04/06/2009 3:02PM

Weekend thoughts, Beyers, questions


There were so many great races and pieces of news this weekend that my head was spinning with all the action.  Yet the question that stood out in my mind most of all was:

What in the world was Jose Valdivia Jr. doing on Rail Trip in the Santana Mile?

The undefeated hype horse of the handicap division was three in front and in cruise control at the quarter-pole of Saturday's Santana Mile at Santa Anita.  Valdivia, still as a statue, remained motionless on the 1-5 favorite as Rafael Bejarano, riding second choice Dakota Phone, kept on riding...and Dakota Phone kept on gaining.  Valdivia remained in a slumber as Dakota Phone got to Rail Trip's hip.  Chalky the Weasel started to faint as Dakota Phone edged to Rail Trip's neck.  It was at this point that Valdivia began to push with 20 yards to go.  Rail Trip won...by a scant nose...and it's hard to imagine what the lightly-raced horse got out of the race.

Sorry to contribute to the "over the top" hype concerning I Want Revenge's Wood Memorial win, but it was a remarkable performance.  He's four slow coming out of the gate, in and among horses throughout, bumped in midstretch, and still comes through to win fairly handily.  It was a special race marred by the incident where Jeff Mullins was caught administering a substance to I Want Revenge's stablemate, Gato Go Win, in the race-day detention barn.


Once again, without a zero-tolerance policy on any sort of indiscretions, our beloved sport will continue to be perceived negatively by the majority of the public.  The health of the racehorses has to come first and foremost.  If a trainer needs to administer a substance in the detention barn (i.e. break the rules) to get a horse race-ready, then he or she is endangering the animal, the jockey that rides the horse, and the public that is betting on the races.  We've mentioned on FormBlog the need for zero tolerance.  If a trainer is caught cheating, there must be a substantial fine and penalty.  Two strikes, and you're out for good.  Until we get a national zero-tolerance policy, the cheaters will find loopholes until the cows come home.

Imperial Council showed that he hasn't learned much since his debut last summer at Saratoga.  That day, he threw himself in the paddock.  He wasn't any better in the Wood. 

Kodiak Kowboy won the Carter, but Fabulous Strike showed why he's such a crowd favorite.  The brilliant, but brittle Fabulous Strike was hounded every step of the way, yet was still in front inside the sixteenth pole.  He found that final furlong a bit too much, however, and yieled to Kodiak Kowboy in the shadow of the wire.  If Fabulous Strike stays healthy, he's the sprinter to beat this year...until the Breeders' Cup.  Fabulous Strike didn't seem to handle that Pro-Ride surface in 2008.

The gap between Rachel Alexandra and Stardom Bound continues to widen in the weeks leading up to the Kentucky Oaks...Or does it?  Rachel Alexandra won the Fantasy without any sort of urging, but got an easy lead up front.  You have to think that someone will run with her in the Oaks, right?  At least Calvin Borel didn't do the hula dance as Rachel Alexandra cruised under the wire.  Stardom Bound didn't do much in the Ashland, but she'll be second choice in the Oaks, and maybe she'll like the dirt.  I'm beginning to look for Oaks longshots myself.

Musket Man continues to be professional and productive.  He lacks the wow factor, but he gets it done, and deserves a berth in the Kentucky Derby after his solid showing in the Illinois Derby at Hawthorne Park.

Pioneerofthe Nile was washed out and overeager in the Santa Anita Derby, but he also keeps getting it done.  Most handicappers are bearish as to his chances on dirt, but what if he likes it?  The Derby comes down to your perception of value.  If a California synthetic horse is being ignored, he may be worth a play.  Remember I Want Revenge?
Conversely, if they're overbet, you may not want any part of them. 

Sad to see The Pamplemousse out with an injury, and now Quality Road is showing some signs of wear and tear with a quarter crack.  Dunkirk and Friesan Fire keep looking better and better.


Congrats to Randy for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling exercise.  He has selected race nine from Oaklawn for this Wednesday's test.  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."

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 process about wagering, it would be appreciated.

