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By Dan Illman
It's easy to be excited about SHARED BELIEF's future prospects after the undefeated gelding toyed with a solid group of juveniles in the Grade 1 Cash Call Futurity last Saturday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Not only was Shared Belief fast (106 Beyer, the highest 2-year-old number since Uncle Mo prevailed in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Juvenile), but he looked like a seasoned pro despite the Cash Call being his first start around two turns and only his third race overall. The son of Candy Ride broke sweetly under Corey Nakatani and rated comfortably off a longshot pacesetter through splits of 22.86 and 46.59. Leaving the backstretch, Gary Stevens, the rider of CANDY BOY, made a decisive move to the front, looping Shared Belief in the process. Many young horses would have gotten very aggressive at that juncture, but Shared Belief remained under Nakatani's control. He waited for another half-furlong before going after that rival and he blew Candy Boy's doors off turning for home. From there, it was just a question of how far (5 3/4 lengths).
Candy Ride handled 10 furlongs without a problem when defeating the good Medaglia d'Oro in the 2003 Pacific Classic, and he's sired Big 'Cap winner Misremembered at the 10-furlong distance. The dam was eased in her lone start around two turns and is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Key Phrase, a filly that won her first five starts before being beaten in her lone try going long. The bottom of the pedigree may be geared to speed more than stamina.
While Derby dreaming is certainly premature (heck, Shared Belief has yet to race on dirt and he still must prove that longer distances are within his scope), Shared Belief's performance stirred the passions of many racing fans. The maligned juvenile division has asserted itself over the last couple of months with babies like Shared Belief, HONOR CODE, NEW YEAR'S DAY and HAVANA showing good potential. We're bound to see some more nice ones in the weeks to come.
Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures (12/9/13 - 12/15/13):
1. SHARED BELIEF - 106 - Cash Call Futurity (G1) - 1 1/16 Miles (Cushion Track) - Betfair Hollywood
1. ZAIKOV - 106 - OC 25k/N1X -N - 6 Furlongs - Gulfstream
3. HEITAI - 104 - Louisiana Champions Day Sprint Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Fair Grounds
4. RAISEANOTHERGATOR - 101 - Louisiana Champions Day Starter Handicap - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Fair Grounds
4. SHARP SENSATION - 101 - Alw 62540N1X - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Woodbine
6. SIMMSTOWN - 100 - Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Calder
7. HAPPY MY WAY - 99 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - Gulfstream
8. VICAR'S IN TROUBLE - 98 - Md Sp Wt 40k - 6 Furlongs - Fair Grounds
9. BAMBAZONKI - 95 - OC 75k/C -N - 1 1/16 Miles - Hawthorne
9. CHEROKEE ARTIST - 95 - OC 32k/N3X - 6 Furlongs - Laurel
11. JONESY BOY - 94 - Queens County Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles - Aqueduct
12. LUCAYAN (FR) - 93 - Hollywood Turf Cup (G2) - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - Betfair Hollywood
12. START JUMPING - 93 - OC20k/SAL20k - 6 Furlongs - Aqueduct
12. TEDDY'S PROMISE - 93 - Playa del Rey Stakes - 6 Furlongs (Cushion Track) - Betfair Hollywood
12. ZIVO - 93 - OC 25k/N1X -N - 1 Mile - Aqueduct
16. BLUESKIESNRAINBOWS - 92 - Native Diver (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles (Cushion Track) - Betfair Hollywood
16. HOPE FOR TODAY - 92 - OC 35k/N$Y - 1 1/16 Miles - Hawthorne
16. IDE BE COOL - 92 - Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Fair Grounds
16. SUNBEAN - 92 - Louisiana Champions Day Classic Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles - Fair Grounds
16. TOLEDO EDDIE - 92 - Alw 12500s - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Cushion Track) - Betfair Hollywood
21. HEART STEALER - 91 - Sugar Swirl Stakes (G3) - 6 Furlongs - Gulfstream
21. HIGH NATIVE FLY - 91 - OC 16k/N1X -N - 6 Furlongs - Tampa Bay
21. LOUIES FLOWER - 91 - Springboard Mile Stakes - 1 Mile - Remington
24. BAFFLE ME - 90 - South Beach Stakes - 7 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Gulfstream
24. BET THE POWER - 90 - OC20k/SAL20k - 6 Furlongs - Aqueduct
24. CANDYMAN E - 90 - Spooky Mulder Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Aqueduct
24. HUD'S REBELLION - 90 - Louisiana Champions Day Turf Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf)- Fair Grounds
24. IMAHIT - 90 - Alw 44500NC - 1 Mile - Remington
24. LADYZARBRIDGE - 90 - Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - Fair Grounds
24. LION D N A - 90 - OC16k/SAL16k - 6 Furlongs - Aqueduct
24. THE BEST GLACIER - 90 - OC 30k/C -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Delta
24. TRIPSKI - 90 - OC 62k/N2X - 6 Furlongs (Turf) - Betfair Hollywood
24. WRITINGONTHEWALL - 90 - OC20k/SAL20k - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Aqueduct
*The lifetime past performances for SHARED BELIEF and ZAIKOV are available at the bottom of this blog post.
