08/12/2015 6:30PM

Shrinking Violet blossoms at Del Mar


Lost in all of the Whitney hoopla was SHRINKING VIOLET's breakthrough performance in the $80,000 Daisycutter Handicap at five furlongs on turf at Del Mar.

Sent away the 19 to 10 second choice in the eight-horse field, Shrinking Violet settled in midpack along the inside under jockey Kent Desormeaux while AMARANTH, MARK OF A GEM, favored HOME JOURNEY and WINDY FORECAST sparred through an opening quarter in 21.89 seconds.

Shrinking Violet angled three wide on the far turn, inhaled the pacesetters turning into the stretch and ran her final eighth in 11.49 seconds (according to Trakus) en route to the 4 3/4-length triumph. The 5-year-old mare completed the distance in 56.56 and received a career-best 104 Beyer Speed Figure.

Some may state that Shrinking Violet is a true horse-for-course at Del Mar. After all, she is now 2 for 2 over the surface and both lifetime best Beyers occurred over the San Diego turf. Still, it's hard to pigeonhole a mare that's won 8 of 19 starts with victories at Kentucky Downs, Keeneland (synthetic), Gulfstream, Tampa Bay and Santa Anita.

Foaled in Kentucky on April 26, 2010, Shrinking Violet sold to owner/trainer Wesley Ward for a paltry $4,000 that November. She is by five-time Grade 1 winner Congaree (Swaps, Cigar Mile twice, Hollywood Gold Cup, Carter), a stallion that is also represented by Grade 1 winners Don't Tell Sophia, Killer Graces and Jeranimo.

Shrinking Violet's dam, Lets Get Cozzy (by Cozzene), finished third in the Grade 3 Ballston Spa Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on turf. The second dam, Sweet Lassie (by Posse), was stakes-placed on turf in France.

Following four disappointing efforts at 7 to 2 or less to kick off her career on the main track, Shrinking Violet won her turf debut, a $25,000 maiden claimer at Kentucky Downs on September 12. Even then, she seemed to have some distance limitations as she opened up a big lead turning for home only to last by a diminishing neck.

Switched to the Keeneland polytrack for her first race against winners, Shrinking Violet dominated a $30,000 claimer by nine lengths in gate-to-wire fashion. 

Ward has always given Shrinking Violet plenty of time to recover from the various physical ailments that limited her to four starts in 2013 and three races in 2014. During that time span, Shrinking Violet became a force in shorter-distance races on turf and synthetic. As a 3-year-old, she finished third in the Grade 3 Ontario Fashion Stakes over the Woodbine polytrack. Last season, she grabbed the $100,000 Lightning City Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

Shrinking Violet began this year with a perfect ground-saving score in the Grade 2 Monrovia Stakes going down the hill at Santa Anita on May 16. She missed time after the Monrovia and failed to parlay a similar trip to victory in her subsequent start, the $100,000 The Very One Stakes at Pimlico over Preakness weekend. That was her first race in over four months. Shrinking Violet ran an even sixth in the Grade 2 Highlander Stakes against males on July 5, her final race before the Daisycutter.

Shrinking Violet is one of several excellent female turf sprinters we've seen this year along with AGELESS, LADY SHIPMAN and THIEVES GUILD. They should provide stern competition to the boys in this fall’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Pimlico.


Here are the WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 8/4/15 - 8/10/15

