Tonalist Looks Tough in Jim Dandy Stakes

By J. Keeler Johnson ("Keelerman")

Sometimes, handicapping a horse race can be as much about the horses whose chances you don’t like as it is about the horses whose chances you do like. For me, the $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga is such a race.

A field of seven has turned out for this nine-furlong Travers prep race, led by Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Tonalist. The son of Tapit has been improving steadily all year, and his combination of tactical speed and staying power makes him a contender regardless of pace scenario. He has turned in a quartet of five-furlong workouts since the Belmont, and all indications are that he is maintaining his form well, and perhaps even getting better. Obviously, he has to be considered the horse to beat.

His primary challengers, based on what they have accomplished thus far, are Wood Memorial (gr. I) winner Wicked Strong, Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) winner Kid Cruz, and Kentucky Derby (gr. I) runner-up Commanding Curve. But previous accomplishments aside, do they have what it takes to challenge Tonalist on Saturday?

We’ll start with Commanding Curve. Yes, he was eye-catching in rallying down the Churchill Downs homestretch to secure second place in the Derby behind California Chrome. But his late run was aided greatly by the fact that the last half-mile of the Derby was run in a slow :51.86 seconds. Next time out, in the Belmont Stakes, Commanding Curve finished a badly-beaten ninth behind Tonalist. Thus far, his career has been eerily similar to that of his stablemate Golden Soul, runner-up in the 2013 Kentucky Derby. In seven starts since then, Golden Soul has never finished better than fifth in stakes company, and has not won a single race.

Keeping in mind that his runner-up effort in the Derby is really the only major bright spot on Commanding Curve’s record, I’ll be siding against him in the Jim Dandy, even though from a fan perspective, I would love to see him run well.

The chances of Kid Cruz are more difficult to interpret. The colt has won four of his last five starts—all stakes—with impressive late rallies, but in his lone start against truly top-notch competition, he finished eighth by sixteen lengths in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I). One can also make a case that Kid Cruz has a special fondness for the main track at Belmont (with its sweeping turns and sandy surface), for it is at Belmont that his two most impressive performances have been achieved. I wouldn’t be comfortable tossing him entirely from consideration, but given the question marks regarding caliber of competition and surface switch, I will be leaning against him on Saturday.

Wicked Strong, on the other hand, looks like a major contender to upset Tonalist. Three starts back, he stamped himself as a high-caliber colt with a late-running victory in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. He followed up that effort with a pair of troubled fourth-place finishes in the Kentucky Derby (in which he stumbled at the start, got hung wide on the first turn, and ran into the traffic in the homestretch) and the Belmont Stakes (in which he endured very wide trip around the final turn and was compromised by a moderate pace.) Since the Belmont, he has recorded a trio of solid workouts—including two at six furlongs—and will be adding blinkers for the Jim Dandy in an effort to keep him more focused.

Rounding out the list of entrants are Ulanbator (a distant third behind Kid Cruz in the Dwyer), Legend (a distant runner-up to Kid Cruz in the Easy Goer Stakes), and Cousin Stephen (narrow winner of a one-mile allowance race at Parx Racing.) All three would have to improve substantially to contend in this spot, although I do like the chances of Legend well enough to consider him as a contender for the third spot.

In essence, my selections—as uncreative as they may be!—are Tonalist on top of Wicked Strong in a trifecta, with Legend and Kid Cruz (preference for the former) sharing the third spot in a trifecta. If there was a bit more early pace, I would consider choosing Wicked Strong on top over Tonalist, but with Tonalist likely to secure a terrific stalking trip behind Legend and/or Cousin Stephen, I find it difficult to envision a scenario where Tonalist does not win this race.

Who do you like in the Jim Dandy?


With such a spectacular week of racing coming up, I hope you’ll join me frequently during the next seven days as I blog about the best races from around the world! On Saturday evening, after the Jim Dandy, I will be posting my analysis of the Haskell Invitational (gr. I), in which Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Untapable will take on the colts for the first time. Then, on Monday evening, I’ll be shifting my focus to England to analyze the group I Sussex Stakes at "Glorious Goodwood!" It’s a week of racing you definitely won’t want to miss!