45. DAN ILLMAN,
Your horse is ALMOST FAMOUS. Well, that's a start. :) He is a dark bay colt by Unbridled's Song out of Wild Gams by Forest Wildcat. He was born 2/14/11. Aww, a Valentine's baby!
Your trainer is Patrick Byrne.
He sold at FTF Feb2013 two-year-old sale for 500K! He is 40-1 on Wynn Futures.
He has made 3 starts and earned $56,479.
9/13 CD Broke maiden in first start at 6F
10/27 CD 4th Street Sense at 1 mile
11/9 CD Won AllOptCl75K at 1-1/16 miles
Well, he's been practicing at Churchill Downs. That can't hurt. Good luck with him!
Thanks for the MKB, Annie! I'm afraid I've already jinxed this promising colt as he scratched from the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill with a stone bruise. He did breeze a bullet half-mile this morning at Palm Meadows so perhaps we'll see him shortly.
One of the things we do when we are on to a specific sire/trainer/rider is to build criteria on when and where to bet them. We notice something, start building parameters around what we saw, make up the criteria and then test it then we follow it, religiously we follow it. Last year at the start of the Gulf meet Mike commented that the Starship horses that Dwoskin trains were a helluva bet when they hit Gulfstream turf. I then did the research and built the criteria and tested it. I have pulled the guts out of that e-mail (went to almost 40 people) and made a PDF of it. I think the e-mail clearly spells out how we operate on criteria. I have asked Dan to post the PDF on the next Wednesday blog change..
The PDF is attached at the bottom of this blog post.
Dan - Do you know what is going on with Crop Report ? Also any idea on what happened to the very fast , yet a bit erratic , Eighyfiveinafifty ?
ty peter k
CROP REPORT bled when winning the Rushaway Stakes in his most recent start on March 23. He then came down with an injury, but the connections noted on Twitter that he started back training in early October.
EIGHTYFIVEINAFIFTY is a stallion in Mexico.
Hi Dan, Just wondering if there is any way to dig up the past performances for pino azul thanks
PINO AZUL's past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.
It looks as if we'll have our annual FormBlog Convention at Gulfstream Park early next year. For more details, head on over to Laura's excellent website
It's always a blast so come on out if you can.
The weekend handicapping previews should be available on the site soon.
You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman
Congrats to Annie for finishing first in the most recent HandiGambling contest.
Rick M's HandiGambling scoresheets for the past two weeks are available at the bottom of this blog post.
Annie selected Friday's ninth race at Gulfstream for this week's exercise.
PAST PERFORMANCES ARE AVAILABLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG POST.
Remember that you have a mythical $100 with which to wager on the race, and the entrant with the highest money total will receive a "Monthly Enhanced 60-Card Past Performance Plan."
Anyone going over the $100 limit will be disqualified.
Please post your plays and analysis to the blog.
PLEASE GIVE YOUR NAME OR BLOG MONIKER AT THE END OF THE HG PLAY AND/OR ANALYSIS.
