04/13/2016 4:10PM

Two to follow


There were a couple of very nice sprint performances last week.

*SUBTLE INDIAN, an Oaklawn-loving 4-year-old, blasted to the top in the Grade 3 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap and kept right on going to the tune of a 102 Beyer Speed Figure. What was impressive about the effort is that there was a good amount of speed in the race and Subtle Indian was unfazed.

Most notable of the early-types was CINCO CHARLIE, a graded winner that had just grabbed the Duncan F. Kenner Stakes at Fair Grounds by showcasing sub-22 gas. There was the expectation of a strong pace war, but Subtle Indian was simply quicker and they couldn't reel him in late.

Subtle Indian has won 7 of 9 lifetime, including four in a row. He's 6 for 7 at Oaklawn. From a pedigree standpoint, it's not surprising that Subtle Indian is fast. His sire, Indian Charlie, produces swift ones while the dam, Subtle Aly (by French Envoy), was an undefeated graded stakes winner at two.

Trained by Robertino Diodoro, Subtle Indian will now ship to Southern California to prepare for either the Kona Gold Stakes at Santa Anita or the Grade 3 Maryland Sprint Stakes at Pimlico. Both of those races are on May 21. 

*UNIFIED is very lightly-raced, but he's handled everything thrown at him in a short amount of time. A $325,000 yearling purchase by Candy Ride out of stakes-placed sprinter Union City (by Dixie Union), Unified captured his career debut on February 21 at Gulfstream with a 99 Beyer. He went right to the top in that race and was a comfortable winner despite being very late to change leads in the stretch.

Last Saturday, in the Grade 3 Bay Shore Stakes for 3-year-olds at Aqueduct, Unified successfully stretched out to seven panels while racing on a muddy track for the first time. Again, he displayed excellent speed, but he changed leads on cue this time around and never gave anyone else a chance in the stretch.

The Beyer came back a 102 and the Jimmy Jerkens-trained Unified has lots of options for his next appearance. What seems likely is that he'll stretch out in distance at either Belmont, Pimlico or Churchill Downs. Although you always wonder how these sprinters will react going a route, the pedigree gives hope as the dam is a full sister to a nine-furlong graded winner. This is the female family of champion Dehere.

*I'm not sure what to make of the three Kentucky Derby preps from last weekend. The Wood Memorial was run on a wet track that got progressively deeper and more tiring, and featured a shockingly-good run from a seemingly-overmatched maiden. The Santa Anita Derby was contested over a similarly tiring "off" surface and was run in fast-early, slow-late fashion. EXAGGERATOR was very visually impressive, but one must wonder how the track conditions affected the race.

As for the Blue Grass, the pace completely collapsed with BRODY'S CAUSE (11th after the first call), MY MAN SAM (14th and last) and CHERRY WINE (12th) rounding out the trifecta. Also, only one horse won from on the lead at Keeneland on Saturday. That horse, LIMOUSINE LIBERAL, was odds-on.

The search for my Derby horse continues...


Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 4/5/16 - 4/11/16:

