09/23/2015 6:06PM

Two to watch


An old friend is returning to form.

AMBITIOUS BREW easily captured the $75,000 E. B. Johnston Stakes for California-bred performers traveling a flat mile at Los Alamitos on September 12. His trainer, the underrated Marty Jones, has plenty of future options for the versatile 5-year-old gelding.

The E. B. Johnston featured a pretty salty field for the class level. Ambitious Brew was sent away the 3 to 2 favorite in a group that included multiple stakes-winner SOI PHET, Grade 3-placed SPUD SPIVENS, stakes-placed OLD MAN LAKE and stakes-winner MOTOWN MEN.

Ambitious Brew broke nicely under Mike Smith to press the pace while three paths off the rail. The pace was solid (23.17, 46.65) and Ambitious Brew burst to the front despite being floated wide turning for home. There were no anxious moments in the stretch as Ambitious Brew, under mere hands-and-heels urging, cruised home to score by 1 3/4 lengths over Soi Phet. The winner completed the distance in 1:34.29 and received a 99 Beyer Speed Figure.

Ambitious Brew was foaled on April 8, 2010. His sire, Tizbud, is a full brother to Horse of the Year Tiznow and millionaire Budroyale. On the track, Tizbud grabbed the $250,000 California Cup Classic at 1 1/8 miles. He is also the sire of Grade 1 turf winner Tiz Flirtatious.

Ambitious Brew's dam, Kathwen (by Forest Wildcat), was unplaced from one career start. She is a half-sister to stakes-winning dirt sprinter Cayman Sunset and multiple stakes-placed Oh Summer.

Plagued by layoff lines throughout his 13-race career, Ambitious Brew has had some nice moments when healthy. He finished second in the seven-furlong, $200,000 Real Good Deal Stakes for California-bred 3-year-olds in 2013, prevailed in the $100,000 Sensational Star Stakes on the downhill turf course at Santa Anita the following year, and finished second (by a nose) in the Grade 3 Eddie D. Stakes in his subsequent outing.

After the Eddie D., Smith noted to Santa Anita track publicity that Ambitious Brew is a tricky horse to ride.

"He really tends to wait but I couldn’t do a whole lot about it. He was a bit rushed today. I kept trying to stick him in behind and wait, and wait and wait; then, we came to a point where we were at the dirt and it’s basically time to go. I realized I was going to hit it too soon, but I couldn’t do a lot about it at that point. And it cost him the race because he pulled up when we hit the front. That horse (Home Run Kitten) came and nailed me.”

Ambitious Brew finished seventh, beaten three lengths in the 2014 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint and was defeated by a length when second in his seasonal debut, the Sensational Star on February 21.

Since that race, Jones has opted for longer-distance races. The gelding ran second in the $110,000 Bertrando Stakes going a mile at Los Alamitos on July 2 before switching back to turf for a fifth-place try in the $151,000 California Dreamin' Stakes at Del Mar on July 26. Ambitious Brew's victory in the E. B. Johnston Stakes was his first tally on dirt, and first win at a distance longer than 6 1/2 furlongs.

Ambitious Brew has now won on dirt, synthetic and turf, and it was nice to see him finish off the E. B. Johnston without waiting on horses in the stretch.

A possible next start could come in the California Flag Stakes on the Santa Anita downhill turf course on October 12. He belongs on handicapper's watch lists for the near future.

*Although she couldn't get past RECEPTA in last Saturday's Grade 3 Noble Damsel Stakes at Belmont, LADY LARA didn't have an easy trip and deserves a look in her next start. Ridden by Junior Alvarado, Lady Lara was four wide on the turn and was spun five wide into the stretch. She finished well to be beaten only a half-length and galloped out pretty well after the fact.

It must be noted that closers did best in the Noble Damsel, but trainer Bill Mott seemingly has Lady Lara back on the beam. The Irish-bred Lady Lara won the $200,000 Pebbles Stakes in her North American debut on October 13, 2014 and scored the Grade 2 Honey Fox Stakes over that distance at Gulfstream on March 28, 2014. She dropped out of a pair of Grade 1 events for the Noble Damsel and seems well-spotted at eight furlongs in Grade 2 company.