Please separate the play from the analysis and label the play "HG" with the program numbers (instead of the horse's name) for easier scoring.
In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference. ONE ENTRY PER E-MAIL ADDRESS PLEASE.
I reserve the right to approve or deny any entries.
I know that there is a time issue for some of you, but 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. I'm 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.
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 LATE THAN THE FOLLOWING WEDNESDAY MORNING (A FRIDAY RACE IS MOST IDEAL).
Best of luck to all.
***FROM SCOREKEEPER PENN NATIONAL RICK***
I read some entries on here and there are some people who put their heart out on their picks(such as DavidM9999) and give you great analysis on who they like and why and then there are others who elect not to give any reasoning behind their entries. The rule I will implement EFFECTIVE 3/1/13 will be... any entry without ANY analysis will be ignored. We are not asking you to put out a novel, but again a sentence or two. Also, I will put communication out when Dan puts out new blogs.
My intent is not to be jerk on this, but what's fair is fair. I'm not taking away from this week or past winners regarding all of this, but we do need to make the change.
If you have any questions/concerns...please send an email to FORMBLOG@DRF.COM and it will get forwarded to me.
|Starship Criteria.pdf||1.25 MB|
|Pino Azul.pdf||561.73 KB|
|Copy of Formblog Aqueduct 12-6-13.xls||71 KB|
|Copy of Formblog Farewell Hollywood 12-13-13.xls||69.5 KB|
Hey- There's an English Channel that's 0-3 on the turf (2 sprints and a very fast paced mile) who will get what looks to be a comfortable lead going 10F's Friday at SA versus a vulnerable one paced favorite. She'll be double digits AND the rails are at 30'. Would that fit the parameters that has previously been noted here?
Annie, I hope you're feeling better, AND have no more visits to the hospital!!!!! Jeanne
DavidM9999 If you have not done so, I encourage you to review your plays over the past several years to understand the tracks and type of bets in which your ROI is strongest. Horizontal players can go through extended losing streaks as you noted but it can be equally painful if your are somewhat doubling up by betting to win as well. In my opinion, it is equally important to understand the types of races you are missing and to concentrate on strengths, avoiding any horizontal plays that don't fit in to your strengths. Of course, this is much easier said than done as action bets keep the interest.
David, as a horizontal player for decades I'm mighty impressed you've never had an 0 fer 9 run. here's my best bad beat story, which I think I told before you arrived here: End of fall meet at CD in '05, second to last saturday, charts show a P-6 pool of $481K sequence happens as follows: 4/1...5/1...5/2...10/1...3/5...16-1 I hit 5/6 three times by missing the second leg with 7/1...51/1...7/1 - the three horses on my ticket ran 2-3-4, the place horse missing by a neck - AND I had the last race singled to 16/1 (probably 8 or 10 ml) Bridgmohan who wired a field of fillies at 8.5 from the 12 hole on the turf (he owed me, as he was the jock who couldn't boot Load a Chronic past Franklin's Tower in that most horrible of second legs). yes, a good consolation prize of $13k but obviously, with 3 higher odds horses behind the 5/1 there was a pretty good chance the pool would have been mine. And really, did they actually have to run 2-3-4? better conso prize was closing Saturday the next week when the pool had gotten to $4.004M and I found myself singled to the last, again, but this time to the 4/5 favorite - who opened up by a length by the turn and won the 6 furlong race by an easy five - $38k to those of us who had the 7/2..7/2...6/1...5/2 and 7/1 shots who preceded him... so, two weekends, over $51k in winning tickets, and yet, somehow, I was "down" over $400,000.... (That one didn't stick in my craw too badly...) Anyway, horizontal betting has changed some in those years, 50c and 20c denominations, p-5s with carryover potential. My betting style has improved, (getting live to favorites as often as possible, so I can cover and guarantee winnings - a la your 6-1 shot in leg 4, not to rub it in, but LEARN FROM THAT ONE), but it's the same old same old to me - and like Mike says, live by the sword, guess what?! so take heart bud, if this is the worst it's been, well, hats off to you! p ensign
Penqun, Interesting that you referenced "Blink," the book by Malcolm Gladwell in making a handicapping point. I love the book"s advice that great decisions aren"t made by folks who process the most information or spend the most time deliberating, but those who have perfected the art of "thin-slicing" or filtering the very few factors that matter from an overwhelming number of variables. I generally spend no more ten minutes on most races but bank on years of glancing at PPs and a gift for speed reading. stuckinarizona