1. AMI'S FLATTER - 105 - Commonwealth Stakes (G3) - 7 Furlongs - 9Apr16-7KEE
2. EXAGGERATOR - 103 - Santa Anita Derby (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - 9Apr16-8SA
2. KID CRUZ - 103 - Excelsior Stakes (G3) - 1 1/4 Miles - 9Apr16-3AQU
2. MACAGONE - 103 - Danger's Hour Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - 10Apr16-8AQU
5. SALUTOS AMIGOS - 102 - Carter Handicap (G1) - 7 Furlongs - 9Apr16-11AQU
5. SUBTLE INDIAN - 102 - Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) - 6 Furlongs - 10Apr16-9OP
5. TOLEDO EDDIE - 102 - OC 80k/N2X -N - 1 Mile - 10Apr16-7AQU
5. UNIFIED - 102 - Bay Shore Stakes (G3) - 7 Furlongs - 9Apr16-9AQU
9. LIMOUSINE LIBERAL - 100 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 9Apr16-2KEE
9. SHEER DRAMA - 100 - Madison Stakes (G1) - 7 Furlongs - 9Apr16-9KEE
9. SIOUX - 100 - Alw 72000N1X - 1 Mile - 8Apr16-8AQU
9. WHAT A VIEW - 100 - Thunder Road Stakes (G3) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 9Apr16-9SA
13. ENOLA GRAY - 99 - Md Sp Wt 57k - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 10Apr16-7SA
13. SUPERMASON - 99 - Premiere Stakes - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 7Apr16-1LS
13. UNDRAFTED - 99 - Shakertown Stakes (G2) - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 9Apr16-8KEE
16. AMERICAN FREEDOM - 98 - Md Sp Wt 57k - 7 Furlongs - 9Apr16-12SA
16. QUICK CASABLANCA (CHI) - 98 - San Juan Capistrano Stakes - 1 7/8 Miles (Turf) - 10Apr16-8SA
16. RAY'SWARRIOR - 98 - Alw 79000N2L - 6 Furlongs - 6Apr16-8OP
19. PASSION FOR ACTION - 97 - Jacques Cartier Stakes - 6 Furlongs (Tapeta) - 9Apr16-8WO
19. SENSITIVELY - 97 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - 7Apr16-3SA
19. TRIPLE THREAT (FR) - 97 - Alw 59796C - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 10Apr16-4KEE
19. TROUBLE KID - 97 - Alw 25000s - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 11Apr16-6PRX
23. BANNER BILL - 96 - OC35k/SAL25k - 1 Mile - 8Apr16-7OP
23. CATALINA RED - 96 - Hilton Garden Inn/Hampton Inn and Suites Sprint - 6 Furlongs - 9Apr16-5TAM
23. HAVANNA BELLE (IRE) - 96 - OC 75k/C -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - 7Apr16-7SA

*The lifetime past performances for AMI'S FLATTER are available at the bottom of this blog post.


Video stakes analyses for many of the weekend's major stakes will be available later this week at http://www.drf.com/videos

You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.

Matt Bernier, Mike Beer and I will be on for free and fun live handicapping analysis for Oaklawn, Keeneland, Los Alamitos and more beginning at 3pm ET Saturday afternoon on live.drf.com.


Congrats to Alfredo for winning last week's HandiGambling challenge.

Rick M and SR VEGAS' HG scoreboard spreadsheet is available at the bottom of this blog post.

Alfredo selected Saturday's Arkansas Derby from Oaklawn Park for this week's exercise.


SR Vegas and Rick M. have graciously decided to update all of the HG rules in order to make them an easier read for everyone...

HANDIGAMBLING version 2016:

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 SPARE A SENTENCE OR TWO outlining your HANDICAPPING ANGLES and/or THOUGHT PROCESSES about WAGERING .

1. Start your post with HG or HANDIGAMBLING to find your entry in a thread.

2. You have a mythical $100 to wager in whatever format you choose that is available for that HG race. Anyone going over the $100 limit will be DISQUALIFIED.

3. Post your WAGER and ANALYSIS to the blog prior to the start of the designated race. SIGN OFF WITH YOUR NAME/OR MONIKER AT THE END OF YOUR 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 identify who you are.

4. (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.

5. Separate your analysis from the wager and use the PROGRAM # in your wager. Just like you would do in a real wager. No horse names.

6. If any of the rules listed above aren't met, the wager is subject to review which can lead to disqualification of your entry.

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 2016
The speed in this race are #1 Alpha, #2 Beta, and #8 Ocho. I like the works for layoff horse #5 Cinco who can sit off the pace. Lots of speed in here, so this could set up for a closer like  #6 Six Flags and I like the trainer's stats in these conditions. I’ll put the closer over the speed.

