TimeformUS Weekend Plays: Saratoga and Del Mar Graded Stakes Races

Sunday, Saratoga, Race 10, 5:45 PM EDT
The Grade 2 Saratoga Special, Six and a Half Furlongs, Two-Year Olds And Up, Main Track

Foal crop sizes have gotten smaller since the mid 1980s, and as a consequence, trainers have become much more patient in their handling of juveniles. When City Zip won the 2000 edition of the Saratoga Special, he did it while making the seventh start of his career. Fast-forward thirteen years to today's edition of this storied race for two-year-olds and we have a field of just seven horses, none of whom has made more than two starts in his career.

Indeed, looking over the entries, it is understandable how a racetrack as legendary as this one can put on a race as legendary as this one and see it given only Grade 2 status. Such are the times.

Coming into the Saratoga meet, Corfu (5-2 morning line) had a world of buzz to him. By Orb's sire, Malibu Moon, out of a mare that was a half sibling to multiple Grade 1 winner Peace Rules, he's beautifully bred. Originally a $185,000 July yearling, he blitzed a quarter mile in a sale-best 20.80 seconds at the Barretts March 2-year-old in training under-tack show, and re-sold for $675,000 after that scorching workout.  Since 2000, only nine other babies have worked a sub-21 quarter mile at Barretts. Included among them were two Grade 1 winning two-year-olds (Officer and Brother Derek) and two Grade 2 winning two-year-olds (Arabian Light and the brilliant What A Song).

In his racing debut, Corfu was gunned to the lead right into the teeth of a three-way speed duel. He held on to win the race, earning an excellent 92 TimeformUS speed figure. We think this is a very exciting horse, but since he's on just 17 days rest and is stretching out a furlong and a half in distance, we must oppose him today.

Our selection will be fellow second-time starter Candy Dandy (3-1). There are two important distinctions to be made between Candy Dandy and Corfu today. One, Candy Dandy was able to relax and rate in his career debut, and two, Candy Dandy has 42 days rest coming into this race. Trainer Steve Asmussen has a slew of good trainer ratings, and we like the way his two-year-olds have run at this meet. We are hardly excited about his 3/1 morning line price in a race that has little established form to work with, but look for Candy Dandy to get the job done in the stretch of the 108th Saratoga Special.

 Free Past Performances for the Saratoga Special at TimeformUS


Sunday, Del Mar, Race 8, 8:40 PM EDT
The Grade 2 John C. Mabee, One Mile and 1/8, Fillies and Mares, Three-Year-Olds and Up, Turf

Let's start by refusing to deny the obvious. With only five horses signed up, and one of them entered as a rabbit to ensure a decent pace for her stablemate, this is a rather bland edition of the Mabee. However, important horses can exit bland races, and that could well prove to be the case here.

The TFUS Pace Projector indicates that the rabbit, Journaliste (10-1 morning line), will have the early lead today, and that seems to be a fairly safe prediction. Customer Base is projected to be a close second early, with likely favorite Tiz Flirtatious (7-5) and My Gi Gi (5-1) in mid-pack, and likely second-choice Lady of Shamrock (8-5) in the rear.

Lady of Shamrock is a deep-closer who is adding blinkers today. She wore blinkers early in her career (see the TFUS lifetime past performances), and they did not do a lot to help her early speed. She is a talented filly who has won two Grade 1s and is fresh off a strong speed figure of 110. Unfortunately, rabbit or no rabbit, she would seem to be at a tactical disadvantage today because she seems certain to be giving first-run away to Tiz Flirtatious.
The Marty Jones-trained Tiz Flirtatious comes in off of back-to-back speed figures of 109 and figures to receive a pleasing trip today. An underrated, terrific trainer, Jones gets a TFUS trainer rating of 94 when he enters races off of spacing similar to today's. He also receives strong ratings in stakes races. Tiz Flirtatious has reportedly been training extraordinarily well for this race. She is the deserving favorite.

 Free Past Performances for the Mabee at TimeformUS



Saturday, Saratoga, Race 10, 5:45 PM EDT
The Grade 2 Fourstardave Handicap, One Mile, Three-Year Olds And Up, Inner Turf

If this race were not being run under handicap conditions, we'd concede it to Wise Dan (3-5 morning line). He's simply open-lengths better than the rest of this group. However, 129 pounds is a lofty impost, and he must concede double-digit weight spreads all around. Devotees of weight adjustments will tell you that he's giving away a three-to-four-length handicap to his competition in the Fourstardave.

Wise Dan pp

We believe two horses who project for ground-saving, covered-up trips have a chance to upset Wise Dan if the weight concession is really as big a factor as we hope. Za Approval (8-1) exploded to a career-best 118 TimeformUS speed figure when he was second in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park.

 Za Approval pp

The other horse who might present a challenge to Wise Dan is Mr. Commons (10-1). For a short time, Mr. Commons was regarded as the best miler in Southern California. He hasn't been disgraced in two recent outings against Wise Dan, being defeated by three lengths on both occasions. Mr. Commons was the victim of a wide trip and ran a "better than looked" performance in his most recent race. He gets a 12-pound break in weights and projects for a covered-up trip.