Leave a Comment:

English Pete

The Jim Dandy looks a really nice race, and I'll be going for Wicked Strong. I liked this horse under Cali Chrome for the Derby, and thought he ran well enough given his bad trip to show that he was still improving. I'm willing to put a line through his Belmont run. No doubt Tonalist is another improver, but I prefer Wicked Strong over this distance. In an ideal world I'd like Wicked Strong to outpace Tonalist close home with the two of them well clear.

24 Jul 2014 10:23 AM

English Pete,

Tonalist and Wicked Strong have met twice. The first was in an Allowance over 8.5F and the second the 12F Belmont. On each occasion Wicked Strong finished 4th whereas Tonalist won and was runner up to FL Derby winner Constitution.

Wicked Strong has contested 8 races as compared to 5 by Tonalist. He therefore has more foundation. While both may be improving it is clear which is the better of the two.

The dictating speed in the JD is Tonalist and he is likely to dictate terms and win handily.

24 Jul 2014 10:57 AM

Good morning, everyone! Here's a quick rundown of the major stakes action scheduled for Friday and Saturday:

July 25th: Cougar II Handicap (gr. III) at Del Mar

July 25th: Curlin Stakes at Saratoga

July 26th: San Diego Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar

July 26th: Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga

July 26th: Amsterdam Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga

July 26th: King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Eng-I) at Ascot

The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the weekend, with English Oaks (Eng-I) winner Taghrooda taking on Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. I) winner Magician, Irish Derby (Ire-I) winner Trading Leather; Coral-Eclipse Stakes (Eng-I) winner Mukhadram, Hardwicke Stakes (Eng-II) winner Telescope, and four others. Post time is 10:30 EST.

24 Jul 2014 12:13 PM

English Pete;

Thanks for your thoughts on the Jim Dandy! Do you have an opinion on the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes? I'm leaning toward Telescope or Magician at the moment, but it looks like a wide-open race.

24 Jul 2014 12:17 PM


In case you hadn't seen this yet, I thought I would mention that Footbridge is entered in Saturday's San Diego Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar:

24 Jul 2014 12:19 PM
Star starri

tonalist to win

24 Jul 2014 12:23 PM
Rusty Weisner


I have the same take as you, Coldfacts and English Pete on this race.  Maybe one of the second-tier entries will step up and try to steal it, but I don't think they'll present much of a challenge to Tonalist and WS.  

Noble Moon is back in the Amsterdam.

24 Jul 2014 12:32 PM

Rusty Weisner;

I'm glad to see we're all in agreement! I'll be particularly interested to see how much of a challenge Wicked Strong can present to Tonalist, assuming that the latter does indeed win. Looking down the road to the Travers Stakes, I can envision a scenario similar to last year, where Palace Malice defeated Will Take Charge in the Jim Dandy, only to have the tables turned in the Travers. If Wicked Strong finishes within a couple of lengths behind Tonalist on Saturday, I think it would set him up very well for a rematch in the Travers.

I was very glad to see Noble Moon's name among the entries for the Amsterdam. I think the cutback in distance will help his chances a great deal, and while he might not be ready to win in his first start since the Wood Memorial, I think this could prove to be an excellent prep for the King's Bishop Stakes one month from now.

24 Jul 2014 12:54 PM

Good news! The post positions for the Haskell have been drawn! Here's the lineup:

1. Encryption

2. Bayern

3. Albano

4. Irish You Well

5. Just Call Kenny

6. Social Inclusion

7. Untapable

8. Wildcat Red

9. Medal Count

24 Jul 2014 12:55 PM
Rusty Weisner


I like Bayern's chances against Untapable best.  His campaign reminds me of Paynter's.

24 Jul 2014 1:21 PM
Rusty Weisner


Wicked Strong doesn't inspire me with confidence like he did six weeks ago, but from Jerkens' comment and what seems a mostly paceless field the blinkers make sense, I guess.

24 Jul 2014 1:23 PM

Keelerman, Coldfacts & Rusty et al:

I beg to disagree ...Wicked Strong will now turn the tables on Tonalist with Kid Cruz completing the trifecta

24 Jul 2014 2:02 PM


Where have you been buddy? Your insightful input is always appreciated.