Here are the past performances:

Download HandiGambling 128


Here are the winning Beyer Speed Figure from last week's stakes races:

*Oaklawn (OP):  It's a Bird (M. Wolfson/J. Leparoux) - 107

*Carter (Aqu):  Kodiak Kowboy (J. Jones/J. Velazquez) - 104
*Wood Memorial (Aqu):  I Want Revenge (J. Mullins/J. Talamo) - 103
*Potrero Grande (SA):  Soul City Slew (J. Carava/M. Baze) - 102
*Skip Away (GP):  Finallymadeit (J. Negrete/E. Nunez) - 101
*Fantasy (OP):  Rachel Alexandra (H. Wiggins/C. Borel) - 101
*Apple Blossom (OP):  Seventh Street (K. McLaughlin/R. Maragh) - 100

*Princess of Palms (TuP):  Shesa Private I (B. Hone/J. Barton) - 99
*Bay Shore (Aqu):  Capt. Candyman Can (I. Wilkes/J. Castellano) - 98
*Kinsman Turf Classic (Tam):  Fearless Eagle (E. Plesa Jr./E. Trujillo) - 98
*Illinois Derby (Haw):  Musket Man (D. Ryan/E. Coa) - 98
*Santana Mile (SA):  Rail Trip (R. Ellis/J. Valdivia Jr.) - 98
*Primonetta (Lrl):  Access Fee (L. Murray/L. Garcia), Cammy's Choice (E. Lehman/J. Pimental) - 96 (*dead-heat)
*Arcadia (SA):  Dixie Chatter (R. Mandella/T. Baze) - 96
*Santa Anita Derby (SA):  Pioneerof the Nile (B. Baffert/G. Gomez) - 96
*Providencia (SA):  Acting Lady (D. O'Neill/V. Espinoza) - 95
*Excelsior (Aqu):  Giant Moon (R. Schosberg/E. Prado) - 95
*Las Flores (SA):  Sweet August Moon (B. Koriner/A. Gryder) - 94
*Hilton Garden Inn Sprint (Tam):  On the Vineyard (L. Scace/W. Martinez) - 92
*Wildcat (TuP):  Allegre (M. Chambers/J. Barton) - 91
*L and D Farm Turf Distaff (Tam):  Quiet Meadow (C. Brown/E. Trujillo) - 91
*Ashland (Kee):  Hooh Why (D. Dupuy/C. Lanerie) - 90

*Smart Coupons (Aqu):  See More Spirit (J. Hertler/S. Morales) - 89
*Central Bank Transylvania (Kee):  Stormalory (W. Mott/J. Leparoux) - 89
*Yerba Buena (GG):  Restless Soul - GB (B. Cecil/C. Schvaneveldt) - 88
*OBS Sophomore (Tam):  Bee Cee Cee (E. Plesa Jr./D. Centeno) - 87
*Dowd Mile (Fon):  The Nutz (S. Hall/D. Leeds) - 86
*Dayton Andrews Dodge Sophomore Turf (Tam):  Tamborim (W. Mott/D. Centeno) - 83

*La Voyageuse (WO):  Mullins Beach (M. Pierce/P. Husbands) - 79
*Capt. Billy Boogie (TuP):   One Call (K. Person/M. Hernandez) - 79
*Stonehedge Farm South Sophomore Fillies (Tam):  Snow Lass (L. Scace/R. Homeister Jr.) - 79
*Arizona Stallion (TuP):  Frisky Ricky (W. Whitehouse/A. Kato) - 71
*Manor Downs Distance Cup (Man):  Burbon Road (J. Torrez/L. Taylor) - 70

*Treasure Town (TuP):  Palace Mistress (D. Sowers/S. Martinez) - 67

Here are the lifetime past performances of the highest and lowest Beyer stakes performers of the week:

Download It'sPalace


Could you please tell me why Andy Beyer adjusted his Fl Derby Figs from 103 to 111 for QR and 100 to 108 for Dunkirk Respectively? I mean ive seen them adjust a point or 2 but 8 points! Holy Cow!

Here is what Beyer said in the DRF:

"The figure for the Florida Derby looked low," Andrew Beyer said, "and on the previous day, the Bonnie Miss Stakes also [at 1 1/8 miles] came up about 10 points slower than we would have expected. As we reviewed other races, we concluded there had been a change in the historic relationship between times at 1 1/8 miles and other distances at Gulfstream. We don't know why, but we did know that many of the 1 1/8-mile figures had to be increased."