Mr. Commons pp

The speed horses will target Wise Dan, and they will try to race-ride him just as they did last time. Look for John Velazquez to maneuver Wise Dan off the rail and possibly use up a little energy to get an outside stalking position. If Wise Dan gets beat, it will probably be by a rival that gets a perfect trip in behind him and makes good of the handicap. Still, it's hard to imagine Wise Dan finishing any worse than second.

Betting strategy:  Exacta Key: Za Approval and Mr. Commons on top of Wise Dan.

Free Fourstardave Handicap Past Performances at TimeformUS.com


Saturday, Del Mar, Race 8, 8:40 PM EDT
The G2 La Jolla Handicap, 1 1/16 Miles, Three-Year Olds
, Polytrack

The La Jolla has nine horses this year and five of them are exiting one of the two divisions of the Oceanside, the opening-day Del Mar stake that is often split because it attracts so many entrants. The final times of the two divisions were so close this year that the oft-heard "Faster division of the Oceanside" business becomes mere trivia. However, the earlier division was run at a significantly faster pace, a fact that is far from trivial.
The TimeformUS Pace Projector for the La Jolla shows Rosengold (5-1 morning line) in the early lead, with Freakin Rocket (7-2) dropping in right behind him, Si Sage, Uno Dos Adios, and Dry Summer a fair distance behind the two of them, and the others farther back. We like the chances that one of the two horses projected to be in front early will still be in front when this race ends.

TimeformUS Pace Projector
Rosengold raced on the lead in the slower-paced division of the Oceanside and tired to finish fourth, earning a speed figure of 94, a respectable number, to be sure, but not a number that would be likely to win today's race. We think he can improve on that race today for ace trainer Julio Canani, who has strong TFUS trainer ratings across the board. Despite running only moderate fractions in the Oceanside, Rosenwald had a deceptively difficult trip. He broke from post eight, entered the first turn wide, and was used up a bit in grinding his way to the rail. We expect him to have an easier time getting to the rail today, and we think he has a good chance to get back to the speed figure of 102 that he ran two starts back. That is a number that can play well in here.

Rosengold pp

Freakin Rocket pp
Freakin Rocket exits the fast-paced division of the Oceanside, where he earned a speed figure of 98 and did so in visually impressive fashion. He raced close to the fast pace, and then made an eye-catching run around the far turn before flattening out. It was an auspicious performance from a horse making both his turf debut and his route debut, and we think it stamps him as the horse to beat today. Freakin Rocket is our selection.

Free La Jolla Handicap Past Performances at TimeformUS.com 


Check back on Sunday for previews of Saratoga and Del Mar graded stakes.


Leave a Comment:

Tom Pendergast

You noted Za Approval's career best @ Hollywood last out, and you mentioned Mr. Commons prior success, also in southern California. That form doesn't always hold up back east as the turf courses rarely see rain and are much more firm than back east. Mr. Commons' form hasn't held up in last 2 races this side of the Mississippi. Something to consider

09 Aug 2013 12:41 PM
Rusty Weisner

Saratoga R6 is a 2yo.  I will single Pecorino if he's in the race, but he may not be.

Anyone have an opinion on 2yos running without Lasix?

09 Aug 2013 2:13 PM
Rusty Weisner

I'm playing R3-7 at Saratoga tomorrow but can't really find a single other than the also-eligible Pecorino in R6.

Some horses at decent odds I'd like to put on P3 ticket(s):

R3: El Cuadro (15-1) - back to dirt after running hurdles, last race ran slow and very wide at the same level but has had a bullet workout since and gets blinkers, is also back to trainer who handled him earlier.

R4: Placentia (6-1) was turned back to 7f where she chased leaders 1-2-3-4 around the track and is back to 8.5f where she should try to wire.  Neat Package (5-1) hasn't run since a 2yo, but has already routed, almost winning maiden at this distance.

R5: Attenborough (8-1) had trouble in the stretch at 6f and stretches out to 8.5f.

R7: Do I Amuse You (12-1).  Hope he is alone on lead.

09 Aug 2013 2:47 PM

Delmar: Race #1- 2,4,5,6,8 Exacta, Trifecta, Superfecta Box.

09 Aug 2013 6:42 PM

I think I've noticed a trend at Saratoga on the turf.  A lot of horses coming from far off the pace no matter what the pace set up.  

Playing that into Pick 3s and 4s on Saturday.  Leaving all front runners off my tickets.

09 Aug 2013 9:52 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Friday Del Mar

R7) 3 Kinz Funky Monkey impressed in her turf debut,  and first start against winners,  with a 'vs Zip Win' in a 6f turf stake.  Runs them off their feet.

09 Aug 2013 9:53 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Not one for excuses,  but I do wish they had turned her head straight more than a millisecond before the gate opened.  Unfortunate.

09 Aug 2013 10:08 PM
Monarchos Matt

I'm going to keep it simple tomorrow- think Wise Dan is the most likely winner just as the whole planet does, but feel like a pace meltdown is possible and he could be forced close to it from the rail, as Skyring will go after King Kreesa and wear that one down...this should set up well for the best closer in the field, the rapidly improving son of the great Ghostzapper,  Za Approval. Box him and Wise Dan for the exacta and bet Za Approval to place. If I'm wrong, then King Kreesa just wires them. I feel that Dan is vulnerable here...