David, I'd love to give you a pep talk like Pat did....but I'm afraid nothing I can say will make a difference. You live by the sword you die by it or I should say the exotic. There is nothing worse when betting than having a longie or 2 and collecting nothing because you didn't back your play. Then again the reason most folks don't back their play is because that longie is like getting the extra warranty on a car.....it may cost a grand but hey.....it's spread out over 5 years.......they throw the longie in as insurance, but they'd never be confident enough to bet them ATB......ABCD...horizintal, vertical at right angles.....singling a horse that can't lose? They all can lose.......I've heard your story more times than I care to remember.......I reckon you can find solace in the fact that you can lose thousands and it only takes one to make you rich....and then you'll forget all the bad times. Like playing slots......someday you just might hit the jackpot...that is if the little old lady will get up long enough for you to have a go at it. Be careful though, they swing a mean purse. The best advice I can give is the same a doctor would give when asked "Doc...it hurts when I do this"....and he replies..."well stop doing that".......Everyone here thinks I'm an ATB player and dabble in exacta's...that isn't so. I play exacta's and bet ATB's to cover my posterior. David when I first wrote on this blog I was asked why I bet turf. Well one of the major reasons was I'm good at it. I said everyone has to see their strength, there has to be races you seem to hit more than others. Once found you stick with it and refine it. Make it your own.......but most people win blindly and lose the same way, never giving even a brief thought as to why and what it is they are doing. Like I said earlier, picking up a form and having at it is a crap shoot. It's always about making money, keep the history, your opinions of horses from 40 years ago and whatever else people find important to talk about......it may make for a good read and discussion but it has zero to do with cashing bets day in and day out. Why would anyone bet horses and not give a minute to see where they excel? For me it's turf.....I can certainly play dirt, but chose not to that often......I'm better at races on turf up to 1 1/4m...after that? I'm so so.....So I'm careful......I'll leave the "best handicapper ever" for someone else to pin on there chest......I'll stick with what works for me and so should you. Take a step back, pay attention to when you win and when you lose....type of race, surface distance.....you may see a pattern. Then look at the circumstances....why did your horse win/lose?....Separate yourself from the everyday......you may not bet as much, but you'll win more and when you win you're happy....and when you're happy people around you are happy and I don't have to hear you whine.....LOL!! just kidding.....really, just couldn't help it. Seriously......take a deep breath and look back and pay attention to the future.....it will pay off down the road...... .Pat mentioned his coach said it was pointless to say you hate to lose because anyone with any sense of competitiveness or pride would feel that way......and so you would think.....but I see folks bet the same way race after race, year after year and continue to lose and do absolutely nothing about it.....so apparently most folks don't mind losing actually. After all you can't win on a regular basis handicapping so why bother? That's exactly the thinking that gets you beat, but the kind of thinking I like to "see" makes for better odds........Like the statue of "Blind Justice" you can either tip the scales in your favor or die by the sword......of course peeking through the blindfold helps.......Mike A
Annie I'm so glad you are home and feeling better. I know bronchitis, too. You take care and get the rest you need. ....check your email :) SR Vegas
DavidM9999, No words can alleviate all of the pain, but the bottom line is this. Losing begets losing and trying harder(not smarter) gets you further down the ladder. You have won in the past and surely(like most of us) have a high opinion of ourselves as compared to the others. Whenever I get down(and start to chase) I just look around at the "fools" who think that they know what they are doing......... it just gets my confidence up. I played lacrosse at a nationally ranked college in the early 80's. We lost some tough ones and won some that we had no business winning. Our coach was very mild mannered but super smart and he LOVED to win. His words of advice to bunch of knuckleheads like us. "Never say I hate losing, say I love to win". Any idiot can state the obvious, we all hate to lose.... but just remember how great winning feels". He also said "When you lose, be hacked off about it for 15 minutes at the MOST than forget about it". If he heard anyone bemoaning a loss we all had to run/. Might be time for David M9999 to run a few "gassers". Go get them and remember that Fiji Boy is going to be a live longshot in the 4th at Laurel today. I hope he looks good.