Here are the WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 9/8/15 - 9/14/15: 

1. MONDIALISTE (IRE) - 104 - Woodbine Mile (G1-C) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 13Sep15-10WO
1. READY FOR RYE - 104 - Allied Forces Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 13Sep15-8BEL
3. AMBITIOUS BREW - 99 - E.B. Johnston Stakes - 1 Mile - 12Sep15-8LRC
3. CANDY RUBY - 99 - HPBA Sprint Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 12Sep15-8CBY
3. CARRUMBA - 99 - Alw 77000N1X - 1 Mile - 13Sep15-3BEL
3. JAKE N ELWOOD - 99 - New Castle Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 12Sep15-3DEL
7. CAGE FIGHTER - 98 - PTHA President's Cup Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 12Sep15-8PRX
7. SENTIERO ITALIA - 98 - Sands Point Stakes (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 12Sep15-9BEL
9. DA BIG HOSS - 97 - Kentucky Turf Cup (G3) - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - 14Sep15-10KD
9. MEXIKOMA - 97 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - 13Sep15-7BEL
9. STACKED DECK - 97 - Bold Venture Stakes (G3-C) - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Polytrack) - 13Sep15-3WO
12. INTERPOL - 96 - Northern Dancer Stakes (G1-C) - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - 13Sep15-6WO
12. TACTICUS - 96 - Temperence Hill Invitational Stakes - 1 5/8 Miles - 12Sep15-3BEL
14. STRUT THE COURSE - 95 - Canadian Stakes (G2-C) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 13Sep15-9WO
14. SWEET LUCA - 95 - Kentucky Downs Turf Dash Stakes - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 14Sep15-9KD
16. CLOSING BELL - 93 - Dueling Grounds Derby - 1 5/16 Miles (Turf) - 14Sep15-7KD
16. LUKES ALLEY - 93 - Alw 86420NC - 1 1/16 Miles (Polytrack) - 12Sep15-8WO
16. MOBILE BAY - 93 - Super Derby (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles - 12Sep15-11LAD
16. SILVER LINING JOHN - 93 - OC 62k/N2X - 6 Furlongs - 12Sep15-7CD
16. S'MAVERLOUS - 93 - Clm c-32000 - 6 Furlongs - 11Sep15-3BEL
16. STRING KING - 93 - Unbridled Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 12Sep15-10LAD
22. EAST HALL - 92 - Sensitive Prince Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - 12Sep15-4GP
22. FOX RULES - 92 - Geness Valley Breeders' Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - 12Sep15-4FL
22. HAVELOCK - 92 - OC 50k/C -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - 8Sep15-6IND
22. SAVOY STOMP - 92 - Alw 77000N1X - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 12Sep15-6BEL
22. SHOGUN SAMURAI - 92 - OC 25k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - 14Sep15-9PRX
22. STRYKER PHD - 92 - Muckleshoot Tribal Classic Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - 13Sep15-10EMD

*The lifetime past performances for MONDIALISTE and READY FOR RYE are available at the bottom of this blog post.

*S'MAVERLOUS was claimed for $32,000 by trainer Michael Maker from Diane Balsamo.


Here are the WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 9/15/15 - 9/21/15:

