DRF.com Blogs: Dan Illman http://www.drf.com/blogs/196/feed en Chance for a rare New York trifecta http://www.drf.com/blogs/chance-rare-new-york-trifecta Saturday's Stars & Stripes Racing Festival card at Belmont features two major Grade 1 turf races for 3-year-olds plus the return of Mendelssohn in the Dwyer Stakes. Handicapping Fri, 06 Jul 2018 19:08:40 +0000 Dan Illman 441651 at http://www.drf.com <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-carryover"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 0 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-blog-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Dan Illman </div> </div> </div> <div> Saturday's Stars & Stripes Racing Festival card at Belmont features two major Grade 1 turf races for 3-year-olds plus the return of <strong>Mendelssohn</strong> in the Dwyer Stakes. Throw in a Breeders' Cup Win and You're In event, the Grade 2 Belmont Sprint Championship, and horseplayers have a smorgasbord of quality races to feast upon. </div> <div>  </div> <div> </div><p><a href="http://www.drf.com/blogs/chance-rare-new-york-trifecta" target="_blank">read more</a></p> First Premio ready to fire http://www.drf.com/blogs/first-premio-ready-fire Highlighted by the Queen's Plate, the Grade 1 United Nations at Monmouth and two Breeders' Cup Win and You're In Races, there are plenty of fine betting opportunities this weekend. Handicapping Fri, 29 Jun 2018 16:58:15 +0000 Dan Illman 441108 at http://www.drf.com <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-carryover"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 0 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-blog-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Dan Illman </div> </div> </div> <div> Highlighted by the Queen's Plate, the Grade 1 United Nations at Monmouth and two Breeders' Cup Win and You're In Races, there are plenty of betting opportunities this weekend. </div> <div>  </div> <div> The "Out of the Gate" gang has you covered for many of Saturday's big races. I have strong opinions on the Princess Rooney as well as the Eatontown Stakes (that pick can be found in the "Best Bet" segment). You can watch the show here:</div> <div>  </div> <div> </div><p><a href="http://www.drf.com/blogs/first-premio-ready-fire" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Belmont Friday and Saturday picks http://www.drf.com/blogs/belmont-friday-and-saturday-picks Justify goes for the hallowed Triple Crown at Belmont and should be forwardly-placed once again after breaking from the inside under Mike Smith. Handicapping Thu, 07 Jun 2018 18:06:59 +0000 Dan Illman 439367 at http://www.drf.com <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-carryover"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 0 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-blog-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Dan Illman </div> </div> </div> <div> Justify goes for the hallowed Triple Crown at Belmont and should be forwardly-placed once again after breaking from the rail under Mike Smith. </div> <div>  </div> <div> I think Justify will win and I am rooting for him to do so. It is unprecedented in what he has accomplished in such a short amount of time and he would vault himself into truly exalted status if he is to pull off the Test of the Champion.</div> <div>  </div> <div> </div><p><a href="http://www.drf.com/blogs/belmont-friday-and-saturday-picks" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Preakness weekend prognostications http://www.drf.com/blogs/preakness-weekend-prognostications A deluge of epic proportions this week at Pimlico gives Justify's seven rivals hope that the unbeaten Kentucky Derby winner will meet his Waterloo. Handicapping Fri, 18 May 2018 17:23:28 +0000 Dan Illman 437577 at http://www.drf.com <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-carryover"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 0 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-blog-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Dan Illman </div> </div> </div> <div> A deluge of epic proportions this week at Pimlico gives Justify's seven rivals hope that the unbeaten Kentucky Derby winner will meet his Waterloo.</div> <div>  </div> <div> </div><p><a href="http://www.drf.com/blogs/preakness-weekend-prognostications" target="_blank">read more</a></p> A Peter Pan pick http://www.drf.com/blogs/peter-pan-pick The sun has set on the Apollo curse and undefeated Kentucky Derby winner Justify heads to Baltimore as a deserving odds-on favorite for next Saturday's Preakness. Handicapping Fri, 11 May 2018 22:11:10 +0000 Dan Illman 437092 at http://www.drf.com <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-carryover"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 0 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-blog-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Dan Illman </div> </div> </div> <div> The sun has set on the Apollo curse and undefeated Kentucky Derby winner Justify heads to Baltimore as a deserving odds-on favorite for next Saturday's Preakness.