1. HONOR CODE - 113 - Whitney Stakes (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - 8Aug15-9SAR
2. SHRINKING VIOLET - 104 - Daisycutter Handicap - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - 7Aug15-7DMR
3. BAY OF PLENTY - 102 - Alydar Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles - 9Aug15-9SAR
4. STEVIE'S WONDER - 100 - Clm 25000N2L - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 8Aug15-6PRX
5. PROSPECT PARK - 99 - La Jolla Handicap (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 9Aug15-8DMR
6. ELUSIVE CONNECTION - 98 - Md Sp Wt 58k - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - 9Aug15-6WO
7. ANGEL CODE - 97 - OC 30k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - 9Aug15-10MTH
8. MELMICH - 96 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Polytrack) - 7Aug15-8WO
8. UNBRIDLED FOREVER - 96 - Shine Again Stakes - 7 Furlongs - 5Aug15-9SAR
8. UNDER CONTROL (BRZ) - 96 - Lure Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 8Aug15-4SAR
11. BEN'S DUCHESS - 95 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - 9Aug15-3DMR
11. OUTSIDE NASHVILLE - 95 - Joseph T. Grace Handicap - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 9Aug15-9SR
11. WATERSHED - 95 - Md Sp Wt 83k - 6 Furlongs - 7Aug15-4SAR
14. CALL PAT - 94 - Groupie Doll Stakes (G3) - 1 Mile - 8Aug15-9ELP
14. CATALINA RED - 94 - Jackson Bend Stakes - 7 Furlongs - 8Aug15-3GP
14. CUT TO ORDER - 94 - Hcp 16000s - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 9Aug15-7MTH
14. GOLDEN RIFLE - 94 - Eight Mile East Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 8Aug15-4GP
14. MESSI (GER) - 94 - OC 80k/N3X -N - 1 3/8 Miles (Turf) - 6Aug15-6SAR
14. OH BABY OH BABY - 94 - OC 25k/N2X - 6 Furlongs - 5Aug15-8EVD
20. CAVORTING - 93 - Test Stakes (G1) - 7 Furlongs - 8Aug15-8SAR
20. GOLDY ESPONY (FR) - 93 - Waya Stakes (G3) - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - 8Aug15-10SAR
20. SHE'S NOT HERE - 93 - OC 80k/C -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - 6Aug15-7DMR
20. TAKAJO - 93 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 7 Furlongs - 8Aug15-6SAR
24. ELEKTRUM (IRE) - 92 - John C. Mabee Stakes (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 8Aug15-8DMR
24. LOOKING COOL - 92 - Clm 32000 - 1 1/8 Miles - 8Aug15-1SAR
24. RECEPTA - 92 - De La Rose Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - 8Aug15-7SAR
24. ZVARKHOVA (FR) - 92 - OC 80k/N1X -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - 7Aug15-5SAR

*HONOR CODE's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.


You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.

Remember to check out DRF LIVE's free VIDEO handicapping coverage at live.drf.com. Matt Bernier and I will be on at 4pm ET Wednesday through Saturday to take you through the final few races at Saratoga, preview Del Mar, and peek at some of the nation's major stakes races.  


Congrats to SR VEGAS for finishing first in the most recent HandiGambling tournament.

Rick M's scoresheet is available for perusal at the bottom of this blog post.

SR VEGAS selected Saturday's Arlington Million 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 "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!




