06/15/2011 4:56PM

Top Beyers, Nakatani on Turf, Royal Ascot Babies

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*The classy Canford Cliffs beat three-time Breeders' Cup Mile heroine Goldikova on the square in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes on opening afternoon at Royal Ascot.

Goldikova, the defending Queen Anne champion, got a slight jump on Canford Cliffs with two furlongs remaining, but could not stave off the talented 4-year-old colt. 

*Right on the heels of those top milers is the unbeaten Frankel, who ran his streak to seven with a popular victory in the St. James's Palace Stakes.  Frankel went after his pacesetter very early, blew by that one turning into the straight, and then lasted over the closers.  While not as visually-impressive as in his prior romps, Frankel's win confirmed his class and ability.  A matchup, down the road, with Canford Cliffs and Goldikova would be one of the top races of the year.

*The Belmont Stakes card was full of surprises.  C. S. Silk, despite drifting out badly in the stretch, went gate-to-wire in the Grade 1 Just a Game for fillies and mares at a mile on the grass.  Mission Approved, unraced for almost a year, scooted to the front, slowed down the pace and kept on rolling in the Grade 1 Manhattan at 1 1/4 miles.  Speed seemed to hold well on the grass and both C. S. Silk and Mission Approved will have to do it again in order for me to get on the bandwagon.

*Trappe Shot's 112 Beyer victory in the six-furlong True North Handicap placed his name among the leading sprinters in a loaded division.  He sat a wonderful trip, tracking the leaders along the inside before shooting through an inviting opening on the turn.  He's a good horse and his connections have found Trappe Shot's niche in shorter-distance races, but the waters get deeper from here on out.

*Was very impressed with It's Tricky's win over Turbulent Descent in the historic Acorn Stakes.  The McLaughlin-trainee ran hard from start to finish, pressing solid splits before overtaking pacesetting Savvy Supreme on the turn.  She then had to work to turn away Turbulent Descent and was even stretching the margin at the wire.  Perhaps she moved way up in the slop, but It's Tricky seems like the kind of filly that would stretch out successfully in races like the Coaching Club American Oaks or Alabama. 
Turbulent Descent lost nothing in defeat and will be tough in races like the Test going seven furlongs at Saratoga.

*The Havre de Grace train keeps rolling along.  Trained by Larry Jones, Havre de Grace proved a facile winner of the Grade 3 Obeah Stakes, the local prep for the Delaware Handicap.  Havre de Grace may have to tackle her eternal rival, Blind Luck, in the Del. 'Cap, but she has come back firing at four and may be the best older runner in the country, regardless of sex.

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Here are the top 25 winning Beyer Speed Figures from last week's races (6/6/11 - 6/12/11):

1. TRAPPE SHOT - 112 - True North Handicap (G2) - 6 Furlongs - Belmont
2. GIANT RYAN - 105 - Ponche Handicap - 6 Furlongs - Calder
2. IT'S TRICKY - 105 - Acorn Stakes (G1) - 1 Mile - Belmont
4. MISSION APPROVED - 103 - Manhattan Handicap (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - Belmont
5. COURAGEOUS CAT - 102 - Poker Stakes (G3) - 1 Mile (Turf) - Belmont
5. WILD NEWS - 102 - OC 75k/N3X -N - 6 Furlongs - Belmont
7. COLOR OF COURAGE - 101 - Alw 61600C - 7 Furlongs (Cushion Track) - Hollywood
7. C. S. SILK - 101 - Just A Game Stakes (G1) - 1 Mile (Turf) - Belmont
9. ACCLAMATION - 100 - Charles Whittingham Handicap (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - Hollywood
9. INDIANO - 100 - Unbridled Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Calder
9. RULER ON ICE - 100 - Belmont Stakes (G1) - 1 1/2 Miles - Belmont
9. SWEET REPENT - 100 - Emergency Nurse Stakes - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Calder
13. SINAI - 99 - Alw 57704N1X - 6 Furlongs (Cushion Track) - Hollywood
14. JOHANNESBURG SMILE - 98 - Alw 63000N1X - 1 Mile - Belmont
15. HAVRE DE GRACE - 97 - Obeah Stakes (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles - Delaware
15. MUSICAL ROMANCE - 97 - U Can Do It Handicap - 6 Furlongs - Calder
15. TAMARIND HALL - 97 - Alw 25000NC - 6 Furlongs - Finger Lakes
18. BIRDRUN - 96 - Brooklyn Handicap (G2) - 1 1/2 Miles - Belmont
18. COIL - 96 - Affirmed Handicap (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles (Cushion Track) - Hollywood
18. DYNAZAPER - 96 - OC 50k/N2X -N - 1 Mile - Belmont
18. JUSTIN PHILLIP - 96 - Woody Stephens Stakes (G2) - 7 Furlongs - Belmont
18. WALL STREET WONDER - 96 - OC 62k/N2X - 6 Furlongs (Cushion Track) - Hollywood
18. WILL'S WILDCAT - 96 - OC 75k/N1X -N - 1 Mile - Churchill Downs
24. BIRDIE BEATS PAR - 95 - Alw 58142N2X - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - Churchill
24. TAZZ - 95 - OC 80k/N3X - 1 Mile (Polytrack) - Arlington
24. TEAKS NORTH - 95 - Monmouth Stakes (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Monmouth
24. ZERO RATE POLICY - 95 - Rumson Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Monmouth