</div> <div>  </div> <div> The weather gods threw a curveball at the Bob Baffert-trained Justify with a soggy first Saturday in May, but the Scat Daddy colt shrugged off the inconvenience. He broke beautifully, pressed longshot Promises Fulfilled through some quick fractions, took over on the far turn and never looked like a loser. </div> <div>  </div> <div> </div><p><a href="http://www.drf.com/blogs/peter-pan-pick" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Oaks and Derby day picks http://www.drf.com/blogs/oaks-and-derby-day-picks This year's Kentucky Derby is a fascinating race. Handicapping Thu, 03 May 2018 17:00:11 +0000 Dan Illman 436429 at http://www.drf.com <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-carryover"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 0 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-blog-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Dan Illman </div> </div> </div> <div> This year's Kentucky Derby is a fascinating race.  There are curses and jinxes to overcome (Apollo, UAE Derby, Storm Cat line), Todd Pletcher and Bob Baffert have 30% of the field, and the two best juveniles of 2017, Good Magic and Bolt d'Oro, are seemingly not getting enough respect from handicappers, analysts and pundits alike. </div> <div>  </div> <div> </div><p><a href="http://www.drf.com/blogs/oaks-and-derby-day-picks" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Preliminary Kentucky Derby thoughts http://www.drf.com/blogs/preliminary-kentucky-derby-thoughts We're eight days out from the Kentucky Derby and I still have no idea which 3-year-old will be my official selection. Handicapping Fri, 27 Apr 2018 22:02:05 +0000 Dan Illman 435958 at http://www.drf.com <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-carryover"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 0 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-blog-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Dan Illman </div> </div> </div> <div> We're eight days out from the Kentucky Derby and I still have no idea which 3-year-old will be my official selection. Thankfully, I still have time to decide. </div> <div>  </div> <div> For now, I've broken down my major contenders into different tiers.</div> <div>  </div> <div> <strong>TIER A (TOP OF THE CROP)</strong></div> <div>  </div> <div> <strong>MENDELSSOHN</strong></div> <div> </div><p><a href="http://www.drf.com/blogs/preliminary-kentucky-derby-thoughts" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Catching up http://www.drf.com/blogs/catching-5 Here's what I wrote in a late November edition of FormBlog (http://www.drf.com/blogs/some-horses-follow) concerning Chad Brown's talented Analyze It: Handicapping Fri, 13 Apr 2018 19:52:29 +0000 Dan Illman 434936 at http://www.drf.com <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-carryover"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 0 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-blog-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Dan Illman </div> </div> </div> <div> <div> <div> Here's what I wrote in a late November edition of FormBlog (<a href="http://www.drf.com/blogs/some-horses-follow"><strong>http://www.drf.com/blogs/some-horses-follow</strong></a>) concerning Chad Brown's talented Analyze It:</div> <div>  </div> <div> </div></div></div><p><a href="http://www.drf.com/blogs/catching-5" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Backyard Heaven primed for stakes http://www.drf.com/blogs/backyard-heaven-primed-stakes Backyard Heaven, profiled in the December 22 edition of FormBlog (http://www.drf.com/blogs/backyard-heaven-one-follow-brown), came back with another excellent effort at Aqueduct last Saturday. Handicapping Fri, 23 Mar 2018 18:19:18 +0000 Dan Illman 433366 at http://www.drf.com <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-carryover"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 0 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-blog-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Dan Illman </div> </div> </div> <div> Backyard Heaven, profiled in the December 22 edition of FormBlog (<strong><a href="http://www.drf.com/blogs/backyard-heaven-one-follow-brown">http://www.drf.com/blogs/backyard-heaven-one-follow-brown</a></strong>), came back with another excellent effort at Aqueduct last Saturday. </div> <div>  </div> <div> </div><p><a href="http://www.drf.com/blogs/backyard-heaven-primed-stakes" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Another for Accelerate http://www.drf.com/blogs/another-accelerate With prominent older horses West Coast, Gunnevera, Pavel and Hoppertunity waiting for the Dubai World Cup, last weekend's Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap wasn't the biggest Big 'Cap ever, but Accelerate (profiled way back in the Janary 5, 2017 edition of FormBlog - http://www.drf.com/blogs/keep-eye-accelerate) proved a deserving winner over a very wet track. Handicapping Fri, 16 Mar 2018 19:36:16 +0000 Dan Illman 432939 at http://www.drf.com <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-carryover"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 0 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-blog-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Dan Illman </div> </div> </div> <div> With prominent older horses West Coast, Gunnevera, Pavel and Hoppertunity waiting for the Dubai World Cup, last weekend's Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap wasn't the biggest Big 'Cap ever, but Accelerate (profiled way back in the Janary 5, 2017 edition of FormBlog - <strong><a href="http://www.drf.com/blogs/keep-eye-accelerate">http://www.drf.com/blogs/keep-eye-accelerate</a></strong>) proved a deserving winner over a very wet track.