08/16/2008 1:03PM

Weekend Picks: Questions


It will probably be a long time before I find a horse I like to win as much as I did Dr. Pleasure yesterday at Saratoga. Caught the weakest field of his career and thanks to a severely overbet Discreet Treasure, got 8.20 to win. Got me back my Archipenko money.
Saw a possible turf monster unveiled in 7th at Delmar yesterday in Prince Rexy. Man, that horse is built like a tank. I don't think I have ever seen such a powerfully built horse. He had the thickest legs I have ever seen and hooves the size of sewer covers. Did everything the right way too. Watch out for this beast. I see a Breeders race in his future. Anyone know his Beyer?
Jim Tully

The Dr. Pleasure scenario is a case of one of the great "bet-against" scenarios in the game.  Big-fig, big-hype maiden graduates like Discreet Treasure are often horribly-overbet despite the fact they're facing winners for the first time while usually doing something (distance, pace setup) they've never been asked to do.  While I do prefer concentrating on maiden races for my plays, I will usually scan the 'n1x' or 'n2L' allowance races looking for these "bet-against" types.  I can't tell you how many times the public falls for the big maiden number while failing to consider the hike in pace pressure and quality of competition.  At short prices, they are terrible bets.  Usually the exception to this rule is in juvenile stakes races where most of the horses are coming out of maiden scores.  I can understand taking a shot with a price horse stepping up off the win, but favorites have a notroiously low win percentage and ROI in this situation.
Australian invader Prince Rexy earned an 89 Beyer for his impressive turf victory at Del Mar on August 10.


Has anyone heard anything about the return of Pepper's Pride?  Her last scheduled race was rained out.  The Albuquerque meet opens on Saturday with the biggest day scheduled for Sunday.  The condition book lists several stakes scheduled in addition to the Lineage, maybe she can find a spot to run. 

It looks like she'll run in the Lincoln Handicap at Ruidoso.



Do you have any idea what happened to Magnificent Honour (A.P. Indy x Better Than Honour) - yep, she is Rags to Riches unraced full sister. Don't see any babies, is she barren?
Dan, Ray and Travers,

You got to spend time at both tracks, was there anything more difficult on one track versus the other? Did you feel confident handicapping at both tracks?
If your main goal is to make money, look at the facts and forget the synthetic hysteria.
Steve T

Magnificent Honour has a yearling filly by Elusive Quality, a weanling colt by Giant's Causeway, and was bred to Ghostzapper this season.

I have to admit that when I handicapped Del Mar and Keeneland in 2007, I was completely confused by the results and, instead of blaming my poor handicapping, came to the obvious conclusion that it was the synthetic surface. 
I think Del Mar has been fair for the most part this year, and I have been very comfortable handicapping the Cushion at both Hollywood and Santa Anita.  I think the best horse wins the majority of the time regardless of the surface.


Dan, or anyone hanging around the Spa, I am really interested in Elusive Heat (Elusive Quality). This filly's dam is Xtra Heat, could be special. I have her on my watch list, but no published workouts. I think she is in K. Mclaughlin's barn?
johnny z

I think she's almost to make her debut for McLaughlin.  She does have some published workouts on her page.

Download elusive_heat.pdf


When you have a chance, can you comment on the implications, as it pertains to running style, when the turf rail is placed out various distances. Does one running style have an advantage when this happens?
Mike Romeo

I've always felt that speed horses move up as the rails move out.  Closers that have to rally wide generally are at a slight disadvantage when the rails are really out.  They have a lot of work to do especially if the turns on said turf course are tight.


Can you see if there are any works for Mama Rosa (Unusual Heat x Penpont)? When I enter her name in workout search it comes back "next".
Steve T

No published works as of yet for Mama Rosa.


Could you give me Erdiston's beyer in the claiming crown.
Stephen Taylor

Erdiston received a career-high 92 Beyer Speed Figure.


...I hate to point this out but the number 3 ranked horse in the world is skipping the Travers. Why again?

Do you or anyone else know where Clearly Foxy is being pointed? I hoped the Delmar Oaks but she isn't nominated as of yet.


Big Brown has to be knocked out from that tough race in the Haskell.  Putting him right back into the fire off that grueling effort would not be in the best interests of the horse.
Clearly Foxy suffered an ankle injury, and is out for the year.  I'll put her on the Disabled List when I  get the chance (I'm way, way behind).


i seen on 8-5-08 a horse named
kal el ran 41/2 on the turf at mountaineer in 49.06 and set a track record.interested in knowing if this a world record as well?

The World Record for 4 1/2 Furlongs is held by One Hot Wish (48.87) at Keeneland on April 12, 2007.  Kal El may have broken the North American record for 4 1/2 Furlongs on Turf.


Hey Dan,
A horse I am part owner of is debuting Sunday at Saratoga in the 5th.  Her name is R Betty Graybull.  Can you take a look at her and tell me your thoughts?  I'm thinking she would be better off running longer than 5.5f, but her workouts of lately have been phenomenal (for a NYB filly..).  Here's one of her coming out of the gate in her final breeze on Aug 10 (
All, please let me know your thoughts...she is the filly on the inside, closer to the rail.

She certainly looked good in the video.  I haven't had a chance to look at the race yet.  The minute I finish today's blog, I'll dig into the "Spa Babies" races, and will try to post a more thorough analysis later.  Good luck with her tomorrow!


Excellent handicapping and analysis over the past week.  I'm sure it will continue.

