02/24/2016 5:40PM

Two to watch


Here are a couple of horses to put on the old "Watch List."

A 7-year-old mare by Stormy Atlantic, Stormy Lucy always seems to fire and fits in beautifully with the turf distaffers out in Southern California. She shocked her opponents in the Grade 1 Matriarch at Del Mar on November 29, was beaten a neck in the Grade 3 Robert J. Frankel in December, was nosed by Keri Belle in the Grade 3 Megahertz in January and was necked by the good-trip Paulina's Love last Saturday in the Grade 2 Buena Vista Stakes. In that race, she settled near the back of the pack while inside, angled 4 wide on the far turn and finished with her usual interest. Capable at middle distances, Stormy Lucy bears watching the next time the SoCal turf fillies and mares line up.

Vigorous Titan reeled off three consecutive victories to close out 2015, but bombed badly in his first start this year, the 5 1/2-furlong Bonapaw Stakes that was rained off the turf. The 5-year-old returned to form last Saturday in the Duncan F. Kenner Stakes at Fair Grounds with a solid runner-up performance at big odds behind gate-to-wire winner Cinco Charlie. Vigorous Titan couldn't overcome Cinco Charlie's tactical advantage, but stayed on willingly and is worth following in listed stakes races for trainer Bernie Flint.

*I'd like to thank all of the FormBloggers that attended last week's Convention at Gulfstream Park. I'm humbled and touched by your kindness, friendship, generosity, passion for horse racing and sense of community. I'm lucky and blessed to be surrounded by such quality people.

Thanks so much to Laura for planning the event. It went off without a hitch and everyone had a wonderful time. You can find some excellent horse racing-related information on her website at http://www.imtbreds.com/

Thanks to Bob C for chauffeuring me around the South Florida area and for finding some quality dining options as well as some Jorge Navarro-trained runners (Navarro was in the midst of sending out eight consecutive winners last week). Bob's a great friend and a pretty sharp handicapper. You can read his recap on the last thread.

Dennis from Moline and his wonderful wife, Rose, are treasures and it's always great to see them at the Convention. I don't know how he does it, but Dennis always seems to be at the cashing window. He took me for a few dollars in our "Horse for Horse" challenge as well.

Jeff and Annette are always so kind and I really appreciate the gifts for my daughter (she loves them, by the way!). Annette gave a great showing in the Gulfstream-sponsored handicapping contest on Saturday afternoon.

Taz and Ernie designed some Convention hats that were much appreciated and it was fantastic to talk horses with them over dinner on Friday evening. Here's hoping they get back in the winner's circle as owners in the near future.

We missed Cathy and Sharon this year, but got a chance to wave at Cathy from the paddock. Sharon provided some lucky Kentucky Derby Future tickets that were a real hit as always. Many thanks!

It was fantastic to meet some new friends from ThoroFan. You can find out more about ThoroFan at http://www.thorofan.com/

I can't forget Mike Nyman, who graciously provided a suite for us at the track. He's a wonderful host and I am so grateful for his hospitality.

*Let's get to some of your questions:

What is your assessment of the GP turf course now that you have seen it up close? It looks awful worn and used to me. Is it comparable to the Turf Paradise "dirt" turf course? Is it playing fair? Currently playing to a particular running style? Did you notice if they spread sand on it?

Last Saturday, the turf course produced some fast times and seemed to favor horses racing on the lead and near the rail. Handicappers had to alter their process once confronted with the bias.

Once they took the rails down to 0 on Friday afternoon, horses near the fresh inside lanes moved up in a major way. In the tenth race, the first turf race of the day with the rails down, 10 to 1 longshot First Embrace scooted up the inside to get there at the wire. My selection, Bai Bai Baby, sped to the lead and the rail, set fractions of 22.84 and 46.64 for the 7 1/2 furlong test and was beaten three-quarters of a length for the win at 24 to 1. I believe that she runs second, at least, if she doesn't drift significantly off the rail in the final eighth.

The Saturday opener, a maiden claimer with the rails out 60 feet, was a merry-go-round affair with the top three finishers running 1-2-3 around the track. McFly and Ransack then went 1-2 around the course in the seventh race (maiden claimer with rail at 60 feet) with the third-finisher, 66 to 1 Grand Venezuelan, riding the inside pocket throughout.

Lasso went gate-to-wire as the favorite in the tenth (claiming race, rail at 60 feet) with pocket-sitting Live in Joy chasing in vain for second. The eleventh was the sprint stake marred by the frightening spill. Favored Cash Back emerged from the inside pocket, angled out in midstretch and came with an electrifying kick to win nicely. Inside pacesetter More Royalty completed the exacta. In the finale, Little Scotty and Derby Champagne occupied the top two positions from start to finish.


