08/05/2015 3:32PM

A stroll on the Jersey Shore


There aren't any superlatives left to describe AMERICAN PHAROAH.

Seemingly unfazed by a demanding spring campaign that culminated with the colt becoming the first Triple Crown winner since the celestial Affirmed in 1978, American Pharoah never got out of a canter in capturing the Grade 1, $1,750,000 Haskell Invitational last Sunday at Monmouth.

Spotting four pounds to all six foes at the nine-furlong distance, American Pharoah broke sweetly under Victor Espinoza and found a comfortable spot tracking the early pace set by Grade 1 winner COMPETITIVE EDGE. The Pletcher-trained Competitive Edge rattled off fractions of 23.22 and 46.14 with American Pharoah merely gliding to his outside. Espinoza pushed the button after three-quarters in 1:09.60 and American Pharoah coasted to the lead. With Espinoza still as if spell-bound in the irons, American Pharoah galloped under the finish line 2 1/4 lengths better than a game, but overmatched KEEN ICE. He completed the distance in 1:47.95 and received a career-best 109 Beyer Speed Figure.

"It was pretty easy," Espinoza told track publicity following the Haskell. "For me the key was just coming out of there running. I didn’t want to get in into any bumping out of the gate. I just wanted to let him run his race. I knew that other horse would want to take the lead so I sat back just a little bit. I never like to go head and head with another horse so I sat back maybe half a length behind. He did everything by himself. It was pretty easy, pretty impressive."

So, what's next for racing's superstar?  It doesn't appear as if an outing against older horses in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar is in the cards. The historic Travers Stakes, "The Midsummer Derby," seems like a logical option if the colt retains his phenomenal form. That race would feature a matchup with 2014 Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner TEXAS RED, one of the few 3-year-olds that have yet to feel American Pharoah's sting this year.

Here are the WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 7/28/15 - 8/3/15

1. AMERICAN PHAROAH - 109 - Haskell Invitational (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - 2Aug15-12MTH
2. GIMME DA LUTE - 107 - Real Good Deal Stakes - 7 Furlongs - 2Aug15-5DMR
2. RED RIFLE - 107 - Bowling Green Handicap (G2) - 1 3/8 Miles (Turf) - 1Aug15-9SAR
4. ROCK FALL - 106 - Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (G1) - 6 Furlongs - 1Aug15-8SAR
5. BRADESTER - 105 - Monmouth Cup Stakes (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - 2Aug15-10MTH
5. TEXAS RED - 105 - Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles - 1Aug15-10SAR
5. WORK ALL WEEK - 105 - Senator Robert C Byrd Memorial Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 1Aug15-6MNR
8. HOLY BOSS - 102 - Amsterdam Stakes (G2) - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 1Aug15-5SAR
8. LA VERDAD - 102 - Honorable Miss Handicap (G2) - 6 Furlongs - 29Jul15-4SAR
8. OFFICER GRIFFIN - 102 - West Virginia Legislature Chairman's Cup - 4 1/2 Furlongs - 1Aug15-2MNR
11. HEART TO HEART - 101 - Oceanport Stakes (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 2Aug15-11MTH
11. THIEVES GUILD - 101 - Caress Stakes - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 2Aug15-3SAR
13. CRACKERJACK JONES - 99 - Alw 22153N1Y - 1 Mile - 28Jul15-8FL
14. FLORIDA WON - 98 - Seagram Cup Stakes (G3-C) - 1 1/16 Miles (Polytrack) - 2Aug15-8WO
15. BEHOLDER - 97 - Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (G1) - 1 1/16 Miles - 1Aug15-8DMR
16. LOOKS TO SPARE - 96 - West Virginia Governor's Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - 1Aug15-7
16. MATTERHORN - 96 - OC 80k/C -N - 1 1/8 Miles - 31Jul15-9SAR
16. STACKED DECK - 96 - Alw 79519NC - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 31Jul15-8WO
19. CASUAL SMILE (GB) - 95 - Matchmaker Stakes (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 2Aug15-9MTH
19. FALLING SKY - 95 - Trinniberg Stakes - 7 Furlongs - 1Aug15-8GP
19. GOT LUCKY - 95 - Lady's Secret Stakes - 1 Mile 70 Yards - 2Aug15-4MTH
19. MADEFROMLUCKY - 95 - West Virginia Derby (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles - 1Aug15-8MNR
19. PURE SENSATION - 95 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 31Jul15-8SAR
19. STOPCHARGINGMARIA - 95 - Shuvee Handicap (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles - 2Aug15-10SAR
25. ALL INCLUDED - 94 - OC 80k/N3X -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - 29Jul15-9SAR
25. BET THE POWER - 94 - Clm c-25000 - 6 Furlongs - 29Jul15-2SAR
25. GANGSTER - 94 - Md Sp Wt 83k - 1 1/8 Miles - 31Jul15-5SAR
25. HE'S ACHANCE - 94 - OC 25k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - 1Aug15-8LRL
25. MARKET MAGIC - 94 - West Virginia Senate President's Cup - 1 Mile 70 Yards (Turf) - 1Aug15-5MNR
25. MOONLIGHT SONG - 94 - John Morrissey Stakes - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 30Jul15-4SAR
25. ROOM FOR ME - 94 - Regret Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 1Aug15-10MTH
25. RUNHAPPY - 94 - OC 40k/N$Y -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 31Jul15-7ELP
25. SATURDAY'S CHARM - 94 - Clm 32000 - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 2Aug15-9SAR
25. SMOOTH ROLLER - 94 - OC 40k/N1X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - 1Aug15-9DMR
25. WILDCAT RED - 94 - Teddy Drone Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 2Aug15-8MTH

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

*BET THE POWER was claimed for $25,000 by trainer Michael Maker from Chris Englehart.