HONOR CODE.pdf652.34 KB
Copy of Formblog Whitney 8-8-15.xls208.42 KB
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ed Bechs – Yes, absolutely. If Bayern had been DQ'd, who'd have been called the "winner"? TONY or Cali Chrome, presumably, both of whom had every chance, neither of whom was fouled, and neither of whom deserved to win. Bayern committed a blatant foul that put others either out of the race or at a disadvantage. I fail to see anyway there could be a wholly satisfactory result after the race. If he is DQ'd, an undeserving horse is promoted; if not, he gets away with a foul. So one of two unsatisfactory things must stand. For me, in those cases, what really was done on the track should be allowed to stand. Why should punishing the wrong-doer be considered the most important thing in that situation, letting the chips fall wherever they may afterward, even if they end up blatantly contrary to what just happened on the track? I agree that the stewards can and should do a much better job of explaining their rulings. There is always going to be judgement involved. They should not try to limit their written rulings to quotations from the regulation book in an effort to convince us otherwise. If you look at the stewards rulings from Hong Kong, they are thorough in explaining their view of what happened in an incident, they detail what testimony the jocks gave, and give the reasoning (with reference to actual events) in explaining why they are applying a particular regulation (or not). Regardless whether the rules of racings are as is, or change, there is no reason that can't be done here. Al
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Whacky, No, the #3 SALLYANA was a "B". She was 6-1 on the M/L. The one thing she had going for her was that she was the only horse in the race that was cutting back from a mile to 6-1/2. That apparently helped her stamina. I decided against playing the Pick 5 today, and looking at the results, I'm glad I did. It is going to pay huge, but I doubt I would have had some of the winners. So far it's been: B,A,C,C. Annie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TBTA, I hate to tell you this, but if the appeal is successful, it only benefits the owner and trainer. The bettors are still screwed. Annie
VanSavant More than 1 year ago
Al; Nice rant. Can't say I disagree with your thinking on the DQ/non-DQ issue. Later gator vs
Mac930My More than 1 year ago
Well, that was quick...wire to wire in the first by the longest shot on the board....playing the rolling pick 3's and pick 4. Amazing...Annie, was that #3 a "d" Whackymacky Out!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bernard – that is fair about Cosgrove. You've got to love a horse like Storm The Stars, about whom the trainer has reported that his energy level is high, he takes his racing well and bounces back quickly, but is a below-par and somewhat lazy work horse in the mornings, so therefore needs to be raced frequently to keep fit! Trainer Haggas actually commented after today's race that STS should come on for the run! (surely some would be done in for the season by that kind of effort). It would be great to see him come over for the BC Turf, but the Canadian International might suit him better, with that being 2 turns instead of 3 and Woodbine being a testing, galloper's course, by North American standards. Al
Mac930My More than 1 year ago
Annie Try the pick 5 at Del Mar!! 2,4, 6,7 / 2,6,7,8 / 4,5 / 3,7 / 1,3,8,9. 4x4x2x2x4. = $256 ÷ 2 = $128 × 4 tickets Good Luck! Whackymacky Out!
Ed Bechs More than 1 year ago
Al, Bayern eliminated four of his key rivals at the start of the race. They couldn't run their normal race and you justify it by saying they didn't deserve to win. Really!!!! They had a chance to overcome the start. Really!!!! They made the biggest race of the year into the Ben Hur handicap. He should have been DQed and placed fifth. What a joke. I guess they didn't want to recalculate all the pools. It was a lousy ruling and I agree that the stewards should immediately release a written ruling and how they voted. At least the public and bettors would have some answers. You must be correct because the stewards saw it your way, but I disagree 100%. As for the Beverly D, the "slight move" off the straight line did draw an inquiry sign for all the right reasons. How many paths do you need to win a race? Secret Gesture wanted to be another sideways winner and floated in front of Stefanie's Kitten. And this was an example of unstoppable American drive toward bureaucracy for all? A little jaded, are we? I hope you are talking about our politicians and not us regular folks. I like to think we still have the right stuff. edb
Turnbackthealarm More than 1 year ago
Al, So, if the Beverly D appeal is successful, what happens to the bettors who thought they lost their bet? If they bet on an ADW would their bet be credited as a win rather than deducted as a loss? As for me, I'm still screwed as I was on track and tossed the losing tickets.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Al, Great post. Silvestre de Sousa did a fantastic job to get the filly back in front. With Ryan Moore out injured and Richard Hughes now retired, de Sousa is almost certainly our next Champion jockey. I thought Frankie Dettori could perhaps have settled the favourite a little better, but a hugely disappointing run whichever way you look at it. Re the two contrasting interference calls, I wouldn't disagree with anything you said, and you nailed it when you said it wasn't always possible to control every last move of a large horse.. However, one marginal qualification, I would like to have seen Pat Cosgrave (as an experienced jockey) switch his whip to TRY to correct the drift to the left of STORM THE STARS. Whatever, a real tough horse to pass. Best Regards - Bernard Downes