10/23/2013 1:30PM

Various Thoughts


RIVER SEVEN (see below for lifetime past performances) looked very good winning the one-mile Labeeb Stakes last week, but his career-best 105 Beyer Speed Figure may best be taken with a grain of salt. 

The Woodbine turf course was absolutely drenched by rain and River Seven, a 3-year-old with a prior Beyer top of 94 from 10 starts, apparently relished the going.  River Seven is a good horse that was visually impressive.  The number seems a bit out of whack, however. It's tough to make a figure when a horse wins by a country mile in 1:38.81 over boggy turf.

*He's not Rapid Redux just yet, but reformed claimer RIBO BOBO now has nine straight victories thanks to a speedy score against three others in the $100,000 Maryland Million Sprint Handicap.  Ribo Bobo, taken for $6,250 in March by trainer Jason Servis, has the available starter allowance conditions to run up his win streak, but with Beyers of 95 or higher (and 2 stakes wins) in his last 5 starts, Servis may be looking for bigger fish to fry. 

*Breeders' Cup past performances are available on the homepage today and SECRET CIRCLE, winner of the 2011 Juvenile Sprint, is back on the radar following an emphatic 104-Beyer win against allowance company last week.  Secret Circle missed over a year with sesamoid and other issues, but he didn't look rusty at all for Bob Baffert.  The Sprint division has been up-and-down all year in terms of quality so there are worse longshots to consider than Secret Circle.

*Thought CLUSTER OF STARS would have been a contender in the Filly and Mare Sprint, but trainer Steve Asmussen and assistant Toby Sheets opted to go for the easy bucks in the Iroquois Stakes on New York Showcase Saturday.  Cluster of Stars won like an odds-on shot should, is undefeated after seven starts, and may race once more this year. 

"When you get on her, you don't worry about anything," winning rider Javier Castellano told NYRA publicity after the Iroquois. "You just focus and do your own thing. Toby [Sheets] did a great job. She's very competitive, very intelligent; I'm just the pilot. I like to enjoy the ride. She's very professional and did everything the right way. She's a special horse."

*My 2012 MKB horse, BLINGO, did me proud in the $100,000 I'm a Banker Stakes at Belmont last week, earning a career-best 94 Beyer Speed Figure in his return to dirt.  Did I have him, even out of sentiment, at 19-1 in the six-horse field?  I think you know the answer to that question (sigh).

*Following eight consecutive off-the-board finishes, one could be forgiven for thinking that REGALLY READY, hero of the 2011 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, was ready for the old folks home.  But, the Steve Asmussen-trained gelding turned back the hands of time with a win going a turf mile at Keeneland.  Regally Ready only earned a 92 Beyer after a perfect trip, though, and will need to do more if he is to succeed in stakes company.

*A couple of 2-year-olds to keep an eye on:

LITTLE CURLIN (Curlin - Hoh Buzzard, by Alhaarth)

Trained by Graham Motion, Little Curlin made his career debut in an about seven-furlong maiden special weight over the Keeneland polytrack on October 18.  He broke outward and raced six wide on the backstretch before being taken inward to save some ground going into the turn.  Far back turning for home, he rallied belatedly to finish fourth and galloped out with gusto.  He's a half-brother to Via Villagio, winner of the Grade 3 Railbird Stakes traveling 7 furlongs on cushion track.  Turf and additional distance may help this one to the winner's circle.

AWESOME SKY (Sky Mesa - To Dream About, by Monarchos)

One race earlier, Awesome Sky gave a nice runner-up effort in the slightly-faster division.  A full brother to G3-placed synthetic router Sky Dreamer, Awesome Sky steadied while in and among horses at the tail end of the field and made a sharp five-wide move on the turn.  He couldn't overcome the winner's tactical advantage, but kept to his task nicely in the stretch and shouldn't be a maiden for long.  Mark Casse trains for John Oxley.

