04/25/2008 4:01PM

Weekend opinions, etc.


Beaugay Handicap (Aqueduct - Race 9)
Only five are entered, but they all can win.  I'll take a shot with Sweet Ransom, a Mott-trained filly that only finished a neck behind win-machine Rutherienne in her final start at three.  Although she usually finds one better, she should be a solid price in this spot, attracts the services of Edgar Prado, and may sit a nice pace-tracking, ground-saving trip off a solid pace.  All is Vanity and Just Little continue their feud that began in France last year.  The former has beaten Just Little in both of their meetings on two continents, and she seems to hold an edge once again for Clement.  All Is Vanity may be the controlling speed in the Beaugay.  Just Little may have been a bit short off the bench on March 14 at Gulfstream, but she couldn't capitalize on a very good trip that day.  The Pletcher-Gomez combination may hurt the price.  Factual Contender is a hard-hitting New York-bred with 20 exacta finishes in 36 lifetime starts.  She hasn't run since November, but may sit just off All Is Vanity in the early going.  Criminologist got very good at the end of last year, and she just missed in her seasonal debut at Keeneland.  She's very logical for Shug, and John Velazquez opts off the Pletcher mount to remain with Criminologist.
Selections:  Sweet Ransom, All Is Vanity, Just Little

Withers (Aqueduct - Race 3)
Only four will come out and play in the Withers, and J Be K projects as the lone speed off his front-running Bay Shore tally three weeks ago.  That race gave me some mixed feelings.  I liked the fact that J Be K disdainfully disposed of his pace pressure en route to the big win, but I didn't like that he ran his last eighth in a slow 13.74 while under an all-out drive.  He's obviously talented, and his pace advantage may be too much for Harlem Rocker to overcome.  That one was very impressive in both lifetime starts at Gulfstream, and he showed a lot of guts in running down Samba Rooster (Lexington runner-up) in his first start against winners.  He wouldn't be a surprise in an unattractive betting race.  Face the Cat was privately purchased following his one-turn mile allowance win at Gulfstream, but he had some minor problems after that start, and then jumped into the deep end against Big Brown.  He can do better here.  Double Or Nothing seeks his third straight, but this is his toughest task to date.
Selection:  J Be K

Derby Trial (Churchill - Race 10)
Kodiak Kowboy
may end up the favorite off his big class lines at two, but he just didn't fire last time out at Keeneland, and I have some concerns about his ability to go this far at a short price.  Instead, I'll go with Iron Works Pike, a lightly-raced colt going second off the layoff after chasing the synthetic-loving St. Joe at Keeneland three weeks ago.  Iron Works Pike finished ahead of a pair of next-out winners when second to subsequent Louisiana Derby runner-up My Pal Charlie two back at Fair Grounds, and may work out a good outside, stalking trip.  Eaton's Gift failed to last in the Lafayette, but he really likes Churchill Downs, and looms the main speed from the rail.  He might face some pressure early, however.  Fujita didn't beat much at Gulfstream, but the Pletcher-trained colt overcame some trouble last time out, and has enough stamina in his pedigree to see out this slightly longer trip.  Majestic Warrior should get the proper race flow, and the addition of blinkers may get him into the bit a little earlier than usual.  That being said, the impressive winner of the Grade 1 Hopeful hasn't come back to form after being sidelined by injury after last year's Champagne.  Zulu Magic, like Fujita, is undefeated, talented, and stepping up in class.
Selections:  Iron Works Pike, Eaton's Gift, Fujita

More importantly, who do you like this weekend?  I'd like to know.


A question for all -
For longer than I can recall I have wanted to make thoroughbred horse racing a career -- have it be my 9-5.  I will admit that I would want to be on the front side as those 4AM mornings of the back side just aren't me.   As well, I live in Southern California so I had always hoped to stay somewhere within California.I know the University of Arizona has their Race Track Industry Program, but barring a return to university does anyone have any insight into how one would get a 9-5 in the industry.  For that matter given the way the horses move meet to meet are there even that many full time 9-5's available?The thoroughbred industry has always seemed very nepotistic to me and the few times I have attempted to gain entry it never went anywhere.  As well, I am now in my mid forties and wonder if ageism might also work against me in the thoroughbred industry as I have found in other industries I have attempted entry. For the past year and a half I have been my own boss with a thoroughbred-related web site, but it's just not growing like I would need to make it a full time career.  Any insight would be greatly appreciated from such a knowledgeable group.  As well, being that I am still living in San Diego and you know of anyone looking to hire in Southern California I am available!
- RobertSD

First off, I'd like to urge you to keep looking.  If your dream is to be involved in this, the greatest game of them all, then don't falter in your quest.  The Blood-Horse magazine puts out an excellent annual publication called The Source.  In this book, there are phone numbers and contact information for just about everyone in the industry from trade publications to auction houses to equine insurance and bloodstock agencies to racetracks themselves.  I believe the listings are available by state so you can stay close to home if you so choose.  My advice would be to look up that publication, and start making phone calls or sending out resumes.  What could it hurt? 
Best of luck, and I hope everything works out.


