbilt where Fabulous Strike stalks the speedy Go Go Shoot from the outside before wearing him down.  But Fabulous Strike is even-money on the line.  Do you play Exactas keying Fabulous Strike while eliminating Munnings? 

If the turf is soft on Saturday, doesn't that give a slight edge to defending champion Dynaforce in the Flower Bowl?  She seems to really bring her 'A' game over wet turf while her firm performances are less than stellar.  The key to this race may be the pace.  Leamington, Dynaforce, and Criticism all have speed, and I'm interesting to see how Kent D. plays things with Dynaforce.  Does he track Leamington from the outside?  If he does, he may inherit the lead at some point, but still will likely have to fend off Criticism and then the closers.  Does he let Leamington and Criticism go, try to tuck into the pocket on the inside, hope to save ground, and get the jump on the late-kickers turning for home?  It's a fascinating race.  I'm expecting Beauty O' Gwaun to scratch, but don't count her out if she does play as she likes soft ground, adds blinkers and Lasix, and turns back to a comfortable distance.  Along with Dynaforce and Beauty O' Gwaun, I'd also strongly consider Moneycantbuymelove, a European with good recent form. 

So, how will you bet these races?  Pick 6 singling Music Note and perhaps Gio Ponti and Summer Bird?  Exactas?  Guaranteed $500,000 Pick Four? 

I want to know.

How do you rate the East Coast invaders in the Norfolk and Oak Leaf at Santa Anita on Sunday?  Lookin At Lucky looks like the real deal for Baffert, but Jung Man Scott looked really good beating New York-bred maidens sprinting on the turf two back, and was game for second in the Grade 3 With Anticipation going this distance last time out.  The lack of synthetic experience is a concern, and Jung Man Scott's only workout over the surface went in 1:17.20 for six furlongs, the slowest of 23 at the distance on September 25.  

Bickersons may be the main speed in the Oak Leaf for juvenile guru Kelly Breen, and she faced a couple of quality fillies in Hot Dixie Chick and Beautician in the Spinaway?  I think she has some ability, but can she carry her speed this distance over an unfamiliar surface?  You have to demand value to find out. Pure Class, Softly Singing, and Always a Princess look most likely to capitalize if Bickersons starts yearning for home.


Hi..what about using a different blog (Say Dan #2 HG) or something like that for all the HG wagering/results/past performances/etc...?

I don't think the higher-ups will give me the space, and I'm not savvy enough to figure out a threading system..


Dan, are there any stats available that show how many mares these horses are actually covering and what kind of stud fees that are actually getting? I'm sure some are doing okay (Smarty Jones, Afleet alex) but what about a  horse like Student Council? I'd wager he'd have to eat a bottle of Viagra a day to knock up enough mares to cover what he could have made on track.......

I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for, but The Jockey Club produces a "Report on Mares Bred" each year.  Here's the link as well as another link for different statistics:



According to the list, A.P. Indy bred 111 mares in 2008 while Daaher bred seven.


Mr. Illman,
Could be possibly get Beyer averages/year by years for the California Cup Races since they are to be run this Saturday?

California Cup Classic:

1992:  June's Reward - 102
1993:  Best Pal - 102
1994:  College Town - 102
1995:  Luthier Fever - 106
1996:  Megan's Interco - 109
1997:  Awesome Daze - 97
1998:  Budroyale - 105
1999:  Bagshot - 106
2000:  Sky Jack - 110
2001:  Irisheyesareflying - 105
2002:  Calkins Road - 93
2003:  Tizbud - 101
2004:  Cozy Guy - 108
2005:  McCann's Mojave - 104
2006:  Texcess - 103
2007:  Bold Chieftain - 96
2008:  Mr. Chairman - 96

Beyer average:  102.64

California Cup Mile:

1992:  Blaze O' Brien - 103
1993:  Megan's Interco - 106
1994:  Blaze O' Brien - 100
1995:  Megan's Interco - 106
1996:  Half Mamoon - 104
1997:  Gastown - 100
1998:  Indiahoma - 96
1999:  Native Desert - 101
2000:  Road To Slew - 100
2001:  Native Desert - 99
2002:  Turkish Prize - 101
2003:  Lennyfromalibu - 100
2004:  A to the Z - 103
2005:  Drake's Victory - 99
2006:  Epic Power - 95
2007:  Unusual Suspect - 95
2008:  Swift Winds - 102