Dan - what is up with the older male divisions? I know it has been overstated with the horses going to the breeders earlier- but these races are so weak.

You're right.  The Dubai World Cup result told us that the division is weak.  Einstein is a very likeable horse, but it's hard to envision him as the best handicap horse in the country.  Commentator hasn't run this year, and he has to be considered top ten.  Albertus Maximus is out of action.  Georgie Boy is more a sprinter or miler.  It's a Bird, on occasion, runs a big race, but has also been rather exposed in major races.  Maybe Rail Trip is the real deal.  It's obviously a bit too early to speculate, but don't you think Zenyatta is licking her chops at the prospect of facing these males?
Unless the bottom falls out of the breeding industry, we're going to continue seeing weak handicap divisions.  Owners of quality horses can't pass up the allure of the big money of the breeding shed.


The Pamplemousse is out. Anyone know what happened?

Unfortunately, he's going to miss a substantial amount of time:'



That's how I ended up hanging with Harry Aleo, what a character!
BTW, does anyone remember the name of the nice, big black horse he had after Lost in the Fog. He ran at the Monmouth BC and laid an egg?

Are you thinking of Smokey Stover? That horse was an excellent sprinter, winning over half his starts, including the Sunshine Millions Sprint w/ a big Beyer.


Dan, I noticed that Elusive Heat is on your diabled list. What happened? I know she was scheduled to run at the Big A a few weeks ago, but was pulled. Any word on how long she's out? Any chance of still making the Ky. Oaks? Not that her pedigree was condusive to the distance though. I am a huge fan of Xtra Heat and Elusive Heat seems to be her most talented offspring yet. Is she in foal or expecting this year? If so, who was she bread to? Any chance of listing Xtra Heat's offspring and their PP's?
Michael Mc

From Mike Farrell's article in the 3/13 DRF:

"McLaughlin looks poised to nab another victory Saturday with Dream Play in the Grade 3, $100,000 Cicada Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.
Dream Play is the one to catch from the rail in the six-furlong race, which attracted six runners.
McLaughlin appeared to have a stranglehold on the race with both Dream Play and Elusive Heat, a 13 1/4-length allowance winner last time out at Gulfstream Park, on target for the Cicada.
Elusive Heat was notably absent, however, when the entries were drawn Wednesday.
"We had some issues and we had to take her out of the race," McLaughlin said. "We've got to get her sound and figure her out.""

She hasn't worked since late February, and it looks doubtful that she'll make the Oaks. 

Xtra Heat is currently in foal to Street Cry.  She has a yearling colt by Songandaprayer, and an unraced juvenile filly by Unbridled's Song named Don't U Baby Me. 
Here are the past performances for her other foals:

Download Xtra Heat foals


Would you be so kind as to give me CC's Beyer in the SA Derby? Make it good. :)

Chocolate Candy received a career-best 94 Beyer Speed Figure in the Santa Anita Derby.


Great opinions from our posters, as usual, this past weekend.

Talk to you soon.