Was going through the races today, and watching some races, mainly Aqueduct.  Saw an interesting performance.  Check out the replay of the 4th Race, a horse by the name of Doc'N'Roll for Barclay Tagg was running first time on the turf without really any turf pedigree in an NY-bred 35K MCL.  Not only did he proceed to win the race, he ran the horses behind him off their feet, winning by 9 3/4 lengths.  Do you think this horse has some promise on the turf, which seems to be the magic move for the Tagg stable?

Doc N Roll is a Wheelaway colt out of the  Barachois mare Georgies Doctor, and he earned a 72 Beyer Speed Figure for his runaway win in his turf debut.  He sold on three separate occasions at public auction.  Doc N Roll went for $50,000 as a short yearling in the Keeneland January 2006 sale, sold for $125,000 as a yearling that September, and then went the Sackatoga Stable of Funny Cide fame for $85,000 last May.  The dam never won on turf, but she was a stakes-winner at two on the main track, and earned over 200K.  The third dam, Call Card (by Alibhai), won the Barbara Fritchie Handicap in 1962, and her dam, Good Call (by Case Ace), was a multiple stakes-winner in the mid-1950s. 
While he won his maiden easily, I wasn't thrilled to see him pull so hard in the early going.  He was in a great spot tracking the pace on the rail when, all of a sudden, he grabbed the bit, and pulled his jock to the front.  After that, it was a tour de force win with Doc N Roll basically being eased up in the final strides.  I won't anoint him a turf star just yet, but there does seem to be potential.


Your turn on the Uncle Steve guide writing merry-go-round...
1.  Just a general question - why don't the major circuits use Maiden Optional Claimers (or do they). It seems to be a better place to launch first timers and those that are learning.

I'm not sure why they would be a better place for firsters, but I'd guess that there would be less races to fill if there are maiden optional claimers.  Maidens are the most plentiful commodity on the backstretch.  Racing secretaries want to fill lots of maiden races.  You could have two maiden optional claimers, or four total maidens (maiden special weight, maiden claimers).  I'm guessing it's a numbers issue.

2.  What does the "C" after the race header for allowance races indicate? For example, the race today that Brother Derek was in: Alw 68000C

It's a conditioned allowance.  I've always told people that a 'C' or a 'N$Y' next to an allowance race is translated to, "Read the Race Header."  It's true that they can be confusing.

3.  Do you guys still use the filled in diamonds to indicate foreign races? I remember them in the printed version but have not seen them in the PDF versions.

I'm an online guy so I know that I don't see them in those versions, and I can't recall seeing them in print lately.

4.  Other than the Ocala races, when are races run as "purse only"?

A lot of the jump meets, and small "fan appreciation" meets like the Aiken Trials (reported as workouts, by the way) are for purse money only.  Dubai racing is also for purse money only.  I'm not sure if "amateur" rider races are with mutuel wagering.

5.  What "Ancillary" meds are in use and what states allow them? Are the only states that allow Bute California and Arizona?

Amicar is a common auxiliary medication.  West Virginia used to allow Bute, and they still may.  I believe Massachusetts also allows Bute for Suffolk Downs, etc.  Iowa is also a Bute state, and so is Indiana. 

6.  I ran into a couple of symbols and need to know if you use them in the PP's (or used to). An "s" in a diamond to indicate a steeplechase race. A "+" sign in a diamond to indicate a downhill race.

The + sign is used to report when a turf chute is used.  Steeplechase races are designated by "Hurdles" next to the distance.

7.  Is there a reason that DRF doesn't indicate shadow rolls, mud calks, or rear bandages? I figure it is a reporting from the trainer issue.

Pretty much.

8.  I found the actual distance of SA's 6.5 downhill but cannot find it, any idea?

It is 64 1/2 feet less than 6 1/2 furlongs hence the "About" symbol.

Here are some things I think DRF can add to PP's easily that would be a big boost for handicappers.

1.  Start using a line noting that a horse has been gelded or had throat surgery (like the change in trainers line). Now you can look at the PP's and evaluate how they have run after gelding or throat surgery (Monba and Midnight Lute).

We'd love to do it, but the reporting of geldings and surgeries is a time-consuming process that goes from connections to racing office to Jockey Club to us.  The way the system is structured, we don't get the changes until a race or two after they've occurred.  My advice for horseplayers would be to mark down changes in your Formulator PP's.  So-and-so is announced as a first-time gelding.  You can then make a notation and track the improvement in those past performances.