Beyer average:  100.58

California Cup Distaff:

1992:  Bel's Starlet - 100
1993:  Miss L Attack - 99
1994:  Nannetta - 88
1995:  Klassy Kim - 105
1996:  Cat's Cradle - 99
1997:  Seattle Carla - 95
1998:  Bountiful Dreamer - 94
1999:  Chichim - 94
2000:  Chichim - 93
2001:  Jeweled Pirate - 95
2002:  Lil Sister Stich - 90
2003:  Blind Ambition - 97
2004:  Our Mango - 94
2005:  Tempting Date - 93
2006:  River's Prayer - 93
2007:  Gentle Charmer - 93
2008:  Lightmyfirebaby  - 94

Beyer average:  95.05

California Cup Matron:

1992:  Lovely Habit - 100
1993:  Sensational Eyes - 103
1994:  Glass Ceiling - 89
1995:  Yearly Tour - 100
1996:  Belle's Flag - 93
1997:  Fun In Excess - 91
1998:  Belle's Flag - 102
1999:  Feverish - 97
2000:  Queenie Belle - 105
2001:  Cee Dreams - 96
2002:  Super High - 93
2003:  Royally Chosen - 97
2004:  Dream of Summer - 103
2005:  Dream of Summer - 99
2006:  Somethinaboutlaura - 89
2007:  Romance Is Diane - 99
2008:  Famous Ruby - 77

Beyer average:  96.05

California Cup Sprint:

1992:  Answer Do - 108
1993:  Softshoe Sure Shot - 107
1994:  Uncaged Fury - 98
1995:  Wild Gold - 110
1996:  Testimony - 105
1997:  Red - 110
1998:  Big Jag - 103
1999:  Love That Red - 114
2000:  Full Moon Madness - 113
2001:  Ceeband - 111
2002:  Unlimited Value - 106
2003:  Green Team - 110
2004:  Areyoutalkintome - 108
2005:  Jet West - 103
2006:  Da Stoops - 102
2007:  Bilo - 96
2008:  Tribesman  - 103

Beyer average:  106.29

California Cup Juvenile:

1992:  Boating Pleasure - 82
1993:  Flying Sensation - 93
1994:  Fandarel Dancer - 89
1995:  Cavonnier - 91
1996:  Carmen's Baby - 81
1997:  Ex MarksThe Cop - 93
1998:  Sunday Stroll - 77
1999:  Spacelink - 89
2000:  Proud Tower - 105
2001:  Yougottawanna - 91
2002:  Crackup - 82
2003:  He's The Rage - 77
2004:  Texcess - 88
2005:  Brite Maneuvers - 80
2006:  Freesgood - 75
2007:  Sierra Sunset - 86
2008:  Lucky Primo - 77

Beyer average:  85.64

California Cup Juvenile Fillies:

1992:  Incindress - 82
1993:  Private Persuasion - 78
1994:  Fabulouspersuasion - 81
1995:  Wheatly Special - 89
1996:  Rexy Sexy - 81
1997:  Career Collection - 93
1998:  Lacquaria - 96
1999:  Cover Gal - 77
2000:  Euro Empire - 84
2001:  Lady George - 74
2002:  Summer Wind Dancer - 76
2003:  House of Fortune - 91
2004:  Lady Truffles - 76
2005:  Bai and Bai - 73
2006:  Romance is Diane - 73
2007:  Runforthemoneybaby - 81
2008:  Saucey Evening - 79

Beyer average:  81.41

California Cup Distance:

1992:  Southern Truce - 98
1993:  Mountains of Lune - 82
1994:  Melrose Wine - 90
1995:  Hillwalker - 84
1996:  Miss Lady Bug - 95
1997:  Not Run
1998:  Social Noel - 85
1999:  Lazy Slusan - 80
2000:  Shivareen Sky - 85
2001:  Lil Sister Stich - 85
2002:  Nicole's Pursuit - 87
2003:  Moscow Burning - 93
2004:  Test the Waters - 93
2005:  Moscow Burning - 93
2006:  Special Heather - 86
2007:  Imagine - 92
2008:  Distant Victory - 86