Recognizing the Bottom Investment managers often struggle with their metrics and charts to recognize a market top or market bottom. It is almost impossible to do with extreme accuracy. Only one manager I recall claimed to do this accurately (Bernie Madoff) and he is behind bars because he was not actually in the market. Where am I going? Well I came to the last few weeks of 2013 having the best horse gambling year of my life. For 2013 I set a five figure goal net after forms, workout reports, my trips to FG, SAR, BHP and KEE. I set a high goal thinking I was due after an atrocious 2012 where I almost hit my goal in reverse. Then came the last several weeks. Talk about a bad streak. I play horizontally with regular win money plays mostly so it can be easier to have a prolonged slump. You have to line up three, four or five winners. It is how I roll but I must say for a guy with a strong constitution it has been a struggle. It began in mid-December on a weekday at GP. I liked a horse early keyed him with 3 or 4 horses in the next legs. My middle priced key won, then I got lucky with my long shot winning at $30+, then a decent payer and had 4 of 7 in the finale. I check the will pays and they are juicy all signers. Of the three I omitted two were no hopers and the other looked like a Beulah horse to me. Well my top pick gets left, now down to 3 horses immediately. My other two duel, now down to one. He won’t change leads late and fades into oblivion. I literally was shocked. From an almost sure signer payoff to nada in about 1:11. Over the next few cards across the country I had 4 horses pay over $35 in horizontal wagers with coverage behind and whiffed on all of them. I thought I had seen the bottom Sunday when I took a stab in the last race at GP horizontally with a 20-1 ML animal first turf. He eventually went off about 90-1. A Pletcher dropper won it by 3L with mnaturally my 90-1 shot running second. The payoff on that horizontal sequence was extremely sizeable as you could expect with a 90-1 shot. I played $2 win and show on this horse in protest against the racing gods for the streak. I got back $17.20 to show but took a good loss on the horizontals. You just wonder why the Pletcher horse could have not fired and be part of the 72% of his horses that will lose. Not during a streak. During a streak the horse you fear always fires. Now yesterday. Not many tracks open so I considered playing only TuP. As I took a look at TuP a horse jumped out in race 3 and the early pick 4. 5-1 ML he was a sprinter stretching out and got first blinkers to boot. After calculating the projected pace I figured he would be up 5L at the 5F pole and I would just try to hang on from there on a speed biased highway. I play 2-3-4-6-7 over 2-4-5-6 over 3 over 1-4-6-7 for a $40 total play. It starts off rough as the heavy chalk that is 0-15 lifetime beats a price I liked as my top shot but at least I moved on. Then in race two I get lucky with the spread catching an 11-1 shot. Now the single. He rolls to a wide lead on the backstretch and wins by 5L under wraps. He was off at 4-1 so I was live with coverage. Now the payoff leg to end the streak. I have about 60% of the filed here with one horse a no hoper (beaten 110L in last 5), another beaten 120L last 6 and then a $3,500 claimer in form stepping up into a tougher spot IMO. I knew I was playing with fire but I am a class handicapper first (even at TuP where class is an oxymoron) and the horse was 1-18 lifetime with the one win not even showing on the form. I pitched her at 5-1. Well we know the ending the 2 horse wins and wins big. It pays $1,188. The streak continues. To make matters worse I played a pick 3 starting in leg 1 to my single. It goes up in flames by 1/2L. Then in race 3 itself I play $5 exactas with two chalks since they were paying nice. That bet goes first, third, fourth. So I took my key horse that won by 5L and lost a pick 3, pick 4 and exacta key wheel. DAVIDM9999 now minus $80 and my horse won! I started talking about the recognition of a bottom. When I lost the pick 4 and other couple of wagers yesterday I feel this is the bottom. It simply cannot get any worse. Often when I go cold it can make the polar vortex feel like a sauna. I am not playing until Saturday but will be going to Hoosier Park Saturday with a large bankroll and fire at will expecting a turnaround. When I win it comes in waves due to rolling horizontal plays so I am expecting a Maui north shore type of wave. I know yesterday at TuP was the bottom. If I am wrong I will lose a chunk and be up to 9 straight losing days. I expect no left at the gates starts, no rail checking with a turf horse closing like a freight train in 23 seconds, no busting through the gate or off the turf FG fiascos and no bad ticket construction. This thing has turned. Anyone ever have kind of experience?
