10/08/2014 4:03PM

Watch out for Blofeld


Thanks to everyone that entered the FormBlog Breeders' Cup Fantasy Handicapping League.

We had 489 contestants. KYL syndicate was the winner with 2310 fantasy earnings and finished second overall in the global leaderboard. It was a tremendous effort.


Todd Pletcher's 2-year-olds made serious noise last Saturday with Grade 1 victories from DAREDEVIL in the Champagne at Belmont and CARPE DIEM in the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland.

While both horses look primed for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita, I'm very interested in seeing what's next for BLOFELD, a Pletcher-trained baby that ran his record to 2 for 2 after a professional victory in the Grade 2 Futurity Stakes at Belmont last Sunday.

A son of four-time Grade 1 winner Quality Road (Florida Derby, Woodward Stakes, Metropolitan Handicap, Donn Handicap) out of the multiple stakes-winning sprinter Storm Minstrel (by Storm Cat), Blofeld sold for $135,000 as a weanling, was purchased for $275,000 last September as a yearling, and went for $225,000 in March after breezing a furlong in 10 seconds flat.

Blofeld's dam is a half-sister to stakes-winning sprinter Grand Minstrel, stakes-placed synthetic router Ziegfeld, and multiple stakes-placed performer Spring Hill Farm. The second dam, Colonial Minstrel (by Pleasant Colony), took the Grade 2 Shuvee Handicap at one mile with a 109 Beyer Speed Figure. Minstrella (by The Minstrel), the third dam, was an Irish champion, winning three Group 1 races on turf at two.

Prior to Blofeld's career debut at Saratoga on August 14, the colt wowed clockers. According to the Welsch/Vesce DRF workout report, Blofeld's drill on August 8 was "one of the more impressive 2-year-old gate works of the summer, a half mile in :23.95, :34.88, :46.78 while under just some light pressure pulling away from mate Vandalize, was urged on further by Johnny V. to get five eighths in :58.96. Rating: A-"

Not surprisingly, Blofeld was hammered to heavy favoritism in his five-furlong coming-out party. Outsprinted from the gate by the fleet Signature Cat, Blofeld attacked the pacesetter on the turn and wore that one down under a hand ride while attempting to lug in. Although Signature Cat returned to bomb in the Grade 1 Hopeful against the now-sidelined Competitive Edge, the third-place finisher, El Kabeir, came back to graduate by 10 3/4 lengths with a 93 Beyer.

In the weeks leading up to the Futurity, Blofeld continued to train well.  From the DRF Clocker Report: 

Sep. 28 - Went off a relaxed 25.40 to the top of the lane alongside Feathered, finished huge without being asked for much effort in 48.20, and galloped out sharply in 1:00.60 for five furlongs. Rating: B+

Sep. 22 - Got a bit goofy with Carpe Diem through the lane but was not asked for much effort in 24.20 for the final quarter-mile, and did gallop out with some energy in 1:16 flat, 1:30.60 for seven furlongs. Rating: B

Blofeld showed speed in the Futurity and pressed Grade 3 Bashford Manor winner Cinco Charlie through a moderate opening quarter of 23.10. Entering the turn, Blofeld was shuffled back to the pocket, an intimidating place for an inexperienced juvenile.

Cinco Charlie and the undefeated HEBBRONVILLE turned for home with the lead, and they seemed fresh after a half-mile in a mild 46.20. Meanwhile, Blofeld was down inside. In midstretch, the light seemed to flash on, and Blofeld rallied strongly, his last eighth in 11.76, to catch Hebbronville late. Blofeld completed the Futurity's six furlongs in 1:09.49 and received a 100 Beyer.

Blofeld's rider, John Velazquez, was impressed with the colt's determination.  "It wasn't the trip I was expecting, but he still won," Velazquez told track publicity. "We got squeezed out of a spot near the half-mile pole and he was getting a little bit intimidated, but once he got his momentum going he came back again. I'm proud of him, because they're babies, they don't get squeezed and try to come back again in the same spot."

There isn't a Breeders' Cup appearance in the near future for Blofeld. Pletcher anticipates that the colt will try the Grade 2, $250,000 Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct on November 2. If all goes well there, Blofeld will likely start in the Grade 2, $400,000 Remsen Stakes on November 29 at the Big A.


Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 9/30/14 - 10/6/14:

1. DAREDEVIL - 107 - Champagne Stakes (G1) - 1 Mile - 4Oct14-8BEL
2. RICH TAPESTRY (IRE) - 105 - Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1) - 6 Furlongs - 4Oct14-8SA
3. THREE ALARM FIRE - 103 - OC 25k/N1X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - 1Oct14-8BEL
3. WISE DAN - 103 - Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 4Oct14-9KEE
5. DAYATTHESPA - 102 - First Lady Stakes (G1) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 4Oct14-7KEE
6. BLOFELD - 100 - Futurity Stakes (G2) - 6 Furlongs - 5Oct14-4BEL
6. BOURBON COURAGE - 100 - OC 80k/N3X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 3Oct14-6KEE
6. WORK ALL WEEK - 100 - Phoenix Stakes (G3) - 6 Furlongs - 3Oct14-8KEE
9. LEIGH COURT - 99 - Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (G2) - 6 Furlongs - 4Oct14-6KEE
10. BAHAMIAN SQUALL - 98 - OC 62k/C -N - 7 Furlongs - 2Oct14-9GP
10. BIG BANE THEORY - 98 - City of Hope Mile (G2) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 4Oct14-9SA
10. MARINO'S WILD CAT - 98 - Harris Farm Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 5Oct14-8FNO
13. EAST HALL - 97 - Indiana Derby (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - 4Oct14-10IND
13. LUKES ALLEY - 97 - Durham Cup Stakes (G3-C) - 1 1/8 Miles (Polytrack) - 4Oct14-8WO
15. RING WEEKEND - 96 - Hill Prince Stakes (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 4Oct14-9BEL
16. HAMPSTEAD HEATH - 95 - OC c-62k/N2X - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 5Oct14-3WO
16. ONE LUCKY DANE - 95 - Md Sp Wt 57k - 1 Mile - 4Oct14-6SA
16. SNOWBELL - 95 - OC 75k/N1X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - 5Oct14-5BEL
19. BAKKEN - 94 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 2Oct14-8BEL
19. DON'T TELL SOPHIA - 94 - Spinster Stakes (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - 5Oct14-9KEE
19. EVER RIDER (ARG) - 94 - Temperence Hill Invitational - 1 5/8 Miles - 4Oct14-4BEL
19. GOLD FOR CASH - 94 - OC 25k/N3X - 6 Furlongs - 1Oct14-7MNR
19. I'M STOKED - 94 - Leon Reed Memorial Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 4Oct14-6FL
24. I B MIKE - 93 - Clm 20000(20-18) - 5 Furlongs - 3Oct14-9FNO
24. LA BELLA VALERIA - 93 - Alw 25000s - 6 Furlongs - 1Oct14-6BEL

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

*HAMPSTEAD HEATH was claimed for $62,500 by trainer Pat Parente from Brian Lynch.


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 Anderson 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 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Keeneland 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!




