08/15/2012 12:12PM

Wise Dan Impressive Again!


Trips don't get much better than the ground-saving, pace-tracking journey WISE DAN received in the Grade 2 Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga, but the likeable gelding was still very visually impressive.  John Velazquez was the picture of confidence aboard Wise Dan as the field turned for home and, after asking his mount with a flick of the wrists in upper stretch, Wise Dan exploded up the rail to score by five lengths over a shell-shocked CORPORATE JUNGLE. It's been quite the year for Wise Dan, who began his campaign by running the fastest-ever Beyer Speed Figure in the history of synthetic tracks (a 117 in the Grade 3 Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland).  After being headed by Ron the Greek in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs, Wise Dan overcame a boggy turf course to win the Fourstardave.  He has now prevailed in 10 of 17 starts and has won graded events on dirt, turf and polytrack at distances ranging from six furlongs to 1 1/8 miles.  Wise Dan's trainer, Charles Lopresti, has plenty of options for Wise Dan's next appearance.  Among them are the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes on dirt on September 1 at Saratoga, the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Stakes that same afternoon on grass and the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile on September 16.

*Trainer John Sadler unveiled a quick debut winner at Del Mar on August 10 as MECHAYA, a daughter of City Zip, scored by two lengths in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight over the polytrack (93 Beyer).  Foaled in Ontario, Mechaya was bought back for $32,000 as a short yearling, was purchased for $35,340 in Canada last year and sold for $240,000 in March after breezing a furlong in 10 seconds flat.  Mechaya's dam, Sago (by Valid Expectations), won the first four races of her career sprinting on dirt, including a pair of restricted stakes in Texas.  Mechaya is bred to be a stone-cold sprinter so Sadler may keep her at shorter distances, at least for the time being.

*MY MISS AURELIA, the champion juvenile filly of 2011, retained her unbeaten record with a victory in the Mandys Gold Stakes at Saratoga on August 8.  Sidelined since the Breeders' Cup with shin problems, My Miss Aurelia picked up where she left off for trainer Steve Asmussen.  The waters will likely get deeper next time out, but it's hard to knock this classy miss.

*SMART AND SINGLE, a 3-year-old filly trained by Bob Baffert, made it 2 for 2 after taking an entry-level optional claimer going six furlongs over the Del Mar polytrack.  Smart and Single received a 99 Beyer and appears stakes-bound.  She has the pedigree to be a nice one as she's a daughter of Smart Strike and Grade 1 Test Stakes winner Leave Me Alone.  If she continues to progress, Smart and Single's long-term goal may be the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint on dirt at Santa Anita, although Baffert indicated he's eager to stretch out in distance.


Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from last week's races (8/6/12 - 8/12/12):

1.  WISE DAN - 108 - Fourstardave Handicap (G2) - 1 Mile (Turf) - Saratoga
2.  CASH RULES - 101 - Band Is Passing Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - Calder
3.  SMART AND SINGLE - 99 - OC 40k/N1X -N - 6 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Del Mar
4.  ONE OCEAN DRIVE - 98 - OC 25k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - Delaware
4.  SUNTRACER - 98 - Illinois Owners Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Arlington
6.  ALSVID - 97 - David M. Vance Sprint Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Remington
7.  NO LA HACE - 96 - Clm 5000 - 6 Furlongs - Monmouth
7.  SALTY STRIKE - 96 - Gardenia Stakes (G3) - 1 Mile - Ellis Park
9.  ALTERNATION - 95 - Governor's Cup Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles - Remington
9.  SMOKEY LONESOME - 95 - Clm 50000(50-40) - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Del Mar
11. HEAVY ON THEMISTER - 94 - Evangeline Mile Handicap - 1 Mile - Evangeline
11. SHAUN WASHINGTON - 94 - OC 40k/N1X -N - 1 Mile (Polytrack) - Del Mar
11. WILD MEMORIES - 94 - Alw 10000s - 5 Furlongs - Parx
14. ARTIC FERN - 93 - Alw 86820NC - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - Woodbine
14. CABO CHICO - 93 - Clm 16000(16-14) - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - Santa Rosa
14. MECHAYA - 93 - Md Sp Wt 71k - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Del Mar
14. PARIS VEGAS - 93 - OC 75k/C -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Saratoga
14. SARATOGA SNACKS - 93 - OC 50k/N2X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Saratoga
14. TAYLOR SAID - 93 - Redekop British Columbia Cup Classic Handicap - 1 1/8 Miles - Hastings
20. OLD TIME HOCKEY - 92 - La Jolla Handicap (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Del Mar
20. WESTBOUND TRAIN - 92 - Alw 27700N1X - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Calder
22. HERBIE D - 91 - OC 40k/N$Y -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Hastings
22. MY MISS AURELIA - 91 - Mandys Gold Stakes - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Saratoga
22. QUARRY OF GOLD - 91 - Clm c-5000 - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Parx
22. ROCKIN IN DIXIE - 91 - Clm 10000(10-9)N4L - 5 Furlongs - Penn National

WISE DAN'S lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.