Plod Boy Phil,

I've been digging deep into PPs for the Arlington Million card next weekend. I live in downtown Chicago and make it out to Arlington every year for the event and it's one of my biggest betting days of the year, on par with Derby Day and Breeders' Cup Day.

A horse that I've liked for a long time that was pre-entered today in somewhat of a surprise move was Dream Peace. I seem to recall you mentioning that she was an upgrade after the Diana, which makes sense...she sat back off a really slow pace and made progress late. Everyone will be trying to beat Marketing Mix with the Euro shippers Dank and Duntle, but those girls have never been past 8f and this might be a pretty tough step up for them. I'm thinking Dream Peace is finally sitting on a winning race...she's finished on the board in six straight graded starts, but doesn't have a win to show for it. Looks like there should be decent pace to rate off of with Starformer, Artemus Kitten and the local La Tia in there.

Curious if you have any thoughts on this, and good luck tomorrow.

09 Aug 2013 11:56 PM
Plod Boy Phil


Dream Peace was the lone upgrade for us going into the Diana and exits as a bold upgrade for closing ground on the w-w winner of an Extreme Race for Speed.  The more speed the merrier, though in her current form,  all she needs is a fair race.

10 Aug 2013 7:26 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Rusty -

I have little to offer in races 3-7 today at Saratoga.  As for Placentia, she's not a true downgrade for us but her last two failures came despite being in modestly favorable scenarios - the last a modest closers flow won by a w-w winner while the race two back was on a turf course that we rated as playing more than kind to speed.  Looks to me like she'll need lasix to improve enough for this level.

Good luck today.

10 Aug 2013 7:47 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Saturday Monmouth Oaks

R11) 3 Zenzara returns to the dirt following an upgraded wide run behind a very speed favoring Flow in the Revidere. Pace a plenty in the gate today.  

10 Aug 2013 8:14 AM

Avoiding the Late Pick 4 at Saratoga because of the Fourstardave.  Wise Dan likely turns it into a PIck 3 and ruins any chance at value.

I like Poster Girl (6) in the 4th and the Pick 3 starting in the 7th (5,7,8/3,5,7,11/2,7,8).  

10 Aug 2013 11:57 AM
Rusty Weisner

Plod Boy Phil,

Thanks.  I hadn't spotted that.  Re: Lasix -- I look with reservation on non-Lasix maidens, particularly 2yos.  Opinion?

Nothing today. Race 5 off the turf, preferred Pletcher entry in 2yo race scratched.  

10 Aug 2013 12:15 PM
Rusty Weisner


I've shied off races with Wise Dan, too.  Just watch, someone will beat him and make a lot of money.

10 Aug 2013 12:16 PM
Rusty Weisner

I am going to take Harley in R5, which is off the turf.  The other contenders, Dighton and Prudent Investor are logical, but the latter is stepping up, the former ran poorly last out at the level and Harley is dropping way down in class, back for a tag.  He actually ran okay, as well as a couple of the favorites, in a race where the winner scored about a 100 Beyer in wiring the field by five lengths. I'll give it a whirl.

10 Aug 2013 12:32 PM
Rusty Weisner

R3: 1,5,6 (don't understand why the 7, dropping for the second time in a row after being eased up last time, is 5/2)

R4: 1,2,3,5,6,10 with a preference for 1 & 5.

Don't know how or if to play R6.

10 Aug 2013 12:38 PM
Rusty Weisner

Prudent Investor is the only speed in R5.  Either take him or him with Harley.

10 Aug 2013 1:43 PM
Mary Zinke

La Jolla, Who doesn't love the name Freakin Rocket? Makes the race calls very fun!  I'll go with Greeley Awesome. 5,6,7,2. Did you see Olympic Blue's beautiful win yesterday at Del Mar?  

Seems silly to go against Wise Dan. Not that he's unbeatable, just not worth the heated defense comments. Possible upsets today, imo, Skyring and Za Approval.

10 Aug 2013 2:27 PM
Rusty Weisner

Played both the 7 & 12 in R5 in my R3-5 P3s.  

Will play P3s R5-7:


7,12,13/ALL/6 (Do I Amuse You).

10 Aug 2013 2:31 PM
Rusty Weisner

Have two live $1 P3 tickets with the 7 & 12 in the next race.  I hope I don't regret not including the 13 (who I put on my later P3s).  

10 Aug 2013 2:39 PM
Rusty Weisner

Like I said, these P3s pay great.  The P3 concluding with race 5 pays $83-1 for the favorite and $120 for the other two and I've got two $1 tickets that cost a total of $48.  That's if any of the top three in the next race win, with 2nd and 3rd favorites winning the first two legs.

10 Aug 2013 2:46 PM
Rusty Weisner

The 9 is the favorite?  Why?

10 Aug 2013 2:48 PM
Plod Boy Phil

I don't know who, if any here, are among the numerous daily visitors to the U & A page of the website,  but I just blew up the board in the 5th at Woodbine.

Good times

10 Aug 2013 2:53 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Good luck Rusty - bring it home.

10 Aug 2013 3:01 PM
Rusty Weisner

Arrgh.  13.  Signing off.  I have those live P3's in R5-7 and will have to check in later to see about that longshot in the 7th.

