10/21/2015 8:11PM

Some Pre-Entry thoughts


Breeders' Cup pre-entries were released Wednesday afternoon. Here are a couple of preliminary price horses to consider:


Profiled in greater depth here (http://www.drf.com/blogs/rolling-classic), Smooth Roller enters the Classic with the best last Beyer Speed Figure, a 111 earned in the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita. An unraced maiden a little over four months ago, Smooth Roller has many questions to answer.

Keep in mind these facts:

1. He's never raced 10 furlongs.
2. This will only be his fifth lifetime start.
3. In the Awesome Again, he chased a slow pace against has-beens and never-weres. He'll probably face stronger fractions and will definitely tackle sharper horses.

If you believe the speed figure from the last race, then he is fast enough to threaten at a square number. If you don't believe the figure, he has the looks of a "sucker" horse, akin to a 3-year-old in the Kentucky Derby without juvenile experience. It could be a case of too much, too soon.

It's your call, but I feel the best way to handle a horse like this is to make a strict value line. If you believe he should be 15 to 1, then there's no way you take a cent less than that price at post time.

15 to 1 sounds about right to me. I'm thinking of using him along with AMERICAN PHAROAH and TONALIST.


Curalina was very impressive winning the Grade 1 Acorn over a one-turn mile on the Belmont Stakes undercard. She was sandwiched and slammed at the start, rushed up to track the pace while 5 wide, and kept right on going to gamely prevail by a neck.

Since then, it appeared she went to the bottom of the well to miss by a nose in the nine-furlong Coaching Club American Oaks (she was placed first via disqualification), and might have been compromised by a lack of pace in both the Grade 1 Alabama and Grade 1 Beldame.

In the latter race, Curalina's first start against older runners, she stumbled at the break and was forced to chase favored WEDDING TOAST as that one set a relaxed pace. Curalina earned a 98 Beyer for the Beldame and has the tactical speed to sit off quicker fractions in the Distaff.

Her last two workouts at Keeneland have come in company with the good older male RACE DAY and Curalina appears to be cycling back to her best form. The distance might be a bit far for this Curlin filly, however.

For now, I'm leaning to Curalina at double-digit odds and will use her with WEDDING TOAST and STELLAR WIND.


Profiled in the May 27 edition of the blog (http://www.drf.com/blogs/red-vine-blooming-dirt), Red Vine enters the Dirt Mile following four consecutive triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures. In this form cycle alone, he finished third to BEHOLDER when that supermare freaked in the Pacific Classic, then chased loose-on-the-lead APPEALING TALE over a sloppy track in the Kelso.

The Kelso just didn't work out for Red Vine. He stumbled at the start and was pinched back early, then couldn't overcome Appealing Tale's massive pace advantage. He tried hard in the stretch to outkick a very good horse in Honor Code, however.

LIAM'S MAP is certainly the horse to catch and beat at tiny odds, but there's a possibility that someone (MR. Z? APPEALING TALE?) tries to race with him early. That could leave him vulnerable to Red Vine's late kick.

Red Vine seems playable at 6 to 1 odds or so and should be used in multiple-race wagers with Liam's Map. Appealing Tale can also be considered.


Tepin, mentioned here (http://www.drf.com/blogs/tepin-breeders-cup-mile), has been one of the more consistent horses in training this year. She blew away her competition in the First Lady Stakes earlier in the Keeneland meet, but it's possible that she simply took advantage of a weak field over a rain-slicked course that she adored.

She'll have to be good to beat this top field in the Mile. The pace figures to be faster than what Tepin is used to with both MIDNIGHT STORM and OBVIOUSLY entered for Phil D'Amato (TOURIST is no slouch from the gate, either). Also, Tepin will face males for the first time in her career.

Tepin is a stone-cold miler, however, and ground condition makes no difference to her. She's earned five consecutive triple-digit Beyers leading up to the race and should offer some betting value at double-digit odds.

I'm thinking of using her along with defending champion KARAKONTIE and the up-and-coming European filly IMPASSABLE. Europeans TIME TEST and MAKE BELIEVE should also be considered.


I'm not sure what I'll do in the Sprint just yet, but I'm thinking of fooling around with BARBADOS if he manages to break in from the also-eligible list.

