07/03/2012 3:24PM

Take Control Returns a Winner


TAKE CONTROL, a 5-year-old son of Horse of the Year A.P. Indy out of Horse of the Year Azeri, has had a rather interesting career for a horse that's made just two starts.
A $7,700,000 RNA as a yearling, he sold for $1,900,000 to Kaleem Shah at the 2009 Keeneland April juvenile auction.  Take Control made one start that year and he prevailed in a one-mile maiden special weight over the Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita.  Plagued by shin issues and various other ailments, Take Control went to the sidelines for 2 1/2 years, but returned with a vengeance, winning an entry-level optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles over the Betfair Hollywood cushion track on June 30 with a 99 Beyer Speed Figure.  If trainer Bob Baffert can hold him together, Take Control may be stakes-bound in the near future.

*FORT LARNED may be one of the more underrated horses in the country.  The gate-to-wire winner of the Grade 3 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap over favored SUCCESSFUL DAN, Fort Larned has earned three 108 Beyer Speed Figures since March 31.  He received a brilliant ride from Brian Hernandez Jr. in the Cornhusker, stealing off to an uncontested lead through moderate fractions.  The three triple-digit numbers came at different tracks and distances (Gulfstream - 1 3/16 miles, Churchill, 1 1/16 miles, Prairie Meadows, 1 1/8 miles).  Ian Wilkes trains.

*Trainer Mike Mitchell was hospitalized with a brain tumor last Friday, but his stable kept rolling along with CAMP VICTORY's upset win in the Grade 1 Triple Bend Handicap at Betfair Hollywood the following afternoon.  Camp Victory traveled strongly throughout and overwhelmed favored THE FACTOR in the final quarter mile.  Mitchell claimed Camp Victory for $40,000 on February 13, 2011.  Since then, the gelding has registered six triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures from ten outings.

*The amazing Louisiana-bred STAR GUITAR keeps rolling along.  The seven-year-old son of Quiet American, trained by Al Stall Jr., won his tenth stakes race in a row in the Louisiana Legends Classic on June 30 at Evangeline.  Lifetime, Star Guitar has won 24 of 30 starts for earnings of $1,749,862. 

*HUNTERS BAY, a five-year-old son of Horse of the Year Ghostzapper and multiple Grade 2 route winner Smok'n Frolic, seems over the physical issues that once disrupted his career.  He won his third straight in the Grade 3 Dominion Day Stakes going 10 furlongs over the Woodbine polytrack.  A perfect 4-4 over the synthetic surface, Hunters Bay defeated a solid bunch that included PENDER HARBOUR and STATELY VICTOR.  Versatile like his sire, he has won races at distances ranging from 7-10 furlongs.

*The once-promising JOHN SCOTT, away from the races for over two years after suffering a non-displaced condylar fracture in his left hind leg when finishing fourth in the 2009 Norfolk Stakes behind Lookin At Lucky, has won two of three since his return for trainer Carla Gaines.  The five-year-old son of Bertrando successfully stretched out to 1 1/16 miles on June 28 at Betfair Hollywood, earning a 97 Beyer and taking down Grade 1 winner RAIL TRIP in the process.

*UNCAPTURED, a juvenile son of Lion Heart and a half-brother to multiple stakes-winner DANCING RAVEN, made it a perfect 2-2 to begin his career in the Clarendon Stakes at Woodbine on June 30.  A $290,000 yearling purchase trained by Mark Casse, Uncaptured won off by 5 1/2 lengths with a 94 Beyer.

*SHANGHAI BOBBY, a 2-year-old trained by Todd Pletcher, remained undefeated after two starts after taking the Track Barron Stakes in gate-to-wire fashion at Belmont on June 27.  A $105,000 yearling, Shanghai Bobby is by Harlan's Holiday out of the stakes-winning sprinter Steelin'.

*Sad to hear that JOHN JOHNY JAK, who returned from colic surgery to win the Robert K. Kerlan Memorial Handicap at Betfair Hollywood on July 1, was euthanized that evening after injuring a shoulder.


Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from last week's races (6/25/12 - 7/1/12):

1.  CAMP VICTORY - 112 - Triple Bend Handicap (G1) - 7 Furlongs (Cushion Track) - Betfair Hollywood
2.  FORT LARNED - 108 - Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap - 1 1/8 Miles - Prairie Meadows
3.  GOOD LORD - 105 - Wild and Wonderful Stakes - 7 Furlongs - Charles Town
4.  GLADDING - 102 - Alamedan Handicap - 1 1/16 Miles - Pleasanton
5.  SOULTOWN - 101 - Clm 50000(50-40)N3L - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Arlington
6.  JERANIMO - 100 - Shoemaker Mile (G1) - 1 Mile (Turf) - Betfair Hollywood
6.  JOHN JOHNY JAK - 100 - Robert K. Kerlan Memorial Handicap - 6 Furlongs (Turf) - Betfair Hollywood
6.  WIREDFORTWOTWENTY - 100 - Iowa Sprint Handicap - 6 Furlongs - Prairie Meadows
9.  DERWIN'S STAR - 99 - Bed O'Roses Handicap (G3) - 7 Furlongs - Belmont
9.  GUY'S REWARD - 99 - Firecracker Handicap (G2) - 1 Mile (Turf) - Churchill
9.  TAKE CONTROL - 99 - OC 40k/N1X -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Cushion Track) - Betfair Hollywood
9.  TAZZ - 99 - OC 80k/C -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Arlington
13. NIGHT TIDE - 98 - Clm 62500(62.5-55) - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Cushion Track) - Betfair Hollywood
14. HANSEN - 97 - Iowa Derby (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles - Prairie Meadows
14. HUNTERS BAY - 97 - Dominion Day Handicap (G3-C) - 1 1/4 Miles (Polytrack) - Woodbine
14. JOHN SCOTT - 97 - OC 62k/C -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Cushion Track) - Betfair Hollywood
17. MYSTICAL STAR - 95 - New York Stakes (G2) - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - Belmont
17. STAR GUITAR - 95 - Louisiana Legends Classic - 1 1/16 Miles - Evangeline
17. STRAPPING GROOM - 95 - Hcp 25000s - 1 Mile - Belmont
20. GRAND TRAVERSE - 94 - OC 40k/N2X - 6 Furlongs - Indiana
20. UNCAPTURED - 94 - Clarendon Stakes - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Woodbine
22. EMPIRE BUILDER - 93 - American Dreamer Stakes - 1 Mile - Calder
22. IMAGINING - 93 - OC 50k/N2X -N - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - Belmont
22. SALTY STRIKE - 93 - Roxelana Stakes - 7 Furlongs - Churchill
22. SHANGHAI BOBBY - 93 - Track Barron Stakes - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Belmont
22. SILVER SCREAMER - 93 - Eatontown Handicap (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Monmouth
22. SOFT WHISPER - 93 - Alw 60457N1X - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Churchill

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


STAKES HORSES ON THE WORKTAB (6/25/12 - 7/1/12):

*ALPHA (103-degree fever) - 3F - 36.67B - Saratoga - June 30
*ATLANTIC HURRICANE (poor blood tests) - 5F - 1:01.40H - Woodbine - June 29
*ATTA BOY ROY (displaced colon, abdominal surgery) - 5F - 1:00.80B - Canterbury - July 1
*BEAR IT'S TIME (undisclosed) - 5F - 1:02.60B - Woodbine (training) - June 28
*BOURBON BAY (unspecified setback) - 7F - 1:28.80H (turf, dogs) - Betfair Hollywood - July 1
*CASUAL TRICK (breathing problems) - 4F - 48.73B - Saratoga (training) - June 28
*HOME SWEET ASPEN (displaced palate) - 5F - 59.60H - Betfair Hollywood - June 29
*JERSEY TOWN (quarter cracks) - 4F - 47.62B - Belmont (training) - June 30
*MENLO CASTLE (infected ankle) - 5F - 1:02.60B - Woodbine - July 1
*NOOSA BEACH (injured when reared in gate) - 5F - 1:00.60B - Emerald - June 25
*O'PRADO AGAIN (condylar fracture shin right front leg, surgery, screw inserted) - 4F - 49.80B - Churchill - June 30
*RULE (bruised left hind foot) - 5F - 1:00.05B - Belmont - July 1
*RULER ON ICE (sore) - 5F - 59.80B - Monmouth - July 1
*STEPHANOATSEE (chipped pastern right foreleg, surgery) - 5F - 1:01.20B - Fair Hill (all weather training) - June 29
*STEPHANIE'S KITTEN (coughing, high white blood-cell count) - 5F - 1:01.00B (turf, dogs) - Churchill - June 28
*SUMMER FRONT (stiff) - 4F - 50.06B (turf, dogs) - Belmont - July 1


Please check out the latest video production from Jessica Pacheco, Racing Analyst at Arlington Park.  It's Part 6 of the "Behind the Silks" video series following jockey Tim Thornton through his ups and downs at this year's Arlington meet.

