09/01/2016 2:02PM

Some Travers Day reflections

*As many of you have noticed, the "BLOG" tab on the home page has been removed. You can find this blog every week (usually published on Wednesday and Thursday) at drf.com/blogs or by going to the "NEWS" tab and clicking on the "Blogs" link. 
Here are a few quick thoughts concerning last week's races:
*ARROGATE sure looked like the best 3-year-old in the country when destroying the competition in the Grade 1 Travers. He earned a 122 Beyer Speed Figure for his track record-setting performance, and that's the highest number given to a 3-year-old since Holy Bull won the Metropolitan Mile in 1994 (also with a 122). 
Sent immediately to the front under Mike Smith, Arrogate ran hard every step of the way, albeit on a speed-friendly track, en route to his sensational score. Up next is the Breeders' Cup Classic where he'll likely meet up with CALIFORNIA CHROME, FROSTED and other top older horses.
GUN RUNNER ran a solid third in the Travers after receiving a beautiful trip and ride under Florent Geroux. He probably doesn't want to go 10 furlongs, but looms an intriguing cut-back option against horses like NYQUIST and EXAGGERATOR in a race like the Pennsylvania Derby. 
*Ho hum, FLINTSHIRE won another Grade 1 when successfully defending his Sword Dancer title. He's undoubtedly the best turf horse in the country so it was odd to see trainer Chad Brown stack the deck even more by entering a rabbit. 
It's not like Flintshire is some paceless plodder. We saw him sit fairly close to the pace when winning the Manhattan on the Belmont Stakes undercard. After some anxious, traffic-filled moments, Flintshire showed off his electifying stretch kick along the inside to win under only hands-and-heels urging. The race wasn't without some controversy, however. 
Follow the other two Brown-trained horses in the Sword Dancer. MONEY MULTIPLIER is racing in front of Flintshire along the inside as the field moved to the backstretch the final time. Instead of sitting behind the rabbit on the third turn, Irad Ortiz Jr. switched Money Multiplier into a pocket in and among horses. That allowed Flintshire to scoot up behind the rabbit.