Wicked Strong was my selection for the Derby. Heading into the Belmont I jumped ship for Tonalist.

Why did I jump WS's ship? He has tactical speed but has a tendency to lose focus in his races. In the Belmont he was briefly ahead of Tonalist and in what I considered to be a good position. He dropped back and gave up too much ground and was unable to recover same. It was similar case in the Wood where was in a good position and drop back only to explode late. He does not have that luxury against a colt the caliber of Tonalist.

How exactly is going to win the JD? He does not have as much tactical speed as Tonalist. I am also of the opinion that he does to have as much stamina as well.

His closing burst will ne negated as he will be closing on a horse that is capable of a 12 seconds pace for 9F and one that just keep going and going.

Can he record 1:47 plus for 9F? It might take either such a time or better to win the JD. I do not believe WS has that sort of class at this point.

Tonalist is a serious race horse. When a 17 hands horse has 46,1:10,1:35 pace and can accelerate out of those fractions, it is the Usain Bolt of Thoroughbred racing. When a colt wins the Belmont in its 5th start and two previous 9F race the sky is the limit in rout races.

Do not forget the colt shed his frogs in the Peter Pan and was being trained in a bar shoe for the Belmont. To run 1:48 gearing down with the aforementioned issue just shows the transformation the colt has under gone.

He has already removed the chrome from the people's horse in his 5th start. What will he be capable of with more racing experience? Do you share my belief?

24 Jul 2014 2:58 PM


Thanks for the alert regarding Footbridge.

This well bred colt needs a trainer. His current trainer gets a big vote of no confidence from me. The colt ran one of its worst races on a synthetic track. Why is he entered in a race at Del Mar.

Eoin Harty wins a race every 100 years. He is assigned good horses by Darley but has been a miserable failure at getting them to the top level. They always end up injured. Remember Out Of bounds!

He previously trainer Imperative for Darley and could not get him beyond the Allowance/Optional Claim level. Imperative was eventually claimed for $50K and has since finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in G1 & G2 races. What exactly was Mr. Harty doing with the colt that forced Darley to put him in for a tag? Did he advise them the colt devoid of ability?

It is inconceivable that Footbridge who showed so much promise as a 3YO has not yet won beyond Allowance/Optional Claim level. Probably Darley should place a tag on him when next he is entered next in a Optional Claim race and be further embarrassed by their CA trainer.

24 Jul 2014 3:26 PM

Well this is why it works, today Brown got back in the game with his only two starters garnering a 3rd and a much needed 1st to stay within striking distance to Pletcher with his 6 wins Brown now has two wins.

Four starters went to post and 50% were in the money Pletcher had his first ofer day sending two starters out and none hit the board.I only played one Brown starter but it was the right one Powerful Instinct paid 9.80 4.80 3.70 but thats the way of the game what have you done for me lately if Brown wasnt so cold on Wednesday I guarantee you would have got less than 8 dollars on Powerful Instinct to win.

If you believe in statistics which is not an absolute science like mathemethics, then you will believe in Brown and Pletcher as their odds are almost always low, and the resultant probabilities are almost always high.Thats theory in practice its about waiting for the pitcher to be forced to come in with the fast ball inotherwords being selective in your play IN THIS GAME.BTW I passed College statistics and if you really know about stats you know that they are not exact and you know about the Bell Curve and the presence of samples as in how many flips of a coin would it take to get 50 heads and 50 tails nobody knows and it cant be explained with stats.

24 Jul 2014 5:03 PM
English Pete

Coldfacts, I'm very happy to debate with you as your previous posts indicate you're more interested in finding the right answer than in point scoring. So, here's how I see things - and your post has already prompted me to look afresh in the morning.

I do not agree it is clear which is the better of the two - in fact, their relative odds will be of great interest to me as if the market strongly favours one I'll probably back the other on value grounds.

On the Gulfstream race, my position is that the Wicked Strong of that race no longer exists (you could say the same for Tonalist but stay with me as this is a debate and not point scoring). He improved so markedly from that allowance race to the Wood, I'll stick with that as evidence that Wicked Strong improved beyond recognition. I think he proved that in the Derby.

