06/25/2014 3:34PM

Royal Ascot review


Not surprisingly, there were some wonderful performances at the prestigious Royal Ascot meeting.

Here are my top four:


TORONADO kicked off the meeting with a professional effort in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at a straight mile. I don't believe this was the strongest edition of the Queen Anne as the second-choice, VERRAZANO, is still seeking his first victory on grass, but Toronado did everything asked of him in his first start since last summer.

The son of High Chaparral won his first four appearances before finishing fourth in the 2,000 Guineas and second in the St. James's Palace Stakes behind Dawn Approach. He received a 129 Racing Post Rating after taking the measure of that rival in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes on July 31, 2013, but emerged from a last-place finish in the subsequent Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes with a breathing problem that required surgery and knocked him out for the remainder of the season.

Toronado showed no rust in the Queen Anne, moving smoothly throughout before seeing off Verrazano in the final furlong. He may appear in the Sussex on July 30 with an eye to the Breeders' Cup Mile.


I expected THE FUGUE to put on a show in the Dubai Duty Free on March 29 (http://www.drf.com/blogs/looking-some-luck), but I was hoping for more of a major motion picture blockbuster than underrehearsed dinner theatre. To be fair, she suffered a cut right hind hoof which contributed to her dull performance.

Still, The Fugue needed a good run in the 10-furlong Prince of Wales's Stakes in order to regain some of her lost luster, and she came through in style for John Gosden and William Buick. The Fugue was always well-positioned and she responded when Buick asked for her best inside the final two furlongs. In winning, she gained a measure of revenge against MAGICIAN, who defeated The Fugue in last year's Breeders' Cup Turf.

This was a high-quality renewal with Magician, Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf heroine DANK, Arc de Triomphe winner TREVE and Dewhurst Stakes champion PARISH HALL the Grade/Group 1 winners in the lineup.

A logical next step for The Fugue would be to race in the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown on July 5 with another Breeders' Cup appearance (either in the Turf or the Filly and Mare Turf) considered very likely in the fall.


KINGMAN received the highest Racing Post Rating (128) for the entire meeting, and he looked powerful running over NIGHT OF THUNDER in the Group 1 St. James's Palace Stakes at one mile.

A Juddmonte homebred, Kingman has plenty of speed in his pedigree as a son of Invincible Spirit out of a French 1,000 Guineas winner. He's prevailed in five of six starts with the lone defeat coming at the hooves of Night of Thunder in the 2,000 Guineas. Overall, he's beaten Night of Thunder in three of their four meetings and Kingman looked strong winning the Irish 2,000 Guineas by five lengths last month.

In the St. James's Palace Stakes, Kingman seemed a bit green when drifting in once clear. Otherwise, it was a true Group 1 effort.

It's possible that Kingman will next tackle Toronado in what would be a mouth-watering Sussex Stakes showdown


I can't find a video replay on youtube so you'll just have to take my word that TELESCOPE was awesome in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at 1 1/2 miles.

A 4-year-old son of Galileo out of an unraced half-sister to Dubai World Cup winner Moon Ballad, Telescope has not been out of the exacta from eight lifetime starts. He won his second outing at two going a flat mile at Newmarket and was considered one of the winter book favorites for the Epsom Derby.

Pastern and shin issues kept him out of the classics, however, and Telescope didn't make his seasonal debut until July. He only raced three times last year with his big win coming in the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes going 12 furlongs at York.

The Hardwicke wasn't a top-class event. It featured mostly Group 2 and Group 3 types with the off-form Grade 1 winner Joshua Tree dismissed at 33-1 (he finished seventh). Still, Telescope dispatched them with ease in the straight to win by seven lengths under Ryan Moore.

The key to future success lies in the ground. Telescope needs firm going to do his best. If there is give in the course, he isn't as brilliant.

We'll find out if Telescope classes up when he competes in the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on July 26. Considering his affinity for firm going, he looks like a sleeper for the Breeders' Cup Turf.


Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 6/16/14 - 6/22/14:

1. STORMIN MONARCHO - 104 - OC 65k/C -N - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Delaware
2. MAGIC MARK - 100 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - Santa Anita
3. SUNBEAN - 99 - Evangeline Mile Stakes - 1 Mile - Evangeline
4. GRAND ARCH - 98 - King Edward Stakes (G2-C) - 1 Mile (Turf) - Woodbine
4. HEITAI - 98 - Evangeline Turf Sprint Stakes - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - Evangeline
6. PERFECT TO PLEASE - 97 - OC 50k/N2M -N - 1 Mile - Lone Star
7. FALLING SKY - 96 - Don LeVine Memorial Handicap - 7 Furlongs - Parx
7. OL WINEDRINKER WHO - 96 - San Juan County Commissioners Handicap - 1 1/8 Miles - SunRay
9. GOLDEN RIFLE - 95 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs (Turf) - Belmont
9. M DICATION - 95 - OC 30k/C -N - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Evangeline
11. EXPLORING - 94 - OC 30k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - Monmouth
11. HOT STONES - 94 - Bed O'Roses Handicap (G3) - 7 Furlongs - Belmont
11. MAGICAL MOMENT - 94 - Alw 10000s - 1 Mile - Churchill
11. RAINBOW HEIR - 94 - Alw 53900N2X - 6 Furlongs - Monmouth
11. TIZCANO - 94 - Md Sp Wt 36k - 4 1/2 Furlongs - Gulfstream
16. GO APPEAL - 93 - Clm c-50000 - 7 Furlongs - Belmont
16. MISTER MARTI GRAS - 93 - OC 100k/C -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Arlington
16. OUIMET - 93 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - Churchill
16. SOUND EFFECT - 93 - OC 40k/N2X - 1 1/8 Miles (Polytrack) - Arlington
16. THE PIZZA MAN - 93 - Black Tie Affair Handicap - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Arlington
16. WINCHILL - 93 - Alw 37400N2X - 1 Mile - Parx
22. ALL INCLUDED - 92 - Md Sp Wt 75k - 1 Mile (Turf) - Belmont
22. HIDDEN CANYON - 92 - Alw 27200N3X - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Charles Town
22. HOME RUN KITTEN - 92 - Singletary Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - Santa Anita
22. JOJO WARRIOR - 92 - Summertime Oaks (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - Santa Anita
22. ROYAL CURRIER - 92 - Hockessin Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Delaware

*Stormin Monarcho's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post

*Go Appeal was claimed for $50,000 by trainer Eddie Kenneally from David Jacobson.


*The links to the five most recent blogs (and blog comments) are listed below:







You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman


Congrats to edb 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.

edb selects Friday's ninth at Woodbine for 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 "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!