1. FROSTED - 106 - Pennsylvania Derby (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles - 19Sep15-10PRX
2. ENCRYPTION - 103 - Bayern Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - 19Sep15-7PRX
3. RECEPTA - 99 - Noble Damsel Stakes (G3) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 19Sep15-8BEL
4. LEWYS VAPORIZER - 99 - Alw 88100N1X - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 19Sep15-11PRX
5. BIG LEGACY - 97 - OC 40k/N2X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Polytrack) - 17Sep15-5AP
5. MR SPEAKER - 97 - Commonwealth Cup (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 19Sep15-4LRL
7. I'M A CHATTERBOX - 95 - Cotillion Stakes (G1) - 1 1/16 Miles - 19Sep15-9PRX
8. TROUBLE KID - 94 - Gallant Bob Stakes (G3) - 6 Furlongs - 19Sep15-8PRX
9. DAY OF FURY - 93 - Alw 77000N1X - 1 1/16 Miles - 16Sep15-3BEL
9. FRISKY WARRIOR - 93 - Alw 26263NC - 6 Furlongs - 19Sep15-7FL
9. HOLDING ACES - 93 - Md Sp Wt 38k - 6 Furlongs - 18Sep15-8CD
9. TANNER'S POPSICLE - 93 - Alw 29000N2X - 6 Furlongs - 18Sep15-7TDN
13. ONE GO ALL GO - 92 - Commonwealth Derby (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 19Sep15-9LRL
14. CAPTAIN GAUGHEN - 91 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs (Turf) - 18Sep15-8BEL
14. FIRE ALARM - 91 - Clm 20000 - 1 1/16 Miles - 19Sep15-3PRX
14. INDIAN TRAIL - 91 - Md Sp Wt 75k - 1 Mile - 18Sep15-3BEL
14. OLD HARBOR - 91 - John Hettinger Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 20Sep15-8BEL
14. PANTS ON FIRE - 91 - Wild N Wonderful Stakes - 7 Furlongs - 19Sep15-10CT
14. SUPER MAJESTY - 91 - Dogwood Stakes (G3) - 7 Furlongs - 19Sep15-9CD
20. ALMOST ENGLISH - 90 - Clm 40000 - 6 Furlongs - 20Sep15-7CD
20. LUCKY LINDY - 90 - Ontario Derby (G3-C) - 1 1/8 Miles (Polytrack) - 20Sep15-8WO
22. CHARLIE MOPS - 89 - Alw 43400N1X - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 19Sep15-5GP
22. GOODOLDHOCKEYGAME - 89 - Overskate Stakes - 7 Furlongs (Polytrack) - 19Sep15-8WO
22. KALAMOS - 89 - Old Friends Stakes - 1 Mile 70 Yards (Turf) - 16Sep15-11KD
22. KISS MOON - 89 - Ladies Turf Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - 19Sep15-7KD
22. KLISZ - 89 - Clm 50000 - 1 Mile - 18Sep15-4CD
22. MISS CHATELAINE - 89 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - 20Sep15-5BEL
22. PERFECT SET - 89 - OC 62k/N$Y -N - 1 Mile - 20Sep15-6LRC
22. PROPER FREUD - 89 - OC 25k/N2X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 19Sep15-4PRX
22. SIOUX - 89 - OC 40k/N2X - 1 1/16 Miles - 17Sep15-8BEL
22. UNCLE TODD - 89 - OC c-12k/N1X - 4 1/2 Furlongs - 18Sep15-7CT

*FROSTED'S lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.

*UNCLE TODD was claimed for $12,000 by trainer Douglas Adams from Kevin Patterson.


You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.

Matt Bernier and I will cover some of Saturday's major Breeders' Cup Prep races from Belmont and Santa Anita on DRF Live (live.drf.com) at 5pm ET


Congrats to JAYZZ82 for finishing first in the most recent HandiGambling event.

Let's go with Saturday's Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont for 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!