One particular race stood out to me this past weekend, Calculator's win over the game Fusaichi Samurai. Worried when Calculator missed the start, but he gradually moved steadily past them all, tired with a furlong to go, but held on. Thought the performance by both runners was noteworthy. I figured a mid 90's Beyer for Calculator, and am surprised not to see him amongst the top 25 Beyer list. Insight?
Mario Barbero

Calculator's race on February 13, his first start in over a year, produced a relatively-slow number (88), but that didn't tell the story. As you noted, Calculator broke terribly, rushed up with a premature bid while extremely wide on the backstretch, took over on the turn and dug in grimly when the Bob Baffert-trained Fusaichi Samurai challenged him from the rail in the stretch. If he can stay healthy, he looms an interesting graded stakes performer at middle distances.


It would be nice if Airoforce won for the simple reason he is one of the last of the Man O' War line..
Question; aside from your working for DRF, just what do the Beyer's have to do with how good a horse is?

Fast horses are preferable to slow ones. I'll guess that Man O'War popped a few triple-digit Beyers in his day and he was pretty good.


Am sorry to see Sunny Ridge is no longer on the Derby Trail. Sunny Ridge is the beautiful street where Dennis Drazin lives. In the 80's, that was a huge piece of property in the center of my town in NJ. He even had his layups of the property. It was lovely to see the horses out grazing as I drove by on errands. The third dam of Sunny Ridge is my old favorite, Bodacious Tatas. I tried to get her full record up on Equibase to no avail. She made 57 starts and was definitely an east coast gal. I loved her.
Dan, if you can get them, could you post her PPs?

Her lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.


Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 2/16/16 - 2/22/16:

1. CINCO CHARLIE - 103 - Duncan F. Kenner Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 20Feb16-7FG
2. MAJESTIC HARBOR - 99 - Mineshaft Handicap (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles - 20Feb16-5FG
2. UNIFIED - 99 - Md Sp Wt 40k - 6 Furlongs - 21Feb16-2GP
4. SHAFT OF LIGHT - 97 - Clm 12500N2L - 6 Furlongs - 17Feb16-2GP
5. CHOCOLATE RIDE - 96 - Fair Grounds Handicap (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 20Feb16-10FG
5. PAULINA'S LOVE - 96 - Buena Vista Stakes (G2) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 20Feb16-8SA
7. BELLAMY WAY - 95 - OC 40k/N2X -N - 1 Mile 70 Yards (Inner Dirt) - 19Feb16-8AQU
8. DOMAIN'S RAP - 94 - OC 62k/N2Y - 1 Mile - 21Feb16-8OP
8. LUCKY LOTTO - 94 - Alw 25000s - 1 1/16 Miles (Inner Dirt) - 20Feb16-8AQU
8. ZAMBIAN DREAM (CHI) - 94 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Inner Dirt) - 20Feb16-5AQU
11. BASS RIVER ROAD - 93 - Clm 25000 - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - 21Feb16-6AQU
12. CASH CONTROL - 92 - Daisy Devine Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 20Feb16-8FG
13. COURT DANCER - 91 - Broadway Stakes - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - 21Feb16-5AQU
13. GOOD LUCK GUS - 91 - Haynesfield Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Inner Dirt) - 21Feb16-8AQU
13. HE'S VERY RARE - 91 - OC 25k/C - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 21Feb16-7TUP
13. QUIET RULER - 91 - Alw 70000N2L - 1 Mile - 19Feb16-7OP
13. ROYAL BANKER (GB) - 91 - Clm 35000(40-35) - 1 Mile (Turf) - Clm 35000(40-35)
13. SIMON BAR SINISTER - 91 - OC 62k/C -N - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - 18Feb16-9GP
19. ARBORVILLE - 90 - Clm 25000(35-25)B - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - 19Feb16-5GP
19. GUN RUNNER - 90 - Risen Star Stakes (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - 20Feb16-11FG
19. GUNS LOADED - 90 - OC 62k/N2X - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 20Feb16-6SA
19. HAMMERS TERROR - 90 - OC 40k/N2X - 1 Mile (Turf) - 20Feb16-6FG
19. LASSO - 90 - Clm 16000 - 1 Mile (Turf) - 20Feb16-10GP
24. BOB'S GONE WILD - 89- Wcl 7500N1Y - 1 1/8 Miles - 19Feb16-6OP
24. HAVEYOUGONEAWAY - 89 - Spring Fever Stakes - 5 1/2 Furlongs - 20Feb16-8OP

*The lifetime past performances for CINCO CHARLIE 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, fun and, hopefully, profitable live handicapping analysis for Gulfstream, Aqueduct, and Santa Anita beginning at 3pm ET on live.drf.com.


Congrats to Curt V. for winning last week's HandiGambling challenge.

Curt V. selected Saturday's 13th from Gulfstream for this week's exercise.


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

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.

**  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!




Copy of HG 2 20 16 Risen Star.xls50.5 KB
HGGPMDN.pdf175.07 KB