09/24/2014 4:05PM

An unorthodox prep


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This week's fantasy race is Saturday's Awesome Again Stakes from Santa Anita.


Can a two-turn sprint race at Charles Town be considered a valuable Breeders' Cup prep? 

In the case of PANTS ON FIRE, last weekend's seven-furlong, $100,000 Wild & Wonderful Stakes could lead to a start in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile next month at Santa Anita.

A 6-year-old millionaire trained by Kelly Breen, Pants On Fire has already won four graded races (Louisiana Derby, Pegasus Stakes, Monmouth Cup and Ack Ack Handicap). He finished seventh in last year's Dirt Mile behind Goldencents.

I must admit that I fell for Pants On Fire at Santa Anita as he looked so impressive taking his final prep, the Ack Ack at Churchill Downs, and thought he offered some value at 8 to 1 on the tote.

Pants On Fire got hot and bothered prior to the Dirt Mile and ended up chasing the pace over a track that many handicappers believe favored horses that showed speed nearest the rail.

Breen then shipped Pants On Fire overseas for the Japan Cup Dirt and the horse's behavioral issues got the better of him. He reared up in the starting gate, banged his head, ended up bleeding from the nostrils, and never got within hailing distance of the winner. It was a wasted trip.

Leading into the Wild & Wonderful, Pants On Fire didn't look like the same horse that was competitive in Grade 2 and Grade 3 races in 2013. He caught a speed-favoring track on Haskell day in the Monmouth Cup, his first start in over seven months, and couldn't reel in Valid and Bradester when an even third.

I really expected an improved performance in his second start back, the Grade 3 Philip H. Iselin Stakes at Monmouth on August 17. Paco Lopez gave Pants On Fire a beautiful ride and the two shot up a big opening on the rail turning for home to take a clear lead. The old Pants On Fire would have closed the door on his opponents, but he couldn't turn away Balance of Power's late surge and fell a half-length shy.

It was a disappointing loss and I started to fear that Pants On Fire was getting long in the tooth. That opinion didn't change much when he then finished a neck shy to Golden Ticket, a horse that doesn't seem to want to win, in the Left Bank Stakes at Belmont.

Even his entry in the Wild N Wonderful was a bit baffling. If he was doing so well and the connections still believed in him, why was he at Charles Town instead of in a race like the Kelso at Belmont this Saturday? 

Granted, he didn't beat any stars in the Wild N Wonderful - GOOD LORD and HANDSUP MONEYDOWN won't remind anyone of Goldencents - but he sure looked good under the lights.

After bobbling a bit at the start, Pants On Fire chased the pace on the outside before Lopez maneuvered him nearer to the rail on the backstretch. Pants On Fire made a three-wide bid on the final turn under confident handling, took over swinging into the short stretch and drew away without much urging. He completed the distance in 1:23.77, good enough for a 105 Beyer Speed Figure.

The competition will obviously be much steeper at Santa Anita, but Pants On Fire will once again offer a good price, and he's entering the race in solid form with competitive numbers. There are worse longshots to consider.


Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 9/16/14 - 9/22/14

1. BAYERN - 110 - Pennsylvania Derby (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles - 20Sep14-12PRX
2. PANTS ON FIRE - 106 - Wild and Wonderful Stakes - 7 Furlongs - 20Sep14-9CT
3. CARD - 105 - OC 125k/C - 7 Furlongs (Polytrack) - 19Sep14-3AP
4. FAVORITE TALE - 104 - Gallant Bob Stakes (G3) - 6 Furlongs - 20Sep14-10PRX
5. TRANSPARENT - 103 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - 18Sep14-8BEL
6. DAWLY - 99 - Alw 25000s - 1 Mile 70 Yards - 20Sep14-6PRX
7. CONGENIAL - 97 - Clm 32000 - 1 Mile - 21Sep14-7CD 
8. CAST A DOUBT - 96 - Alw 91250N1X - 7 Furlongs - 20Sep14-7PRX
8. MIDNIGHT CELLO - 96 - OC 62k/C - 1 Mile - 18Sep14-9GP
8. MISS BEHAVIOUR - 96 - Charles Town Oaks (G3) - 7 Furlongs - 20Sep14-11CT
11. STARSHIP SULU - 95 - Clm c-16000B - 5 Furlongs - 18Sep14-6GP
12. ARTEMIS AGROTERA - 94 - Gallant Bloom Handicap (G2) - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 20Sep14-8BEL
12. UNTAPABLE - 94 - Cotillion Stakes (G1) - 1 1/16 Miles - 20Sep14-11PRX
14. ISN'T HE CLEVER - 94 - Downs at Albuquerque Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles - 21Sep14-9ALB
14. SEEKING THE SHERIF - 93 - Katella Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 20Sep14-8LRC
16. BUSTER ROSE - 92 - OC 40k/N2X - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - 18Sep14-3IND
16. EDGE OF REALITY - 92 - Alphabet Soup Handicap - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - 20Sep14-9PRX
16. FIRST BID - 92 - Alw 50000s - 1 1/16 Miles - 17Sep14-6BEL
19. BAMA BOUND - 91 - Alw 91750N1X - 7 Furlongs - 20Sep14-5PRX
19. DETERMINATO - 91 - OC25k/SAL25k - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - 18Sep14-1GP 
19. HAMMERS TERROR - 91 - OC 62k/N2X - 7 FUrlongs (Turf) - 19Sep14-8WO
19. LUCY'S BOB BOY - 91 - Hcp 30000 - 1 1/16 Miles - 20Sep14-3CT
19. MONAGUSKA - 91 - Alw 100500N$Y - 6 Furlongs - Parx
19. NORTH SLOPE - 91 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - 19Sep14-8BEL
19. SOUTHERN SOLUTION - 91 - Alw 3500s - 1 1/16 Miles - 20Sep14-5EMD
19. THANK YOU MARYLOU - 91 - Dogwood Stakes (G3) - 7 Furlongs - 20Sep14-9CD
19. XMAS SKY - 91 - OC 32k/N3X -N - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 17Sep14-7LRL
19. WARRIOROFTHEROSES - 91 - OC 40k/C -N - 1 1/16 Miles - 19Sep14-8LRL