During the winter meet at Gulfstream, Barbados seemed on his way to becoming one of the top 3-year-old sprinters in the country following wins in the Spectacular Bid and Grade 3 Hutcheson. He then was sidelined due to a non-displaced fracture in his left knee that required surgery.

Since returning to action, Barbados is winless from four starts, but he gave a good run to finish second to RUNHAPPY in the Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland on October 2, and might be slowly getting back to his best form. He was outsprinted early in the Phoenix, saved ground under Luis Saez and was game in the stretch to land the place from 2014 Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Work All Week.

Barbados will get some pace to run at in the Breeders' Cup Sprint and should be every bit of 20 to 1 on the board.

He's somewhat interesting along with logical horses Runhappy and PRIVATE ZONE. FAVORITE TALE and PALACE are in with chances at good odds as well.


Exits the best race of her career, a rallying second behind gate-to-wire winner LA VERDAD over a speed-friendly Belmont surface in the Gallant Bloom. She really had no chance to win after La Verdad got away with an easy 22.76 opening quarter over that track, but finished and galloped out with serious interest. In the Filly and Mare Sprint, she should get a friendly setup at a distance that's more to her liking.

The guess is that Chad Brown has figured this filly out. CAVORTING looms the one to beat, but she might have to go after La Verdad, TARIS and STONETASTIC a bit early. That could set things up for a one-run closer. I'm hoping that's Wavell Avenue at a nice price.

Let me know your preliminary thoughts for the Breeders' Cup. More from me next week.


Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 10/13/15 - 10/20/15:

1. CANNOCK CHASE - 105 - Canadian International (G1-C) - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - 18Oct15-9WO
2. CURVY (GB) - 100 - E. P. Taylor Stakes (G1-C) - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - 18Oct15-8WO
2. EIRIGH - 100 - Alw 83887NC - 1 1/16 Miles (Polytrack) - 17Oct15-2WO
4. BYE BYE BERNIE - 95 - Nearctic Stakes (G2-C) - 6 Furlongs (Turf) - 18Oct15-4WO
4. S'MAVERLOUS - 95 - Alw 77000N1X - 6 Furlongs - 17Oct15-8BEL
4. TROUBLE KID - 95 - Valley Forge Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 17Oct15-8PRX
7. MR MAYBE - 94 - OC 62k/C -N - 1 3/8 Miles (Turf) - 15Oct15-6BEL
7. STELLAR PATH - 94 - Athenia Stakes (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 17Oct15-9BEL
7. VALIANT CITY - 94 - OC 65k/N$Y - 1 1/16 Miles - 14Oct15-7HAW
9. AFTER THE BELL - 93 - Clm 5000 - 1 Mile - 19Oct15-6PRX
9. FLASHY MARGARITTA - 93 - Clm 47500(50-47.5) - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - 14Oct15-2WO
9. JOE FRANKLIN - 93 - OC 80k/C -N - 6 Furlongs (Turf) - 15Oct15-8BEL
9. LUCKY LINDY - 93 - Hawthorne Derby (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 17Oct15-8HAW
9. SHOTGUN KOWBOY - 93 - Oklahoma Classics Cup - 1 1/16 Miles - 16Oct15-10RP
14. I'M ALREADY SEXY - 92 - Alw 65430C - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 17Oct15-8KEE
14. JOKING - 92 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - 18Oct15-9BEL
14. KITTEN'S POINT - 92 - Dowager Stakes (G3) - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - 18Oct15-8KEE
14. OKIE RIDE - 92 - Oklahoma Classics Sprint - 6 Furlongs - 16Oct15-5RP
14. SARAH SIS - 92 - Raven Run Stakes (G2) - 7 Furlongs - 17Oct15-9KEE
14. ZA APPROVAL - 92 - Alw 63248C - 1 Mile (Turf) - 18Oct15-4KEE
20. G. G. RYDER - 91 - Bull Dog Handicap - 1 1/8 Miles - 18Oct15-10FNO
20. GRANDE SHORES - 91 - OC12k/SAL10k - 7 Furlongs - 14Oct15-4GPW
20. PLAINVIEW - 91 - OC c-62k/N2X - 7 Furlongs (Turf) - 17Oct15-4BEL
24. AOTEAROA - 90 - OC 62k/N2X -N - About 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 18Oct15-4SA
24. CACTUS KRIS - 90 - Ontario Fashion Stakes (G3-C) - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - 18Oct15-6WO
24. FOUR INCH HEELS - 90 - Alw 55040N1X - 6 Furlongs - 19Oct15-8PRX
24. IMAGE OF JOPLIN - 90 - OC 40k/N1X -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - 17Oct15-6SA
24. OLIGARCH - 90 - OC 100k/C - 5 Furlongs - 18Oct15-8SA
24. ONE MORE NIGHT - 90 - OC 62k/C - 6 Furlongs - 18Oct15-9GPW
24. PAPA TURF - 90 - OC 40k/N1X -N - 6 Furlongs - 17Oct15-7SA