In the Belmont my only position - which I backed on Betfair - was that Cali Chrome would not win because he would not stay. However, I couldn't pick an individual rival to back for the win because I did not think any of them were crying out for a mile and a half on the Belmont surface. I'd write off the Belmont completely as a novelty race.

Bottom line is that I think both Wicked Strong and Tonalist are improvers. I've learned to understand the importance of foundation in dirt racing, but after Spring I'd downplay that. I thing Wicked Strong is more progressive and, at the Jim Dandy distance, should win.

24 Jul 2014 5:15 PM
English Pete

Hi Keelerman, I have no strong opinion on Saturday's King George. I look for stamina in the race so I'd go for Telescope or Flintshire. Probably won't bet but if you put a gun to my head I'd go Flintshire each way at the prices.

24 Jul 2014 5:48 PM


Your primary argument in favour of Tonalist over Wicked Strong is that the former has beaten the latter twice (in both their meetings to date) BUT I'd remind you about last season when a similar observation could be made about Palace Malice defeating Will Take Charge twice before the Travers ...PM hasn't finished in front of WTC in two meetings between the two since (Travers 7 BCC Classic). I say Wicked Strong will do same to Tonalist beginning with the Jim Dandy. The blinkers added by an astute trainer will make a difference.

24 Jul 2014 5:55 PM

This is what I wrote presence of samples as in how many flips of a coin would it take to get 50 heads and 50 tails nobody knows and it cant be explained with stats.

This is what I meant to write when flipping a coin there are only two possible outcomes heads or tails the theory of stats is that if you flip the coin enough times EVENTUALLY the result will be 50% heads 50% tails.The question it cant answer is how many flips(samples) will it take for this to be true.

When you use probabilities and odds there is no sense in trying to be perfect so that the entire fields probability is equal to 100% because the math behind this is not exact.The results are in a range on a Bell Curve.

24 Jul 2014 7:37 PM

The statistical results when plotted on a graph will fall within a range on a Bell Curve.Statistics has its uses in Social Science for instance but to rely on it to be an exact predictatory tool is wishful thinking.There is nothing exact in predicting the outcome of horse races its more of an Art than a Science.PPS are stats of what happened in the past they have many limitations for predicting the future.Me personally Id rather rely on a strategy that works than to think of myself as a purveyor of any type of exactness using primarily numbers or figures achieved in THE PAST.You gotta project into the future more than reflect into the past.

24 Jul 2014 7:54 PM

The results that I write about is if you set up an equation on the probability of a runner using the only thing that is known before the race THE ODDS.They would be plotted on a graph visually and fall within a range on a BELL CURVE.

24 Jul 2014 8:05 PM

Of course I have seen the simple math that is used to come up with the probability using the odds,but do you think a serious statistician will take the odds at face value when setting up am equation, when the favorite wins 33% and losses 66%percent of the time long term.

24 Jul 2014 8:48 PM

It just gets stupider and stupider!

24 Jul 2014 8:51 PM

Hi all,

Tough race, I can't pick between wicked strong and tonalist.

Like the blinkers on WS, may well give him an edge, that said Tonalist has the look of a BC classic horse.

Straight exacta after I pick the top one in the parade ring.

I like Albano in the Haskell at odds.

24 Jul 2014 8:55 PM

Any thoughts on the Cougar tomorrow ?.

Looks wide open, I always like those horses with distance under their belt going a mile an a half.

Number 1 . Liberia fits the bill.

Pissed the BC marathon is gone, I have won a lot on that race, one of very few lol


24 Jul 2014 9:04 PM


At present we obviously don't have "shared belief" about Tonalist but your views are well regarded and the colt worth watching equine likeness to Usain Bolt is a bit of a stretch. That said, the final half of this season is setting up to be quite a humdinger.

In the Haskel, I'm sticking with Social Inclusion to begin to fulfill the promise shown ...he might turn out to be of closer equine likeness to Usain Bolt ...but then again you and I seldom "share beliefs" (LOL).

