07/23/2014 1:31PM

Spring to the Turf Sprint?


Thanks to everyone that entered the FormBlog Breeders' Cup Fantasy Handicapping League.

We have 454 contestants.

As a result of TOM'S TRIBUTE'S win in last weekend's Eddie Read at Del Mar, there is a 29-way tie for 1st place with $66.

If you haven't joined yet, there's still plenty of time to do so. 

Head on over to fantasycapping.com/illman

The league password in DRF123.

You can find league rules here:


This week's contest race is Sunday's Haskell Invitational from Monmouth.


Although the speedy SPRING TO THE SKY got away with a moderate 22.94 first quarter in last Sunday's $100,000 Lucky Coin Stakes at Saratoga, the rock-solid 5-year-old showed that he is back in the excellent form that earned him a starting berth in last year's Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint.

Breaking from the outside post in the six-horse, 5 1/2-Furlong dash over the Mellon Turf Course, Spring to the Sky soon found himself in front and on the rail. He took moderate pressure from Grade 3 winner GREAT ATTACK, but shrugged that one off in the stretch following splits of 44.79 and 55.83. Spring to the Sky completed the distance in 1:01.66 and received a 96 Beyer Speed Figure.

Trainer Bruce Brown was thrilled with the way the race unfolded. "For him that was a pretty slow first quarter compared to what he did last time. It was almost like he rated him on the lead. That's the one thing with a speed horse, you just love to see when they can finish like that. He'll be able to win more races with that style, being able to finish down the lane, than just being a speedball and going hell-bent. It was good to see."

A son of Langfuhr, Spring to the Sky finished tenth in last year's Turf Sprint at Santa Anita. His big victory to date came in the $80,000 Groovy Stakes at six furlongs over the Belmont Inner Turf in 2012.

Expect to see him in the $100,000 Troy Stakes at Saratoga on August 13. If all goes well, he'll then likely try the Woodford Stakes at Keeneland.


Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 7/14/14 - 7/20/14

1. TOM'S TRIBUTE - 103 - Eddie Read Stakes (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Del Mar
2. TOURIST - 102 - Sir Cat Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - Saratoga
3. HOLIDAY MISCHIEF - 101 - Alw 35000N$Y - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Canterbury
4. GOOD LORD - 98 - Don Bernhardt Stakes - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Ellis
4. UP WITH THE BIRDS - 98 - Nijinsky Stakes (G2-C) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Woodbine
6. COUNTY CORRECTIONS - 97 - Clm c-(50-40)B - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Arlington
7. NORTH STAR BOY (Ire) - 96 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Saratoga
7. SOMALI LEMONADE - 96 - Diana Stakes (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Saratoga
7. SPRING TO THE SKY - 96 - Lucky Coin Stakes - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Saratoga
7. WIN LION WIN - 96 - OC 30k/C -N - 5 Furlongs - Evangeline
11. TAPPININTOVICTORY - 95 - Clm 16000(16-14)N2Y - 1 Mile - Delaware
12. CSABA - 94 - Skip Trial Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - Gulfstream
12. SOLEMNLY SWEAR - 94 - OC 30k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - Monmouth
14. BOOZER - 93 - OC 20k/N1X -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Del Mar
14. JOES BLAZING AARON - 93 - Clm c-50000 - 1 Mile (Turf) - Saratoga
14. UNFOLDED MAGIC - 93 - Md Sp Wt 27k - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Canterbury
17. ENTERPRISING - 92 - Oceanside Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - Del Mar
17. HAWK'S EYES (BRZ) - 92 - Clm 10000(10-9) - 1 Mile (Polytrack) Del Mar
17. PRIMO VIA - 92 - Alw 61880N1X - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Parx
17. PURE TACTICS - 92 - OC 80k/C -N - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - Del Mar
17. SAILOR'S REVENGE - 92 - OC 40k/N3X -N - 1 Mile - Parx
17. STOPCHARGINGMARIA - 92 - Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - Saratoga
23. DOWNTOWN C. T. - 91 - OC 25k/N1X -N - 1 Mile - Sacramento
23. STRYKER PHD - 91 - Mt. Rainier Handicap - 1 1/16 Miles - Emerald
25. ALL INCLUDED - 90 - Alw 85000N1X - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Saratoga
25. BEANTOWN CAT - 90 - OC 40k/N2X -N - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - Indiana
25. CROWN QUEEN - 90 - Alw 85000N1X - 1 3/16 Miles (Turf) - Saratoga
25. DISCO CHICK - 90 - Alw 37200N2X - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Parx
25. KARIBU GARDENS - 90 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/8 Miles (Polytrack) - Woodbine
25. RISK FACTOR - 90 - OC 62k/C -N - 6 Furlongs - Gulfstream
25. SCAT 'N GO - 90 - OC 12k/N1X - 6 Furlongs - Prairie Meadows
25. SET OF J'S - 90 - Md Sp Wt 32k - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Indiana
25. SUPER ABILITY - 90 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Del Mar
25. TIGAH (GB) - 90 - Clm c-(40-35) - 1 Mile (Turf) - Del Mar

*The lifetime past performances for TOM'S TRIBUTE are available at the bottom of this blog post

*COUNTY CORRECTIONS was claimed for $50,000 by trainer Jon Cowan from Bret Calhoun.