Best of luck,


monmouthisajoke More than 1 year ago
I hope Jess Jackson pre-enters Curlin in the phony Monmouth Race. Funny how NJ has no money , but found 400k for that race.... I still have $$$ that BB never gets to California. and possibly Monmouth.
tony kelso More than 1 year ago
Lukas trained both Serena's Song (long odds) and the winning favorite, Flanders....He should have been really HAPPY, but NBC's quick cut to him after the race (and him possibly uttering an expletive) may have told a different story... :)
Calvin Carter More than 1 year ago
C, In regard to the Alabama, I agree with you that Music Note had no excuse for not running down Proud Spell in the stretch. At the stretch Music Note was right there with Proud Spell and had plenty of time to easily put Proud Spell away, yet, Music Note could not get the job done. The stretch duel was definitely exciting and it will be interesting to see how these two fair if they ever get the opportunity to race each other in the future.
michael_c More than 1 year ago
Steve T: Thanks for that kick in the gut. I had just been able to put that G Causeway defeat out of my mind. Incredible performance by Tiznow
Ivan More than 1 year ago
For Thursday at Saratoga: #1: Steeplechase - pass #2: My Cousin Matt, Hailey's Hero, Brooker D. #3: No Lien Here, Notorious Ness, Sir Sapphire #4: Prominent, Caitie Boo, Live Life Outloud #5: Western Dynamo, Beckham Bend, Westward Go #6: Clemens, Big Train, Intuition Magic #7: Medley, Waquoit's Love, Chestoria #8: Wait a While, Sharp Susan, Rutherienne #9: Debbie's Fast Girl, Sonis Sound, Offhand Remark BEST BET: Wait a While LONGSHOT: Debbie's Fast Girl Good Luck!!!
PGM More than 1 year ago
Laura, Thanks for the info. What will be the main topic (Travers Day/Pacific Classic Day)?
Joe F More than 1 year ago
Bigeasy/bigchok, I have had the pleasure of attending the Breeders at Santa Anita in 1993(i won a contest and the prize was the Breeders)it was a very very busy day, i got shut out of betting twice.The lines to wager were extremely long you should consider pre-betting the races that you're sure of. Not only was there a huge crowd in the grand stand but the crowd in the infield was huge too. Santa Anita is a gorgeous racetrack surrounded by the San Gabriel mountains, you'll have a fantastic day. Try to get out to the saddling area if possible. I remember an older gentleman sitting close by also had the pick 6 or 7 that day with Jerry Bailey upset winner in the classic (Arcangues)....Joe F
johnnyz More than 1 year ago
THE TRAVERS, Like most haven't been really excited about the race. While I have not put any study on the race did look at the post positions, and ML odds. WOW! I think this is one of the more competitive Travers in recent memory. Unless Harlem Rocker is a special horse, which he has shown signs of, IMO there is a case to be made for ten in the field. BTW, Hillbilly I think Court Vision is an overlay @ 12/1ML even with the 12 hole. Yes I know his last was on grass, but I have etched in my mind the super Remsen, and Iroquois he ran on dirt as a 2 yr old. I feel the horse has finally found himself as a three yr old. I also really like Alan's crush, Mambo in Seattle. Beside the fact that he is really an improving horse, I think he will love the 10F distance. Which is a critical angle IMO, just like the Derby many of these have not ran 10F, and will never again. Can't get off this one without a comment about Colonel John. This Tiznow colt is talented IMO. His last was a stinker, and most in the media wrote him off as being a step below a top competetior. I really like Harty as a trainer, but I question his handling of this horse? Why CJ didn't run in the Belmont is beyond me. CJ's Derby run was way better than it looks on paper, but he doesn't get another chance untill late August? I guess we will know Saturday if the right moves were made with CJ. Next to last thought tonight, I have beat on Michael Ivarone, and IEAH stables for sometime. I like Big Brown, and now have to admit I may have been wrong about Ivarone, and IEAH. Mike was a guest on Byk's radio show for the first hour today. I came away from that with a totally different attitude regarding BB's connections. You can listen to the interview at: http://www.thoroughbredracingradionetwork.com/index.php?option=com_events&task=view_detail&agid=315&year=2008&month=08&day=20&Itemid=35 click hour 1. Last thought tonight; SLEW, what happened to you? Another Quick Trip lady? Anyway hope all is well, and you post soon!
Calvin Carter More than 1 year ago
LarryK, That would be fantastic! Let me know how we can arrange that or get together somewhere. I’d like to meet you. vicstu, I enjoyed your post. I’ve never watched The Science Guy and in regard to Mario Pino’s strong rating hold on Hard Spun, here’s a quote from the link to Federico Tesio’s book that I gave you (page 169) that you might find interesting: “In cases where there is no pacesetter, the trainer is obliged to send his favorite to the lead if he is convinced that his horse is the one who can best hold the distance; that is, cover the distance in the least amount of time. However, to run on the lead is to force the pace; and this forces the horse to thrust itself through the air, therefore suffer greater fatigue, while those running behind it galloping in its wake, tire less.” I don’t know what was in the mind of Larry Jones, but he must have lacked confidence that Hard Spun had the endurance to win running high, wide and handsome without a restraining hold to save something for the end of the race. I agree with you. I would like to have seen them let Hard Spun run his race then the question of endurance would have been finally answered.
Stephen Taylor More than 1 year ago
Katie- I actually had THONG OR PANTIES last time she won a race (My wife wasn't happy when I came back screaming "Thong or Panties, Thong or Panties") but I'm afraid that ship has sailed-she seemst to me like a tired horse (and who wants worn out thongs or panties?) Watch for her next time she gets 5 or 6 weeks off though (then you'll have refreshed thongs or panties!)