While Flintshire saved ground, Money Multiplier, the eventual runner-up, had to go widest into the stretch. It's highly-unlikely that Money Multiplier beats Flintshire even if he stayed on the rail, but the stretch run might have been more interesting. Also, if you bet Money Multiplier, you have to feel like you lost your best chance when Irad made that decision. Perhaps the jock felt that the rabbit would stop, and Money Multiplier would be bottled up behind horses. Either way, it gave the conspiracy theorists some ammunition. 
Watch Aaron Gryder on INORDINATE, the rabbit that broke slowly and had to hustle up to set those swift fractions. Turning into the stretch, Aaron looks over his left shoulder, presumably for the favorite. He then takes Inordinate off the rail, allowing Flintshire to shoot on through. Collusion? Perhaps not, but the optics were really bad. 
Here's an excerpt from a DRF Live post from David Grening: 
"The stewards did not issue any fines or suspensions to any of the parties involved. Braulio Baeza Jr. the steward for NYRA, said he did receive several complaints from other trainers who watched the race. The stewards said they called Gryder, Castellano and Brown in separately for interviews Sunday morning. Both Gryder and Castellano told the stewards that Flintshire clipped heels with Inordinate at the top of the stretch, causing Gryder to look back and then get out of the way to avoid being clipped again. The stewards said that Brown told them it was not the plan to have Flintshire come through on the rail."
Bottom line is that Flintshire remains the horse to beat in the turf division. I'd love to see Tom Albertrani ship TWILIGHT ECLIPSE out to Southern California to get away from the big horse. He loves firm ground, appears to be back in form, and can beat those horses out there. 
*Mike Beer and I will be on for free and fun live handicapping analysis at 4:00 ET on Saturday. You can find us at live.drf.com. This week, we'll cover Saratoga, Del Mar and Kentucky Downs.
*You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.
*Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 8/24/16 - 8/30/16:
1. ARROGATE - 122 - Travers Stakes (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles - 27Aug16-11SAR
2. FLINTSHIRE (GB) - 112 - Sword Dancer Stakes (G1) - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - 27Aug16-10SAR
3. MASOCHISTIC - 110 - Pat O'Brien Stakes (G2) - 7 Furlongs - 27Aug16-3DMR
4. A.P. INDIAN - 107 - Forego Stakes (G1) - 7 Furlongs - 27Aug16-9SAR
5. BACCELO (BRZ) - 103 - Philip H. Iselin Stakes (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles - 27Aug16-11MTH
5. DREFONG - 103 - King's Bishop Stakes (G1) - 7 Furlongs - 27Aug16-8SAR
7. CAVORTING - 102 - Personal Ensign Stakes (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - 27Aug16-6SAR
7. STRIKE CHARMER - 102 - Ballston Spa Stakes (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 27Aug16-12SAR
9. HAVEYOUGONEAWAY - 99 - Ballerina Stakes (G1) - 7 Furlongs - 27Aug16-7SAR
9. KING KREESA - 99 - West Point Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 26Aug16-9SAR
11. MR MAYBE - 98 - John's Call Stakes - 1 5/8 Miles (Turf) - 24Aug16-9SAR
11. THREEFIVEINDIA - 98 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 27Aug16-3SAR
13. HIT IT ONCE MORE - 97 - Albany Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles - 26Aug16-5SAR
13. MIDNIGHT MILEY - 97 - Seaway Stakes (G3-C) - 7 Furlongs (Polytrack) - 27Aug16-8WO 
15. A RED TIE DAY - 95 - OC 100k/N3X -N - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 26Aug16-2DMR
15. HY RIVERSIDE - 95 - OC 62k/C -N - 1 Mile - 25Aug16-8GP 
15. SOI PHET - 95 - Harry F. Brubaker Stakes - 1 Mile - 24Aug16-5DMR
18. BIG ROCK - 94 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 28Aug16-5SAR
18. FAIR POINT - 94 - Smart N Fancy Stakes - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 28Aug16-10SAR
18. PERFECT PIC - 94 - Md Sp Wt 60k - 6 Furlongs - 26Aug16-5DMR
18. ROCKFORD - 94 - Clm 40000 - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 25Aug16-5SAR
18. STRYKER PHD - 94 - Washington Cup Muckleshoot Tribal Classic - 1 1/16 Miles - 28Aug16-8EMD
18. YOURDREAMSORMINE - 93 - Groomstick Stakes - 7 Furlongs - 27Aug16-6GP 
24. ACCELERATE - 93 - Shared Belief Stakes - 1 Mile - 26Aug16-7DMR
24. ON LEAVE - 93 - Riskaverse Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - 25Aug16-9SAR
ARROGATE's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post. 
*Congrats to Ed Kay for winning the most recent HandiGambling challenge.
Rick M and SR VEGAS' HG scoreboard spreadsheet is available at the bottom of this blog post. 
Ed selected the sixth race from Saratoga on Saturday.
SR Vegas and Rick M. have graciously decided to update all of the HG rules in order to make them an easier read for everyone...
HANDIGAMBLING version 2016:
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 SPARE A SENTENCE OR TWO outlining your HANDICAPPING ANGLES and/or THOUGHT PROCESSES about WAGERING.
1. Start your post with HG or HANDIGAMBLING to find your entry in a thread.
2. You have a mythical $100 to wager in whatever format you choose that is available for that HG race. Anyone going over the $100 limit will be DISQUALIFIED.
3. Post your WAGER and ANALYSIS to the blog prior to the start of the designated race. SIGN OFF WITH YOUR NAME/OR MONIKER AT THE END OF YOUR 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 identify who you are.
4. (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.
5. Separate your analysis from the wager and use the PROGRAM # in your wager. Just like you would do in a real wager. No horse names.
6. If any of the rules listed above aren't met, the wager is subject to review which can lead to disqualification of your entry.
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 2016
The speed in this race are #1 Alpha, #2 Beta, and #8 Ocho. I like the works for layoff horse #5 Cinco who can sit off the pace. Lots of speed in here, so this could set up for a closer like  #6 Six Flags and I like the trainer's stats in these conditions. I’ll put the closer over the speed.
HG wager:
$10 EX   6 /   1,2,5, 8  = $40
$5 TRI   6 /   1,2,5,8  /  1,2,5,8  =  $60
Total $100
Thanks Dan!


ARROGATE.pdf707.38 KB
Copy of HG 8 27 16 TRAVERS.xls52.5 KB
HGSAROPC.pdf200.82 KB