*The lifetime past performances for BAYERN are available at the bottom of this blog post.

*STARSHIP SULU was claimed for $16,000 by trainer David Vivian from Marcial Navarro.


Hi Dan,
Lemon Drop Kid has become such a prominent name in breeding...could you post his lifetime PPs when you get a chance
Dom DiNatale

You can find his past performances at the bottom of this blog post.


The links to the five most recent blogs (and blog comments) are listed below:







You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.

The video previews for most of this weekend's graded stakes action will be available later in the week at the following link:



Congrats to MZ for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling race.

Rick M's scoresheet 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 Saturday's Jockey Club Gold Cup from Belmont 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!




BAYERN.pdf614.34 KB
HGJCGC.pdf205.63 KB
Copy of Formblog PA Derby 9-20-14.xls75.5 KB
Ned Daly More than 1 year ago
HG Jockey Cl;ub Gold Cup Still remember the day a few years ago when I saw this live with Mike A. Very interesting afternoon. Age before beauty on this one. I ike Zivo, Moreno and possibly Wicked Strong. HGWager $16 Exacta Box 3/4/11 Best of luck to all. Ned Daly
Dale Tillotson More than 1 year ago
HG Jockey club. 8= likes Belmont. 3= strong wicked strong. 4= will be charging at end. 11= best overall beyers but worst overall trainer, their eric here is mud at you like you like to throw mud. the bets $50.00 exacta 8-3. $50.00 trifecta 8-3-4. Good luck to all. Dale Tillotson
jack_straw21 More than 1 year ago
HG Jockey Club 3$ Tri's 4,8/3,4,8,9/2,3,4,5,8,9,10 The major question for me in handicapping this race is what happens to Moreno early. I am sure the jockeys of the two outside horses see the speed of their rivals and are trying to avoid a duel that compromises both horses. Yet, I am not sure that they can avoid that outcome, especially at 1 1/4 miles from outside PP. That being said I will play this race and try to beat those two speeds. Tonalist ran very well last time attacking a fast pace and I hope for a more patient ride today. Zivo is just a neat closer who should appreciate the distance and the pace. Underneath I will use logical horses from off pace including Wicked Strong, but also some deep closers (Last Gunfiighter, Stephanoatsee, V.E. Day) who should be able to sit back and might be able to pick up pieces. Good Luck and Safe Trips to all. jack_straw21
Jackson Jackson More than 1 year ago
Sharpie - sometimes I go to PH and click on race of the day page and get in the backdoor . I hope you found those pps because it was a clockwork $23 Cutbacker :) Besides being the only contender in the race that raced in a coons age . He beat the course specialist favorite . Just like clockwork cutbackers have a tendency to do like clockwork down the dip :) So like I always say if you want to you can just sit around and wait until you see a nice cutbacker that's going to pay good to win or place down the dip . Nice and simple . JJ
CMathieu66 More than 1 year ago
HG JCGC $50 Exacta key 4/11,12 Zivo is the now horse and Moreno and/or Big Cazanova will set a moderate pace but succumb to Zivo late. Mathieu
Jackson Jackson More than 1 year ago
I usually don't play Hg but since it's the JCGC one of the worlds most famous dirt races I thought I'd try a stab . I keep getting errored out :) I'll try once more. Big C is a competitive horse with this crowd . HG JCGC WAGERS $26 ex 12 / 11 $ 16 ex 12 / 3 , 4 $ 12 ex 12 / 5 $ 10 ex 12 / 10 $ 3 tri 12 ,11 / 12, 11 / 3,4,5 $ 1 tri 12,11 / 12 ,11 / 10 Good luck players Thanks LSD & PNR JJ