*In this Friday's fourth race at Keeneland, pedigree watchers will be interested in SHE'S NOT HERE.  By Street Cry, she is out of stakes-winner Where's Bailey, a half-sister to the great Zenyatta.  A $190,000 yearling, She's Not Here is trained by Victoria Oliver.

Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures (10/14/13 - 10/20/13)

1. RIVER SEVEN - 105 - Labeeb Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - Woodbine
2. RIBO BOBO - 104 - Maryland Million Sprint Handicap - 6 Furlongs - Laurel
2. SECRET CIRCLE - 104 - OC 75k/C -N - 6 Furlongs - Santa Anita
4. CLUSTER OF STARS - 101 - Iroquois Stakes - 7 Furlongs - Belmont
5. KING KREESA - 100 - Mohawk Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Belmont
6. PALACE - 99 - Hudson Handicap - 6 Furlongs - Belmont
7. IMAGINING - 97 - Bowl Game Stakes - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - Belmont
7. IMMORTAL EYES - 97 - Jefferson County Commission Handicap - 4 1/2 Furlongs - Charles Town
7. ULTIMATE DESTINY - 97 - Bunty Lawless Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Polytrack) - Woodbine
10. SAYAAD - 96 - OC 100k/N3X -N - 7 Furlongs (Turf) - Belmont
11. A TOAST TO YOU - 94 - California Flag Handicap - About 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Santa Anita
11. BLINGO - 94 - I'm a Banker Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - Belmont
11. GALLANT SON - 94 - Alw 34717NC - 6 Furlongs (Tapeta) - Golden Gate
11. GOURMET DINNER - 94 - Alw 60400C - 1 Mile - Parx
11. JAVA MAN - 94 - Clm c-(12.5-10.5) - 1 Mile - Santa Anita
11. STORMY LUCY - 94 - Miss America Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Golden Gate
17. EVOLUTION ROCKS - 93 - Alw 16000s - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Parx
17. FLORES ISLAND - 93 - Md Sp Wt 73k - 1 Mile - Belmont
17. GRAND CONTENDER - 93 - OC 40k/N2X -N - 1 Mile - Indiana
17. SARATOGA SNACKS - 93 - Empire Classic Handicap - 1 1/8 Miles - Belmont
17. TOM'S TRIBUTE - 93 - Uniformity Stakes - About 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Santa Anita
17. ULLAPOOL - 93 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - Belmont
23. REGALLY READY - 92 - Alw 61346C - 1 Mile (Turf) - Keeneland
24. BIG BANE THEORY - 91 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Santa Anita
24. DISCREET MARQ - 91 - Pebbles Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - Belmont
24. EIGHTTOFASTTOCATCH - 91 - Maryland Million Classic Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles - Laurel
24. HEMLOCK CHANNEL - 91 - OC 62k/C -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Woodbine
24. NAJJAAR - 91 - Sycamore Stakes - 1 5/8 Miles (Polytrack) - Keeneland
24. OVERHEARD - 91 - Valley View Stakes (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Keeneland
24. POINT FINISH - 91 - Hcp ---s - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Indiana

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

*JAVA MAN was claimed for $12,500 by trainer Doug O'Neill from John Sadler.


Hi Dan could you post the past performances for Zarkava and Treve, that will be great
thank you , take care and best of luck, Marco

The past performances for ZARKAVA and TREVE are available at the bottom of this blog post.


When you get the chance, you're definitely going to want to check out "RACEHORSE," the latest production from Jessica Pacheco, racing analyst at Arlington Park.

"It's the end of the summer, and Crown and Thistle Stables hope for a firm turf course for Sugar Kate's last race of the 2013 Arlington meet. Then catch up with all the owners in the season finale of RACEHORSE! Get an update on the whereabouts of Magna Fortuna "Taxi", party with the Rabbits, and get some ownership advice from the RACEHORSE cast."


