11/29/2011 4:04PM

Wise Dan, To Honor and Serve, Genius

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The handicap division, for most of 2011, was a hot mess.

Don't believe me?

Here are the winning mutuel prices for Grade 1 dirt races for three-year-olds and older at one mile or greater.

Donn Handicap:  GIANT OAK ($16.80)
Santa Anita Handicap:  GAME ON DUDE ($31.60)
Metropolitan Handicap:  TIZWAY ($8.20)
Stephen Foster Handicap:  POOL PLAY ($75.20)
Hollywood Gold Cup:  FIRST DUDE ($10.20)
Whitney Invitational:  TIZWAY ($10.20)
Pacific Classic:  ACCLAMATION ($10.80)
Woodward Stakes:  HAVRE DE GRACE ($6.50)
Jockey Club Gold Cup:  FLAT OUT ($4.80)
Goodwood Stakes:  GAME ON DUDE ($4.20)
Breeders' Cup Classic:  DROSSELMEYER ($31.60)
Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile:  CALEB'S POSSE ($15.60)
Clark Handicap:  WISE DAN ($11.00)
Cigar Mile:  TO HONOR AND SERVE ($4.10)

Aside from Tizway (two wins, two thirds this year, retired before the Breeders' Cup due to injury) and Game On Dude (never worse than fourth from eight races, won three times), there wasn't a great deal of consistency in the division. 

After winning the Donn, Giant Oak reverted to his frustrating ways and ended up in the Marathon instead of the Classic come Breeders' Cup time.  Pool Play and First Dude were both injured and retired after their big victories.  Acclamation (known primarily as a grass horse) and Havre de Grace (a filly tackling males) made hay in the Pacific Classic and Woodward Stakes, respectively.  Flat Out ran some nice races this season, but was more often a bridesmaid than a bride.  Drosselmeyer's other victory in 2011 was the $60,000 One Count Stakes at Belmont. 

The last three horses on the list have the potential to spice up the racing calendar in 2012.  Caleb's Posse will head to Oaklawn Park and should continue to prove a strong contender in races up to 1 1/16 miles.  To Honor and Serve will be freshened with the Metropolitan Mile a midseason goal.  A multiple graded winner at nine furlongs, To Honor and Serve has the ability to stretch out in longer races.  Wise Dan, however, may be the most intriguing performer.  An extremely versatile son of Wiseman's Ferry, Wise Dan is a graded stakes winner sprinting on polytrack (Phoenix Stakes, 2010), routing on turf (Firecracker Handicap, 2011), routing on polytrack (Fayette Handicap, 2011) and routing on dirt (Clark Handicap, 2011).  His Clark win was striking as he tracked the pace from the outset and still finished his final three furlongs in 35.90. 

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Here are the top 25 winning Beyer Speed Figures from last week (11/21 - 11/27):

1.  PACIFIC OCEAN - 108 - Vernon O. Underwood Stakes (G3) - 6 Furlongs (Cushion Track) - Hollywood
2.  WISE DAN - 105 - Clark Handicap (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - Churchill
3.  TO HONOR AND SERVE - 104 - Cigar Mile Handicap (G1) - 1 Mile - Aqueduct
4.  SMASH - 103 - Alw 53598N2X - 6 1/2 Furlongs (CUshion Track) - Hollywood
5.  POSEIDON'S WARRIOR - 101 - Le Bagoter Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Penn National
6.  AWESOME FEATHER - 99 - Gazelle Stakes (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - Aqueduct
6.  NOT ABROAD - 99 - Swatara Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - Penn National
6.  SERUNI - 99 - OC 80k/N3X -N - 1 Mile - Churchill
9.  WINNING IMAGE - 98 - Cornucopia Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Parx
10. GENIUS - 97 - Md Sp Wt 45k - 6 Furlongs (Cushion Track) - Hollywood
10. JERANIMO - 97 - Citation Handicap (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Hollywood
12. JIMANATOR - 96 - Fred W. Hooper Handicap (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles - Calder
12. MUSKETIER (Ger) - 96 - W. L. McKnight Handicap (G2) - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - Calder
14. STAR BILLING - 95 - Matriarch Stakes (G1) - 1 Mile (Turf) - Hollywood
14. SUNRISE SMARTY - 95 - Fall Highweight Handicap (G3) - 6 Furlongs - Aqueduct
14. ULTIMATE EAGLE - 95 - Hollywood Derby (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) - Hollywood
17. GANTRY - 94 - Thanksgiving Handicap - 6 Furlongs - Fair Grounds
18. IDE BALL - 92 - OC 20k/ -N - 6 Furlongs - Fair Grounds
18. MANITO - 92 - OC 32k/N3X -N - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Laurel
18. MR. VEGAS - 92 - OC 40k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Fair Grounds
18. ROCK THE MOON - 92 - OC 62k/N2X - 1 1/16 Miles (Polytrack) - Woodbine
18. ROSEBUD'S RIDGE - 92 - Clm c-6250 - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Calder
18. SACRED GIFT - 92 - Alw 37000N2X - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Hawthorne
24. LEE CHAPEL - 91 - Alw 34000N1X - 6 Furlongs - Hawthorne
24. MARITIMER - 91 - Display Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Polytrack) - Woodbine
24. SIMBAMANGU - 91 - Md Sp Wt 50k - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Aqueduct

Pacific Ocean's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.