David, I guess with Ria Antonia it had as much to do with her trainer and what I know of him as it did with my belief she'd be better around two turns as they stretched out to middle distances. J. Englehart trains one of the best milers on turf in the country in King Kreesa. I'd say top 5.....so when you decide to run home and pass the BC my guess was he knew he couldn't beat Wise Dan and was worried about the early hookup with Obviously. But one couldn't forget the fact that KK is a very nice miler.....so when you have a filly who had run ok up to that point and send her 3000 miles to run in the BC that told me Mr. Englehart knew what he had......he keeps KK in the barn and sends an unknown 2 year old filly? Put it this way...at 32-1 no one in that race scared me enough to pass.....of course she won on the DQ, but was only beaten a nose..... Now as I said no one in there scared me to death, but I did like Rosalind going in....she probably ran the best race of the bunch......I think her owners are missing the boat with Rosalind.....she could be a monster on turf, but I digress. No one can predict just how a horse will come back at 3. She showed potential......to me beating other 2 year olds in November is a sure way to get bet back and in many cases that would be a poor bet considering the amount of horses who don't start running till they mature a bit more. Ria Antonia has what I call "old Breeding".....As she stands right now she shouldn't be able to run 1 1/4m's in real good racehorse time, but if you somehow could negate the first three generations going back she could run from here to tomorrow. On paper most wouldn't jump up and down looking at her breeding, but going back she's solid......with a many more distance influences both top and bottom. Of course you just can't wave an arm and eliminate the last three generations, but knowing what's there and the potential will give you a better idea if she'll stretch by how she runs on the track. They gave her some time off, first breeze this week I believe.....3f's....a leg stretcher. I'm not a fan favorite of running fillies this early against colts, but it depends on the individual. She doesn't seem to mind running hard and getting bumped around so that's a plus and if I were a betting man, deciding to try colts early the FG's is where I'd go because historically that's where the weaker horses will be. If I couldn't beat them or at least run well I'd have no shot come May. Better to find out early......with the new points system it can get problematic......at least that's me.....I wouldn't dance around then find out the first Saturday in May......Otherwise I'm with you....I'd be more conservative. Too much too soon can ruin untapped potential. Forego ran fourth in the Derby, a footnote at 3....but once he grew into that body? One of the best I saw when sound and pretty good taped up too. Bigger fillies tend to run better against their male counterparts, but Genuine Risk was as feminine as they come and she won the Derby......So for me it's always about value and cashing a bet. Ria Antonia will be bet regardless, how much so depends on the horses she runs against. Is she a good bet first back? Not for me.....but I will watch her, because the potential to cash a bet down the road is there....it's all about the "prize" I don't need them to win, just to show me what they have to give under the circumstances they are presented with. I look at horses that finish out of the money......unless they step up next time....I'll grade a horse by their performance and decide just how good they are....sometimes the public gets it wrong and they'll dismiss a horse who is "going up"......but they forget that going up is on paper and not in the eye of the beholder. Just look at Potomac River.......he "went up" twice and paid huge both times.....but if you look at the competition in reality it wasn't a step up at all...only on paper. When it comes to the Triple Crown? well the points system does make trainers have to run where they sometimes wouldn't have.....there seems to be less chance of ducking everyone. I see potential in a couple of 2 year olds from late last year, but not enough to discount anyone that hasn't run yet.......or run once and haven't come back yet......It's still a long way to May......Mike A