10 Aug 2013 3:08 PM
Rusty Weisner

Plod Boy Phil,

Amazing. That's the second 23-1 horse at Woodbine you've picked in the last few weeks, except this one wasn't beaten by a nose.

10 Aug 2013 3:13 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Thanks -

I've have had a series of tough beats with the free plays over the last few weeks.  I was pretty sure this filly was home and unsaddled going into the turn.

Cool when horses of this nature jump off the page.  

Unfortunate result for you in the Sar 5th.

10 Aug 2013 3:31 PM
Mary Zinke

Congrats, Phil.  That was a huge score in WO r5. Hope a friend of mine who plays there had the 9, too. Heck, I hope he had the exotics as well.

10 Aug 2013 4:03 PM
Plod Boy Phil

re: Sar R6

sonofa........brutal game,  this

10 Aug 2013 4:11 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Mary -

Thanks. Plenty of useful information there almost every day.

Rusty just took a brutal beat in the 6th at Saratoga....nice handicapping but a bad result.

10 Aug 2013 4:15 PM
Plod Boy Phil

correction: Sar R7

10 Aug 2013 4:23 PM
Rusty Weisner

Plod Boy Phil,

No, it was the 7th, as I had the first leg and ALL in the 6th. Thanks for the sympathy.  I just checked the ticker but haven't seen the chart or a replay.  Glad I wasn't watching!

10 Aug 2013 4:28 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Not sympathy really - that gets us nothing.  Compassion maybe as we've all been there.

Taking the 'tandem rule' a step further,  two closers exited the common race: one goes of at 3/4 and the other at 6-1.

10 Aug 2013 4:41 PM
Mary Zinke

KY, Congratulations on the win. He's gritty is a huge understatement. Nice that he came home, too. Congrats to the old guy for placing. He deserves a treat! P.s. I watched the replay, but I was cheering for your winner anyway, because I didn't know the result. Winner's circle was full of hotties. How do I figure that out, lol.

10 Aug 2013 9:41 PM
Mary Zinke

KY, You now have your own h r n page.  It's a website.  If your horses don't already have pages, I'll make pages for them, if you want to post photos of them. Or not.

10 Aug 2013 10:09 PM

thanx mary.....dont know who they were.......old horse #1 jockey messed it up.....got undressed by trainer.......instructions were go to lead......tough neck loss.....he will be back, he's a warrior.......new horse is a fighter. people around me thought he was beat....i kept saying "he's game! he's a fighter!".....fun day....thought both would be claimed........

10 Aug 2013 10:27 PM
Mary Zinke

You aren't in the photo?

10 Aug 2013 10:38 PM
Rusty Weisner

Plod Boy Phil,

Yes, this race was a perfect illustration of that.  There were four out of the same race and the proper play was to go against the heavy favorite and treat the others interchangeably or pick one of the others.  What made it easier was that their race was the stronger race.

Speaking of odds, I was consoled this morning to see that everyone was all over that horse:  it was 5-1, not 12-1 per the ML.  So it would have paid only $300-400 on the $1 P3, not the four figures I was imagining possible.

Since this blog is my private confessional, here's what I'm more bothered by than a near-miss, and a lesson to all who complain about their "bad betting" --

I broke my cardinal rule for the second week in a row by not playing the P3 with a single and spreading it thin (had 3x6x2 and 3x2x2).  I think the P3 and P4 should amount to a parlay of a win bet on a single horse.  So there went $24 more than I needed to lose.  The other was the wretched $9 I played as a "hedge" P3 with a lukewarm Pletcher 2-yo favorite, when I could have just stuck to my guns with the single I really liked.  The money adds up!  In this case $80 instead of $57.

Congratulations to anyone who had the easy $9 Wise Dan exacta.  The P3 ending it that race was $98-1 by virtue of a 17-1 in the first leg, even though a 3/2 won the second.  You could have actually bet ALL/ALL/Wise Dan and made a few bucks, which is interesting, but not surprising.  Still waiting to hear from someone on a foolproof betting strategy on these rolling P3s.

11 Aug 2013 11:15 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Rusty -

The P3 to Do I Amuse You was coming back $552 for $1. The ML odds are often reflected in the Pick gimmick payouts more so than the actual off odds.  As for parlay 'will pays',  it's useful for bettors to set up simple spreadsheets using some basic calculations to project possible payouts before going too deep in horizontal wagers.  Getting less than 6-1 on P3 returns and 8-1 or Pick 4 returns are can often be considered underlays.

As for the 'tandem',  I require:

1) the horses involved finish 4th or better in the common event

2) in order to be considered, a horse must finish w/in 4 lengths of the best finisher in the race, and

3) in order to eliminate unlikely contenders,  all must finish w/in 10 lengths of the common race winner.   Of course each handicapper may is entitled to set their own criteria.

11 Aug 2013 12:01 PM
Pedigree Ann

"Foal crop sizes have gotten smaller since the mid 1980s, and as a consequence, trainers have become much more patient in their handling of juveniles."

Don't see any logic in this conclusion. Back in the 1950s and 1960s there were smaller foal crops and those horses started racing in April/May/June and had full campaigns of 8 or so races at 2.