HG wager:
$10 EX   6 /   1,2,5, 8  = $40

$5 TRI   6 /   1,2,5,8  /  1,2,5,8  =  $60
Total $100

Thanks Dan!




AMI'S FLATTER.pdf647.97 KB
Copy of HG SPECIAL 4 9 16 Wood-Bluegrass- SA Derby.xls52 KB
VanSavant More than 1 year ago

See... this is EXACTLY why you are needed back here at FormBlog.  I love your tenacity and your fight.  Plus, you make me lol, as they say...

Now I don't for a minute think that Garcia did anything untoward, but again, how would I know.  I have never really paid attention to him.  But I do think that ride was utterly incompetent. Is this jockey typically incompetent and untrustworthy?  If so, why would Ward have him aboard?  I am all ears...

Later gator
slewofdamascus More than 1 year ago
VS, wow! That is either the worst ride I have ever seen or the dirtiest. First of all, he doesn't even try to get his mount onto the correct lead, which is extremely curious. If that filly switches leads it's all over. Then Julio starts looking back to see where he stands, I guess. I think he's thinking, "hurry up, Javier, hurry up!" 

This would never fly in many international jurisdictions where riders are policed for their riding conduct. He made no attempt to help his filly win. Worse, it looks like he made every attempt to let the other filly win. 

I just called the Keenland Stewards to lodge (ahem) a complaint. 859-254-3412 

I talked to a woman there and as soon as I said "1st race" she said "julio garcia fell asleep at the wheel". I told her that, to me, it looked quite a bit worse than that. I complained that it's the kind of thing that gives racing a black eye, especially at a premiere meet like KEE.

I told her he never tried to switch leads (which is a fact not opinion), he never made any attempt to stir his filly onward even after looking behind to see there was opposition coming. She promised he was going to be called in to explain his actions and that an investigation would commence. It'll be interesting to see if anything shows up officially. 

This is not the first time i have called "the stewards" to talk about a ride. I would say I have done it 3-4 times. I think it should be done more often, not less often, because there is a sentiment among horseplayers to shrug this kind of thing off, as if "what are you gunna do?" I know what I am going to do. I'm going to complain to the stewards. I hope he is suspended. And I don't say that lightly. It looked to me like he was waiting for that other filly to pass him. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago


So Irad Ortiz went off WHITMORE and SHAGAF to ride MY MAN SAM. Interesting. I do watch for that kind of thing when a jockey has bee riding more than one. You know that any jockey wants the very best chance he can have to be on the winner. Follow the money. :)

Guess who LEPAROUX will be riding. You'll never guess, so I'll tell you. According to DRF's Derby Watch, he will ride OSCAR NOMINATED at about 1000-1. :)



You asked earlier what the average Derby superfecta has been. I saw an article stating that from 2000-2012, the average was about $84,000. Since then: 2013 - $57,084, 2014 - $15,183, 2015 - $1,268 (ouch). There were some very good MKBs last year. :) Gives you an idea, anyway.

Good luck with those Futures!!!


VanSavant More than 1 year ago

In fact, I believe the Chart for the 1st at Keeneland should be amended to read thusly:


“RED LODGE sprinted clear to dictate terms off of the inside, settled into the lane well clear under over-confident handling, came under a ride waaayyyy too late to be of any help, and was hornswoggled by the winner just before the wire”


Later gators


VanSavant More than 1 year ago





I am by no means an expert. My grading of jockeys is pretty much black or white.  They fall into two categories.  Trustworthy or Untrustworthy.  I generally leave at that unless I am very familiar with a particular jockey and their particular ability/inability on a particular course or at a particular distance.