24 Jul 2014 9:07 PM

I like Wildcat Red on top with Medal Count, Untapable and Irish You Well in the Haskell.  

I like the longshot Cousin Stephen to stay with Tonalist all the way and hopefully get the bob on him at the wire, I'll throw in WS, KC and Ulanbator underneath my exotics.   I'm surprised that Tonalist chose the weaker of the two races.   A horse winning a 12F G1 race against a very very tough field to come back in a G2 race doesn't make much sense at all...I can't imagine the connections being afraid of Untapable, maybe they're afraid of facing true speed with Bayern, Social Inclusion and get exposed.   Any ideas Keelerman ?

24 Jul 2014 9:26 PM

Terrific thoughts, everyone! I'm really fascinated to see how many people feel that Tonalist and Wicked Strong are going to sweep the Jim Dandy exacta.

TnT, I really like the chances of Sky Kingdom in the Cougar II Handicap. He ran well in this race last year, finishing second by a half-length, and holds a notable Beyer speed figure edge over his rivals. I will also be taking a close look at Old Time Hockey, who made a sharp move on the far turn of last year's Breeders' Cup Marathon; and Soi Phet, who is 3-for-3 at Del Mar.

I was also very disappointed to see the Marathon culled from the Breeders' Cup program. It was one of my favorite Breeders' Cup races, and Calidoscopio's last-to-first victory in 2012 is among my all-time favorite racing moments.

24 Jul 2014 9:30 PM


Thanks for your thoughts! I believe the connections of Tonalist chose the Jim Dandy over the Haskell for several reasons. First off, Tonalist is based at Saratoga right now, so running in the Jim Dandy will not require shipping, whereas running in the Haskell would require a van ride to Monmouth.

Secondly, running in the Jim Dandy will allow Tonalist to get in a prep race at Saratoga prior to running in the Travers, which could prove very beneficial -- of the last eleven Travers winners (counting both Alpha and Golden Ticket in 2012), seven prepped for the race in the Jim Dandy, while just one prepped in the Haskell.

Lastly, while the Jim Dandy may be just a grade II race, the purse is a very respectable $600,000, more than many grade Is.

So it's my guess that the connections of Tonalist chose the Jim Dandy because it makes the most sense from the perspective of prepping for the Travers, which is the race they would really like to win. With that in mind, Tonalist probably isn't fully cranked for the Jim Dandy, the intention being to leave something in the tank for the Travers. If he were running in the Haskell, his connections would probably have had to crank him a bit tighter in preparation for taking on better competition, which might compromise his chances of being in peak form for the Travers.

24 Jul 2014 9:58 PM


It's interesting that you should mention Out of Bounds, because I happened to see his name in the results of a race in England just last week! On July 19th, Out of Bounds finished fifth in the Doom Bar Steventon Stakes at Newbury, one position behind the returning multiple group I winner Al Kazeem. That was the second start of the year for Out of Bounds, who also finished fifth and last in the Royal Windsor Stakes on May 12th. At the present time, he is under the care of Saeed bin Suroor. It will be interesting to see how he progresses during the remainder of the season!

24 Jul 2014 10:09 PM

English Pete;

Thanks for your thoughts on the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes! I'll be sure to give Flintshire a closer look.

24 Jul 2014 10:10 PM

English Pete,

“I think Wicked Strong is more progressive and, at the Jim Dandy distance, should win”

A very interesting conclusion. Do the cold facts support said conclusion?

Wicked Strong entered a NW2 Allowance race against Tonalist and Constitution. On his resume was 3rd place finish in the G2 Remsen and 9th place finish in the G2 Holy Bull.

With his graded stakes experience he should have been the colt to beat. However, Constitution and Tonalist  finished 1-2  while the more experienced  WS finished 4th. Not an indication of progress.

WS exited that Allowance race and won the G1 Wood Memorial. Tonalist was scheduled to contest the Wood but had to be withdrawn due to a lung infection. WS next contested the KD finishing a troubled 4th.

When Wicked Strong met Tonalist in the Belmont he was making his 8th start including 4 graded races. Tonalist was making his 5th start that included one graded race. Tonalist won the Belmont defeating top rated California Chrome the Derby and Preakness winner. Wicked Strong could only manage a DH finish for 4th. Hardly an indication of progress considering that Belmont runner up Commissioner is without a graded stakes win or placing.