You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.

Remember to check out DRF LIVE's VIDEO handicapping coverage at live.drf.com. Matt Bernier and I will be on at 4pm ET Wednesday and Thursday to take you through the final few races at Saratoga. Michael Hogan will fill in on Friday with Eric Wing handling co-hosting duties on Saturday.


Congrats to Pat Gavin for finishing first in the most recent HandiGambling tournament.

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

Let's go with Saturday's Whitney at Saratoga 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 WV Derby 8-1-15.xls208.24 KB
HGWHITNEY.pdf179.79 KB
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OK, so far so good. Baffert didn't let me down. Got my single out of the way in the first race with his WISH I UNDERSTOOD. :) Race 2: Desert Steel and Cindy's Secret Race 3: Lucky Student, Magic Lily and Sweetrayofsunshine Race 4: Bella Breeze, Rush of Day, Let the Girl Go, and Tribal All Star Race 5: Rideo, Dressed in Hermes, Hollywood Don and my longshot, Tiz a Billy Annie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
PE, LOL!!! She said that, didn't she. Annie
hahafunnyfunny1 More than 1 year ago
"outstanding Male adornments will be hanging out..." whaaaaa? pe
Harold Crenshaw More than 1 year ago
Since the subject of weight has been brought up I would like to add something a bit off topic. The scale of weights probably needs changing. These guys are so small and the lengths that they go to are crazy. I recall years ago what Lafittt Pincay used to consume in a day....it was something like 600 calories and his lunch was a pear...ONLY. He was about 117lbs and within 3 months he weighed 160 lbs and looked normal. Didn't Steve Cauthen head to England partially because the weight limit was higher in GB? I also recall the rest of the jocks in California being very jealous of Shoemaker because he was about 100Lbs and could eat what ever he wanted. I watch the human connections as well as the horses in the paddock.....jockeys are the toughest to read. The all look "non robust'. I have never gotten any indication from body language that they are feeling well or not. I've twice seen Trevor McCarthy and David Jacobson's assistant look giddy in the paddock as they had a certain winner.....more of the interplay than health. Most of the guys have the same "all business" look as mounting a seriously hyper fast unpredictable animal is pretty heady stuff. I've had my say on jockeys.....I'd say most are competent or at least able to steer a fit and ready horse to the winners circle. I put very little into what jockeys appear where because the political shenanigans of ALL racetracks. Alliances, hot hands, petty feuds all factor in. ONE RIDE can lead to banishment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Professor Molesap, Oh my, back to work already Monday? Hope you will still have time to visit with us often. Annie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dan, While I'm thinking about it, ask Matt when the "Horseplayers" TV Show will be back on. I sure hope it's coming back. That was fun to watch. Matt sure blossomed after that show. Just look at him now. He's everywhere, even on NBC. :) Annie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Al, LOL! No, I didn't have anything to do with the entries at Saratoga. And they are the three favorites too. How will anyone decide between the three "Annies" to make a bet? :) Also, if there happens to be a Psychiatrist's Convention in town, they will go crazy trying to decide between: PSYCHIATRY PERFECT FREUD FREUDIE ANNIE LOON RIVER COSMIC SERENITY Annie
Sinatra Jeter More than 1 year ago
DRF has found a new way to limit the number of bloggers. They have redesigned their front page to not show favorite items to click on. I had to do search for "blogs" to find this page this morning. TurfRuler
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bernard – I misspoke yesterday, as you probably saw, since 8 st. 1 lb is obviously 113 lbs., not 111. I reread your original post and would add that with the range of weight assignments here being pretty narrow, there really isn't much call for a rider at 110 lbs unless he is an apprentice with a weight break. Al
Professor Molesap More than 1 year ago
Some Quick Comments and Thoughts from Around the Blog vs You were pretty much dead on for the lyrics of Forever Young by Alphaville. Although I would take exception that they were a “bad” 80’s band. In fact, they exemplify the common 80’s band sound and that song kicks butt. I will admit that they did not live up to that first release. Can you tell I am an 80’s music fan? I love all 80’s music, but I tend towards the new wave stuff. There are a bunch of totally different songs by that title released by various artists over the years, but the more popular ones were released by Bob Dylan in 1974, Rod Stewart in 1988 and of course Alphaville’s debut album in 1984 by the same name. Famous covers of the Aphaville song include Jay Z rapping while the Alphaville version played in the background in 2009 and One Direction’s cover in 2010 for the finals of the X-Factor which was to be released had they won (they came in third). The song was “leaked” to the Internet anyways. Oh and I get your point about Matt Bernier. Annie I think you are correct in your assertion that the blog has less activity as the summer fades away. Heck, I even have to go back to work as we start classes Monday. Bernard Was going to post about Acapulco, but saw you were on it as I suspected. I know that is a huge weight break, but 2YO fillies racing against older males is unheard of the US. I looked at the entry page and there were 53 horses listed I think – obviously not all are going. I also saw Sole Power was a possibility. He won last year’s edition and has raced in that stakes a bunch of times (maybe four so far?). I recognized some other names on the list, but do not follow International racing too much. The thing is, I just can’t wrap my head around a 2YO filly being less than 2/1 in what will likely amount to a full field of older horses including a tough veteran who won this race last year and already won the big sprint race in Dubai this year. When Steve T was discussing actual birthdate in relation to Kentucky Derby performance sometime back, I think there was a study presented that stated foals in Canada were smaller and matured slower than counterparts in the US, so maybe there is something there. Yuwipi Agree with your comments of Irad Ortiz. SRVegas Way to go. Wacky Love the stories and enthusiasm – you bring life to the blog.