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

*Plainview was claimed for $62,500 by trainer David Jacobson from Gregory DiPrima.


Video stakes analyses for many of the weekend's major stakes races can be found later this week at http://www.drf.com/videos

You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.

I'll be joined by Matt Bernier and Mike Beer this Saturday at 3pm ET on live.drf.com. We will cover Belmont, Keeneland and Santa Anita.


...Looking forward to catching up with your reviews of each of the Breeders Cup races. Are they dated in any way to show how current they are?
Best Regards - Bernard Downes

We'll film updated ones this Thursday and Friday. They should all be on the site by Friday late afternoon. In these clips, I'll mention the date of filming at the beginning of the video. Thanks for watching!


Dan Illman
Can you give us the Beyer speed figures earned by the last two HG
winners? Stageplay and Pricedtoperfection
Thank you

STAGEPLAY received an 88 Beyer Speed Figure while PRICEDTOPERFECTION earned a 73. The latter is a 2-year-old full sister to the quality turf filly Miss Temple City while Stageplay is a half-sister to Grade 3 stakes-winning sprinter She Digs Me and classic-placed Mylute.


Congrats to Rick M. for finishing first in the most recent HandiGambling event.

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

Rick recommended Saturday's ninth at Belmont 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!




Cannock Chase.pdf720.32 KB
Copy of Formblog Belmont MSW 10-17-15.xls16.96 KB
Harold Crenshaw More than 1 year ago
TurnBack I watched the works and a light bulb went off. I was super UN impressed by a couple that worked in company. How much trouble were some of these were having getting the best of their lessers? In reality they had a lot. The workmates of the 'superior" rival TANKED the drive to the wire. And Simon was just HAPPY to be back....and was extra easy in giving out grades. I have no idea WHY...but there must be something about these female paddock watchers....and Christina was like a tough grading English teacher that I had..Miss McGee was a BEAR and was extra tough. About 5 years ago I ran into her.....and quoted word for word a Robert Frost poem she made us memorize........she started to cry...great teacher. Christina is a super smart excellent communicator and knows the game. Of course she is regulated to her duties and the "glamour" positions go to numb skulls. Michelle Yu was uncanny in paddock views....but her own natural silliness got her canned. Here in MD Gabby Gaudet is fantastic in paddock picks and views. THIS is a huge part of the game that is SUBTLE...but of course the pick 4 sell is more important than any thing else. On Friday the Fayette is intriguing ...and SPEAKS to the quality of the Classic. In other years MOST of these would have lined up in the big one. .....so in my first pronouncement......AMERICAN PHARAOH......HE AIN"T LOSING. ...and KEEN ICE............HE AIN"T FINISHING ANYTHING BUT SECOND......... and HONOR CODE ...HE IS FINISHING 3rd or 4th
CM Vongole More than 1 year ago
Oh, nevermind, I saw it now. Just thought it would be a bigger story. Back to the Sprint....
sillysusan sillysusan More than 1 year ago
TBTA, Please keep those thoughts and comments coming. Very useful. Interesting, too, what you say about KMcL working his horses right-handed. I never thought of that at all (how helpful it could be), although of course when I rode I would go the 'other way' often, to loosen a horse up, and how different it felt to the rider. Some horses were noticeably 'stiff' going the 'wrong' way. I never thought of the 'wear and tear' angle. knm
CM Vongole More than 1 year ago
Beholder is out... no story on DRF yet?
God Bless Longshots More than 1 year ago
Annie Yours Wicked Strong reminds me of Wicked North who won SA Handicap and got DQ (Believe it was in '94) and Kent got all cuckoo about it. Any relation that one? GBL
God Bless Longshots More than 1 year ago
