10/02/2012 12:28PM

Super Saturday Review


It truly was a super Saturday at Santa Anita and Belmont.

*GAME ON DUDE cemented his status as the top handicap horse in the country with a big victory in the newly-named Awesome Again Stakes (formerly the Goodwood), a race he took last year prior to running a game second in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs.  Game On Dude, the odds-on favorite in the Awesome Again. allowed longshot WINNING MACHINE the front as he took up residence stalking in the two-path under Rafael Bejarano.  Game On Dude powered to the lead turning for home and was never really threatened by the runnerup, the solid 3-year-old NONIOS.  RICHARD'S KID rallied well for third and is a horse that always has a puncher's chance in big races depending on pace and race luck.  As for Game On Dude, I didn't like that he hopped back to his left lead in midstretch, but that may simply be nitpicking.  He enters this year's Classic as the horse to beat for the stacked Bob Baffert barn.

*At Belmont, FLAT OUT showed his affinity for the Belmont strip by succesfully defending his title in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.  Flat Out traveled smoothly in midpack while STAY THIRSTY, the 2011 Travers winner, set a solid pace up front.  Flat Out challenged the leader in upper stretch and finally got the better of the Todd Pletcher-trained Stay Thirsty in the shadow of the wire.  FORT LARNED, the beaten favorite, tracked the leaders while wide, but couldn't go with the top two in the stretch.  He certainly has races this year that are fast enough to win the Breeders' Cup Classic, but the jury remains out if he really wants ten furlongs against top-class competition. Flat Out will try to make it two Breeders' Cup Classic wins in a row for trainer Bill Mott (Drosselmeyer), but it must be noted that the 6-year-old is 3-3 at Belmont and 3-16 elsewhere. 

*Mott also got ROYAL DELTA back on track with a dominating performance in the Beldame Invitational going nine furlongs around one turn.  Royal Delta, upset in the Personal Ensign at Saratoga in her previous outing, pressed the pace of longtime rival IT'S TRICKY through an opening quarter in 24.09. It's Tricky tried to break the race open with successive quarter-miles in 22.61 and 23.58, but couldn't shake Royal Delta, who cruised to command nearing the quarter pole.  After that, it was a runaway effort from Royal Delta, who received a big hand from the crowd as she made her way to the winner's circle.  Several railbirds were clamoring for ROYAL DELTA to make her next appearance against males in the Breeders' Cup Classic, but it's certainly possible that she will defend her crown in the Ladies' Classic. 

*While Mott had to be pleased with both FLAT OUT and ROYAL DELTA, he was disappointed with the fourth-place finish of beaten favorite TO HONOR AND SERVE in the one-mile Kelso Handicap.  "He was dull," Mott told NYRA publicity after the Kelso.  "He didn't break.  Johnny [Velazquez] said he was a little flat.  He didn't put in any kind of effort."

Despite the loss, Mott still plans on stretching To Honor and Serve out to 1 1/4 miles in the Classic.

The Kelso winner, JERSEY TOWN, prevailed for the first time since pulling off a shocking upset in the 2010 Cigar Mile.  Plagued by various injuries (fractured leg, ankle chip, quarter cracks), Jersey Town has always had courage and he parlayed a good pace-tracking, ground-saving trip to victory. 

*THE LUMBER GUY, a 3-year-old unraced since the Peter Pan Stakes in May, matured at the right time in the Vosburgh Invitational.  Making his first start against older horses, The Lumber Guy showed a willingness to rate just off the leaders while in the clear.  He got the jump on late-runner CAIXA ELETRONICA turning for home and held that one safe at the wire.  Trainer Mike Hushion has Breeders' Cup options for THE LUMBER GUY, who is also a graded winner (Jerome) at one mile. 

*POINT OF ENTRY made it five in a row in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic and looks like America's best hope for the Breeders' Cup Turf.  Trainer Shug McGaughey was concerned about the wet turf course, but Point of Entry was solid enough to prevail. "I don’t think this was his race today, but he was good enough to win,” McGaughey told NYRA Publicity after the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic.  "I hope he comes back fine and we'll go out there [Santa Anita] and catch a firm turf out there, and I think they'll really see what he can do."

The popular LITTLE MIKE didn't seem to handle the wet grass and he probably doesn't want to go 12 furlongs. 

*NAHRAIN, second in last year's Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, battled gamely in between horses to deny the Chad Brown-trained duo of ZAGORA and DREAM PEACE in the Flower Bowl Invitational.  Nahrain heads back to the Filly and Mare Turf, but one must wonder if there are even stronger European invaders lying in the weeds. 

*EXECUTIVEPRIVILEGE looks like the best juvenile filly in the land.  She didn't take a deep breath in winning the Chandelier Stakes, but her Beyer decreased in her first start on dirt (84).  Nonetheless, she looks like a very talented filly and they'll have to play on her home court in the Juvenile Fillies. 

*POWER BROKER is bred for dirt and he handled the surface beautifully for Baffert in the FrontRunner Stakes for juveniles (90 Beyer).  It will certainly be interesting to see how the babies perform without Lasix in the Breeders' Cup events for juveniles. 

*MARKETING MIX is a very good turf filly, but she took advantage of a wicked pace to win the Rodeo Drive.  LOVE AND PRIDE defeated a troubled It's Tricky and a flat Royal Delta in the Personal Ensign at Saratoga and backed up that performance by taking down INCLUDE ME OUT, AMANI and SWITCH in the Zenyatta Stakes.  Her early speed makes her dangerous and she should be a good price once again in the Ladies' Classic, but if one of the big guns shows up with a top performance, she could be in for a tough afternoon.


Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from (9/24/12 - 9/30/12):

1. JERSEY TOWN - 110 - Kelso Handicap (G2) - 1 Mile - Belmont
1. THE LUMBER GUY - 110 - Vosburgh Invitational (G1) - 6 Furlongs - Belmont
3. FLAT OUT - 109 - Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles - Belmont
3. GAME ON DUDE - 109 - Awesome Again Stakes (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - Santa Anita
5. ROYAL DELTA - 106 - Beldame Invitational (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - Belmont
6. POINT OF ENTRY - 105 - Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational (G1) - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - Belmont
7. D'TIGER - 103 - Md 16000 - 1 Mile - Belmont
8. NAHRAIN (GB) - 100 - Flower Bowl Invitational (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - Belmont
9. SLIM SHADEY (GB) - 99 - John Henry Turf Championship (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - Santa Anita
9. ST. MAXIMUS GATO - 99 - Alw 33700NC - 6 Furlongs - Mountaineer
11. EMOLLIENT - 98 - Md Sp Wt 68k - 7 Furlongs - Belmont
11. MARKETING MIX - 98 - Rodeo Drive Stakes (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - Santa Anita
13. ALSVID - 97 - Remington Park Sprint Cup - 6 Furlongs - Remington
14. POLITICALLYCORRECT - 96 - Oklahoma Derby - 1 1/8 Miles - Remington
15. OCALA SON - 95 - Clm 4000N2L - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Fort Erie
16. CIRCA'SGOLDENGEAR - 94 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Santa Anita
17. BEAR TOUGH TIGER - 93 - Alw 56000NC - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Tapeta) - Presque Isle Downs
17. BIG BUSINESS - 93 - Alw 59000N1X - 1 1/16 Miles - Belmont
17. LOCKOUT - 93 - Remington Green Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Remington
20. BIG GRANDPA - 93 - Clm 20000B - 6 Furlongs - Belmont
20. HOGY - 92 - Alw 48000NC - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - Arlington
20. HONEY CHILE - 92 - OC 100k/C -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Arlington
20. LOVE AND PRIDE - 92 - Zenyatta Stakes (G1) - 1 1/16 Miles - Santa Anita
20. MAGIC BROOMSTICK - 92 - Avowal Stakes - 7 Furlongs (Turf) - Woodbine
20. SWEET SWAP - 92 - Alw 53900N1X - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Santa Anita
20. UNBRIDLED'S NOTE - 92 - Eddie D. Stakes (G3) - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Santa Anita

*The lifetime past performances for JERSEY TOWN and THE LUMBER GUY are available at the bottom of this blog post.

*Trainer Bill Mott sent out promising juvenile filly EMOLLIENT to a second-out maiden score at Belmont on September 30.  A Juddmonte Farm homebred by Empire Maker, Emollient finished second in her career debut at Saratoga before breaking through with a 98-Beyer performance at seven furlongs.  The second dam was a stakes-winner at nine furlongs on muddy going and is a full sister to multiple Grade 3 route winner Snake Mountain.  There are strong distance genes in this pedigree and Emollient's bloodlines indicate that grass is a good option as well.  Runner-up BRILLIANT JEWEL, a $400,000 yearling purchase by A.P. Indy, ran on nicely in her debut and looms a likely short-priced maiden graduate in the near future.  Trained by Shug McGaughey, Brilliant Jewel is out of Grade 2 Prioress Stakes winner Sapphire n' Silk and is a full sister to Grade 2 Kentucky Cup Classic hero Shaniko.


Please check out the latest video production from Jessica Pacheco, Racing Analyst at Arlington Park.  It's Part 19 of the "Behind the Silks" video series following jockey Tim Thornton through his ups and downs at this year's Arlington meet.

"Wins and Whacks"

With two episodes to go, Tim takes the Illinois-bred champion River Bear to Fairmount Park to compete in the Tex's Zing Stakes. Then, head back to Arlington as Free Fighter turns the tables on Exchanging Kisses.  Aboard Quiet Determination, an incident causes Tim to call foul and the excitement continues with one of the most dramatic images captured so far on the helmet cam.


All episodes, 1-19, can be found here:



...The Baffert freight train continues to roll. I have said it since March but this seems extraordinary even by his lofty standards. Dan – who are this man’s lieutenants? Even thru the heart attack this barn rolls. Might be nice to give the barn crew some love...

Jim Barnes is the chief assistant to Baffert and was in charge of the barn when the trainer was hospitalized earlier this year in Dubai.


Hi Dan. I am doing research on BC races and discovered Domedriver's PP's are missing from the 2003 ARM. He won the 2002 BC Mile. Any chance you can put them up?  My Breeders' Cup PP's only go back to 2004. Thank you very much!

DOMEDRIVER's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.


Congrats to meathead for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling exercise.

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


Let's go with Friday's Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland for this week's HandiGambling exercise.


 Remember that you have a mythical $100 with which to wager on the race, and the entrant with the highest money total will receive a "Monthly Enhanced 60-Card Past Performance Plan."
Anyone going over the $100 limit will be disqualified.
Please post your plays and analysis to the blog.
Please separate the play from the analysis and label the play "HG" with the program numbers (instead of the horse's name) for easier scoring.
In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference. One entry per person please.
I reserve the right to approve or deny any entries.
I know that there is a time issue for some of you, but 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. I'm 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.
Best of luck to all.


Be back Friday with the HG analysis and some thoughts on the weekend stakes races.

Domedriver.pdf56.87 KB
Copy of Formblog Contest Eddie D 9-28-12.xls47 KB
HGKEE.pdf146.6 KB