So with all of that out of the way, I want to direct your attention to today’s 1st at Keeneland.  It was a two year-old MdSpWt at 4.5 furlongs on the dirt.  Yeah… I have some time lately (fortunately), so I am following Keeneland and playing it as well.  This particular race would never have interested me except the Wesley Ward trainee, Spellker, scratched out, making the race worth a glance.  And when I glanced at the race, I noted that the other Ward trainee (uncoupled), #4, Red Lodge, was being pounded down to 1/5. Now I know all about Ward and his two-year olds.  I know all about them.  But I also know that I can spot a bad bet,and while this filly certainly warranted a look because of her connections, 1/5was absurd.  The #3, Hey Mike, trained by Mike Maker, looked the part, but that was about it.  This colt had a decent string of works, and Castellano was aboard.  Castellano is trustworthy.

Also note that the Chart for the race describes the filly as being under "confident handling"  That's funny.


The head-on replay shows it best, but suffice it to say that J A Garcia (whom I am completely unfamiliar with) is caught with his pants down.  Hilarious..


For now, J A Garcia falls into the category of “untrustworthy”,for whatever that’s worth.


Later gators


Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Despite problems, I will try to post again.  Apologies for any duplication and/or changes.


Thanks for the kind words.  Nice to read, but entirely unnecessary, because it is my great pleasure to contribute (in a very small way)  to the blog.

What do they say, "2 Countries separated by a common language"?  Something I remind myself of every time I read modern revised words like "center".  Sorry folks.  Lets hope the Queen doesn't read the blog and see her language being changed (without permission?).

For my part I am always conscious that when I post on the blog, some of my favourite words and phrases may not be in general use in the USA, but I trust that the wise heads on here will get the message anyway.  And if not, I will be forgiven.

SR Vegas,

Thanks to you also.  I think you are holding a strong "futures" hand yourself.  Indeed, between us we seem to have most of the favoured horses covered.  What we don't need is something coming from out of the clouds.  I might have to go native and play a few wild exactas on the day to cover such a possibility. 

Best Regards - Bernard Downes

Anonymous More than 1 year ago


I'm glad you didn't think I was being rude by commenting on your Derby superfecta plans. I just was picturing your disappointment if three of the finishers were longshots that you had, and you didn't have the one lower odds horse. Even in 2009, with 50-1 Mine That Bird and a 19-1 and 12-1 in third and fourth, there was Pioneerof the Nile at 6-1 in the 2nd slot. That $2 superfecta paid $557,006.

In 2011, the year I was lucky, it was 20-1, 8-1, 9-1, 23-1. Thank you SHACKLEFORD for holding on to 4th. :) NEHRO, who finished 2nd at 8-1, was my key horse that I used in all my 5-horse super boxes. Was thrilled of course when one of the combinations came in just right. :)

I think EXAGGERATOR would be a good lower odds horse to include. I wish you luck! I do think it will be a very big superfecta payoff this year.


ed More than 1 year ago
SR Vegas,
Sylmar was right around the corner? That was the biggest hunch bet since that guy at Notre Dame. Boy, I loved that Oaks. I could kick myself for not backing up my exacta box the day of the race. Princess was 37-1 and Beholder was 9-1. I remember running to the window to put $20 WPS on Beholder before that race went off. I figured I had the Princess covered in my future. The future paid $642 and the exacta paid +$720 the day of the race. Go figure. Thank you Dreaming of Julia wherever you are.
I like your ability to focus your bet on one horse at any time, but I would hate not having a chance to bet the exactas. My online account is tied into the Derby pool and is available only when the pools are open. They also had the sire pool ( for me it would be Mo to get MOre MOney). It is the only site available in NJ and it gives me access to see any race. I can't complain considering what many can't do from their home.

You were so right about Eskendreya. That one still hurts. Pamplemousse just stings. The late scratches always make you wonder why you bet the futures. Good luck in PH. edb
VanSavant More than 1 year ago

No Fault of Mine is the #5 in today's 7th at Keeneland.
Later gator
God Bless Longshots More than 1 year ago

NO FAULT OF MINE is program #5 not #8.