</div> <div>  </div> <div> </div><p><a href="http://www.drf.com/blogs/another-accelerate" target="_blank">read more</a></p> 'Tsunami conquers the downhill http://www.drf.com/blogs/tsunami-conquers-downhill Conquest Tsunami whistled down the stretch to win last week's Grade 3 Daytona Stakes at Santa Anita and looks like a horse that is tailor-made for the downhill. Fri, 02 Mar 2018 20:22:18 +0000 Dan Illman 432062 at http://www.drf.com <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-carryover"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 0 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-blog-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Dan Illman </div> </div> </div> <div> Conquest Tsunami whistled down the stretch to win last week's Grade 3 Daytona Stakes at Santa Anita and looks like a horse that is tailor-made for the downhill. </div> <div>  </div> <div> Purchased for $140,000 out of the Conquest Stables dispersal at the 2016 Keeneland November sale, Conquest Tsunami failed to win from five starts for Mark Casse last year. He has blossomed since being shipped to Southern California, however, with two front-running wins for Peter Miller. </div> <div>  </div> <div> </div><p><a href="http://www.drf.com/blogs/tsunami-conquers-downhill" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Risen Star and Southwest thoughts http://www.drf.com/blogs/risen-star-and-southwest-thoughts Last week's Risen Star Stakes featured an exciting finish as Bravazo nipped Snapper Sinclair in the very last stride. Both horses ran just fine, but I'm interested in Noble Indy moving forward. Handicapping Tue, 20 Feb 2018 20:29:55 +0000 Dan Illman 431459 at http://www.drf.com <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-carryover"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 0 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-blog-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Dan Illman </div> </div> </div> <div> Last week's Risen Star Stakes featured an exciting finish as Bravazo nipped Snapper Sinclair in the very last stride. Both horses ran just fine, but I'm interested in Noble Indy moving forward. </div> <div>  </div> <div> The third-place finisher, trained by Todd Pletcher, was making only his third lifetime start in the Risen Star and he took a good amount of dirt while racing in behind horses for the majority of the way. Once clear toward the inside in midstretch, he finished evenly in a race that held together from a pace standpoint. </div> <div> </div><p><a href="http://www.drf.com/blogs/risen-star-and-southwest-thoughts" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Withers and Holy Bull review http://www.drf.com/blogs/withers-and-holy-bull-review Here are some quick thoughts on two of last weekend's Kentucky Derby preps: Handicapping Fri, 09 Feb 2018 18:39:35 +0000 Dan Illman 430690 at http://www.drf.com <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-carryover"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 0 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-blog-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Dan Illman </div> </div> </div> <div> Here are some quick thoughts on two of last weekend's Kentucky Derby preps:</div> <div>  </div> <div> Audible got most of the press due to his 99-Beyer victory in Gulfstream's Grade 3 Holy Bull, but I was just as impressed with Avery Island's 87-Beyer win in the Grade 3 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct. Consider that Avery Island was asked to go 1 1/8 miles off a two-month layoff while probably not cranked up for his best and I can live with the slower fig. </div> <div>  </div> <div> </div><p><a href="http://www.drf.com/blogs/withers-and-holy-bull-review" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Some good sprinters at Oaklawn http://www.drf.com/blogs/some-good-sprinters-oaklawn Saturday's King Cotton Stakes at Oaklawn Park features several hard-hitting sprinters. Let's take a closer look. Fri, 02 Feb 2018 19:18:18 +0000 Dan Illman 430233 at http://www.drf.com <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-carryover"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 0 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-blog-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Dan Illman </div> </div> </div> <div> Saturday's King Cotton Stakes at Oaklawn Park features several hard-hitting sprinters. Let's take a closer look. </div> <div>  </div> <div> </div><p><a href="http://www.drf.com/blogs/some-good-sprinters-oaklawn" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Looking for value at Sam Houston http://www.drf.com/blogs/looking-value-sam-houston All eyes will rightly be on Saturday's Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup, but there are a couple of interesting graded stakes races the following afternoon at Sam Houston. Handicapping Fri, 26 Jan 2018 20:56:14 +0000 Dan Illman 429791 at http://www.drf.com <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-carryover"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 0 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-blog-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Dan Illman </div> </div> </div> <div> All eyes will rightly be on Saturday's Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup, but there are a couple of interesting graded stakes races the following afternoon at Sam Houston.  </div> <div>  </div> <div> </div><p><a href="http://www.drf.com/blogs/looking-value-sam-houston" target="_blank">read more</a></p> A versatile colt to follow http://www.drf.com/blogs/versatile-colt-follow Last week's Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds lived up to expectations as Instilled Regard and Principe Guilherme, the two betting choices in inverted order, completed the exacta. Handicapping Fri, 19 Jan 2018 19:18:10 +0000 Dan Illman 429275 at http://www.drf.com <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-carryover"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 0 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-blog-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Dan Illman </div> </div> </div> <div> Last week's Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds lived up to expectations as Instilled Regard and Principe Guilherme, the two betting choices in inverted order, completed the exacta. </div> <div>  </div> <div> While both ran very well, I must admit I was just as taken by the third-place finisher, Snapper Sinclair.</div> <div>  </div> <div> I don't believe that Snapper Sinclair is a Kentucky Derby contender, but the versatile colt has the ability to factor in other stakes spots later this season. Let's peruse his past performances:</div> <div> </div><p><a href="http://www.drf.com/blogs/versatile-colt-follow" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Happy New Year! http://www.drf.com/blogs/happy-new-year-1 Here's hoping everyone has a safe, happy and profitable New Year's weekend! Handicapping Fri, 29 Dec 2017 18:02:39 +0000 Dan Illman 427871 at http://www.drf.com <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-carryover"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 0 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-blog-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Dan Illman </div> </div> </div> <p>Here's hoping everyone has a safe, happy and profitable New Year's weekend!</p> <p>There are some fantastic races on Saturday. Here are a few opinions:<br /><br /><strong>Laurel - Race 5 - #2 - Bioterp (10 to 1 Morning Line)</strong><br /> Bioterp has mostly competed on turf over the past two years, but she has hit the board in her last three dirt races, including a good runner-up effort behind the undefeated Angel At War in her most recent effort (see below).</p><p><a href="http://www.drf.com/blogs/happy-new-year-1" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Backyard Heaven one to follow for Brown http://www.drf.com/blogs/backyard-heaven-one-follow-brown Continuing with the “Horses to Watch” theme, here's one that caught my eye earlier this month. Handicapping Fri, 22 Dec 2017 20:41:20 +0000 Dan Illman 427669 at http://www.drf.com <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-carryover"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 0 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-blog-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Dan Illman </div> </div> </div> <p>Continuing with the “Horses to Watch” theme, here's one that caught my eye earlier this month.</p> <p><strong>BACKYARD HEAVEN</strong></p> <p> </p> <p><span class="inline-photo"></span></p> <p> </p> <p>Trained by Chad Brown, this 3-year-old son of Tizway made his career debut in one-mile maiden special weight at Belmont on September 10.</p> <p>As you can see by utilzing the "Next Race" function in the Formulator chart, it was an extremely live race.</p> <p><a href="http://www.drf.com/blogs/backyard-heaven-one-follow-brown" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Expect more from 'Biscuits in 2018 http://www.drf.com/blogs/expect-more-biscuits-2018 Although Sharp Azteca (profiled in the February 16 edition of FormBlog - http://www.drf.com/blogs/sharp-azteca-impressive-gulfstream) was too much for the field in last Saturday’s Grade 1 Cigar Mile, I was just as impressed with the runner-up’s performance. Fri, 08 Dec 2017 19:19:43 +0000 Dan Illman 426863 at http://www.drf.com <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-carryover"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 0 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-blog-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Dan Illman </div> </div> </div> <div> Although Sharp Azteca (profiled in the February 16 edition of FormBlog - <strong><a href="http://www.drf.com/blogs/sharp-azteca-impressive-gulfstream">http://www.drf.com/blogs/sharp-azteca-impressive-gulfstream</a></strong>) was too much for the field in last Saturday’s Grade 1 Cigar Mile, I was just as impressed with the runner-up’s performance.<br />  </div> <div> </div><p><a href="http://www.drf.com/blogs/expect-more-biscuits-2018" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Some horses to follow http://www.drf.com/blogs/some-horses-follow The Cigar Mile, the last Grade 1 stakes race in New York this year, highlights the weekend's racing. Handicapping Fri, 01 Dec 2017 19:39:46 +0000 Dan Illman 426408 at http://www.drf.com <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-carryover"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 0 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-blog-author"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Dan Illman </div> </div> </div> <div> The Cigar Mile, the last Grade 1 stakes race in New York this year, highlights this weekend's racing. </div> <div>  </div> <div> It's the Saturday DRFBets Race of the Day and you can access free Formulator past performances at this link: </div> <div>  </div> <div> <strong><a href="http://http://www.drf.com/events/race-of-the-day">http://www.drf.com/events/race-of-the-day</a></strong></div> <div>  </div> <div> Mike Beer and I go over the race in the following video feature:<br />  </div> <div> </div><p><a href="http://www.drf.com/blogs/some-horses-follow" target="_blank">read more</a></p>