12/11/2008 12:00AM

Formulator helps dig below the surface

Email

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - One of the nifty things about cyber-capping with DRF's Formulator is the ability to get up close and personal with horses running at out-of-town tracks you don't follow on a daily basis.

This is especially beneficial for weekend warriors playing the stakes-packaged event days that have become increasingly popular. For example, here are some nuggets unearthed by Formulator's lifetime past performances in Calder's all-graded-stakes pick four on Saturday:

Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap: It's a Bird has run 10 times this year on dirt, turf, and synthetics, at distances ranging from eight to 12 furlongs. After winning his first three starts for Marty Wolfson, his middle move fizzled when he was the 11-10 favorite in the Carl G. Rose Classic last out, so a key question is what to make of the turn-back to seven furlongs. Formulator past performances show he went route to seven furlongs twice - at Calder - in 2006, finishing second by a nose in July and winning by five lengths in September.

Another central question is what to do with How's Your Halo, whose 101 Beyer Speed Figure for winning the Radar Love Stakes is the top last-out number; will the 5-year-old bounce three weeks later? His prior triple-digit figure this year came six starts back at Calder and was immediately followed by a 21-point regression from post 12 on Del Mar's Polytrack. Those consulting Formulator, however, can travel back to last year's off-the-printed-page and see he ran a lifetime top (104) when nosed in the Radar Love and then made two moves before settling for third in a sloppy renewal of the Kenny Noe, with a 10-point bounce to a 94. Perhaps How's Your Halo will regress again, but in neither of the first two instances did he get the chance to run back on a fast dirt track, so a pair-up isn't out of the question.

La Prevoyante Handicap: Communique hasn't run in 11 weeks since a good try for third in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl. She shows no wins off a layoff in her published record, but Formulator reveals that her maiden win came at Gulfstream Park off a 69-day absence in the second start of her career - with the same rider (Javier Castellano) she has Saturday.

The mare that Communique must beat is J'ray, a durable New York-bred who has held top form for an extended period of time and who can surpass $1 million in earnings if she notches her third graded stakes win of the year. Beating her won't be easy, based on this Formulator factoid: In four previous starts on Calder turf dating back to a win in the Tropical Park Oaks on New Year's Day 2006, she has never failed to either run a new Beyer top or run within two points of whatever her top figure was at the time.

Fred Hooper Handicap: At the heart of this 1 1/8-mile route is an anticipated pace duel between Gottcha Gold and Finallymadeit, who locked horns in the recent Spend a Buck.

Three weeks later, in the absence of Gottcha Gold, Finallymadeit came back in the Carl G. Rose, shook loose, and romped with a career-best 106 Beyer.

If both speedsters remain in the field, how likely is Finallymadeit to bounce? Formulator shows he has had the early lead eight of the nine times he has run a Beyer of 99 or better.

William L. McKnight Handicap: What to do with Presious Passion, who comes off a fading sixth in the Red Smith over yielding turf at Aqueduct? Formulator users will probably want to throw him into the mix in at least a backup role, because two starts after weakening to fifth in last year's Red Smith on the same yielding ground, he lit up the tote board to post a stunning upset in the McKnight at 67-1 with Elvis Trujillo, who is back aboard Saturday.

Short field for Queens County Handicap

Big fields have been par for the course during the early stages of racing on Aqueduct's inner track, but you'd never know it by Saturday's Grade 3 Queens County Handicap, which drew only five older males, including the 1-3-5 finishers in the Stuyvesant Handicap.

Dry Martini boosted Billy Turner's already excellent turf-to-dirt stats by winning the Stuyvesant, but he benefited from a strong pace set by Temporary Saint and pressed by Brilliant Son and was wisely kept well removed from the rail over a waterlogged main track that had favored horses in outside lanes for several days.

Sir Whimsey removed blinkers and won his first two starts this year, including the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap, and has only raced around two turns on conventional dirt once since then when third in the Pimlico Special. Two winters ago on the inner track, he was a surprisingly good second in the Whirlaway at 16-1, and the Queens County will be his second start back from a layoff and second for Steve Asmussen, who is drawing ever closer to the 600-win mark for the year.