Copy of Formblog Alcibiades 10-3-14.xls76.5 KB
HGQEII.pdf160.62 KB
Gary Filbeck More than 1 year ago
Breeder's Cup. Laissez les bon temps roulez! Caseyjeaux
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
What a week to come back to. So sorry to hear about that young man Juan Saez . A sad day indeed. My heart goes out to the family and connections. Some nice horses young and old have passed on. RIP Cigar. Track tragedies, too. So sad. -------------------------------------------- ...and then on to Formblog, So may excellent posts to catch up on, and stories to make me laugh. ($200 bill?) Thanks everyone...some really enjoyable reading :) ..on fractional splits and point of calls, I'll have to copy and paste and read them later. ---------------------------- Van savant 6-1 is a great record. Good luck to your son this weekend. Enjoy the last of the summe/fall swim meets with your daughter .Bitter sweet :) ----------------------------- JJ .. Jackson Jackson I have your BSB #'s , notes and coin flips in my files/archives from years ago. I remember them then - and now. When I have time, I still try to use them. I thought your theories were always interesting . I had my own 'juvenile' theory several years ago. Just never had the time to expand it or flesh it out further. BTW ....Go Chancellors! :) ---------------------------------- Breeders Cup Day ...bring it on ! It would be fun to have everyone make a favorite pick for each race ( or best pic of the day ) and see how we all do :) SR Vegas
Turnbackthealarm More than 1 year ago
JJ, You are welcome and hurry up and write your book. :)
Jackson Jackson More than 1 year ago
TBTA - No I haven't done BC Classic numbers. Its been a long slog to compile the info for all the 2&3 year old races which has been my focus . The BC Classic is full of horses with extensive form . Less likely to pop up from nowhere . I don't really want to do them right now but looking at the winners list I can say off the top of my head that at least 7 of them are BSB 1s . I couldn't get behind vinceremos much myself :) Comma I bet pretty good, roughly equal to AK . Thanks for stepping up to make it clear that I told people how to do it the first time . It's not my fault if they dismissed it out of hand . Back then it was just an unusual angle to take advantage of . I don't want to tell how to do it anymore . I have the makings of a book put together now and I don't want somebody else to take my idea and write faster than me :) The coin flips are more for an everyday player . You don't really need it and the value could be diminished if too many people knew how to do it. A lot of people know the individual components in isolation already but not many know the exact way to mix the cocktail . No doubt I was trying to help VQ, RonZ & Okiesharp in particular while being somewhat opaque so everybody that read this blog wouldn't get it . It's my day to day bread and butter play and I want it mostly for myself . If my avg. mutual on those went from $7 to $5 it would be a big difference to me over time . One day I was sitting in the sun warming my broken bones and Quinn was giving his seminar . He touted my horse and two of the components !! I said to myself , "self if Quinn new the whole story he'd put it in a book and ruin it ". He knew the horse had a good chance but he didn't know it was 50 / 50 :) Thank goodness for small morsels :) Anyway its a coin flip you're ever going to get a chance to read this post or know that I responded to you so I'll cut it off here . Thanks again TBTA JJ
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DavidM9999 The workout pattern you described for the 2 year old filly would be difficult for me to assess without seeing the competitions PP's as well. I would however, circle the 59 & 47 workouts in red on my PP's. Pat Gavin I remember the gate crew using the whip on Quality Road a few years ago in the Breeders Cup and he refused to load. Ran poorly that day after clearly getting ticked off. Pletcher said the horse never had that problem before. TBTA The lower the odds go on a horse the higher that horses chances are of winning more than its fair share of races. At even money you get a 'coin flip'. Below even money the chances of winning go up considerably. A ten level spread in odds from the favorite to the 2nd choice will get you a 70 % chance that the favorite is legit and will win. Mr. Jackson 2 x might consider the different odds levels as 'multi versus' and as such, each verse might have a different characteristic. I feel confident Mr. Jackson 2 x can explain it much better than I or Mr. Ed can......:-) I can't ever remember Mr. Jackson 2 x declaring his theories as absolute. I believe he offers them as a supplement to what you already know. Okiesharp
Ned Daly More than 1 year ago
I would like to join the others in offering my condolences to Mr. Saez' family on this tragic occasion.
Turnbackthealarm More than 1 year ago
JJ, I think your KY Derby 1's theory is cool and interesting and have used it as one of my "factors" when formulating my KY Derby bets. (Although I just couldn't pull the trigger on Vinceremos or Comma to the Top :) ) But, just like your unique theory, I bet completely differently on Derby Day. The magnitude of the race just makes me want to bust out of my normal betting pattern. I think I recall others asking about the Preakness and Belmont and which numbers dominate, but have you ever tried your numbers for the BC Classic? Do you think the polytrack years would skew the results? That thought came to me last night. Still for the life of me, I don't understand the "coin flip" maiden theory. Can't say for sure if I'm not good at identifying the circumstances, don't handicap enough races to be comfortable with it or whether I didn't pay enough attention at school. :) Nancy B, I just went back and read your excellent long post from a few days back. You are always so thoughtful and interesting. David M and Pat