pat More than 1 year ago
Dan, When was the last time a jockey won two Kentucky Derby's in a row? If "Hold me Back" wins today that set's Kent up nicely..no?
Craig More than 1 year ago
Jon, I can't speak for Dan, but imo, in a stakes race with a 1/5 favorite your first thought should be "how can I beat her/him" and work from there. This is a little away from your question, but, your question brought this to my mind, so excuse me please while I run-on. I have always had this intuitive nature about me. I have met others with the same intuition ( for lack of a better word ). There are certain events (sometimes not even sports) where the event takes on another life and the public jumps on board. When a big event is so one sided a feeling seems to emerge from me that I can't quite explain. Maybe you can't beat RA, but, when I hear "sure thing" and everyone I talk too is on the same short priced favorite, I'm typically looking to diversify If I am wanting to bet the race singularly. It has become a habbit and my biggest scores have come from beating short priced favorites that I feel are vulnerable. Actually, as I said earlier, it doesn't have to be horse racing. I can get the feeling from an NFL, MLB, NBA, boxing, etc... It is kind of hard to explain, because I don't know when the feeling will come. I let short priced favorites go on there way everyday without a blink or a bet against. I haven't gotten that "sure thing" feeling yet on RA( I know it when I feel it ), but as the race gets closer I may. It always seems that the more I hear the public cry of "can't miss" or "sure thing" the feeling starts to emerge within. I could list a 100 events from which I have gotten this feeling ( and have lost many of them ), but, I hit more than my share. The Belmont from last year, the BC Classic last year and the Giants/Patriots in the Superbowl were times the "feeling" hit me and I got rewarded. It has to be a big event where the public has access and opinion. Does anyone know what the heck I am talking about? Do others get this "feeling." I know I explained it rather poorly, but, that's what I got.
jon More than 1 year ago
Thanks for the response Stephen. I think you can draw a line through SB's perfomance, but even if she shows up, it is just hard for me to imagine her running down RA. I do hope SB shows up though, if not RA won't be worth betting. I am actually very excited about the Oaks this year. Not so much for competiveness, but maybe we will finally see just how good this filly(RA)is. We really haven't even seen her run this year. The last time she was asked to run she set the stakes record in the Golden Rod. Maybe she is just untested, but she could be a frigin super star.I figure from a better's standpoint, the best case scnerio would be if SB shows, RA being set no higher than 2/1 more likely 8/5, and falling somewhere between even money and 8/5. If that were to occur, I would single RA in an exacta going 2 to 3 deep behind her. If SB doesn't show, well, all bets are off, and I am figuring 4/5 at best. What say you?
Annie More than 1 year ago
Ray Manley, Hmmm, Kentucky stallion. Well, of course, I would have to look at your race record, but you do have a fortuitous name. :) Annie
slewofdamascus More than 1 year ago
I am the total polar opposite. I would never tell a trainer where to run my horse, unless I thought he was incompetant in which case I wouldn't keep horses with him or her. The thing I admire MOST about trainers is their ability to spot horses. I would be terrible at it. Everybody's different, I'm not judging, but why not train the horse yourself (like larry jones did) if you think you're better than the trainer. This is why the Zayats will never have a horse with Bobby Frankel. I'd love to be a fly on the wall, however, when someone tried to tell him where to run one of his horses. Sorry, I just don't get that proclivity.
terry More than 1 year ago
Handicapping 128 2.00 trifecta 1,3,5,7/1,3,5,7/6....$24.00 10.00 Exacta 6/1,3,5,7...$40.00 9.00 Exacta 1,3,5,7/6....$36.00 I like the #6 ,cant pass up the trainer Larry jones.
Flip Dawson More than 1 year ago
Morning Line --Contest #128 Race 9 Oakland Park Post Time 6:11 PM Track-Clear and Fast. JIM TULLY (9-5) Has the breeding, and has shown periods of brilliance. Workouts are missing here. CRAIG (2-1) Trainer wheels this one right back for possible 2 win score in 8 days--dangerous when doing figs in peace and quiet. ALAN (5-2) Would be no surprise in this stake. Has Stich in his corner, which can only help.Dangerous late. ANNIE (20-1) Can better this placing due to experience. May need one after running last week after long layoff. Owners have plans for breeding shed-watch once more. RANDY (30-1) Lost on a claim of foul (tellers). Sour right now-must learn to take losses and bounce back. Next time? FLIPPER D (75-1)Continues on at long odds. Surprises on occasion. May be looking for rain-hates fast tracks. Weatherman no help-watch once more. Searching for his spot. BUFFALO JOE (20-1)On the fringes lately. Going back to Fort Erie after this race. Limited