When the foal crops started to balloon, so did the number of races BUT the number of races didn't decrease much as the foal crops started to decrease after 1987. Fewer potential opponents should have moved trainers to make sure their 2yo types were ready to run and pick up wins and stakes placings, even if they weren't top-drawer.

11 Aug 2013 12:12 PM
Pedigree Ann

PBP - the definition of a 'tandem' is one thing in front of another, like a tandem bicycle (Bicycle Built for Two). Skilled 'whips' (drivers) used to drive a tandem - on horse in front of the other - or a 'unicorn' - one horse is front of a pair - to prove their skill.

There are so many misuses of 'tandem' these days. It does not mean next to one another, as Durkin seems to think. Nor does it encompass more than two items.

Maybe I can blame economists (why not? - they deserve blame for lots of things <grin>) When they wrote that 'Prices and Wages increase in tandem,' they meant that one followed the other, but the less expert reader interpreted it as simply 'together.'

Or maybe the press - they are always looking for new ways to say the same thing. 'In tandem' sounds more classy than 'together' or 'as a team', so they used it without looking up what it REALLY means. Dang lazy reporters..., Ruining another nice, precise word, just like what they did to unique.

'Unique' means 'one of a kind', as in unit or uno, and is not a synonym for 'unusual' but could you tell that from current speech? Another precise word ruined.

11 Aug 2013 12:31 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Yet another completely useless post from Ann as it relates to picking a winner.

11 Aug 2013 1:10 PM
Plod Boy Phil

and more importantly,  for what it's worth here,  from Meriam -Webster:

2:  a group of two or more arranged one behind the other or used or acting in conjunction

- in partnership

when the race is over,  they are indeed arranged one behind the other.


11 Aug 2013 1:13 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Rusty -

It doesn't answer your question about 2yo and Lasix,  but there are two horses entered on the Monday card at Saratoga that fit both the Lasix and Tandem Rule Profile I look for regardless of age.

R4) 14 Bernando and 15 King Wando (both MTO) impressed us with strong races behind the near wire to wire winner of an Extreme Race for Speed last out in their first efforts with Lasix.  Both are eligible to make significant forward moves when next seen in their second tries with Lasix. Those that prefer lightly raced maidens will likely migrate to Kid Wando.  

11 Aug 2013 2:27 PM
Mary Zinke

Mabee: Lady Of Shamrock,the very tough Tiz Flirtatious,Customer Base.  I like that Sadler is trying the pacesetter thing again. I think it back-fired on him in the Gamely, with the "rabbit" being too fast. Lady Of Shamrock is great at 9f, won at Del Mar last summer, of course that was against other 3yo fillies. She ran well, closing to place in a field of strong Eastern females last out. Maybe the blinkers will help her not dawdle so far back early.

Saratoga Special: Danza, Candy Dandy, Ogermeister.  

11 Aug 2013 3:51 PM
Rusty Weisner

Plod Boy Phil,

Thanks.  I don't make Monday betting a habit but will take a look.

I agree with your P3 & P4 ratios -- I'm comfortable with the bounds I set those bets -- as long as I follow the rule of staking the ticket on one single.  I pretty much make my range $12-36 on a $1 P3 ticket and about triple that for the P4, depending on field sizes, etc. I like the P4 less than I used to:  too much needs to go right -- to my eyes you need a single, a wide-open race, and then two formful races, a tricky combination to catch.  With the P3 there's more margin for error.

Which reminds me -- you dropped a nice P3 in my lap and I didn't take your advice.  I shouldn't have stuck with that horse Placentia you talked me off of, which would have left me with a nice 6-1 winner I liked better, anyway, and I would have gone 3-wide in that last leg at the reduced price.  Next time!

11 Aug 2013 6:37 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Mary -

I'm going to be playing a DD of Tiz Flirtatious to Would You at Del Mar.  

Good luck if you went out to vote.

11 Aug 2013 8:21 PM
Mary Zinke

That Mabee was too weird.  Why have a pacesetter for that slow of a crawl. Bizarre. Wasn't expecting Lady Of Shamrock up close, but then one of us could have outrun them early.

11 Aug 2013 8:51 PM
Plod Boy Phil

The smallest DD is to the 7 by $12 - who'd have thunk it....

11 Aug 2013 9:12 PM
Plod Boy Phil

$8 rather

11 Aug 2013 9:12 PM
Mary Zinke

If you threw out the 4's last couple(or four) races and the fact that it had previously rather sucked at Del Mar, there you go, big long shot winner in the Del Mar finale. It had a nice win at SA in December. The thing is these gems are much easier to find after the race.

11 Aug 2013 10:08 PM
Plod Boy Phil

True, but no harm in trying to learn something from the process.

11 Aug 2013 10:27 PM
Mary Zinke

Phil, I hated the Mabee, but apparently I'm supposed to be learning how beautifully Tiz Flirtatious ran. Really? I would think so for three furlongs after that warm up. Of course I have bad attitude about it.

The finale long shot?  I suppose when the odds get that high, why not every once in a while bet the long shot that can win at the distance. But not like the guys who bet every huge long shot.  I had nothing on these today. I'll let you know, maybe post rm for real money, when I do.