In every category Tonalist has proven to the more progressive of the two. Regarding the distance of the Jim Dandy, it should be noted that Tonalist has contested two races over the distance and won both. WS has one victory and a 3rd place finish from two efforts over the distance. Again Tonalist comes out on top?

Wicked Strong has to improve significantly with the blinkers added to have any chance of defeating Tonalist. With only five races under his girth, Tonalist has more scope for improvement.

24 Jul 2014 10:38 PM


You are being  directed to my response to English Pete regarding his conclusion that WS is the more progressive of the two colt. The cold facts indicate otherwise.

Social Inclusion: You are well known for supporting to the death highly regarded horses. Union Rags and Uncle Mo come to mind. Social Inclusion needs a trainer and that's the only time he will realize his true potential.

He has regressed since his track record performance and he will find 9F with his regular pair blue blinker taxing. When blinkers were affixed to Palace Malice he ran off in the Derby and stopped badly in the last three furlongs. They were promptly removed. WTC won 2 race with blinkers and was a much improved horse when they were removed.

Focus on Tonalist as he is trained and conditioned by one of the best trainers in the country. SI is trained a by and old man who is set in his way and has no concept of the positives that change can bring.

24 Jul 2014 10:59 PM

Keelerman : Yeah, I guess that makes more sense.   I asked only because some people think he's the best 3 yr old in the country off of the Belmont win.   Cranked or not, he should win the Jim Dandy easily if he's as good as some people thinks, this is a weak field but like you said, it is a good prep and a very nice purse.

Who do you like in the Haskell ?   Do we have another Rachel Alexandra this year ?  She might be as good or better than Rachel but I hope they don't run her to the ground like they did Rachel.

24 Jul 2014 11:51 PM

Kid Cruz won his only effort over 9F in spectacular fashion at Laurel Park. His last to first victory in the Private Term was something to behold. His times at Laurel Park and Pimlico were pedestrian when compared to his times at Belmont Park. He took command in the Easy Goer just before 8F were completed and the clock subsequently showed 1:34.99 for the mile.

Whereas he closed from last in the Easy Goer, he was only 3L off the pace in the Dwyer. This colt is getting good at the right time. The 2013 Jim Dandy winner Palace Malice was sired by Curlin a classic wining grandson of Mr. Prospector. Kid Cruz was sired by Lemon Drop Kid who is also a classic winning grandson of Mr. Prospector. Can He either split or upset the big two?

Never underestimate a talented horse from the Mr. P sire line. It has been all about the A P Indy sire line in the Derby, Preakness, Belmont and Oaks.  The trend is due to be broken.

Kid Cruz has either chased or closed just off fractions similar to those set by Tonalist in the Peter Pan. He has a similar running style to Wicked Strong but appear to have a more explosive kick in the stretch. KC will be more suited to the distance of the Jim Dandy and it is unlikely that he will be exposed to 46, 1:10 & 1:34 fractions. I am expecting this improved colt to be the one challenging Tonalist in deep stretch and I think he could upset at a price. In addition to including him in my exotics, I will have a few win tickets just in case

24 Jul 2014 11:57 PM


“his connections would probably have had to crank him a bit tighter in preparation for taking on better competition”

It’s interesting that you consider the competition in the Haskell better than the Jim dandy.

Wild Cat Red and Medal Count finished off the board in the Derby whereas Commanding Curve and Wicked Strong made the board. Social Inclusion has lost his last three starts whereas Kid Cruz whom he defeated in the Preakness has won his last two impressively including a graded stakes.

Untapable is a nice filly but her numbers are not better than those of top colts. She is no RA.

In my opinion the competition appears even.

25 Jul 2014 12:31 AM

Coldfacts :   It's interesting (although I expected it) you picked the Derby where the two horses you're comparing ran bad.   WR has one bad race, Medal Count finished a strong 3rd in the Belmont and was actually gaining on the inside.   Social Inclusion ran 3rd in 2 G1 races and a G2.  Bayern has won a G1 race.   Untapable is unbeaten this year.  As Keelerman noted, Kid Cruz can beat up on the lower caliber horses but in the race he faced tougher competition, he wasn't able to close on them.   You already posted details about what type of horse Wicked Strong is.

