10/15/2014 3:54PM

Quick Sycamore and Valley View thoughts


Weather permitting, there are a couple of nice turf stakes races at Keeneland over the next two days.

On Thursday, long-distance runners take center stage in the Grade 3 Sycamore at 1 1/2 miles. The morning line favorite is #9 UNITARIAN, a Pulpit colt trained by Todd Pletcher that won his most recent start over this course and distance. Simple, right?

Not so fast.

That last race came on April 25, Unitarian was 18-1, and the one-run closer now must tote 125 lbs off a long layoff in a paceless race. He seems to have UNDERLAY written all over him, although I wouldn't be surprised if he drifts upward in price as we get closer to post time. He can win, but doesn't seem worth the hassle at 4 to 1 or so.

Pletcher's "other" entrant, #4 RED RIFLE, is the preferred play, and it appears that Todd found the Giant's Causeway gelding's niche in longer-distance events. Last time out, Red Rifle stretched out to 12 furlongs for the first time, and Red Rifle utilized his good tactical speed en route to a pace-pressing score.

Again, there doesn't appear to be much speed in the Sycamore and John Velazquez could find himself loose on an easy lead. Red Rifle has run his three fastest races since being gelded, and he might be very tough to run down in the stretch.


Friday's HandiGambling race (see below for past performances) is the Grade 3 Valley View Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles.

It's a fantastic betting race with a full field plus two also-eligibles. The fact that the morning line favorite, #12 DARING DANCER, is listed as a tepid 4 to 1 shows the Valley View's depth.

Although #9 GOLDY ESPONY didn't do much in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks on July 5, her sole North American appearance to date, I have a feeling that there's more in the tank. According to Formulator, trainer Chad Brown is 7 for 20 (35%, $3.85 ROI) over the past five years with turf routers off 61 to 180 day layoffs in graded stakes.

There wasn't much pace in the Belmont Oaks and Goldy Espony was forced to make a premature move along the inside on the backstretch in order to secure a loose pocket position. The late kick wasn't there, but Chad has had about three months to figure this gal out. It's possible that the distance is a bit short for Goldy Espony, but she fits very well against these, and is worth a play if close to her 6 to 1 morning line.


Looking ahead, I'm interested in seeing what WEALTH TO ME does in the upcoming weeks. Thrice stakes-placed going long on synthetic earlier in his career, the 7-year-old gelding broke through with a 98-Beyer performance in a $35,000 starter allowance at nine furlongs on dirt at Belmont last week.

Making his third start since being haltered for $20,000 at Saratoga by David Jacobson, Wealth to Me tracked favored pacesetter TIZMAS, blew by that one on the turn, and drew away to prevail by 13 lengths in 1:49.83.

Wealth to Me sure looked good, but he was only facing two rivals in an off-the-turf race (he was a Main Track Only entrant). In his previous 37 starts, he never ran faster than a 91 Beyer. Perhaps Jacobson has discovered what makes the gelding tick, but it's fair to question if Wealth to Me truly is a "98" animal. Expect to see him in another starter allowance or even a high-priced claiming race (he's probably fit for $62.5K).


Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 10/7/14 - 10/13/14:

1. LEGENDARY (GB) - 103 - Knickerbocker Stakes (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 11Oct14-8BEL
2. VALID - 99 - Eight Miles West Stakes - 1 Mile - 11Oct14-4GPW
3. COALPORT - 98 - Alw 57801C - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 9Oct14-7KEE
3. GLICKMAN - 98 - OC 25k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - 13Oct14-8PRX
3. WEALTH TO ME - 98 - Alw 35000s - 1 1/8 Miles - 12Oct14-1BEL
6. DAWLY - 97 - OC c-80k/C - 1 Mile - 11Oct14-4BEL
7. BAY OF PLENTY - 96 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 Mile - 8Oct14-8BEL
7. DAY OF FURY - 96 - Md Sp Wt 57k - 1 1/16 Miles - 13Oct14-3SA
7. READY FOR RYE - 96 - Md Sp Wt 75k - 6 Furlongs - 11Oct14-6BEL
7. VALIANT CITY - 96 - OC 50k/C -N - 1 1/16 Miles - 10Oct14-7HAW
11. FRONTIER WARRIOR - 95 - Clm 7000(8-7) - 6 Furlongs - 13Oct14-2LRL
11. NOBLE PRINCE - 95 - OC 16k/N1X -N - 6 Furlongs - 11Oct14-9GPW
11. STAR DESTINY - 95 - Clm c-5000N2Y - 5 Furlongs - 8Oct14-4DEL
14. DREAMS CUT SHORT - 94 - Alw 38000NC - 1 Mile (Turf) - 12Oct14-8GPW
14. LYNX - 94 - Alw 46000N1X - 1 1/16 Miles - 11Oct14-3PRX
16. ASSET INFLATION - 93 - OC 40k/N2X -N - 7 Furlongs (Turf) - 10Oct14-8BEL
16. CLASSIC POINT - 93 - Punkin Pie Stakes - 7 Furlongs - 13Oct14-7BEL
16. EASTER GIFT - 93 - OC 80k/C -N - 1 1/16 Miles - 12Oct14-8BEL
16. FREE AS A BIRD - 93 - Buffalo Trace Franklin County Stakes - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 10Oct14-9KEE
16. LA TIA - 93 - Athenia Stakes (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 12Oct14-9BEL
16. ONLY IN AMERICA - 93 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - 8Oct14-7KEE
22. APEX - 92 - Alw 12500s - 7 Furlongs - 10Oct14-1BEL
22. BITTY KITTY - 92 - Alw 61950N3X - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 11Oct14-6KEE
22. CROWN QUEEN - 92 - Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 11Oct14-9KEE
22. KULIK LODGE - 92 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 10Oct14-7SA
22. LORD NELSON - 92 - Speakeasy Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 13Oct14-7SA
22. WARONTHEHOMEFRONT - 92 - OC20k/SAL15k - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 8Oct14-2RP

*The lifetime past performances for LEGENDARY are available at the bottom of this blog post.

*DAWLY was claimed for $80,000 by trainer Bruce Brown from Rudy Rodriguez.

*STAR DESTINY was claimed for $5,000 by trainer Scott Lake from John Rigattieri.


Dan. Could the Race of the Day not stay up for say a week, instead of disappearing about as soon as the race is over? This way novices and old guys like me can look at the results, go back to the Form and learn something. Especially for tracks we do not play and will never play if we can’t get a handle on them. Then we might even buy a Form from DRF and wager on DRF bets if we had some confidence. Isn't that what DRF wants? MONEYMONEYMONEYMONEYMONEY.

It's a great idea and I'll pass it along.


Dan or anyone else,
on saturday october 4 in the 10th race Jacqueline Falk was both the trainer and rider of mighty one who won and paid a nice 50$, I can think of no other occasion in recent memory where a winner was both trained and ridden by the same person on the nyra circuit. It was a clever ride by the way keeping the favorite on the unfavorable inside for the stretch run. Anyone recall the last time a horse won at nyra ridden by its trainer?

Falk pulled off the trick last year at Belmont with BLONDE BLITZEN. Clyde Martin was the trainer/jockey of FANCY RUNNER when that horse won at Aqueduct and Belmont in 2007. I'm sure there have been more, but I can't think of them off the top of my head.


The talk of turn of foot brought Megahertz to my mind too. I don't know what the actual times were, but visually she was exhilarating. The fact that she was really tiny made it seem even more dramatic. I'd love to see her lifetime PP's too, Dan.

Her lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.


Can you please post the lifetime records for Wise Dan and Obviously.

Their lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.


Dan – would you be so kind as to post Winter Memories past performances so the BLOG that want to incorporate come home times in their regimen can see how the come time for that race is calculated.

Her past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.


You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.

The video previews for most of this weekend's graded stakes action will be available later in the week at the following link:



Congrats to Fijiking 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.

Let's go with Friday's Valley View Stakes from Keeneland as this week's exercise.


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.


-  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 "60-Card Quarterly Formulator 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!




Legendary.pdf806.17 KB
MEGAHERTZ.pdf687.44 KB
WinterMemories.pdf641.55 KB
Copy of Formblog QE !! 10-12-14.xls77 KB