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A CLOSER LOOK at Bay Meadows races on 9/23
1st Bay Meadows
Rewarded backers at a generous mutuel when unveiled on 9/8, and he'll look to put his good early speed to use from inside post in first start vs. winners; looks like he'll take some heat from Reveal the Star right next door through the early stages, but no knocking him at this point.
Reveal the Star
Seems destined to hookup with Capt. McDonough right from the break, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see this turn into a last speed standing match; enters this by way of Sacramento, and is likely to be a forward factor throughout.
Fourth-time proved to be the charm as this gelding moved on to a handy win when last seen at odds-on; owns good positional speed, and may get a nice setup to run behind.
Another boasting good positional speed who exits maiden triumph, and he should be able to workout a similar type of trip today; Well bred colt still has plenty of room for improvement and looks like a threat in this cozy gathering.
First Place Dancer
Overcame extreme outside post when last seen to clear maiden hurdle, and should appreciate breaking from the five hole here; Alvarado should get a good feel for the way the race is going to unfold from the start with outside draw, so he'll likely be in good position to strike when the time is right.
2nd Bay Meadows
Scored at 27-1 when stretched out to one mile and narrowly clinging to victory; Mister Really figures to be gunning too, with both runners questionable at today's distance; took a drop to $3,200 to score and 9 furlongs in doubt.
Won 2 straight and has a terrific 4-for-9 (.444) record at Bay Meadows; plenty of early speed, but needs to beat Captain Colors to the front and he outclasses the other speed; just a matter how much the usage early will take out of him in the late stages; steps up 1st time off the claim with final furlong the main concern.
Running style suggest that this distance will be perfect; would be helped along considerably if Captain Colors and Mister Really dueled early; better results at Golden Gate than Bay Meadows, but a horse that should eat up 9 furlongs; the one to beat.
Hollendorfer and Baze present the favorite and the obvious pick; forget turf and Solano in last pair, he loves Bay Meadows (4-for-10) and his best races are as a stalker and should get a great trip sitting right behind Captain Colors and Mister Really; can fire on wet or fast and drops way down off last pair; hard to go past.
Regressed 2nd time off a long rest and form is quite erratic; deep closer should be seemingly helped some by the distance, but 3-0-0-0 at 9 furlongs; leaning towards others.
3rd Bay Meadows
Her 10 career turf wins are a distant memory and USA form lacks much of anything; early speed at longer distances and she should be in close proximity to the leaders in the early stages here; probably the best spot she's run in this year, but still has much to prove off recent outings.
Loves this lawn and last out at Del Mar was her best effort since a May, Bay Meadows win; her form gets good just as BM opens, perfect timing; reunites with Warren, who was the rider for both BM triumphs; has all the credentials of a horse about to run a big one; the pick.
Overmatched in Grade 2 event where she was a closeup 4th in; 2nd start in USA, taking sizable class drop; barn started off the meeting hot and we always love the graded stakes to allowance angle; one to fear.
Winless on the grass and facing a solid group today; has 2 wins on Bay Meadows dirt and hoping this one gets washed off, which seems like her best hope.
Baze takes over for Eddie D., which is a favorable switch in our book; she loves to win, but unfortunately is always bet hard; defeated the pick Wolfnik in 6/20 Del Mar lawn event, but must upend that one on her home turf; strictly the one to beat.
3-year-old takes on seasoned competitors; bet hard, but did not fire in the Bay Meadows Oaks; been all stakes since the February 'soft' turf win, until today; deep closer needs help with a hot pace up front and only time in against older was a 6th-place finish.
4th Bay Meadows
Expecting sharper early zip from stretchout runner drawing the rail slot today; rebounding to the pace-setting Solano try could find him on the lead for a long way against this group; recent stamina-building work also entices; serious threat if able to shake loose.
