06/27/2011 4:23PM

Shrewd Operator, Conveyance, Beyers, HG pp's


Where did SHREWD OPERATOR's White Oak Handicap win come from? 

The veteran seven-year-old gelding, restricted to only 18 starts due to physical issues, popped a 114 Beyer Speed Figure in his first start in over ten months.  Sure, he's an Arlington horse-for-course (6-9 over the local poly, 2-9 elsewhere), but a 114?  That would tie him, with MACLEAN'S MUSIC, for the second-highest six-furlong Beyer Speed Figure this year (behind defending Breeders' Cup Sprint hero Big Drama's 120).  Visually, the race looked impressive as Shrewd Operator fended off another pace rival before striding out nicely in the lane.  It will be very interesting to see how trainer Chris Block handles Shrewd Operator in the near future. 


PLUM PRETTY gave it her all in the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks, but was no match for the rail-skimming ZAZU, a consistent daughter of Tapit trained by John Sadler.  Returning from a minor illness, Plum Pretty deserves another chance, especially if she returns to dirt.  Zazu, on the other hoof, may prefer synthetics to dirt although she did run a nice third behind Plum Pretty in the Kentucky Oaks. 


If you're looking for an example of a theft, check out the New York Stakes at Belmont.  Following the scratch of TRIX IN THE CITY, the expected pacesetter, GIANTS PLAY found herself alone on the front end through fractions of 26.34, 52.99, and 1:17.65 over firm ground.  Not surprisingly, she had just enough in the tank to hold off ZAGORA's late run.  Both Giants Play and Zagora hopped back to their wrong lead in the waning furlong and favored HIBAAYEB just didn't fire.  I'm not sure these three are at the top of the division. 

Great job by NYRA paddock commentator Maggie Wolfendale for pointing out that Giants Play was outfitted with a net for the first time.  After the New York, trainer Christophe Clement commented, "She was rank last time and was fighting too much. This time we ran her with a net, put her on the lead, and she was a lot more relaxed. She ran a very game race. The net sits on their nostrils and for some, it relaxes them.”


BUSTER'S READY confirmed her breakout performance in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes with a solid victory in the historic Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont.  Trained by Todd Pletcher, Buster's Ready pressed SALTY STRIKE through moderate fractions before taking over turning for home.  No excuses for beaten favorite JOYFUL VICTORY, who tracked the leaders from the rail, but came up empty when the real running began.  Joyful Victory, also the beaten favorite in the Kentucky Oaks, was visually-impressive in both of her blowout wins at Oaklawn over the winter, but those races just weren't fast on the Beyer scale.


SUMMER SOIREE toyed with her opponents in the Grade 3 Boiling Springs Handicap in her turf debut.  She put away the other speed down the backstretch and was never threatened thereafter, winning by 8 1/2 lengths for Graham Motion and Gabe Saez.  A Team Valor private purchase after running away with the Bourbonette Oaks over the Turfway polytrack, Summer Soiree may have found a new home on the weeds. 


Perfect ride and trip for COURT OF THE REALM in the Grade 2 King Edward going a one-turn mile on turf at Woodbine.  FIFTY PROOF may be the horse to take out of the race as he contested the pace throughout and still battled back to hold second over favored SOCIETY'S CHAIRMAN.  Defending champion GRAND ADVENTURE was dead on the board and tired badly in the final sixteenth.


INGLORIOUS is one hearty filly and she showed her affinity for the polytrack by backing up her Woodbine Oaks victory with a big tally in the Queen's Plate.  Race favorite CHECK YOUR SOUL, wide throughout, made an eye-catching sweep to the front on the final turn, but dropped tamely away in the stretch. 


*Checking the work tab:

TO HONOR AND SERVE breezed three furlongs in 37.06 on June 26 at the Belmont training track. 
UPTOWNCHARLYBROWN breezed three furlongs in 39.67 on June 26 at the Belmont training track. 
DUBLIN breezed five furlongs in 1:02.00 on June 26 over a sloppy Churchill Downs strip.
JAYCITO worked six furlongs in 1:12.80 on June 25 over the Hollywood cushion track.


*Some of our bloggers wanted to know the whereabouts of CONVEYANCE.  In an e-mail, his trainer, Satish Seemar, wrote that ..."Conveyance is doing well, he will be remaining in Dubai for the forthcoming 2011/2012 racing season..."