Beyer average:  88.37

California Cup Starter:

1992:  His Legacy - 95
1993:  Whisk Spree - 94
1994:  His Legacy - 94
1995:  Alki Joe - 93
1996:  Reality Changes - 97
1997:  Ready Eddie - 95
1998:  Count Con - 88
1999:  J. R. Holmes - 87
2000:  White Cloud - 93
2001:  As We Know It - 96
2002:  Noble Kinsman - 90
2003:  Fade to Blue - 88
2004:  Ring of Friendship - 89
2005:  Time to Honor - 91
2006:  Phar to Win - 84
2007:  Lil Mitch - 89
2008:  Guts - 80

Beyer average:  90.76

California Cup Starter Sprint:

1997:  Native Russian - 94
1998:  Slews Royal Son - 97
1999:  Irrelevant - 94
2000:  Heightenedawareness - 99
2001:  Rio Oro - 107
2002:  Giovannetti - 99
2003:  Coconut Mango - 91
2004:  Ata Olympio - 98
2005:  Bordonaro - 111
2006:  Wind Water - 92
2007:  Switzerland - 96
2008:  Kool Comic - 100

Beyer average:  98.16

Hope this helps.


Enjoy the great racing, and I'm looking forward to meeting some of you at Woodbine on Sunday.



jim tully More than 1 year ago
Brad Free's article on 6/11. I knew I had read it somewhere. http://www.drf.com/drfNewsArticle.do?NID=104586 If you want to bet Summer Bird over the pro ride, be my guest. As handicappers, we are examiners of evidence and I have no evidence before me to conclude SB can handle Santa Anita's surface. That alone would make me hesitant to back him against a field that has experience over synthetic. But throw in the evidence we do have, that a trainer(and possibly the best in CA right now) with 30 years experience in horse flesh gave up on him, that speaks volumes to me. HUGE RED FLAG!!I can't put my money on him and HOPE he likes the surface. Just can't do it. I don't know who he beat, but Mastercraftsman quietly had a prep over a synthetic this last week. And looked good doing it. It didn't look like he exerted himself so he should be fresh and lively for the Classic. Perhaps our Euro correspondents can weigh in on the performance and field quality. As for HOTY, I'm with C. If Rachel doesn't win, I'll never bet or watch a single race again. I'll take up fishing. Summer Bird has had a phenomenal year, I don't want to degrade a great horse but what Rachel has done is UNPRECEDENTED. And she didn't just nose out a heads up victory, she beat SB by 6 lengths. He was prepping for the Travers? Then I'll contend she was prepping for the Woodward.
C More than 1 year ago
Sea The Stars is terrific. Normally, the Arc-Classic double is very tough to pull off, but that's due to the fact that there's usually a 3 week or 4 week gap. This year, there's 5 weeks. I'm not sure what to say about his chances on ProRide. Good, I guess??? I'd hate to base such a conclusion on how other horses did last year. If he doesn't run a lick, I'd be equally unsurprised, which is why I'll be sitting it out again. Explain Youmzain. Second in the Arc 3 years in a row, always right there at the top level, yet has won only 1 race in the last 3 years.
slewofdamascus More than 1 year ago
I don't know, C, it doesn't appear to me that SB is tailing off. He looked like he could have gone around again at the same pace. I'll agree wholeheartedly that the "race" itself, marred by the conditions, was not great. Part of the reason I came away utterly convinced in this horse's ability is the manner in which he handled the conditions. I thought he made a decisive statement. To me, HOY isn't always decided upon by who would beat who, but also by the significance of his or her season. RA is safely home, imo, and will be rightfully crowned HOY. The magnitude of her achievment is pretty much unparalelled. It deserves HOY recognition, because we aren't likely to ever see a filly do the things she did (as a dirt horse in America) again, in our lifetimes. That said, right now, imo, if RA and SB met at 10 furlongs it would be a toss up, at the very least, and with the odds likely to be higher on SB, I'd have to go his way. Jmo, of course, and I think everyone knows my strong feelings about RA, but I truly believe that SB has brought his ability into that stratosphere. He's a pretty big dude now, he looked like a 4yo Curlin in the stretch (in terms of physique, not running style), but unlike Curlin, he's got speed, and he's not likely to be far off the pace of anyone. With his high cruising speed and stamina and physique all coming together, he's a tough cookie, who may need older and better to be truly tested. He's one of the few we've seen who really seems right at home in the 10-12 furlong department, who also possesses tactical speed (a key designation). I just hope they plan to race at 4. The synthetic question is something else all together. I agree with John C that maturity can make a difference to any early misgivings that Sadler had. However, one would certainly like to hear a positive buzz about any future works over the pro-ride. I can't discount entirely Sadler's early trepidation, but I wouldn't draw a line through him based on something that was light years from where he is today as a very mature 3yo. If they don't go in the BC Classic we'll have the connection's definitive answer.