Gelding has now been the beaten favorite in 2 straight but must be considered off his prior try; may get the jump on some of his modest foes with benefit of his inside draw; can't rule out a better performance at a better price here although lightly-raced competition such as Belmont King and Bank Burglar rate a bit higher.
Chestnut lands in for a career-low tag after regressing in a pair of starts off the layoff; was capable of better during the summer at Hollywood with his best try a pace-pressing 2nd in a bulky field; tactical speed figures to be an asset in a lineup lacking much in the way of early zip; consider.
4-year-old is beginning to sport the look of a career maiden and high-odds losses tell the tale recently; exhibited some stretch-running ability in his previous form cycle but that seems a distant memory; needs a faster than expected pace to have any kind of impact.
Shaun M D
Gets another new rider in his initial route experience after contending in his last 2 outings; may benefit if able to attend a slow pace from close range here in the 3rd off the layoff run; 9/15 work hints he is sitting on a competitive effort.
Was a sharp recent Sacramento runnerup but the losses are mounting at 0-for-15; a winless rider takes the call aboard 2nd off the layoff runner who shows a work since the last try; would be far from a shock although he needs newfound gameness in the lane.
4-year-old was unable to finish in his recent Sacramento try and seemed to be more effective while sprinting at the fairs; doesn't land in the toughest spot but we'll side with sharper foes this afternoon.
Vines And Wines
Makes his 38th attempt to break his maiden here with a winless rider aloft from an outside post; has proven capable of offering mild late rallies in the past but has left himself with too much to do late; a similar scenario appears probable today.
Mr. Desert Wine
Emerges from yet another layoff and his last pair of outings represented a regression from his prior form cycle; Baze saw fit to ride in those races but runner may be headed in the wrong direction now; must rebound.
Hopes to mount a rally from midpack for winless connections in this event; the outside slot shouldn't seriously hinder late-runner who could benefit from a contested pace; exotics possibilities.
5th Bay Meadows
Should appreciate the move to NoCal; she wasn't quite good enough to run with the tougher competition down south; she did display the class to run 3rd going down the hill on one occasion; well drawn on the fence with a fairly short run to the first turn; ran well at a mile overseas; should run more competitively.
Miss Ng in Action
Showed a liking for the grass by winning a MSW 2 back on the lead; wasn't as effective last time when beaten to the front; that was a learning experience for this lightly-raced filly; remember...most maiden graduates fail in their first tries in allowance company; reasonable to expect improvement in her 2nd attempt vs. winners.
Certainly enters this race in good form - off a win and a 2nd at Del Mar; the question is, can she run on grass? she was fifth in her only grass appearance, though she was beaten less than 2 lengths for the top prize; much sharper now than she was at that time; consider.
Been getting pieces in similar races; 3 attempts on grass have resulted in a 4th, a 3rd, and a 5th; all were very good races; combined she only lost by just over 4 lengths; needs to make up a length on Bertha's Bikini; contender in a closely matched field.
Speed, good form and Baze; that's the recipe for success; hard to knock her efforts on e weeds; aside from that one race on turf in June, she's run well; that fade can be attributed to a scorching pace; the one thing about this horse is that she's one dimensional; if someone runs with her, her chances will be compromised; major player.
Rarely do you see a horse in a 1X that came within 3 lengths of winning a G2; clearly this stakes-placed filly has talent; she has also shown a liking for this course; a bit discouraged by her last performance at Del Mar, but she is in good hands and could easily bounce back to her best with a return to her home base of BM; the class of the field.
She's a Go
The most experienced turfer in the field with 11 starts on the weeds; her record is strong, too; it takes a nice horse to go 4-for-11 on grass; granted, her success has come in claimers, but she hasn't run poorly in allowances; she was a neck away from winning a similar race in August; barn off to a strong start this meet; threat.
Makes her turf debut following a series of so-so races at easier tracks; surprised to see her in NoCal, given that she is an Ohio-bred; remains winless out of Ohio-bred company; needs to move up with the surface switch to upset.