READY FOR RYE.pdf652.12 KB
FROSTED.pdf613.06 KB
HGPILGRIM.pdf159.77 KB
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Okiesharp LOL! Amen to that !! SR Vegas
Jeanne More than 1 year ago
Whackymacky, Happy Birthday!! Please follow your doctor's advice so that you'll have another 50 good years !!! Jeanne
Penguin ymous More than 1 year ago
Bernard Thanks for the antepost odds on some of the BC contenders. I don't recall for sure, but I believe you get your money back if they don't go? We don't. If we did, this is what I'd do because it takes a contender out of race day betting equations: 1. Liam's Map is one of my four contenders. At post time, I still think he will be 6 to 8-1. 12-1 future odds I would take. 2. Lea is also a top four contender in the Mile, unless you bring Goldikova, Miesque and Frankel. Lea will be less than 10-1 at post time, could be down to 6-1. Again, one of my four contenders and 16-1 for a future bet would get some of my money. 3. Untapable, at 10-1, would be a double the size of the previous two. Again, very generous and that would give lots of wiggle room for other wagers on that race come race day. 4. I personally would pass on Alert Bay, 10-1, and Smooth Roller, 25-1. Though Smooth Roller just won "convincingly" last Saturday, he is unproven with top company. Beating a has been Bayern and a never was Hoppertunity doesn't entice at 25-1. Sunday's Arc Is Dolniya a play at 25-1? I've always liked this mare as she can lay close and occasionally has some kick. Three back, The Coronation Cup, I think she was compromised by the dynamics of just the four horse field. Two back, The Grand Prix, where Treve beat her by four, I think she ran on well late after Treve kind of got the jump on her. Last race, she pulled up even to the leaders in the stretch before tiring on a very soft track. In American form, I like horses that "loom up" in their previous race. Maybe the more firm ground of the Arc and her mid pack or forward placement might turn the tables? Go Ancient One's Stable RonZ
Okiesharp More than 1 year ago
Ron Z..................a day at the track Braggin' rights and ROI.............personally, I'm tickled s**tless to come home with what I went with...:-) Okiesharp
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Whackymacky, Happy birthday Whacky. 50 years of age? Still a young man. Of course you have got to continue to live life. And given my decrepit state, I am the last person in the World to give serious medical advice, but all I would suggest is, just don't overdo it. Sometimes it really is time to put the cork back in the bottle. Yuwipi, Thanks for the BC thoughts. I appreciate your different perspective on the Beverley D result (sorry for keep calling it the Million. I do know the difference). You are not the only one on here with reservations about Jaimie Spencer. I won't repeat my argument because racing is all about different opinions, but a brave and willing horse (and best on the day) lost a race all for the sake of STEPHANIE'S KITTEN earning an extra £50,000. Your compliments for the Gunners were premature my friend. Total embarrassment to be beaten by Olympiakos last night in the Champions League. Arsene Wenger is a liability we can no longer afford. Rodney, Glad to see you reminding US fans of the upcoming Arc weekend and Champions Day. No better racing in the World. The Arc really could really be special this year. AMERICAN PHAROAH made 2015 special in the US, and TREVE could do the same for Europe in the Arc on Sunday. She goes for a unique hat trick of wins and on soft ground I would make her the obvious choice. However, the Sun is shining on North west Europe and the French weathermen have promised us a dry week; and with every dry hour GOLDEN HORN's chances increase. And don't rule out NEW BAY either. Best Regards - Bernard Downes
Tyren More than 1 year ago
Good Evening Form Bloggers, Happy Birthday WhackyMacky! I hope your health issues are resolved in your favor. I'm looking forward to your Friday BC longshot so I can have some money for Saturday lol. I enjoyed the $100 Tri (X3) payout from the 3 best horses in the Joe Hirsch. Once again a Ramsey horse shows up for me. I'm wondering will the dirt Kee TCA still produce the F-M Sprint winner and will Kee/Shadwell rename the race the "Wise Dan" Mile? Good night. Tyren M.
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
two to watch.... Thanks Dan, always enjoy your current threads. Here is my 'two to watch' for.. Secret Gesture ...Still liked the way she finished in the Beverly D at AP. DQ or not. Highland Sky .. 4th in the Pilgrim Stakes last weekend, after encountering trouble everywhere he tried to go, down the stretch. Will be looking for where they show up next. Just my .02 cents :) SR Vegas
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Whackymacky Happy Birthday and welcome to the BIG 50 Club, lol ! 'dif tor heh smusma' ... opps, wrong lanquage ( Vulcan) ....Live Long and Prosper !! SR Vegas
Richard More than 1 year ago
Edb and Yuwipi Nice job with your HG wagers last week.! Dick W