12/10/2014 6:47PM

A tiger in the slop


*SALUTOS AMIGOS simply adores a wet track. The 4-year-old gelding boasts a 4-4-0-0 record over "off" going, and is a pedestrian 17-2-1-4 on fast dirt.

In those four wet track performances, his combined margin of victory is 16 3/4 lengths with an average Beyer Speed Figure of 103.

Simply put, he's a kitten when the sun is shining and a ferocious tiger when it rains.

Salutos Amigos growled loudly on Thanksgiving Day at Aqueduct as he captured the 6-furlong, Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap under 133 lbs over a sealed, sloppy track.

Breaking from post five in the 7-horse Fall Highweight, Salutos Amigos, the 2 to 1 post time favorite, settled in midpack along the inside while WEEKEND HIDEAWAY and LA VERDAD battled through an opening quarter in 22.20.

CAPTAIN SERIOUS, BAKKEN and MEWANNAROSE joined the fray on the turn, and Cornelio Velasquez angled Salutos Amigos six wide to split horses in upper stretch. Salutos Amigos drifted out slightly in the lane, understandable considering the heavy load he was lugging, and he was up late to deny 20 to 1 outsider Mewannarose. Salutos Amigos completed the distance in 1:10.78 and received a 105 Beyer Speed Figure.

"He likes to be covered up and behind horses," Velasquez told track publicity after the Fall Highweight. "When I put him in the clear, he was the best horse."

Salutos Amigos has transformed into a quality, underrated sprinter since being sent to trainer David Jacobson in the spring. For Jacobson, Salutos Amigos has compiled a record of 10-5-1-2 with five triple-digit Beyers, two Grade 3 victories, and an appearance in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (he was beaten three lengths when seventh off a week's rest at Santa Anita).

If all goes well in his training, Salutos Amigos might make his next start in the $100,000 Gravesend Stakes at 6 furlongs over the Aqueduct inner track on December 26. The connections will ask Santa to wrap up some precipitation as a belated Christmas gift.

*A public handicapper's worst nightmare is an intense course bias. We handicap a card days in advance in order to make deadline only for the selections to be rendered useless once a biased track rears its ugly head.

Take Cigar Mile afternoon at Aqueduct as a recent example. There was an extremely powerful inside/speed bias on November 29, and it would be best to take the results with multiple grains of salt. After watching rail runners dominate race after race, the main event turned into one of the more anticlimactic Grade 1 heats of the season.

Not only was two-time Vosburgh Stakes winner PRIVATE ZONE the main speed, but he drew the rail. The race was over before it began. Private Zone went right to the front, shook clear from SECRET CIRCLE (who drafted in behind the winner along the inside), and fended that one off in the stretch. We learned nothing from the result. Big winners that day included CONDO COMMANDO (Demoiselle), SNOWBELLE (Comely), and LEAVE THE LIGHT ON (Remsen). All three of those horses made the front and the rail, and the rest was history. Handicappers should downgrade their performances while looking for runners that ran well behind them while wide.

*If you're looking for an example of a pace collapse, check out the replay of the Canterbury Stakes at five furlongs on the turf at Gulfstream on December 7.

Part of the Claiming Crown series, the Canterbury featured a five-ply speed duel through an opening quarter in 21.10. That cooked the pacesetters and BUSTER ROSE took advantage. Ridden by Jeremy Rose (no relation, :-)), Buster Rose was completely outsprinted early, advanced along the inside entering the turn, was forced 7 to 8 wide into the stretch, and outfinished fellow closer MR. ONLINE.

The 1-2-3 finishers were 12-10-14 after the first call. Give MONGOLIAN SATURDAY extra credit for hanging in best of the pace runners. Although Buster Rose was definitely helped by the race shape, the 6-year-old did do some running to overcome the ground loss. He has won his last 5 races on turf and is one to keep an eye on in similar turf sprints this winter.