Copy of Formblog EVD Turf Sprint 6-21-14.xls73.5 KB
HGWO.pdf199.68 KB
Jackson Jackson More than 1 year ago
Bernard Downes - If you're posting stats you should be careful to post them correctly. Otherwise I'd say no it's not my responsibility to inform anybody about BlackSea-Bird or Ribot . Of course I had no responsibility to mention Australia is a bsb 1 . That was just my generosity of spirit :) JJ
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
JJ ...very creative bit of poetry :) SR Vegas
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Bernard My beloved RAH and I also noted that the USA were more defense than offense. I wouldn't even surmise why they were not more aggressive, or in attack mode. He opined they kept trying to set up for the perfect shot. I keep saying , forget perfect ...we need attempts ! I will continue to enjoy the action this weekend. Good luck to Brazil and Argentina. I'll root for the underdog Costa Rica.. I still have family there :) Cheers! SR Vegas
Bernard Downes More than 1 year ago
Rodney, Yes you do need close competition to have a proper "golden era". I was a big fan of Mill Reef; and I never saw anyone ride Newmarket and Epsom better than Piggott. In the World Cup I bet Brazil and Argentina well before the first match. I wouldn't change my mind now, but neither team convinces me. Fred and Hulk provide very poor support to Neymar; whilst Messi is almost the entire goal threat for Argentina. But both teams must surely do better. Best Regards - Bernard Downes
Rodney More than 1 year ago
Bernard, When you mentioned Mill Reef, immediately you also think of Brigadier Gerard. One thing I've always pondered, imagine if Nijinsky had been in the same crop. Mill Reef was so popular, smallish horse, but what a fighter. Lewis, Piggott and Mercer, a golden era. Just looked on Oddschecker...World Cup betting, think I'm going to go for Argentina to win, how about you? SR, As always, nice to hear from you, and thanks for your post. I know there are many people interested in UK racing on here. Soo much to look forward too...right through to our big 2yo races in the Autumn. First up is the Eclipse on Saturday at Sandown.
pat gavin More than 1 year ago
JJ. Love the raspberries that you make at every turn and I generally agree with your view.. And again with all things historical this next statement is impossible to prove. The Arc/Breeder's Cup double would have been completed in the VERY first year if that year was the year PRIOR to the 1st running. NO ONE was beating All Along in the fall of 1983. You can say different....but you would be wrong. Saw her at the long lost and lamented DC International, she was spectacular. Keep after them. World Cup. I played soccer in HS. I was a top notch athlete(played college lacrosse on a nationally ranked team), but soccer was difficult for me due to my lack of foot speed. I scored a good number of goals...for two reasons 1. I would capitalize on the mistakes of guys trying to send the ball down field and mis-kick it,.2. One of my cardinal rules of ANY sport is to NOT run to the ball, always be on the opposite post of where the ball is and crash the goal when the opportunity allowed it....and always leaving enough space to not cut off your angle. My view of the American Team is that they never allowed themselves the proper angle. My coaches called me a "hanger out guy". I did "hang out' on the opposite post and it was amazing how many balls came my way. I was an excellent finisher in both lacrosse and soccer.....US needs some guys who hang on the opposite post. And as an aside in lacrosse I would always take my time in close.........if you miss you get creamed, if you make than everyone stops!!!. No one likes to get hit....much more fun to hit someone.
Bernard Downes More than 1 year ago
SR Vegas, Commiserations on the USA defeat. But why oh why did the USA only really go for it when they were 2-0 down? They showed in those last few frantic minutes that they had the attacking weapons to really hurt the Belgium defence. Best Regards - Bernard Downes
Bernard Downes More than 1 year ago
Jackson Jackson, To continue with your legal angle, there is no need to prove the Arc "innocent". Your accusation would have been thrown out as insane, long before it ever got to court. I am not betting today and had a few minutes to kill, and was going to give a shout to some of the many great Arc winners in recent years, but then I decided that would only give you some more easy fodder to rubbish. Instead I found myself wondering aloud whether there is a semi serious point to be made here. In any forum / blog there is bound to be a great range of expertise and experience of a given subject. Do the more experienced posters have a duty not to misinform more inexperienced posters? It is not a question of sophistication, the names of old time greats like Ribot, Sea Bird, Mill Reef and Allez France will mean more to some than to others. Or is it open season, and every man and woman for themselves. Best Regards - Bernard Downes P.S. I am not a killjoy, and I am not a great fan of censorship, but perhaps Black Jack and some veteran posters could comment on this point.
Rodney More than 1 year ago
Black Jack, Jackson, Black Sea Bass, Kreskin, Whichever hat you're wearing today. Nothing whatsoever ever to back up your claim ? Far from hillbillies as you call them. They are very astute and can read and note, you have no defense of your ridiculous Arc claim. End of story old son.
Jackson Jackson More than 1 year ago
Yep some races just ain't clean so you gotta use your bean if you wanna make some green Doc Sartin ...know what I mean ?