The entire series, Episodes 1-9, can be found here:



The weekend handicapping previews should be available on the site tomorrow evening.

You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman


Congrats to Phil D. for finishing first in the most recent HandiGambling contest.

Rick M's HandiGambling scoresheet is available at the bottom of this blog post.

Phil D. selects Friday's 6th race at Belmont for this week's event.


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.


I read some entries on here and there are some people who put their heart out on their picks(such as DavidM9999) and give you great analysis on who they like and why and then there are others who elect not to give any reasoning behind their entries. The rule I will implement EFFECTIVE 3/1/13 will be... any entry without ANY analysis will be ignored. We are not asking you to put out a novel, but again a sentence or two. Also, I will put communication out when Dan puts out new blogs.
My intent is not to be jerk on this, but what's fair is fair. I'm not taking away from this week or past winners regarding all of this, but we do need to make the change.
If you have any questions/concerns...please send an email to FORMBLOG@DRF.COM and it will get forwarded to me.
Thank You!



Best of luck to all.

TREVE.pdf574.03 KB
ZARKAVA.pdf574.8 KB
Copy of Formblog Belmont Claiming Turf 10-18-13.xls72 KB
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yuwipi, Its good we are talking horses, football (that is real football played mainly with the feet), is off my agenda at present. You are a hard taskmaster my friend. Those three 2 year old Euro fillies only "ok"? Vorda only beaten by one horse (a colt) in 5 races? Al Thakhira and Chriselliam showing real acceleration at the business end of their recent races? If one of them doesn't win the Juv Fillies Turf there will be a lot of deflated reputations in Europe, because all three are held in very high regard. Of course surprises do happen and that's why, as I posted last week, I have had a WPS saver on Clenor at a juicy 20/1. I like your angle re Andre Fabre. I will try to find out and will post it if I do so. Best Regards - Bernard Downes
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yuwipi, Yes, I heard that. I don't think it is right, do you? They probably know that by Sunday most everyone will be horsied out. The one way to get them back on Sunday is with a huge Pick 6 carryover for their final day. :) Personally, I hope it pays out on Saturday, even if I decide not to play it. At the moment I'm interested in that Pick 5. Annie
. Anderson More than 1 year ago
knm, do you get HPI-tv ? if so you and my brother and myself may be the only ones who do!? :-) .
Yuwipi More than 1 year ago
Turnbackthealarm, Enjoyed reading your post regarding Richie Migliore. Have a Test Stakes winner's circle photo of him on my bookcase. I think he has a tremendous capacity to analyze horses and racing in general, and is also a stand up, beyond reproach and all around good guy. Back in the days before Maggie Wolfendale came to NYRA we were graced with Jan Rushton, who was also excellent in her paddock commentary and general understanding of the sport. And as an aside, nobody but nobody had better hats! Alas, I don't get either the TVG or HRTV feeds, so I make due with Mike Welsch and think he's pretty darn good also. Annie, Know you like your horizontals so I just wanted to make sure you've caught that they are not having a mandatory payout on the P6 on BC day. If not hit the pool will roll over to Sunday, which I think is closing day at SA. Bernard, I have a feeling I might rue these words, but after watching the Euro 2 year olds I'm kind of nonplussed by the lot of them. I've been unable to get a look at Shamshon, but of the others I could only say they look ok. Now that's not to say that most of ours look any better. The Lasix business is an added curveball for sure. The older horses on Saturday are, to me, a far different story. Romantica is one at a price I've been trying to get enthusiastic about despite her clunker last out. My ears have been to the ground as to whether Andre Fabre as come over. He is quite an imperious fellow and if he has not elected to travel I will cool off on this one a little.
Gerty Golittle More than 1 year ago
TBTA, Thanks SO MUCH for posting your impressions of the works. Although my horseracing channel will have both those programs at some point, they don't have a proper schedule, so we never know what they're going to show when! Every morning, there's a scroll at the bottom telling you what's on, before the races start. But now, they show so many overseas tracks - and by overseas I don't just mean Europe but South Africa etc. in the morning before our tracks have started, that there's very little time for these extras. knm