*JOES BLAZING AARON was claimed for $50,000 by trainer Gary Contessa from Mike Maker.

*TIGAH was claimed for $40,000 by trainer Barry Abrams from John Sadler.


Are you doing the Del Mar babies also? I see your byline under Saratoga Babies but not Del Mar. If so, try and get some sleep in the next 6 weeks.

Nope. Just Saratoga for me. Matt Bernier is doing Del Mar babies this summer.


*The links to the five most recent blogs (and blog comments) are listed below:







You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman


Congrats to edb for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling race.

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

On tab 2 you will see each HG Race we've held and they are color coded to denote if the race was run on Turf, Dirt or Poly.

Let's go with Friday's Cougar II Stakes from Del Mar 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!




Copy of Formblog Saratoga 7-18-14.xls74.5 KB
HGCOUGAR.pdf196.23 KB
Penguin ymous More than 1 year ago
continued 5. Regarding the show wager again: "The problem is that the payoff is dictated by the other horses who hit the board." Not quite. Since the implementation of net pool pricing, show payoffs are higher than they used to be on the longer priced horses. So, I know when I bet, what the payoff will be if the two favorite's run in also. Since we all know that in the multiverses of wagering, the favorite loses two out of three, my payoff is often times larger than the minimum accepted price. 6. "Betting to show basically says that you are extremely confident the favorite will be off the board. I could give a rat's ass what the favorite does as I said in #5,because I know my minimum payoff. I am more extremely confident that my horse will be in the money. 7. And last but not least: "You can't be afraid of losing a few races. Playing with scared money lowers your risk...." First, I'm pretty sure I have LOST more races than you have ever bet on total. Losing a few races, Pshaw! Second, I used to go balls to the wall , but what's the point if I'm profiting? If I'm going to play Russian Roulette, I would reluctantly play for high stakes only, but only if I was 99 & 44/100 per cent sure where that bullet was. Scared money. Now there's a racing cliche. Scared money is money you can't afford to lose, or afraid to take risks. If you think I'm scared money, then fine. You win. I'll just take my scared money profit at the end of the year and you can go on being macho, taking higher risks, and when the big one comes, 'lizbeth, you can be a man and deny til your death that it can't happen here. I do thank you though for your thought provoking non-reply to me. RonZ postscript I had to think long and hard about including some of my personal statistics. One thing is it ain't nobody's business but my own. I have been around the racetrack and people and gamblers for a very long time. Long enough to be able to separate the wheat from the BS. And I am basically a skeptic. Way more than 50% of the people I have ever asked at the track: " How ya doing?' were winning. How can that be!? Some here will be skeptical of my stats. (he doth protest too much) But frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn. My purpose is to see if I can get more people interested in racing. I have limited opportunities but through this forum. I reckon if I can demonstrate ways of winning, however unglamorous, more people might give it a try. p.p.s Pat and David, I believe your recent numbers.
Penguin ymous More than 1 year ago
Oh, goodie!! I love cliches'. While you did not use the word, cliche', defined as a phrase that is overused, used to much, you did use the word "mantra", defined as a statement or slogan repeated frequently. I will take that and run with it as they are very similar in meaning. It will be easier to rebut in the following manner: 1. "The mantra "there's no value in a losing ticket" is rather silly." Let me ask a silly question. Have you ever been able to sell a losing ticket to anyone after the race is over? Maybe if it was Zenyatta's only lifetime loss. While you may think you have value when your 5-1 horse is leading by two at the stretch and he loses by a nose, your "value" quickly turns into nothing. There was no value there. Harvey Pack tells a story about a bookmaker who used to reside in the press box at Saratoga and would allow bettors to wager at the quarter pole. The story ends, the bookmaker retired rich. Value can be an elusive concept. My definition of value is plain and simple, what will someone pay for this, is it's value. 2. "The "value" of value becomes evident in the long term over many races." I may be stubborn, but I am not senile nor stupid and I know where you are coming from, but I define the long term over many races as "profit", not value. Profit, in racing, at the end of the year is determined by taking in more money than you wager. Not by the inherent value of your losing tickets. 