11 Aug 2013 10:44 PM
Plod Boy Phil

It's a very interesting Monday card at Saratoga for Flow players.  

In the 2nd,  8 Elusive Act (5-1) draws the upgrade by virtue of an impressive 'vs Zip Win' on June 8th in an Extreme Race for Closers.  Since these winners have run hard every step of the way, they often require time to recover from the effort.  With nine weeks and a 'neutral' failure since,  I'll play this one to fire a top shot from an ideal outside draw.  The claim away from Maker and the presence of other speed will assure fair odds.

12 Aug 2013 7:49 AM
Pedigree Ann

Mary Z.

Pacemakers are not always rabbits, you know.  Sometimes they are just to provide cover for a 'main horse' who goes speed crazy when left on the lead. Oftentimes, such a horse will be running second or third behind the pacemaker in the early going.

This race was run like a Euro turf race - slow early, fast late. Canter along to the half-mile pole, then a sprint to the wire. If a horse is depending on his/her rivals to get tired and has little 'turn of foot', they aren't going to do well in such a race.

12 Aug 2013 11:34 AM

Well Done PBH!!

Thanks for the heads up

12 Aug 2013 1:42 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Simply destroyed them.  Put this one on Pricci's Blog as well.  

Good times.

12 Aug 2013 1:57 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Flow on Big Red

12 Aug 2013 2:01 PM
Mary Zinke

I'm not home today. My fat adorable boyfriend just bit mashed potatoes off of my finger, so I'll keep this brief. I'm throwing out the Mabee for all that were in it. All 5; how embarrassing of a small field, btw.

12 Aug 2013 3:10 PM
Rusty Weisner

Plod Boy Phil,

Re: Elusive Act

To pick the horse was impressive enough but anticipating the fat post-time odds was gravy.

Now I'm really intrigued.  I took a look at the chart of the SAlw win and don't "see" the Extreme Race for Closers.  But I'll believe today's result over my lying eyes.

One of these days you may have subscriber in me...but not just yet: I'm too well aware that every tool can be a danger to its user. Maybe next year starting with a clean slate and fresh eyes.  Well done.  Good times.

12 Aug 2013 4:28 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Thanks Rusty.

12 Aug 2013 4:48 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Those that visited the U/A page of the site just took yet another brutal beat - this time with Volcano Run in the 9th.

Thought he was home at the 1/8 pole.

12 Aug 2013 5:27 PM
Plod Boy Phil

I don't know where all the horseplayers are, but this isn't any fun.  Well,  maybe a little.

Until Wednesday....

12 Aug 2013 6:21 PM
Mary Zinke

8/14/13 Saratoga r6, Stroll Stakes. Winning Cause. 5,6,2,1.

13 Aug 2013 1:35 PM


I bet the same double you did Tiz?Would You.

Any thoughts on why Would You ran so poorly?

What kind of race do you expect from Little Mike in the million? another flop or score?

13 Aug 2013 1:57 PM
Mary Zinke

Since Secreteriat brought up the Million, my early win pick is Indy Point.  I had Little Mike last year because I knew Dominguez could budget out Mike's speed. Will update after final entries are out.  

13 Aug 2013 2:50 PM
Plod Boy Phil

re: Treasury Bill

Just an FYI - not for betting purposes.  This once highly regarded 3yo shows up in an OC25k/Nw1x in R6 tonight at Indiana Downs.

13 Aug 2013 5:49 PM

Saratoga: Race #6 W/P 6,8

Ex. Box 6,8,7,3,9 Turf is yielding, race distance changed from 9.5f to 9.0f, and stays on the turf.

14 Aug 2013 1:58 PM
Mary Zinke

change SAR r6 to 2,6,8,9

14 Aug 2013 2:58 PM

Plod Boy Phil,

"Yet another completely useless post from Ann as it relates to picking a winner."

That's a very unkind post regarding the views of the valued contributor. I found the information useful.

You were are correct regarding the fact that the post did not address picking winners. However, the contributor didn't indicate same.

She was merely sharing information and providing clarifications. Racing is not always about picking winners irrespective of the title of the Blog.

I found the information provided useful

15 Aug 2013 9:42 AM
Rusty Weisner

I'm looking forward to Saturday at Saratoga.  I will probably steer clear of the Alabama in favor of the Sword Dancer, where there's a 13-horse field and a beatable favorite, Boisterous, who just broke into G1 ranks.  They've had some rain on the turf course and the weather is unseasonably cool, so the carpet won't be parched and threadbare, and the weather will be perfect. An 8-1 horse I liked up above that scratched out of an off-the-turf race will be back in one of the races preceding it and two of PBP's picks are running in the last race.

15 Aug 2013 10:11 AM
Rusty Weisner

I expect to like Twilight Eclipse here off his last performance and at this distance.

15 Aug 2013 10:28 AM
Pedigree Ann

Phil -

Sometimes my great-aunt Sadie, the high school English teacher (from 1902 to 1921 at Omaha South), takes over and has me typing before I know where it will end. Poor lady, she died at age 41 of pernicious amemia just a few years before a viable treatment for the Vitamin B-12 deficiency disease was discovered.