QUARRY OF GOLD was claimed for $5,000 by trainer Robert Mosco from trainer J Guadalupe Guerrero.


Please check out the latest video production from Jessica Pacheco, Racing Analyst at Arlington Park.  It's Part 11 of the "Behind the Silks" video series following jockey Tim Thornton through his ups and downs at this year's Arlington meet.

"Riding the Rail"

Episode 12 explores some of the different riding tactics of Tim and the Arlington Park Jockey Colony, while the Helmet Cam helps you experience Tim's own personal style. Then ride along with Tim as he skims the rail to victory aboard the 40-1 Nic the Quick.


All episodes, 1-12, can be found here:



Dan, the Man, Illman......., ­
Do you have any recollection of a 2yr. old male, or female for that matter, making their "Debut" in a G2 or G1, & winning the race ? Thank you....in advance.......& make that a Dirt race, or Syn., no turf....... pleaZe.........­.
Curt V.

Past Forgetting, a 3-year-old filly, won the La Centinela Stakes first-out in 1981 at Santa Anita, but that race was not graded.  Prior to Know More's juvenile debut win in the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes earlier in the month, Past Forgetting's win was the last time a debut runner won any stakes race in Southern California. 

Risen Star won the Minstrel Stakes at Louisiana Downs in his 2-year-old debut in 1987, but that race wasn't graded.  Mom's Command won the restricted Faneuil Miss Stakes at Rockingham Park to kick off her career in 1984 while the speedy Groovy won first-out in the listed Forever Casting Stakes at the Meadowlands.  At Deauville, they run the listed Pirx Yacowlef Stakes, but that race is restricted to first-time starters (Dahlia won it in 1972).

Off the top of my head, I can't recall another two-year-old that made a successful debut in a graded stakes race.  Such tasks aren't attempted very often.


Hi Dan,
My hard drive recently crashed and I lost my lifetime PPs for Medaglia d'Oro and Congaree that you posted for me a couple of years ago. There's others that went away as well, but those are the two that aren't in "Champions" that mean the most to me.
Could I trouble you to post them again for me? I would really appreciate it.
Thanks Dan!
Margi Foley

The past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.


Hey Dan,
I was curious about your thoughts on the 2013 Breeders Cup selection? I'm a little disgusted with the announcement, and it has nothing to do with Santa Anita itself. Santa Anita is a beautiful track and should definitely be in the mix for the Breeders Cup every year. That being said, enough is enough. I live in New York and I understand how fragile or complex the situation is with NYRA at this point and time, but what about Monmouth Park why did they come up short this time. I think the Breeder's Cup is becoming a political and crony operation. Mix it up a little....what'­s wrong with Arlington Park, Gulfstream, Woodbine or Lone Star. They've all hosted the event before. Am I to believe that Churchill Downs and Santa Anita are the only viable options now. I don't think racing is that bad yet, but it will be if people keep making decisions based on back room deals being brokered. I think I will just play Monmouth or Belmont Park that weekend for the next two years. To the committee that made the decision, good luck with that Breeders Cup "thing", cause it is so now what it was designed to be.

I don't have an issue with the Breeders' Cup returning to Santa Anita in 2013.  There are really only three viable options for a Breeders' Cup venue (Belmont, Churchill Downs and Santa Anita) and Southern California is very attractive for both horsemen and Breeders' Cup marketers.  You can't knock the weather and the conditions are usually fair for all entrants, including the Europeans that sometimes voice a concern over course conditions.  The Breeders' Cup team likes to attract celebrities to the event and, although New York certainly has its share of them, I do believe its easier to build a buzz in Southern California.  Monmouth, Gulfstream and Lone Star are beautiful tracks, but I'm not sure they have the space to comforably accomodate a huge crowd.  I think Belmont will eventually get back into the mix and I wouldn't be surprised if they are chosen to host the event in 2014. 


Congrats to STUCKINARIZONA  for winning last week's HandiGambling exercise.  He selects Friday's fifth at Saratoga for this week's event.

Penn National Rick's scoresheet is 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.

Best of luck to all.

WISE DAN.pdf60.67 KB
CongareeMedaglia.pdf69.34 KB
HGSPA.pdf174.02 KB
Formblog Contest Daisy Cutter 8-10-12.xls46 KB