3. "Getting acceptable odds in relation to a horse's chances should be the first and last consideration of any wager." Boy, oh boy! I could write a book about that one, so, I will hardly go there. There is so much to say between first and last. Let me say this about that. Getting acceptable odds is such a subjective concept. Your guess is as good as mine. If you say 5-1 is acceptable and I say I wouldn't bet him with Dan's money, who is right? And we could do this race after race and hardly ever agree. That is one reason for the parimutuel system. And if we both show the same profit at the end of the year and never or rarely ever agree on "value"? How can that be value? Maybe just lucky stabbers. Different styles? 4. "The show wager may very well represent the worst proposition for bettors at the racetrack." Who you talkin' to Willis? It certainly isn't me. That statement put a bee in my bonnet and them's fightin' words. Because of my record keeping , I happen to know that over the last five years my average show payoff is $4.58 with a hit rate of 57% and an ROI of 30.5%. I also know that my average win payoff is $11.41 but my hit rate is not near high enough to approach the show ROI. Do I still play some win bets? Of course I do. I am a degenerate horseplayer. Do I still play some gimmicks? Of course I do. I am a dyed in the wool horseplayer. Is my handle $1 million a year? I wish, then I would take in $305,000 per year. If I was able to significantly raise my handle, my payoffs would plummet and if I tried unfamiliar tracks, my cashing percent would undoubtedly tumble. If you have an average win payoff of $10 (4-1), you would need to hit 26% of your wagers to have an ROI of 30.5%. Most players can't do that, nor have the patience to pick their spots and that to me is the main reason players play the exotics, hoping for the Big Lebowski. to be continued
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
PG, Good post! It appears that your philosophy is not at odds with JJ's, or mine for that matter. Sometimes the best are just the best. The key is finding the best, and sometimes they are not the best until they have found the right crowd to run against. :) Annie
pat gavin More than 1 year ago
Spirited, wonderful debate and the key sentence in all you have written in the last week is this "what the players do, collectively, matters, for whatever reason". It goes to prove my long held tenet that people call themselves contrarians...but they just say it to say it. In reality most people are not..or there would be chaos. The key to picking "possible" bombers is having a contrarian opinion at the right time. If you view everything that way.....wow, you are messed up. I admire your polemics. You have done the work........ Here is where you and I differ.. I look(with my own eyes) at each race INDIVIDUALLY. 1st principles...of each particular thing "What is it's nature". Each is a puzzle onto it self. I take my experiences and I would say that I "make my case" from the specific to the general(reverse logic) and turn it around from the general to the specific. Mix it all together and I get my choice(or choices). I am a big believer in the philosophy of Marcus Aurelius. Lots of stoicism mixed in with a dash of bravado makes for a good handicapper. Sometimes you have to take the logical route. To make my point on how to win at the races.....chew on this quote. "The object of life is to not be in the majority..but escape finding oneself in the ranks of the Insane". PG
gerald vinci More than 1 year ago
Oakie The address is markcramercx.blogspot.com
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SR Vegas, Welcome back!! Now you can get back to watching horses instead of wild critters. Especially MKBs. :) I'm always happy to see the MKBs continue to excel beyond the Triple Crown. Speaking of "value", there is always value when MKBs are in a race with all three-year-olds. Because, of course, they are the best of their crop. :) Many of them will continue to win when they meet older horses, once they have achieved big boy maturity. Annie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Okie, Someone back in June (unfortunately I don't remember who) gave us a link to Mark Cramer's C & X Reports. At that time I printed his Turf Handicapping: The Short Form (I always can use some help with turf races). Anyway, at the bottom of my printed pages is markcramercxblogspot. That should be enough to get you there and then go to archives. Hope this helps. Annie
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Annie and the Magic genie Thanks for keeping track of those MKB , who have won and raced in recent GI and II races . And those who have passed on. RIP. Even in the off season you keep an eye on our MKB,s. And as history has shown , your MKB selections have continued to grow and get better with age. I look forward to the next MKB season :) SR Vegas
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
opps ..JJs quote should be " CASHERS" not "CASHIERS", though one would need both :) SR Vegas
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Jackson Jackson JJ no bass , or et all, :) "Exercising a little prudence can improve any handicappers bottom line . YOU DON'T NEED WINNERS TO MAKE MONEY. YOU NEED CASHIERS . You need to avoid losers . " I'll copy and paste, and as Ron Z recommended, put this fore front on my horsie computer. Do I need to say more ? Thanks for a current reminder of the true essence of handicapping. SR Vegas