Bel 29 Oct Late Pick-4 Race 6: #1 Tale Of Mist (20/1), #10 Master Magician (15/1), #11 Motown Sound (20/1) Race 7: # 9 In Trouble (2/1), #10 Hectors Pride (8/1), # 13 Power Nap (4/1) Race 8: #2 Bureau De Change (6/1), #3 Katie'S Garden (6/1), #5 Sun And Moon (6/1) Race 9: #1 A Marked Man (5/2), #3 Bad To The Roan (8/1), #11 Fortunate Sky (3/1) Total $81 Interesting Horses: Race 2: #8 Picozza (12/1) Race 5: #3 Bird Prince (6/1), #5 Tapitsphere (6/1) GBL
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh my, I'm sure you've heard the breaking news by now. BEHOLDER out of the Classic! That has absolutely got to make it easier for AP. DICK W must be turning cartwheels. Can you turn cartwheels, Dick? :) Annie
Cathy More than 1 year ago
For anyone who can get it, watch The Works on TVG. This year's line up is very very good at breaking down the works of the horses. It is all Simon and Christina with a little bit from Paul and Scott. Todd Shrupp, mercifully, is just hosting and setting up the action. Christina and Simon do a terrific job setting up the context of the work, the trainer intention and some of the nuances. I was impressed with the quality of the show, but really didn't find anything to put me off a horse I liked or on a horse I wasn't sure of. Since it was a one time show instead of a series, less than 10% of the horses were covered which was a shame. That is my knock against the programming. Since HRTV's demise, the programming has actually been worse. I have nothing of real interest to report as far as how the horses looked. American Pharoah was everyone's number one choice and as an interesting aside, Simon says if he needed a textbook to explain how a perfect Thoroughbred works, he'd just show tape of AP. Simon did a great job of explaining why Beholder gets a shipping fever which in short is because a horse normally has his head hanging down grazing or resting. When shipping, their head is cross tied up which limits the ability of mucous to drain which can cause respiratory problems. He said she recovered quickly since this was just a trip to the Midwest and not all the way out east. Beholder, Songbird and Keen Ice were the other stand outs. An off the radar horse whose work I liked was Bradester. Hard Aces, Big John B and Smooth Roller were all unimpressive and ironically, all are by Hard Spun which I thought was weird. I won't be betting any of them. Tap to It in the Juvenile Fillies did not impress me as much as the others, ie Rachel's Valentina or Songbird. She is a big filly and I thought she looked a little awkward like she is going through growing pains. One last interesting note, at least to me, Kieran McGlaughlin (sp) has a private training center and works his horses right handed now too. The commentators were saying this was revolutionary, out of the box, ad nauseum. In the 1990's, I proposed this idea to a trainer along with dressage training..........and I'm no genius. All it takes is a little exposure of the racing world to another equine discipline to come up with some new training ideas. The sad part is that this working both sides of the horse in a balanced way will help with less wear and tear on the horses' joints and ligaments has been embraced by only ONE TRAINER who is now figuring this out. It should be obvious to anyone who has carpal tunnel syndrome or an over use injury that horses always running in the same direction would have the same issues. The trainers I exempt from this myopia are the ones who train on the farm or at facilities like Fair Hill. Why couldn't a group of forward thinking trainers convince tracks to vary the traffic patterns at an individual racecourse so all horses could benefit? TBTA
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Speaking of MKBs, 5 of the 10 horses in the BC Classic are MKBs. :) Three from this year and two from last year: AOS/DICK W'S American Pharoah NAR'S Frosted TMONTY'S Keen Ice SPARTAN TOM'S Honor Code SONNY CROCKETT'S Tonalist There are many more MKBs throughout both days, including my WICKED STRONG in the dirt mile. :) Good luck to all of you!!! Annie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Joseph Don't discount Warren Venada. I' m uing him with Liams Map . Has a shot at a price Garyw