The lifetime past performances for TRAPPE SHOT are available at the bottom of this blog post.

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For race replays and analysis of some of the big stakes races over the past weekend, please click on the below link:

http://www.drf.com/events/stakes-horse-races-video-replays

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Dan,
After watching Corey Nakatani torture some turf mounts at AP recently I wonder if you have stats for him on turf-like the last couple of years? Thanks.
bobr

Here are Nakatani's turf numbers over the past few years:

2011:  18-101, 17%, $2.55 ROI
2010:  20-165, 12%, $2.28 ROI
2009:  14-139, 10%, $1.55 ROI
2008:  12-141, 8%, $0.84 ROI
2007:  44-304, 14%, $1.51 ROI
2006:  71-337, 21%, $1.77 ROI
2005:  56-294, 19%, $1.92 ROI

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Dan,
On May 28 at Monmouth, Ever Always, a Jersey bred 5 year old mare owned by Dennis Drazen and trained by Jason Servis, made a successful return to the races at Monmouth after a 2 year layoff winning by 11 3/4 lengths running the 6F in 1:11, the same time as the stake winner at 6F later that day. Before her layoff, she earned a 102 Beyer running 6F in 1:08 4/5 winning by about 15 lengths. Can you tell me what her Beyer figure was from her May 28 comeback?
Tomspud

Tomspud, this Ever Always is a brilliant mare.  It's a shame that her career has had to start and stop due to layoffs.  Ever Always, a daughter of Mr. Nugget, ran her unbeaten streak to four with an 85 Beyer victory on May 28.  She's won her last three starts by a combined 36 1/4 lengths and will run in Saturday's Open Mind Handicap at Monmouth Park.

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Dan,
Sorry to interupt your handicapping, but I need help in betting Britain's biggest racemeeting - next week at Royal Ascot. I aim to bet Wesley Ward's 8 horses, all in 5f and 6f sprints over a STRAIGHT course. Do you have any strong views on any of Gentlemen's Code, Italo, Tiz Terrific, Gypsy Robin, Everyday Dave, Jody The Beauty, Holdin Bullets and Holiday for Kitten?
Regards - Bernie

Bernie, I hope you read my previous post where I selected against the Ward horses to win on Opening Day.  I must admit that I was wrong about his juvenile filly, Gypsy Robin, on Wednesday as I backed her and she faded to seventh after making the front in the final furlong. 

There are still a couple of chances to bet on/against Ward at Royal Ascot. 

Tomorrow's Norfolk Stakes features EVERYDAY DAVE, a perfect 2-2 for Ward.  Personally, I prefer BANNOCK, a slightly-troubled second behind PYMAN'S THEORY in the listed National Stakes at Sandown on May 26.  Bannock was shuffled back along the inside before finding a clear run too late. 
Selections:  Bannock, Pyman's Theory, Caspar Netscher

Friday's Group 3 Albany Stakes is the destination for Ward's juvenile filly JUDY THE BEAUTY, also undefeated after two outings.  She'll have to overcome TEOLANE, a gate-to-wire winner of a listed race at Naas on June 6. 
Selections:  Teolane, Sweet Chilli, Lily's Angel

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Congrats to Curt V. for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling exercise.  This week's race will be the eleventh race at Churchill Downs on Friday.

PAST PERFORMANCES ARE AVAILABLE 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

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Trappe Shot.pdf615.72 KB
HG238.pdf172.36 KB