15 Aug 2013 12:51 PM
Monarchos Matt


Don't miss out on the Arlington card Saturday. I'll be making my 4th consecutive appearance out there for the Million card, the weather is supposed to be 78 and sunny and the value will be abundant. I'm still formulating strategies but there is a lot to like all over the card.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to recall you being pretty high on Rydilluc back in the spring, and felt he was a potential candidate for the win had he made it into the Derby (if that was someone else, please accept my apologies).

Rydilluc will be making his second start at the 10f distance after suffering an 8th place defeat in the Virginia Derby over a softer turf course than his connections think ideal for him. There hasn't been rain here in Chicago all week, so he is going to get a nice, firm turf course Saturday when he goes in the Secretariat. I am interested in him as potential lone speed in this race, as he is near the rail and the field is full of stalkers and deep closers. The only thing that gives me pause is that I fear he may be more suited to shorter distances. Do you or anyone else have an opinion on his ability to negotiate 10f at this level? Can he carry his speed that far? Because I don't see anyone else that is going to go with him and if he gets away early and has gas in the tank, it could be curtains for the rest of the field.

15 Aug 2013 3:48 PM
Rusty Weisner

Monarchos Matt,

I'll look forward to your picks.  Those are three big races in a row so I guess I should take a look and give it a whirl.

I took a look at the field for the Beverly D. and wouldn't know what to do with the Europeans.  How have they done on Arlington Million day lately?

15 Aug 2013 4:04 PM
Monarchos Matt


The Euros are what make it a crazy betting day! There's actually a $0.50 Pick 4 starting with the American St Leger going through the Secretariat, Beverly D and Million. $200,000 guarantee. Worth a look for sure.

Last year I played the Pick 5 instead and was live heading into the Beverly D but the Euro I'm a Dreamer ruined it for me (I had been pretty stupid and used three horses, all Americans, Aruna, Mystical Star and Romacaca. Always sane to use at least one Euro).

Stacelita, another Euro won the running before that one but I had the exacta in 2010 when Eclair de Lune won the race, which was great because she is owned by the guy whose wife the race is named after. So it isn't always an all Euro affair and Marketing Mix is going to be a very, very tough out in the Beverly D this time.

The Euros all look strong in that race but the shortest price, Duntle, has never gone beyond 8f in 9 career starts and many of the notes on her PPs read "just held on for win" at that distance. Gifted Girl looks to be in the same class but likes to run near the lead and may have similar distance limitations. The one that intrigues me most is Dank. She's won twice at 9f and has done so with good energy, and might offer decent value since Duntle beat her two back at 8f. All indications are that this filly is much improved since that effort and reports from the track have been raving about her physical condition. I'll use her and Marketing Mix in my Pick 4 and will wait to see how the odds play out to see which one I bet. Looks like a decent race to try to hit the superfecta as well by keying those two in the exacta spots and going 7 deep in the 3 and 4 spots (La Tia and Artemus Kitten are the local entrants and complete tosses in my opinion).

15 Aug 2013 4:30 PM
Rusty Weisner

Monarchos Matt,

Gennadi Dorochenko has two 30-1 entries in that race.  One of them, Golden Jason, will be contesting the pace from the rail.  I guess he's setting it up for the other one, ha ha.  

15 Aug 2013 4:35 PM
Rusty Weisner

Monarchos Matt,

I would never make a distinction between the "exacta spots" and the 3 and 4 spots.  Once you get past your winner there's too much randomness in who picks up the rest of the money; sometimes the second best horse in a race won't even hit the board, after all.

15 Aug 2013 4:43 PM
Rusty Weisner

Monarchos Matt,

Re: Rydilluc -- time was I would say never take the pacesetter in a 13-horse field...but I've given up trying to predict the pace of races.  If you like the one that's fastest out of the gate, bet it.

15 Aug 2013 4:54 PM
Rusty Weisner

Monarchos Matt,

...speaking of which, Little Mike is in the feature.  What do you think of that race?

15 Aug 2013 4:58 PM
Monarchos Matt


Golden Jason looks like very cheap speed to me. He's down on the rail inside of Visiyani who might be the only other horse that is versatile enough to go early so he's going to be in a very very tough spot. I'm not worried about Golden Jason wearing down Rydilluc. I am worried about Rydilluc just not being a 10f horse, however.

I don't agree with your second point. I decide to play exactas, trifectas and superfectas based on precisely that, how sure am I of the winner? If I am unsure and think it could be any of three horses, I might box those in an exacta or trifecta. If I'm sure of the exacta but don't think it offers value I might wheel those two over ALL or most in a tri or superfecta. In a 9 horse race I don't think it's a bad play when you are sure you know the 1st and 2nd place finishers in some order, to try to go for a little extra value underneath.

Having said that, I think I'm leaning towards a 2/3/6/7 structure for my superfecta.

15 Aug 2013 5:03 PM
Monarchos Matt


I've been burned way too many times by lone speed in Turf races. When I think I see it and it is an accomplished horse to boot (Rydilluc is undefeated on firm turf), I bet it. But I'm waiting to watch some races and get a better assessment of his pedigree before I finalize that. Admittedly, Jack Milton is the horse to beat in that race.