Here are the top WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 11/25/14 - 12/1/14:

1. DELAUNAY - 111 - Thanksgiving Handicap - 6 Furlongs - 27Nov14-9FG
2. PRIVATE ZONE - 110 - Cigar Mile Handicap (G1) - 1 Mile - 29Nov14-10AQU
3. SALUTOS AMIGOS - 105 - Fall Highweight Handicap (G3) - 6 Furlongs - 27Nov14-8AQU
4. BEN'S CAT - 104 - Fabulous Strike Handicap - 6 Furlongs - 29Nov14-4PEN
4. HOPPERTUNITY - 104 - Clark Handicap (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - 28Nov14-11CD
6. SUM OF THE PARTS - 102 - OC c-40k/N2X - 6 Furlongs - 29Nov14-9FG
7. BIG CAZANOVA (ARG) - 101 - Native Diver Stakes (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles (Polytrack) - 29Nov14-3DMR
8. DAN'S GOLD - 99 - Clm c-5000 - 5 1/2 Furlongs - 25Nov14-4PRX
8. FINNEGAN'S WAKE - 99 - Hollywood Turf Cup (G2) - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - 27Nov14-7DMR
8. STORMIN MONARCHO - 99 - Swatara Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - 29Nov14-3PEN
11. PETEIZUM - 98 - Alw 8000s - 5 Furlongs - 29Nov14-7PRX
11. SOLDIER INTHE RAIN - 98 - Alw 77000N1X - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 29Nov14-7AQU
13. APPREHENDER - 97 - OC 100k/N$Y -N - 7 Furlongs - 27Nov14-4CD
13. DORTMUND - 97 - OC 75k/N1X -N - 1 Mile - 29Nov14-10CD
13. MR. JORDAN - 97 - Smooth Air Stakes - 1 Mile - 29Nov14-9GPW
16. CALAMONDIN - 96 - OC 40k/N3X -N - 6 Furlongs - 30Nov14-8PRX
16. CALIFORNIA CHROME - 96 - Hollywood Derby (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 29Nov14-8DMR
16. CLASSIC POINT - 96 - Go For Wand Handicap (G3) - 1 Mile - 28Nov14-9AQU
16. CONDO COMMANDO - 96 - Demoiselle Stakes (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles - 29Nov14-8AQU
16. KAIGUN - 96 - Seabiscuit Handicap (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 28Nov14-7DMR
16. RED RIFLE - 96 - Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap (G2) - 1 1/4 Miles - 9Nov14-8HAW
16. RUBLE - 96 - OC 62k/N2X - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 30Nov14-9CD
23. CASTAWAY - 95 - OC 32k/N3X -N - 6 Furlongs - 26Nov14-8LRL
23. LA TIA - 95 - Matriarch Stakes (G1) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 30Nov14-8DMR
25. EL KABEIR - Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - 29Nov14-11CD
25. MOSLER - 94 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 Mile - 27Nov14-5AQU
25. POWER CRAZED - 94 - Md Sp Wt 40k - 1 1/16 Miles - 28Nov14-6CD
25. SLIM SHADEY (GB) - 94 - Clm 50000 - 1 Mile - 26Nov14-2AQU
25. STAR HARBOUR - 94 - Hollywood Gaming Mahoning Sprint Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 29Nov14-7MVR
25. TAYLOR S - 94 - OC 75k/N1X -N - 6 Furlongs - 29Nov14-2CD

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

*SUM OF THE PARTS was claimed for $40,000 by trainer Karl Broberg from Tom Amoss.

*DAN'S GOLD was claimed for $5,000 by trainer Uriah St. Louis from Miguel Rodriguez.


Here are the top WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 12/2/14 - 12/8/14:

1. EIGHTTOFASTTOCATCH - 107 - Jennings Handicap - 1 Mile - 6Dec14-8LRL
2. SAFFRON HALL - 97 - Emerald Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 6Dec14-9GP
3. LADY SABELIA - 96 - Willa On The Move Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 6Dec14-7LRL
4. AWESOME VISION - 95 - Alw 65000NC - 1 Mile 70 Yards (Inner Track) - 4Dec14-8AQU
4. CASTLETOWN - 95 - OC 30k/C -N - 6 Furlongs - 7Dec14-4TUP
4. CATHOLIC COWBOY - 95 - Jewel Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles - 6Dec14-9GP
7. CANDIP - 94 - Clm 30000(30-25)N2L - 6 Furlongs - 4Dec14-1FG
7. COSTENIA - 94 - Alw 35400N1X - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 6Dec14-1GP
7. TIZ MIDNIGHT - 94 - Bayakoa Stakes (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - 6Dec14-7LRC
7. WEALTH TO ME - 94 - OC 40k/C -N - 1 1/16 Miles - 6Dec14-2LRL
11. BUSTER ROSE - 93 - Canterbury Stakes - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - 6Dec14-7GP
11. FOURTH AND LONG - 93 - OC 25k/N2X -N - 1 Mile 70 Yards - 6Dec14-5PEN
11. RED VINE - 93 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/8 Miles - 4Dec14-6AQU
14. J B'S UNC - 92 - Iron Horse Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - 6Dec14-3GP
14. PERSUASIVE PAUL - 92 - Alw 16000s - 1 Mile - 4Dec14-5LRC
14. SNOW LEOPARD - 92 - Alw 5000s - 7 Furlongs - 5Dec14-7LRL
17. JOEY WHISPERS - 91 - Clm c-(6.25-6) - 6 Furlongs - 3Dec14-6LRL
17. LOVERBIL - 91 - Express Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 6Dec14-4GP
17. PADDY'S NOTES - 91 - OC 25k/  - 1 Mile 70 Yards - 7Dec14-7FG
17. SIR BOND - 91 - Alw 25000s - 6 Furlongs (Inner Track) - 6Dec14-3AQU
21. APEX - 90 - Clm c-32000 - 6 Furlongs (Inner Track) - 4Dec14-5AQU
21. COSMIC GOLD - 90 - OC 25k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - 3Dec14-8LRL
21. FLASHY SUNRISE - 90 - OC 40k/N2X - 1 Mile 70 Yards - 4Dec14-7FG
21. OMAR - 90 - KLAQ Handicap - 5 Furlongs - 6Dec14-9SUN
21. WHATSTHEQUESTION - 90 - OC 25k/N2X - 6 Furlongs - 4Dec14-4PEN

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

*JOEY WHISPERS was claimed for $6,250 BY trainer Keisy Cartagena from Claudio Gonzalez.

*APEX was claimed for $32,000 by trainer Steve Klesaris from Dennis Lalman.


A question for Dan Illman ,
Dan can you tell me who was the last Kentucky Derby winner that won a Gr. I turf race in their career ? I'm guessing it might be Secretariat ,but that's just a (real ) guess . Thanks in advance .
Jackson Jackson

SECRETARIAT won the Grade 1 Man O' War Stakes on turf three months after sweeping the Triple Crown.

FERDINAND, UNBRIDLED and ANIMAL KINGDOM all came close. Ferdinand was third in the John Henry Handicap as a 4-year-old while Animal Kingdom ran second in both the Breeders' Cup Mile and Gulfstream Park Handicap at four. Unbridled ran second in the Secretariat Stakes.

I attached Secretariat's lifetime past performances at the bottom of the blog.


...I sent Dan a sheet of notes on Gordon Lord Byron, who's entered in the HK Sprint; the bottom line is that he is much better on ground less than good, and better at 7F or under than at a mile

Al's notes on Gordon Lord Byron can be found at the bottom of this blog post.


The annual Gulfstream Formbloggers Convention is tentatively scheduled for Friday, February 28 - Sunday, March 1, 2015. I'll be working on getting hotel discounts at the Hampton Inn, across from the track.
I can pick up/drop off at Ft. Lauderdale airport, as it's about 15 min. away and you don't need to rent a car.
Every year, Dan joins us for handicapping fun, and contests. Gulfstream has provided a private suite and gift bags in the past, plus we have other swag from Breeders' Cup, etc. The "regulars" can attest that a fantastic time is had by all.
If you'd like to be on the mailing list for information as I receive it, please email me at lross@ironmaidensthoroughbreds.com

I'm really looking forward to it and hope to see as many of you as possible. The Formbloggers Convention is always great fun and Laura does a tremendous job handling all of the arrangements.


You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.

The video previews for the weekend graded stakes races will be available later in the week at the following link:



Congrats to Biggar W for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling tournament.

Rick M's score sheet 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 eighth race at Gulfstream as 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!




DELAUNAY.pdf731.7 KB
Secretariat.pdf65.7 KB
Gordon Lord Byron Notes.pdf46.75 KB
Copy of Formblog Cigar Mile 11-29-14.xls78 KB
HGGP.pdf212.72 KB