25 Jul 2014 1:56 AM
Pedigree Ann

Brontexx - if you think that Statistics is less of a mathematical discipline than straight math, your instructor must not have emphasized how things like the gaussian (normal) curve, binomial distributions (like coin tosses), etc., have been rigorously derived from mathematical principles. Stats is a sub-discipline of math that deals with real world data and probability.

For my dissertation, I had to derive what turned out to be a simple formula that had involved squaring terms that had 6 items in them, starting with a 4th power item. Actually, it turned out to be harder than that, but you get the idea. Six months of my life (I was teaching at the same time) went into finding that simple formula, but I can be assured that the mathematics is sound.

And are you so sure the data you are looking at is distributed normally? There are many other distributions occur in the real world, the like the chi-squared and the Poisson. Assuming a normal distribution without proof is one of the biggest mistakes non-professionals make. That and bad designs of experiments that can't possibly tell you want to know (looking at you, M.D.s).

25 Jul 2014 6:44 AM
English Pete

Keelerman, don't spend time looking at Flintshire for the King George. He has a high temperature this morning and won't run. Shame, as connections were saying they fancied him and he had the form on fast ground.

25 Jul 2014 7:30 AM

If Cirrus Des Aigles was entered in the King George, he would probably be the second favorite. For that reason, I like Taghrooda to win the race.

Both horses ran at Epsom over 12 furlongs, in June, but 24 hours apart, carrying the same weight, 126lbs.

Cirrus Des Aigles ran the faster time by 0.03 seconds, or less than half a length.

If Cirrus Des Aigles was in the race tomorrow, he would be giving Taghrooda 15 pounds or roughly 7 lengths.

On that basis, I take Taghrooda to win.

It is possible that the track was slower on the second day, but Australia’s time later that day was 1.23 seconds  faster than Cirrus Des Aigles’s time.

Either the track was faster or Australia is the new king.

25 Jul 2014 8:22 AM
Monarchos Matt

Looking at the Haskell in terms of race shape, it looks absolutely loaded with speed. I'm suspicious of Bayern beyond 8f, and adding Social Inclusion, Wildcat Red and Albano to the mix should only make the pace more blistering...I'm just not sure any of the above will be able to withstand those fractions and carry their speed over 9f.

Untapable figures to get a great trip stalking the speed, and towers over the field in terms of speed figures at this distance. She takes a big class leap and will be an underlay but it is difficult to argue against her on top. The horse that most intrigues me based on the pace setup is Medal Count, and he could be a great price. He probably prefers a bit more ground but should be picking off horses late...

I'm torn in the Jim Dandy, so I will likely just watch and enjoy. My heart lies with Wicked Strong, but I struggle to find a handicapping angle that justifies taking him over Tonalist at 9f.

25 Jul 2014 8:52 AM


You have a good point about the caliber of competition in the Jim Dandy and the Haskell -- they do appear pretty even. However, I believe that several of the key Jim Dandy competitors -- Tonalist, Wicked Strong, and Kid Cruz, for example -- are not fully cranked for this race, whereas in the Haskell, I believe that most of the key competitors have been sharpened in an effort to try and pick up a grade I win. Looking down the road, I will most likely side with Tonalist and Wicked Strong to defeat any of the Haskell competitors in the Travers, but on this weekend, I think the Haskell runners are bound to be a bit sharper, since they are running in a prestigious grade I that (in the case of the colts) could secure them great value as future stallions.

25 Jul 2014 8:57 AM

Welcome back, Monarchos Matt!

25 Jul 2014 10:45 AM


I'm glad you asked about the Haskell! I'm still handicapping the race, but my gut feeling at the moment is to try and beat Untapable, since -- in my opinion -- she's not at quite the same level as Rachel Alexandra was at this point in 2009.