Here are the top 25 winning Beyer Speed Figures from last week's races (6/20 - 6/26):

1.  SHREWD OPERATOR - 114 - white Oak Handicap - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Arlington
2.  GANTRY - 101 - OC 25k/N1X -N - 6 Furlongs (Turf) - Belmont
3.  HEADACHE - 100 - Cornhusker Handicap (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles - Prairie Meadows
3.  MAMBO MEISTER - 100 - Mecke Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles - Calder
3.  PONZI SCHEME - 100 - Joseph French Memorial Stakes - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Delaware
3.  RUSTY CHARLIE - 100 - OC 50k/N4L - 6 Furlongs - Delaware
3.  SIERRA SPIRIT - 100 - OC 32k/N1X -N - 6 Furlongs - Pleasanton
8.  EVE GISELLE - 99 - Sweet and Sassy Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Delaware
9.  DUCKY DRAKE - 99 - Iowa Sprint Handicap - 6 Furlongs - Prairie Meadows
9.  DARK THUNDER - 98 - OC 35k/N3L -N - 6 Furlongs - Belmont
9.  HOLLYWOOD HIT - 98 - Karl Boyes Memorial Stakes - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Tapeta) - Presque Isle
9.  MUSKETIER - 98 - Singspiel Stakes (G3-C) - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - Woodbine
9.  SUMMER SOIREE - 98 - Boiling Springs Stakes (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Monmouth
14. COLJAK - 97 - OC c-25k/N2X - 1 Mile - Belmont
14. SCOFIELD BARRACKS - 97 -  OC 50k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - Pleasanton
16. ALL IN NO OUTS - 96 - Alw 16000s - 1 Mile - Belmont
16. LUCKY PRIMO - 96 - Golden State Cup - 1 Mile (Turf) - Hollywood
16. PRAYER FOR RELIEF - 96 - Iowa Derby (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles - Prairie Meadows
16. ZAZU - 96 - Hollywood Oaks (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles (Cushion Track) - Hollywood
20. BUSTER'S READY - 95 - Mother Goose (G1) - 1 1/16 Miles - Belmont
20. FREEDOM STAR - 95 - Iowa Distaff Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - Prairie Meadows
20. MENSA HEAT - 95 - Alw 64480N1X - 6 Furlongs (Turf) - Hollywood
20. PARTYALLNIGHTLONG - 95 - OC 50k/N3X -N - 6 Furlongs - Monmouth
20. TRAPPER'S BOUNTY - 95 - Alw 35470N1X - 6 Furlongs - Pleasanton
25. GETTA RHYTHM - 94 - OC 40k/N2X -N - 1 1/4 Miles (Polytrack) - Arlington
25. KINDERGARDEN KID - 94 - OC 65k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Belmont
25. SANTAMONICACANYON - 94 - Clm 25000(25-20)N3L - 1 1/16 Miles (Polytrack) - Arlington
25. SHRUG - 94 - OC 40k/N1X -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Cushion Track) - Hollywood
25. SIGNATURE RED - 94 - Highlander Stakes (G2-C) - 6 Furlongs (Turf) - Woodbine

Shrewd Operator's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.


Hey, Dan, back in the late 70's and early 80's one of my favorite horses on the Maryland racing circuit was Port Conway Lane, who ended up with over 50 career victories. Do you know if any horse(s) since then have reached that total?

PORT CONWAY LANE, a foal of 1969, finished his career with 52 wins from 242 starts.  He is the most recent runner (by date of birth) to record 52 wins or greater.  SAGELY (1970, 51 wins from 124 starts) and TIME TO BID (1975, 50 wins from 179 starts) were foaled after Port Conway Lane. The most prolific winner from the 1980's was the appropriately-named WIN MAN, who amassed a record of 48 wins from 178 races. 


Nice post! I follow Cali racing more than anywhere else although I live in Washington State. West Seattle Boy is quite an impressive 12 year old and worthy of mentioning. Another great Emerald Downs horse that ran the same day is Noosa Beach, easily the best horse in Washington State and the favorite to take another Longacres Mile this year. Noosa has rattled off 6 wins in a row and 9 of its last 10 races at distances ranging from 5.5 furlongs to 1 1/8 mile. The 5 year old out of the top Washington sire Harbor the Gold has only been out of the money once in 19 attempts. We can only hope that this year the connections will decide to spend the money and take him to Churchill in November or maybe Santa Anita later on this year so we can finally see how he stacks up against the best.
I was hoping Dan could post his PP's along with his sire Harbor The Gold's PP's.
Thanks again Dan! Just like Noosa Beach in Washington State, your blog and the many great handicapping minds that it seems to attract has no equal.

The past performances for NOOSA BEACH and HARBOR THE GOLD are available at the bottom of this blog post.


There were no winners in last week's HandiGambling exercise.  This week's race is the sixth at Indiana Downs on Wednesday.


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 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 person 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.

Best of luck to all


Back Wednesday with the HandiGambling analysis and some answers to questions about Beyer Speed Figures.

Shrewd Operator.pdf60.01 KB
NoosaGold.pdf67.62 KB
HG240.pdf190.86 KB