"Grand Slam"

In episode 6 of "Behind the Silks", ride along with Tim as he guides Team Block's Mavericking through an exhilarating stretch run up the rail, leading to the Winner's Circle. Then Tim ties his own personal record by winning four races in one day and later celebrates with a crawfish boil at Cisco Torres' house.




you posted -
* EBLOUISSANTE, a 3-year-old half-sister to 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta, continues to work steadily at Betfair Hollywood for her career debut. John Shirreffs trains...
I have had this lovely filly on my HW for more than a year..waiting, waiting.. and I saw she had her best work 4F 0:47.80 fairly recently.
Any idea , or any 'word as to when she may make her maiden start?
Inquiring minds want to know :)
Thank you
SR Vegas

The plan was for her to make her debut at the current Betfair Hollywood Park meeting.  It looks like she's stepped up her training of late so I wouldn't be surprised if her name pops up in the entries soon.


Dan, it seems a lot more people are starting to follow foreign racing these days. Will you please post a list of the "best of the best" races in Europe? I know Group 1's are the best, but what are the "Super G1's" over there? What races should I pay attention to to see the very best Europe has to offer? Could you also please post the month or date these races are on? That would be awesome. Thanks.

Here are some races that you may want to follow:

Dewhurst Stakes (October 13 - Newmarket)
Eclipse Stakes (July 7 - Sandown)
Haydock Park Sprint Cup (September - Haydock)
Grosser Preis von Baden (September - Baden-Baden)
Irish Champion Stakes (September - Leopardstown)
Juddmonte International Stakes (August 22 - York)
July Cup (July - Newmarket)
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes (July 28 - Ascot)
Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (October - Ascot)
Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (October - Longchamp)
Prix du Moulin de Longchamp (September - Longchamp)
Prix Jacques le Marois (September - Longchamp)
St. Leger Stakes (September 15 - Doncaster)
Sussex Stakes (August 1 - Goodwood)

There are obviously many more excellent Group 1 races.  The above list is merely a sampling mixed in with some of my favorite European races.  Our friend from across the pond, Bernard Downes, posted an excellent list in one of his recent posts.


That is the name I could not remember. Now hopefully Dan can post the charts to confirm. I believe the p3 and pk4 payouts were huge as well.
Thanks P Ensign...

Austin Barber's chart is listed at the bottom of this blog post.  His race kicked off a $1 Pick Four that returned $10,637.70.


Dan, thank you for reaching into the archives and posting Creme de la Fete. An incredible 40 victories! I was hoping that you could post the lifetime pp's of Presious Passion...one of my favourites in the past while. His victories in the 2010 (?) Monmouth and UN skates were just so gutsy.
Thanks Greg

The recently-retired Presious Passion is kicking back and relaxing on a farm in Florida.  His past performances are listed at the bottom of this blog post.


To Dan
Tell me it ain't so!
A blogger mentioned recently she thought the description of the race on the official DRF Charts might be outsourced now with a handful of phrases to use in that description. The chart would still be called at the track , but the description would be outsourced. If so, I need to know. I am sure they have not watched as many races as I have.
Today, Tuesday, I was up with the birds to beat the heat and downloaded the Race of the Day from PID, the Windward. Some of the lines had the racing flow information for them. I'm guessing those PP's were downloaded from someone at DRF who uses that service. Maybe Dave Litfin, as he has written about them previously? Then, I checked a few hours later and my Formulator notes appeared and no more Racing Flow. No complaints here, just a question of what you may think about racing flow in general.
According to Huey Mahl, Brohamer and others: Pace makes the race. I still have a hard time with the concept of pace, having a basic belief that good horses overcome pace disadvantages if there is such a thing. I tend to handicap and bet on higher quality animals and look for the best horse expecting them to do their thing.
Ron Zuercher

I haven't heard of any outsourcing.  I believe Equibase keeps a chart caller at each track and they provide the information, including the description to us.

I must admit that I haven't used the Racing Flow data often, but many handicappers that I respect have said some nice things about the information. 

As for pace, I've tried the Moss Pace Figures in Formulator and have found them useful in certain circumstances.


Congrats to spafan1 for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling exercise.  Let's go with Friday's sixth at Presque Isle Downs for this week's event.

Penn National Rick has last week's results in a spreadsheet listed at the bottom of this blog post. 


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.

Have a wonderful holiday.

Copy of Formblog Contest Belmont 6-29-2012.xls38.5 KB
HGPresqueIsle.pdf169.85 KB