Little Mike is the perfect example of lone speed that has killed me on multiple occasions, but he won't be that this year. Nate's Mineshaft's connections have basically admitted that they are going to set fast fractions and see how far he will go. Plus, he's been off form of late, and last year was the time to bet him, he'll be way too short a price for me on Saturday. It's almost become a running joke how much Little Mike is my arch nemesis so I admit I'm almost emotionally against him at this point.

The Million should be a fascinating betting race. It is very hard to look past the favorite Grandeur on current form. The main knock against him is that he may need a bit more ground, but I like that he's been successful out west on firm turf courses and his current form is far superior to that. Indy Point seems to be the buzz horse down at the track, and I need to watch some of his Argentinian races to see what the hype is all about. I wouldn't be surprised to see him as the favorite at post time the way people are talking about him right now. The race is setting up to be Derby-esque in terms of betting, I think you'll see a 4-1 or even 5-1 favorite.

A horse that intrigues me from a value standpoint is Real Solution. He closed well to finish only 1.5 lengths behind Point of Entry in his last, and I have to think POE would be the favorite here even with a strong Euro contingent. The Beyer he earned in that race tops the field at this distance, granted the Euros don't really have Beyers to compare to. I found a link of Chefs de Race that tries to convert Racing Post Ratings to Beyers, but my head started spinning and I went to bed.

15 Aug 2013 5:16 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Dedicated handicappers:  The remaining Grades for the Thursday card at Del Mar may be found for free on the Upgrades & Analysis page at Racing Flow.

15 Aug 2013 6:01 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Noble Kent...yes.

Just a wee bit unfortunate in the 5th.

15 Aug 2013 7:50 PM

Monarchos Matt,

Mr. Steve Haskin and others were high on Rydilluc based on his impressive win the Palm Beach.

I was not as impressed as the first 6F of the Palm Beach was run at a snail's pace and consequently Rydillucs sprinted home in the last three furlongs impressively.

Would he have the same explosive final kick in a race with an honest pace? Unlikely!

I did not think he would be anything special as his sire bred almost 200 mares in 2009 and represents an overbred stallion.  Overbred stallion rarely produce champion horses. In fact the progenies of these stallions appear to be more prone to break downs and mysterious physical problems. Giants Causeway and Tapit were also overbred.

Only one stallion that bred close to 200 mares had a representative in the Derby. That was Tapit who was represented by Normandy Invasion. He has not been able to face the starter since.

I have not seen the field for the Secretariat but I can safely state that Rydilluc will not be my first choice.

16 Aug 2013 7:54 AM

Jack Milton appears to be a good wager for the Secretariat. I made a little money off Mr. Pletcher's colt in the Saratoga Special and consequently I have a bank roll to take a shot.

Jack Milton was an unlucky looser of the VA Derby. If not for traffic problems he would have been much the best. He was trapped against the rails for the better part of the race and when trying to maneuver his way through traffic he came up short. He dived inside to pass the tiring Rydilluc and when checking of both Redwood Kitten and Charming Kitten he was briefly trapped by the fast closing and eventual winner War Dancer. He was also checked down the back stretch. Many horses would have thrown in the towel but he kept closing. These are all signs of the brilliant and honest race horse.

His sire War Front has turned out to be an excellent stallion. Lines Of Battle sired by War Front finished a willing 7th in the KD after exiting the UAE Derby. The KD was his 2nd start in 6 months. Jack Milton dam is lightly raced and just the type of mare that produces champions.

While I recognize that there will be some Euros in the lineup, I am of the opinion that if this colt reports improved he will be the one to beat.

16 Aug 2013 8:50 AM
Rusty Weisner

Monarchos Matt,

Yeah, that was my point.  I was burned twice by the same horse last year and I've used the same word as you: nemesis.  Go for it.

That said, I don't like a horse that hasn't gone the distance in question unless he's outclassing the others.  For example, I'm betting Twilight Eclipse in the Sword Dancer -- this is a horse that likes to run up near the pace and is moving back out to what seems be his optimal distance, 10f -- I don't like others here who have the typical late-charging style at the shorter distances (Boisterous, Big Blue Kitten).  Completely throw out his Manhattan, by the way.

Speaking of which, make a note that Real Solution ran on a sodden course -- in that race where Point of Entry should have been scratched for the second time in a row instead of being run (a horrible race to recall even though I won some money on POE).  Evidently this kind of surface is not only not to some horses' liking (e.g., Point of Entry or Marketing Mix), but it can be very taxing, or worse.  Contributor Kevin liked Real Solution in that one but you may have missed the boat, odds-wise, on that one.

16 Aug 2013 10:05 AM
Rusty Weisner

Monarchos Matt,

What am I saying?  They're 3-yos and all of them are basically trying this distance out.  Maybe I'll try Yeager for the odds.

16 Aug 2013 11:17 AM
Rusty Weisner

Monarchos Matt --

I'll take those same two in the middle leg.


Jack Milton,Yeager,Rydilluc/


Indy Point

16 Aug 2013 11:44 AM
Plod Boy Phil


In addition to the two horses in tomorrow's finale at Saratoga I mentioned here that scratched as MTOs Monday,  the 11th contains a runner I wrote about in the 7/29-8/4 edition of 'RF Notes'.

16 Aug 2013 12:10 PM

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