Penguin ymous More than 1 year ago
Okiesharp A bit of erroneous info, I knew I should have written it down before posting. Here is the correct order: DRF>Handicapping/PPs>Contest/Games>Public Handicapper>"Daily Racing Form Race of the Day", then bookmark it (the star symbol on the address line in Google Chrome) and you won't be frustrated again.
Professor Molesap More than 1 year ago
Geldings and the Breeder's Cup Classic Here is the Breeder’s Cup Classic Data JJ asked for regarding geldings. Since it occurred to me someone might logically ask about the ladies as well, here is the data for that too. Five females have run in the Breeder’s Cup Classic with Zenyatta performing the best by far running first in 2009 (which by the way cost me a bunch of money as I had the second place horse) and then running second in the 2010 edition (which of course was the year I bet her). Jolypha was a 3YO filly who ran third in 1992, Havre de Grace was fourth (2011), Azeri ran fifth (2004) and Triptych was sixth (1986). As far as geldings are concerned, I am embarrassed about a couple I missed originally. Most notably, Evening Attire (ran twice even), Lava Man, Moreno (ran just last year and he is running this weekend and I still missed him), General Challenge and Ruler on Ice (who finished third). All total there were 39 starts from 25 different geldings. Awesome Gem, Best Pal, Dramatic Gold, Evening Attire, Funny Cide, Gander, and Guided Tour all ran twice. Game on Dude ran in this race three times and Perfect Drift ran five times. In terms of placings, there were no winners, but three than ran second - (Budroyale, Game on Dude and L’ Carriere). In addition, four that ran third (Awesome Gem, Dramatic Gold, Perfect Drift and Ruler on Ice). So again, not in terms of performance of geldings in this race. Below is a list of the geldings that have run in the Classic with the year they were born and their placing. A Bit O'Gold (CAN)-(2005)-13th Awesome Gem (Ky)-(2007)-3rd -(2009)-7th Best Pal (Ca)-(1993)-10th -(1994)-5th Budroyale (Ca)-(1999)-2nd Choctaw Nation (Ky)-(2005)-6th De Roche (Ky)-(1990)-5th Diamond Stripes (Fl)-(2007)-8th Dramatic Gold (Ky)-(1994)-3rd -(1996)-9th Evening Attire (Ky)-(2002)-4th -(2003)-7th Freedom Crest (Ky)-(2001)-13th Funny Cide (Ny)-(2003)-9th -(2004)-10th Game On Dude (Ky)-(2011)-2nd -(2012)-7th -(2013)-9th Gander (Ny)-(2000)-9th -(2001)-9th General Challenge (Ca)-(1999)-10th Guided Tour (Ky)-(2000)-12th -(2001)-5th Headache (Ky)-(2011)-12th Jack Sullivan (Ky)-(2005)-12th L'Carriere (Ny)-(1995)-2nd Lava Man (Ca)-(2006)-7th Mine That Bird (Ky)-(2009)-9th Moreno (Ky)-(2013)-10th Mt. Sassafras (CAN)-(1996)-4th Perfect Drift (Ky)-(2002)-12th -(2003)-6th -(2004)-4th -(2005)-3rd -(2006)-8th Ruler On Ice (Ky)-(2011)-3rd Savinio (Ky)-(1997)-5th
Phil D More than 1 year ago
Annie, I missed it live but saw the replay, GO INDY, INDY GO! The race was never in an doubt for Indy, well the 3 was charging hard, made it interesting. Not bad for a long layoff, I think its hard for horses to come back with a lot of time off, glad he got the win. I wonder if Baffert is now going to up the ante and enter Indy graded stakes race? If so, I'll try to catch it live next time lol. Right now the skies the limit for Indianapolis! When is it Breeders Cup Day, 6 furlong sprint! Just kidding! Best of luck for the connections going forward!!! Phil D
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shoot! I missed a great MKB exacta today in the 8th at SA. $61.80 for a $2 exacta. PHIL D'S INDIANAPOLIS over PIPPEN'S Diamond Bachelor. Only two MKBs in the race. I haven't seen Pippen around for awhile, but PHIL D, did you happen to catch that? Annie