2.  Put the Beyer par for the race prominently in the race header, PAR=74.

I've been championing that cause for years.  Hopefully, it will move forward in the near future.

3.  Put the post position stats under the program number. The stats should be specific to the surface (like turf sprints or dirt routes).

Space issues are going to make that problematic.  Again, there are post position stats online.  Not as easy as one-stop shopping, but they're there.

4.  Post the jockey stats and ROI for the surface and distance - like Tyler Baze hitting at 40% on the downhill.

Again, a space issue for a print version, but I would think that Formulator would address jockeys better in a newer version.

5.  Add shadow rolls, mud calks and rear bandages to the list of equipment (like the b for blinkers, r for bar shoes,  etc.) use an "m" for mud calks, an "s" for shadow roll and a "q" for rear bandages.

Formulator's charts do list the 'A' for auxiliary medication, and a 'c' for mud caulks, but they don't appear in the past performances.  There are just so many things to look for.  How about a figure eight nose-band, or a different bits, or quarter-inch bend shoes?  It's almost impossible to keep up with all of the equipment.

By the way, you guys are doing a super job with the tutorials. 


Peppers Pride fans!
She will be running Saturday 4/26 at Sunray Park race #9 Good luck to all her connections. I would love to see her get win #16 in a row.
Dan, could you post her PP's.
...let's see, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, etc = AWESOME!
SR Vegas

Here they are:

Download PeppersPride.pdf


I was just wondering why would they think about running Behindatthebar in the roses.It seems like a very short rest off a pretty tuff race last to first. I will thank Jeff Segal for that ticket! I enjoy this blog and all the inputs from everyone.What are your thoughts about his chances.I personaly don't like them even though it is obvious he is very talented.
Jeff A

There isn't a standout in the field (other than Big Brown, perhaps), and they have a sharp, "now" horse that may be peaking at the right time.  I'm not a huge Behindatthebar fan, and probably will leave him off my tickets, but the hot pace should work in his favor, and Pletcher is going to get a Derby someday, right?


Speaking of the Derby, how the h*** are they doing this Calder Derby - Kentucky Derby double?? Are they really using Pool3 of the Derby as the 2nd leg (I guess War Pass is a scratch?)  I won't worry too much since I can't bet on it anyway...

It does seem rather silly, doesn't it?


Also, I was wondering if some of the contributions such as handicapping 'angles' were being sent directly to Steve T., or just written up in the formblog. The reason I ask, is because I have a few handicapping angles that I could throw in.
chicago gerry

Please chime in.  There are no restrictions here.


Great stuff  this week, folks.  I loved Lenny's spreadsheets, and thought Laura's pedigree analysis was first-rate.  As usual, everyone is coming up with interesting topics and posts.


Have a great weekend.