Turnbackthealarm More than 1 year ago
More thoughts on the Breeder's Cup and work watching: If you get HRTV, Richard Migliore has a great eye for a horse and is a keen workout observer. If you get TVG, I am not a fan of Tom Amoss, but he has some good insight on strategy and ideas that trainers have in choosing a particular type of work. I don't think he has a good eye for a horse, or perhaps he doesn't share his insights. Donna Barton Brothers has a great eye and gives great insight into what she sees. I've learned a lot from her and personally find watching on TV very unsatisfying, but she helps a lot. Simon and Todd are average at best. Simon knows more, but is too diplomatic when what he sees is awful. He just won't say it. But, I'll go controversial here and say that by and large I'll take Millie Ball, Zoe Cadman, Christina Olivares-Blacker and Donna Barton Brothers over every single man together. Throw in Maggie Wolfendale in the paddock and I'm in heaven. Here's my theory on why the women are so good. The one thing they all have in common is that they are riders! Everyone of them was at least an exercise rider, if not a jock. That is key. The guys are for the most part gamblers.....eeeeeerrrrr, handicappers, except for a couple of trainers. Note Richie Migliore was a jock and he is the only man I really like in the current TV cro And that is my final thoughts on workouts for this morning, because I have some more to watch. I loved Van Savant's little treatise because I can totally picture him in the kitchen, watching the races and loving life and I don't even know what he looks like, but I think I do based on all the years of conversations on the blog. I consider what we do gambling no matter whether we handicap with all the tools or base it on names and colors. It has to be a gamble because even if you are completely prepared and educated, the gates can open and if a rider falls off, your money and work is down the drain. The bottom line is we put down money in pursuit of a return. I consider it entertainment. No different than going to a concert or out to dinner. Only, sometimes, my entertainment is FREE or even profitable. Most of all, I like the friendship and fun I have with others who love being entertained by the horses. The only time this "money" thing matters is when a person uses money they can't afford to spend or if the activity endangers relationships or our jobs. Last but not least, I know this is gambling because otherwise American Airlines would not block DRF on its computers in the Admiral's Club. :) I was so happy that day two years ago in Istanbul Turkey when I was in British Air's lounge and could catch up on Formblog about four days out from the Breeder's Cup when I had been away for about 12 days. It was like manna from heaven.
Curtis V Slewster More than 1 year ago
Dick W., Glad to see you back my man. Tell us about the trip. I mean at least tell us the stuff you can, anyway. Uh oh.. Yes, I had the Sandcastle. You are indeed a man of reason. So, I totally concur on the G thing... In light of that I am posting this. The Group is quite apropos..The Spinners.. & the Song is aptly Titled too..."the Games People Play"..It's the LP version... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cb8ZUpAr94 Enjoy.... Curtis V S........r.........
Turnbackthealarm More than 1 year ago
I hope everyone is watching The Works or Pursuit of the Cup depending on which horse racing channel your cable contains. I have seen some terrible works, but the two standout bad ones are Renee's Titan and Holy Lute (A PGH!) I have also seen some wonderful works.These are my standouts. Golden Cents looks like an absolute monster, but has an icky post. We Miss Artie worked in company with Authenticity and held his own. No Jet Lag worked great on turf. These were all at SA. Royal Delta was wonderful, but the work was at Belmont.
Dick W More than 1 year ago
When I place a wager on a horse race it is GAMBLING pure and simple :-) Dick W
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well, look who's back. RON ZUERCHER, DICK W, and LONGWAYTOMAY'S Flashback. And looking like a big old single in Saturday's Pick 5. :) You remember him. Was looking like California's best hope for this year's Kentucky Derby until he got a knee chip and had to have surgery and went off the trail. Good luck, guys!!! Annie