Rosebud's Ridge was claimed by Angel Quiroz from Kirk Ziadie.

Genius, a late-developing 3-year-old trained by Bob Baffert, made a nice impression in winning his career debut at Hollywood on November 25.  Ridden by Martin Garcia, the son of Smart Strike stepped six furlongs in 1:09.19 over the Hollywood cushion track, winning by 3 1/4 lengths.  A $200,000 yearling purchase that resold for $825,000 last year (second-highest price at the Fasig-Tipton Calder juvenile auction), Genius is a half-brother to stakes-winning sprinter Mr. Pee Vee (9-3-0-1, $91,395) and Erinsouthernman, the third-place finisher of the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes in 2002 (17-4-1-3, $126,338).  The sprint-winning dam is a half-sister to stakes-winner Nephrite (38-11-2-5, $149,368) and Grade 3 winner Jaded Dancer (20-3-2-2, $120,530).  The second dam is multiple stakes-winner Lien (24-7-4-3, $158,453), a half-sister to Grade 2 winner Sultry Sun (the dam of multiple Grade 1 winners Sultry Song and Solar Splendor).  Genius may be tested next time out in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita.

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Dan,
Can you post the PP's of the horse 'Aqab'? I purchased them recently at the drf store, but the pop-up format used in the drf store won't allow me to access them on my mobile phone.
Thanks,
Sam

Aqab's past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post. His dam, Top Rung, was a multiple Grade 2 winner and Aqab once sold for $1,450,000 as a yearling.

***

Dan,
Got anything on Slew, the 2yr. old ? You know I'm always appreciative......
Curtista L. Slewster....

Slew, foaled on April 2, 2009, was purchased for $265,000 as a weanling and for $290,000 as a yearling.  Entered in the Fasig-Tipton Florida juvenile auction back in early March, Slew was a $290,000 RNA (privately sold for $300,000 after the auction) after working one furlong in 10.2 seconds.  By two-time Breeders' Cup Classic winner Tiznow, Slew is out of the unraced A.P. Indy mare Storm Front, a full sister to stakes-placed turf runner Indy Trouble (17-3-2-0, $83,968) and a half-sister to stakes-placed Temper Temper (8-1-3-0, $56,158).  Storm Front has now foaled three winners from four runners with the highest earner being Silver Chest (34-8-1-5, $130,735).  The second dam is stakes-winner Storm Alert (7-3-1-0, $91,126) and the third dam is Grade 2 winner Speed Dialer (18-5-5-3, $384,601), a three-quarter sister to multiple Grade 2 winner Tricky Creek (37-9-6-8, $873,288) and a half-sister to Grade 2 winners Parade Ground (21-7-6-4, $794,995) and Parade Leader (30-7-4-5, $712,507).  Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Slew finished second in his career debut at Belmont on September 17 (75 Beyer in a six-furlong maiden special weight).  The winner of that race, Right to Vote, returned to finish third behind Union Rags in the Grade 1 Champagne.  Slew last worked on October 24. 

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Dan,
I'm still studying. Please post the PP's for Werblin and Twilight Meteor.
Thank you.
okiesharp

They're available at the bottom of this blog post.

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Hit me! Educate me! Put me onto a winner! Apparently, or not so apparently, can I not use the same rules of handicapping for maidens? With only a few running lines to peruse at least handicapping goes a lot quicker, or should it? I am so beBaffertallized! I have become more interested in the pick fours and maidens abound in at least one of the four events if not more. I am a fan of the all button in certain situations, but I hate to automatically use it just because it is a maiden race.
Waiting for the kiss with the maiden breath.
Thanks all.
Ron Zuercher

Ron, one simple way to look at maiden races is to gauge whether the experienced maidens are capable of running the par speed figure for the class level.  If they have proven that they can run that number, you may want to give them a strong edge over the first-time starters.  If not, you may want to look for interesting first-time starters going out for barns that historically win with debut runners.  The Formulator program gives trainer statistics going back five years while the "Debut Reports" link on our homepage has year-by-year statistics since 2007 (grouped by sire, trainer and broodmare sire). 

I enjoy trying to find "company" workouts, situations where a newcomer worked the same time on the same day as an experienced, more-heralded runner from the same barn.  To me, these are more valuable than analyzing workouts simply by times. 

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Congrats to jimi for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling exercise.  This week's race is the eighth at Fair Grounds on Thursday afternoon. 

PAST PERFORMANCES ARE AVAILABLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG POST.
 
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.

AttachmentSize
Pacific Ocean.pdf615.11 KB
Aqab.pdf63.7 KB
Werblin, Twilight Meteor.pdf67.37 KB
HGFG.pdf178.04 KB