6th Bay Meadows
A Pirate's Defense
Drop down to $3,200 did not rejuvenate him as he finished well back of the pack. Pair of wins at a mile back in June prior to the drop off in form. Would be a surprise if he is able to compete based on last three efforts.
Is going to be facing a slightly tougher bunch this go round; Does well at this track just the added sixteenth may not be to his liking as he is but 1 for 9 at the distance; The earlier drop in rank turned him around now attempts to climb back up; Should get a piece.
Came back to life at the Sac Fair 2 back and seems to have found his level; Retains Black for the ride and has the earmarks that three in a row is on the horizon.
Plenty of Time
Closed from far back in last and will have some pace to chase this time but it seems unlikely that he will be able to catch these in the same fashion; prefers the distance chance in the exotics.
Sprinter stretches out.after showing success racing in a couple of short field affairs; Has handled the distance before and seems to be improving as he attempt to climb the ladder some; has been going well but like others better.
Road and Reign
Was competitive at Sacramento, but he finished last, beaten by 16 1/2 lengths, for a $7,000 tag in his return to this track; he's better than he showed that day, but hold out for a square price if you're betting he'll rebound.
Was within easy striking distance, but he lost ground to the winner down the lane in his last two; needs a stronger late kick to earn more than a minor prize here.
My Cuz Al
Broke slowly, but not enough to explain away most of his 23 length margin of defeat on Sept. 1; this field is tougher, so he'll have to run at least as well as he did in his Aug. 10 victory; insist on a better price than he usually offers.
Was all out to prevail by only a half-length as the 3-2 choice on Aug. 15, then bounced when he was fifth of six on the step up in class last time; he'll be in tough again today; others are preferred.
Pouring Down Rain
Lost by double-digit margins in four of his last five races, but he did manage to collect a few checks; appears to be vulnerable in this classier field; would be a surprise here.
7th Bay Meadows
Caught late going this trip last out but he may have been a bit short having been away from the races since late May; one of many in here with early speed, he should be in the hunt with an alert break and may last well into the stretch.
Exits the same race as Ask Pete, but did not perform nearly as well; his entire 2001 campaign has been disappointing and it is hard to see him turning it around in this spot.
Is It True Mex
Has been in positive form most of the summer and was caught in the final furlong of his most recent endeavor going 6f on the main; will try turf for the first time today and could be sitting in a decent position throughout; potential late charge may get him there.
Champagne Til Dawn
All-or-nothing type from Southern Cal should add plenty of fuel to the pace; tried the turf in a pair of Hollywood sprints this spring with no luck; those were better fields, however, and he should be more competitive at this level; worth a look.
Be the Bunny
Takes a needed drop in class after firing blanks recently; had a strong pace to run down in his last start at the $16k level but failed to make a rally; like a few others he's trying turf for the first time and there are few turf influences in his pedigree; leaning to others.
Lightly raced 4yo looks interesting; could easily be 3-for-4 if not for the photo finish loss at Santa Rosa and there is nothing bettors like more than a horse who is consistent and likes to win; has some turf influences from his sire's side of the family and could be a formidable candidate.
Seeks threepeat and there is plenty to like about his chances of doing so; former Southern Cal horse has outclassed his fields in both BM outings and has shown an adequate amount of ability on turf to suggest the surface switch shouldn't be asking too much; most of his main rivals have limited experience on turf; big chance.
Came from far back to nail second money against a similar group Sept. 8; if he can work out a better start, he could threaten for the win and might get a decent setup from the rest of the speedballs; consider.
Finished fifth of seven in his only attempt at this short distance back in May; rebounded to win easily over Stockton rivals, but has been less successful since being claimed at Solano; can only see minor share on recent form.
Has not started since January and races for a fraction of the claiming price that he was last seen running for; owns some sprint success from his days overseas and he has some speed, but the post may hurt as several other speedsters might get the better inside trip; check paddock for signs of racing fitness.