Kyri More than 1 year ago
Does anyone have updates on GRAZEN or (I think) BLACKBRIAR? I was gone all weekend, just got back last night and watched a bit of the races on DVR... going to have to finish catching up tonight. Happy to see most of the results, though the Turf Classic was... bizarre. Very happy to see my (female, self-proclaimed) MKB filly Always a Princess finish second in G1 in only her second lifetime start. But it was unfortunate to see two horses pulled up in the stretch of the Cal Cup Classic. The second horse didn't even get a call or a TVG mention, because Grazen was the big-name horse, but I think that it was Blackbriar. Any updates?
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
vicstu Here's a bit of what Calvin had written on Sea The Stars...before his Arc win. http://classicchampionthoroughbreds.blogspot.com/2009/10/horse-racing-world-looks-to-sea-stars.html SR Vegas
Mike A More than 1 year ago
C, One more thing I just remebered. As I said who knows how SB will perform on the Pro ride. As much as I like him it's a big question mark. I watched replays of Sea The Stars races, quite impressive, if that form carries over to the pro ride, if they decide to go there, and to me that's a big if, he's the horse to beat hands down. But lets look at it this way, just as a scenario. SB takes to the pro ride better than folks believe he will and Sea the Stars runs a cut below his best. SB wins by the racing God's luck. The Haskell will become moot IMO, it was only his 5-6th race over all and coming off a 2 month layoff. Alot of voters will not give it as much weight, especially since SB beat the same horses RA did in the Woodward. SB wins the Classic against Sea the Stars and that's a BIG if, he's HOY. IMO, Mike A
Mike A More than 1 year ago
Steve, I've no doubt that there are runners who will make an easy transion from dirt to synthetic and Syn to dirt. For now though I'm trying to get a handle on it since it isn't something that happens often enough. I'm starting to keep records for both and while I'm sure it will take time, as you say it's a playable angle. I wouldn't use Indian Blessing as an example though, she's was weened on the dirt and is better on it. As far as awesome Gem....who knows maybe being kept on dirt is what that horse needs to get over the hump. You're right though it is an angle worth persuing and I am. C, Of course you know I disagree with you about SB's performance. Yes it wasn't visually impressive to some, but the fact that he was galloping around, never asked for any real run is telling also. QR may have been spinning his wheels as JR says, but the fact remains he was giving it all he could and SB just loped on by. Kent had QR measured and no one was coming, there was no reason to open up. I think the same race on a dry track and everyone agrees, but with the slop...it will remain a race of opinions. As far as the Classic? who knows, they mentioned as far back as the Derby that Sadler said he didn't get over the pro ride well and thought it better he run on dirt. Of course alot has happened since then, but we'll see. I haven't got a handle on who will run well on it or not coming from dirt only races. I reckon we'll see one way or the other. A quick note on Gio Ponti and KK. I've given Gio Ponti his due, he was the best turf horse we had, that said I've seen some pretty good turf horses over the years and using them as a gauge I never rated Gio Ponti high on my list. While I would tend to throw out the race Saturday as anything can happen on a track like that, IMO he's be hard pressed to be better than third in the breeders cup turf. KK, I bet this horse when he ran second to Pyro. Well I keyed him in my exacta'a I should say. I was apprenhensive because I'm not a big fan of G. Saez and in a big field even more so, but I did have him second and he finished second. Of corse I didn't think Pyro could win either. That said, and I know it's been mentioned that the track wasn't tiring Saturday, but I disagree, those horses Go GO Shoot and FS run 1:08's on a good day and 1:09 for fun. KK won in a 1:10 flat. 10,000.00 clmer's ran 1:09 and 4 in the 1st race going 6 1/2f. KK won because of the track IMO. I don't believe he could beat FS on a fast track on his best day,I don't care who's training him now. Mike A