Gavin, Eloquent thoughts about cheaters. Everyone knows my feelings about them align with yours. If there wasn't so much cheating, I know I'd bet more than I do. It is a shame the powers that be don't realize that. That $200 bill story is awesome. To all, Poor young Mr. Saez. What a waste of a life just beginning to show the fruits of his talent and hard work. I had been watching him and was astonished at his success this fall. This is the second young man this week that was either a friend or someone I admired who died. I lost my favorite caddie this weekend. He was on fall break with his friends, alcohol was involved and he died. This summer, as he carried my bag around the golf course, we had just had the "talk" about drinking, being moderate, his grades, his next internship and the life he envisioned upon his graduation. He reminded me a lot of my son in his exuberance and intemperance and he was aware of all that had transpired with Dave over the last few years. We were comfortable speaking as friends despite our age difference. Both horse racing and alcohol can be very very cruel. I wept last night for both these young men's mothers and gave silent thanks that I have not received the phone calls these women have. Two horses were also euthanized in the terrible spill and their connections have my sympathy too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A few sights and sounds from Belmont on Monday ….. Slew's Brew looked like a million bucks warming up on-track, neck bowed, just full of himself, had his "Slew" up. He was drawn in PP 5, but the 1 and 4 horses scratched. With the 2 (Macagone) and 3 (Curious Cal) both figuring to go early and out-speed him, he had a good chance to duck in behind on the rail and save ground ….. as it turned out, Macagone missed the break, so it worked out even better for him. He just held off Macagone rushing up at the end. Ms. Falk and her crew got a good – and well-deserved – hand in the winner's circle. Definitely the happiest looking bunch of the day. Note that in his last 6 races prior to this, Slew's Brew has had post positions 2, 3, 1, 1, 1 and 2 (was 6-1-3-0 in them, with the 2 off the board finishes both having been off-the-turf races). The Japanese horse, now in Motion's barn, running in the Punkin Pie was great fun to hit, even if neither the bet nor payoff were overly large. She had run well – apart from her last – on good tracks (the Belmont track Monday was rated fast, but you could tell from how cakey it was off from where it had been harrowed that it was more like good-fast, as it often is in NY after a long run of rain), there was no one else who appeared to be coming from off the pace on a day when speed was not holding, and even with no running lines to go on, with Rosario up one felt that if she wasn't a dead speed horse he might try to take her back, and she sported an absolutely glistened coat. Lady Lara, who won the Pebbles, has huge hind quarters – you could really see the potential for acceleration. Sandiva, who'd run very well at Royal Ascot and less so at Del Mar, looked very good as well – well balanced, beautiful coat, good hind quarters (if not quite so large as those on Lara). But would happened to her – and conversely what transpired for Slew's Brew once again – was a great example of the importance of the post draw in these one-turn races, especially at Belmont with the big turn. Sandiva had generally run better when kept in touch than when held back, and she broke well and was pushed up in the usual JV style, but was then hung out at least 3W through the entire back-stretch and turn, and flattened out in the stretch without ever really faltering. She had some run in her, but was forced to use up her energy to keep up around the turn. Unless one is a horse who does not need the lead and has stamina proven beyond that race's distance, the ground lost is a big disadvantage. As mentioned on here before, a one-run grinder who can wind up their long run easier by flattening out the turn can surrender the ground, provided they have the extra stamina, and going wider can favor a big or big going horse (again, provided they have the stamina) but they are exceptions. Flat Out in last year's Cigar Mile was a great example of several of these factors all aligning. Bernard – you mentioned the dangers that the jockeys face so routinely. Indian Rainbow had been perfectly well composed from the time she walked into the paddock, but suddenly at the gate reared up, threw Irad Ortiz, and caused a bit of a delay by not wanting to load (had this been in Britain, they may have gone w/o her). You could see some real clear shots of Ortiz dusting himself off and checking for damages. A narrow escape and a vivid reminder. I always feel that through a full day's card, beyond the obvious factors, there will be one, or two, or three key clues that I'm not specifically seeking out that will reveal themselves in some horse's physical make up, or entrance and paddock action, or warm up, which can usually be aligned with the handicapping of the forms, and provide an opportunity if one keeps a good watch. Al
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
David M, I would say that is an exceptionally good work pattern for a young debuting horse. The steady work schedule about every 7 days is an especially good indication of fitness. I would bite. Annie
Pat Gavin More than 1 year ago
JJ Years ago one of my buddies was a district manager for a fast food company in the South. One of his franchisees called him and said the had a big problem. A guy walked in to get a meal that cost about 5 bucks. The clerk took his bill and the assistant manager had to break it. The customer handed the clerk a $200 bill and the clerk(with an assist from the MOD)gave him $195 change. Who was on the bill? George W.Bush. Instead of "in god we trust" it said "I love broccoli". It was my buddies job to re-train the employees and keep it out of the papers.