luck due to large black cloud over head. Check last minute odds with this one. Boxcar payoff? P ENSIGN (25-1)Capable of better. Will score soon . May try turf next start. S R VEGAS (12-1)Hard to figure this filly. Has good connections in Las Vegas. Lauren Stich around leads to big score on turf. Pass here. Wait for the lawn. CHICAGO GERRY (8-1)Soon now. Lost photo in latest. Has wheels turning all the time. Never quits. Possible entry soon with ANNIE is rumoured. SLEW OF DAMASCUS (12-1) Spends time reading in stall about other horses. Trainer trying to get him to concentrate on the job at hand. Has benefit of back wisdom. Play in exotics. STEPHEN L TAYLOR (7-2)May take this on best. Top trainer has them ready. Turning in sparkling workouts in the morning. Knows the way to the wire. DERBY FRITZ (40-1) Just arrived on the grounds. No form known as of today. No workouts. Would pay high--going elsewhere for now. Tab. CALVIN CARTER (15-1) HAS been away for some time. Likes to win, but needs a few races.Watch once. SUNDAY 89 (25-1) Plays for high odds. Related to FLIPPER, according to sources. Has one big kick in stretch. Don't be afraid of high odds. Pays high 2 or 3 times a year. Watch tote in last 5 minutes. BEST BET: STEPHEN L TAYLOR LONGSHOT PLAY: BUFFALO JOE. Odds by Flipper Battaglia
aparagon4u More than 1 year ago
Alan, My system is based on recent history. I am looking at which races have been most influential over the last 10-15 years. I also took into consideration that two year old form has not been an important factor in determining recent Derby winners. Other then Street Sense no BC Juvenile winner has ever won the Derby. Street Sense is also the only two year old champion to win the Derby in the last 30 years. If you include Midshipman four of the last five two year old champions didn't even make the Derby and five of the last seven didn't run. Also Street Sense would have qualified automatically via his win in the Tampa Bay Derby and/or his second in the Bluegrass so his BC Juvenile win was irrelevant. Had he done nothing as a three year old should he have been given a free pass into the Derby? This system was designed for 2009 not 1973. Your example of Secretariat is irrelevant because this process would not work back then. It would work for the past decade because that is the time period I examined to determine the rules. In fact over the last ten years eight of the winners would have qualified automatically. The other two (Charismatic and Giacomo) likely would have made it via graded earnings. The selection process should be dynamic not static. It should be re-evaluated every year. Training methods, race schedules, etc. have changed drastically in the last few years so what works today might not be relevant five years from now. The races chosen as Tier 1 and Tier 2 could very well change from year to year or over time. If the Illiois Derby produces multiple winners in the next few years it would be upgraded. Likewise if the Florida Derby didn't produce any winners it might be downgraded. The races would be evaluated every year just as graded stakes are and adjustments will be made if necessary. A Tier 3 could move up and a Tier 2 could move down. The goal is to produce the best field each year and I think my sytem will do that. I also think the random post position draw is rediculous. The best horses should be rewarded not have to rely on luck of the draw. Lenny
Scott More than 1 year ago
HG128 Devil House is fast and it's not as if she collapses late in her races. She just gets passed by better horses while generally holding on well. I don't see any other need-the-lead types, so most will probably let her go early. If that happens, she has a great shot to stay up there the whole way this time against this group. I'll use three different horses (1,4,6) who have run races good enough to win this type of race and won't be favored, and will play them underneath Devil House in the tri, requiring at least one of them to finish 2nd or 3rd. I'll then add the two logical favorites to the mix while throwing out Distinctive Dixie, who won't be worth the underlaid price after popping a 95 Beyer following 6 straight BSF's in the 70's. The play: $5 trifecta (60): 2 w/1,4,6 w/1,4,5,6,9 $5 trifecta (30): 2 w/5,9 w/1,4,6 $3 exacta (6): 1,4 w/2 $4 exacta: 6 w/2 Total: $100
shemp More than 1 year ago
HG 128... Lots of speed in the race. So much speed, in fact, that I will wager my mythical $100 on closers. I won't get too hung up on class becuse I think these owner/trainers are placing their horses smartly - notwithstanding that Clever Strike last year ran against Zenyatta and Hysterical Lady and Alina was in against Eight Belles. I like the #1 My Heavenly Sign Larry Jones/Chris Emigh. The #8, Distinctive Dixie, has been close in every contest except her first. The #9, Alina, is the class of the field and the #10, Lindsay's Wish, should be flying at the end - today Kelly Von Hemel beats Don Von Hemel. $3 Ex Wheel 1/8,9,10 & 8,9,10/1 = $18 $2 Tri Box: 1,8,9,10 = $24 $1 Super Box: 1,8,9,10 = $24 $34 W #1