Calvin L. Carter More than 1 year ago
vicstu, I thought that Sea The Stars ran a fantastic race and his win in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe establishes him as one of the all-time great Classic Champion Thoroughbreds. Where he will eventually land in regard to his historical ranking of all-time greats, I can not say just yet because in my opinion and a lot depends on if he continues to race as a 4-year-old. If he continues to race and win races next year, then I would say that he has to move to the top tier of the list. Personally, I would have preferred for Sea The Stars to compete in and win the St. Leger and sweep the Triple Crown. The great Nijinsky is the last Triple Crown winner to compete in the Arc and he come up short barely losing to Sassafras. So, I don’t know how much of a factor skipping the St. Leger contributed to Sea The Stars being fresh for his Arc triumph. However, for me, another interesting angle to Sea The Stars Arc victory is that he is a grandson of Danzig and for some time now pedigree authority Jack Werk has been blogging about the worldwide influence of the Danzig sire line. “Danzig is the most influential sire line worldwide, because of Danehill’s influence in both Europe and Australia and Green Desert’s influence in Europe,” said Werk in his September 13 blog. http://werk2.werkhorse.com/wordpress/index.php/2009/09/13/the-danzig-dynasty/ That has lot of implications regarding your voluminous posts about Big Brown and Hard Spun who are both descendents of the Danzig sire line.
turfruler More than 1 year ago
Last year I entered Oaktree’s Survivor contest. On the first day I played Rebellion in the Morvich Handicap. He came in fourth and I was eliminated. I wasn’t the only one. Disappointed is not the word to describe how I felt not getting a placement in the money to survive the first day of the contest. I took it in stride knowing the next year I could play again. Three months later I checked my e-mail address where I listed my contact information and found out that they had a 2nd Survivor contest. Living in purgatory is hell. This year I entered Survivor and survived the first day by playing Century Park. He won and I was eligible to continue the next day. Was I prepared? I had set aside the whole day to handicap and make my play. When I arrived at the university where I can get computer access I found out that I could not print copies until 4:00 pm or 5:00 pm. Was I worried? No. I was not worried because I could choose any race to make my play. Santa Anita is on the West Cost and I live on the East Coast. I got my prints about 4:14 EST and chose the races to handicap. Now get this I viewed the contest race at Santa Anita which was the Norfolk Stakes and made a pick with out handicapping at 3 o’clock. It Tiz was my selection because of the odds and who knows in a 2 year old race. After handicapping the four races I picked to choose for the Survivor contest I was ready to play. Entering the website I was informed that no more selections would be accepted for the day. I glanced at the rules, I played last year for one day, and I was excited about continuing in the game. But I did not remember, I was blinded, I live in purgatory….that you had to make your selections ten minutes before the first post at 1:00 o’clock West Coast time. Whether I chose It Tiz or Crisis of Spirit or Indiara or Blind Luck or Always A Princess or Softly Singing or even Looking At Lucky…Alfarabi…Gallant Gent…John Scott….Jung Man Scott….was MOOT at this point. The time was 5:49 Eastern Standard Time.
Mike A More than 1 year ago
Jim Tully, Tom your post at 4:44 PM EXACTLY. Steve, Looks like you spoke to soon, not to be sarcastic. Jung Man Scott was injured in the Norfolk, a Condylar fracture in the right front. Also the horse he dead heated with also sustained a condylar fracture but in a hind leg. The good news is they should both race again as neither fracture. Grazen on Saturday, Blackbriar in the same race. Seems you should have waited a bit. Mike A