ClaireS More than 1 year ago
Mathieu- I'm in vet school. I only wish the PPs gave us that sort of info, then my studying wouldn't distract me from the races! I dunno what to do with Pyro. He's fussing against the rider (4/27, although less so when allowed to run 4/28) and doesn't seem to be a happy horse. I'm not willing to completely throw out that last race and blame it on surface- as said here before, he didn't even try. Lots of other reasons he could have decided not to run, many fixable before this race. Does anyone know if there are earlier videos of Pyro? I'd love to see his works before his last win. Maybe he is just difficult and cranky in general. Maybe he has ulcers (although most do and I can't believe Assmussen wouldn't be on top of that).
Blue Horseshoe More than 1 year ago
Riley, Thanks for the answer, although...are you sure?...because that horse ran at Keeneland last Thursday...
larryk More than 1 year ago
stevet, feel your pain with the mdn winner in the snow chief. i used the other oneil in my pk 3 along with the 2nd place fin. i thought that race was wide open
larryk More than 1 year ago
g or g, totally agree with doc as a must use
Alan More than 1 year ago
I had to come up to the Land of Illman & DRF for family matters (my brother's 94 father-in-law died after having a wonderful long healthy life, the kind of life we all wish for ourselves...), so missed out on all the live racing action today... except for a cellphone conversation with Uncle Steve. Uncle Steve called while I was on the Belt Pkwy ~2mins away from Aqueduct (one day I'll figure out how to use my Bluetooth!) I finally stopped to return his call at the Hempstead Turnpike exit off the Wantagh State Pkwy. Guess what - no kidding - there is an OTB literally right at the exit!! And no, I didn't go into the OTB...but I did sit in the Parking Lot to listen to Steve's message (the message was he had just won on Spenditallbaby and I should go bet on BelAir Sizzle if I was still home.) I called him back, and by that time the Lava Man race had just started. He immediately called the race for me by watching his internet video feed from California while I'm on the cellphone in the OTB parking lot in Nassau County...only in America!! Now that I'm settled here on LI I'm checking out the races from earlier today and Uncle Steve...I see that one of your old Decarchy favs HARLENE breaks his maiden winning the $250K SnowChief at almost 34/1 - and you didn't pick him??? Andrew, Welcome back!!! Yes,we're still here and still keeping the IRS busy!!! BTW, how's the MTH weather??? :-) Asidero, You win the "I Found Him First" Award for Harlem Rocker...officially crowned yesterday as Bernardini 2008...watch out Preakness!!! Laura, Continued great work/writing with Ventura GeoScores to boot!! WOW!!!
scianc22 More than 1 year ago
Dan, I was wondering what your opinion was on this subject. Im sure you and every other handicapper has been through this before. When you handicap a race and you hate the favorite(s) but you cant find anything else in the race no matter how hard you look, what do you do? I know the smart thing is to just pass but in a race like the Derby its very tough to pass. I have been trying for weeks now to find my longshot but every time I think I have him something else pops up and puts me right back on BB and Colonel John. Its relly aggravating because this is the 1st Derby that I havent had a strong opinion on anyone. Ive had my best success in the Derby starting with my 1st one (Thunder Gulch). The only favorite Ive ever bet in the Derby was FuPeg. Maybe its all the time Ive taken off this year and Ive lost my confidence. I just dont know. Do you or anyone else have any suggestions?
G or G More than 1 year ago
I think Court Vision worked out with a horse called Radius. I was out at CD Saturday and Sunday so I didn't get to see Pyro work this morning, only gallop yesterday and the day before. Now that Denis is in, he is a MUST USE on Derby day. He'll run extremely well based on what I've seen. Now can Calvin win 2 Kentucky Derbies in 2 years, I not sure. But I'm fairly confident DoC has a great shot of hitting the board on Saturday.
larryk More than 1 year ago
Smart move on btb not going in the derby. happy to c doc in
larryk More than 1 year ago
g or g, Thanks for recap on the works...Most excellent..
johnnyz More than 1 year ago
Chicago Gerry, While BigEasyBigChok, and e_s gave you some good info on Thorograph, I recieved an email from Thoroughgraph that their annual Derby seminar will be this coming Wed. @ 10.00 EST. You have to be registered with them and, it cost a lousy 15 bucks! If you want to study more about Thorgraph here is a link with more info than you have time to study between now and the Derby: http://www.thorograph.com/archive.php?utid=derby2k8 I pasted this of off the member section so I hope you can access. If you can't. go to Thorograph.com and register, then type in above complete address. Is just a mountain of info, not only Derby Info., but also some B.C. info. BTW, registration @ Thorograph is free. Laura, love both your writes on Awesome Chic, and the Pulpit filly Bsharpsonata. Bsharp has made me some big bucks this year. Hope she flys low up to Oaks day. Hope you get time to post your thoughts on Absolutely Cindy before the Oaks. Imo has a unique pedigree. She has Princequillo 3-back, very uncommon in 2008. Laura, I don't have an idea how to promote you turning your exceptional writing into a job. Will add that along with the expert analysis on pedigrees that you provide, the ability to reason that info into a bet where the betting public can make a profit, IMO is what will turn the corner for you. That was one of Lauren Stich's great attributes. She would go out on a limb and state these 3-4-5 are the ones that will perform well in the Belmont, B.C. Distaff, etc. Her last article written @ DRF was "Five Born To Pass The Test". Those 5 were; Adriano, Colonel John, Court Vision, Monba, & Pyro. Can assure you I will box those 5 in a Derby tri-fecta, as I have made $ in the past from paying attention to info with that kind of "meat". Anyway, keep up the good work as I enjoy reading it. Steve T., I am sure, while in a quite suttle way (HA) you responded to Keenelands questionaire. Let us all know if Kee. responds back as if they are doing this on a widespread basis, would enjoy seeing the thoughts. While Kee. does have a Poly surface, I do feel it is one of the few tracks that care about the customer, ie the betting public. Albeit, if I was envolved with track management and, witnessed the $ decline with this meet, considering attendance was up, I think I might be sending some info input cards out myself. Congrats to Peppers Pride, and her connections. What a feat! She will get her detractors only running against NM breds. I don't give a hoot if she only ran against Iditatrod dogs, 16 in a row is an ACHIEVEMENT! To put it into persptive; Michael Jordan may have been the best athelete (other than Secretariat) I have witnessed in my life. He never came close to 16 games in a row scoring 30 pts. a game. Close, as he averaged 29 for a season once. Anyway, I feel records are made to be broken as it enhances the sport. I wish Peppers Pride and, her connections all the best in winning the 17th. Best Wishes To All