8th Bay Meadows
Arterburn-trained gelding has finished second in his last pair at this restricted 8k level, although the time before last he drifted out, bumped another horse and was disqualified and placed fourth; last time, he was forced 5 wide and still got up for second, so he is an obvious major player right back at the same level.
Has basically split the field 3 times at the 12,500 NW2 level since breaking his maiden for an 8k tag; these restricted 8k foes are probably actually a little tougher than the horses he has been facing, so a win will be a bit of a surprise.
Like 'Roman, this 5yo has been racing without much success at the 12,500 NW2 level and probably faces a tougher test today; his recent works are encouraging, but he's for longshot seekers only.
This 5yo is only taking a slight dip in claiming price, but it's actually a much easier spot as he has faced 'open' company in 2 of his last 3, and he raced well in a tough restricted 12,500 field the other time; he may prefer 2 turns, but he can sprint too; we also like the fact Wells is wheeling him back in just 8 days; rates as strictly one to beat.
B J's Classic
Rallied strongly to beat 6,250 NW2 foes at 27-1 at Sacramento last time; it probably wasn't any fluke, as all you had to do to give him a chance was throw out the Santa Rosa race; these are much tougher, but this 3yo might be coming around now and rates a chance at a good price.
That last race was pretty ugly, as he failed to show any speed despite stretching out from sprints to a route and finished far back, and he had run okay in his previous 2-turn race; still, anything could have happened in that last race, and this 3yo rates as a strong contender off his prior pair; note that the 6-length victory Aug. 12 came against 3yos-only though; Baze takes the call.
Has finished sixth and seventh at big odds at this level in his last pair, and finished behind 'La on both occasions; however, note that he was steadied hard at the start Aug. 18 and was still only beaten 3 1/2 lengths; can't be counted out.
Simply a Storm
Was overmatched last time, but still may be in too tough here; when he beat 8k maidens going a mile at Sacramento, he was able to get an easy lead; that won't happen in this sprint.
9th Bay Meadows
It's no secret that this one is a major player, as he has won his last pair over this turf course at this 12,500 starter level; he won by narrow margins both times, horses who were close to him are coming right back at him, and there are others who look tough, but there is no real reason this one can't make it 3 in a row.
Has been racing well in sprints, but he hasn't shown any great desire to go 2 turns, and he is untested on the grass; with Kris S. in the bloodlines, he might take to the turf, but there are too many questions; coupled with 'Liberty, though, and if you like that one, there's a chance this one will 'save' you.
Has finished second in allowance company in his last pair, both over this turf course; he's very consistent and very versatile, as he shows good races on the lead and from well off the pace; rates as the one to beat.
Had traffic trouble and still got up for third versus 'Howl at 17-1; no reason to believe that was a fluke as he has won for 25k and was also close to 'Halo in a 12,500 starter over this course in June; definite contender in an open event.
Florida invader has raced well versus similar in 3 NoCal races over this turf course; was third to 'Howl on Aug. 19 (different race from 'Afrik), but had no apparent excuse; certainly can't count this one out but we prefer others.
Washington horse certainly knows how to win and he joins a strong barn for his NoCal debut; however, this is his grass debut and he's facing a lot of other tough campaigners who already have lots of turf experience.
Strike for Glory
Here's another one who likes to win but will be trying turf for the first time; nothing in his breeding indicates he will move up on the surface, so we'll just watch him today.
Got the lead in deep stretch, but then could not hold off 'Howl and missed by a head Sept. 5; this horse was favored over 'Howl, and is a tough, consistent campaigner, but he doesn't figure to get any better trip than he did last time, and you get the Baze price; no thanks.
This one also got to the front in the Sept. 5 common race with 'Howl, Defensive and 'Afrik, but he weakened slightly and finished fourth, only 2 lengths behind the winner; the time before, he finished 3 lengths behind 'Halo; obviously can't count him out, but we can't find a legitimate reason to bet that he will turn the tables on all those horses.