As Monarchos Matt mentioned, there is a lot of early speed in the Haskell, and that could potentially compromise the chances of Bayern (who may not want to run this far) and Social Inclusion (who needs to relax to run his best race.) On the other hand, Monmouth Park does tend to favor speed, so it wouldn't surprise me to see one of the front-runners get clear of the others and steal the race gate-to-wire.

In addition, a fast pace could potentially prove disadvantageous to Untapable, who has spent much of her career tracking moderate fractions of around :48 for a half-mile and 1:12 3/5 for six furlongs. She has encountered faster paces (around 1:09.50) on just two occasions in route races. The first was the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies last year, in which she was checked at the three-eighths pole and eased, and the other came last time out in the Mother Goose, in which she easily defeated four rivals, but experienced a twelve-point drop in her Beyer speed figure.

So all that said, I'm leaning toward using Wildcat Red on top, although I would actually have preferred to see him draw inside of Bayern and Social Inclusion. I'll also give a close look to Albano and Just Call Kenny for use in the exotics.

One horse I probably won't use is Medal Count. He did run well in the Belmont Stakes, but I think the distance had more to do with his fine showing than a preference for dirt. His effort reminded me to a degree of Brilliant Speed's third-place finish in the 2011 Belmont Stakes. Brilliant Speed had plenty of stamina, but he was definitely at his best on turf and synthetic tracks, as he demonstrated both before and after the Triple Crown season. I wouldn't be shocked if Medal Count runs well on Sunday, but my guess is that his future is on turf and synthetic as well.

In any case, it's going to be a terrific race!

25 Jul 2014 10:46 AM

It has been announced that Cousin Stephen, one of the expected pacesetters in the Jim Dandy, will scratch from the race and instead run in the Curlin Stakes this afternoon at Saratoga.

25 Jul 2014 10:47 AM

English Pete;

That's too bad about Flintshire. Hopefully, he'll recover quickly. Thanks for sharing the news!

25 Jul 2014 10:51 AM
Rusty Weisner

Keelerman, Monarchos Matt --

The anonymous author of the blog upstairs picks Medal Count, for the odds.  I don't like it, either.  When's the last time a turfy type won the Haskell?

25 Jul 2014 11:30 AM

Rusty Weisner;

I just did some quick research, and as far as I could see, all of the Haskell winners going back to at least the mid-1980s were proven dirt performers. The closest thing I could find to a turf horse winning the Haskell was Verrazano last year, but he had never run on turf prior to the Haskell, so he really can't be counted.

25 Jul 2014 11:51 AM
Monarchos Matt

Not sure I'd even classify Medal Count as a "turfy" seems to me he's just a versatile horse that can run well on multiple surfaces. For all we know, dirt might indeed be his best surface. His two best graded finishes came over synthetic and his best career race came over dirt. I'll give him a strong shot here on the collapsing pace angle.

25 Jul 2014 12:10 PM


Wicked strong was fancied in the Holy Bull and finished a dismal 9th. Untapable was fancied in the Breeder Cup Juvenile Fillies and finished a dismal 8th. It could have been concluded that the performances of the aforementioned horses was impacted by the competition. They both bounced back with a victory in one of their next two starts and have progressed since.

Kid Cruz was defeated by a wide margin in the Preakness. He was considered a live longshot but his performance left a lot to be desired. He did not raise a gallop and it was by far his worst performance on dirt. Was it the competition or some other factors that contributed to his poor performance? Is he the same horse that got whipped in the Preakness?

I am aware the track configurations and conditions play a major role in final times. However, even the most incurable optimist could not have envisaged that Kid Cruz a former claimer could record 1:34.89 for a mile off the pedestrian times he recorded at the three tracks he previously competed.

His times at Belmont range from 3, 4 & 6 seconds faster for comparative distances. Irrespective of what factors contributed to the variances, KC could not have won Easy Goer and Dwyer if he was in capable of recording a mile in 1:34 plus. Tonalist showed previously unknown speed in the Peter Pan splitting a mile in 1:35 plus. In his next start he won the Belmont. Tonalist’s performance was much improved. Why shouldn’t KC’s performances at Belmont signal he is a much improved horse? One bad race against top class company does not define a horse. Will Take Charge was destroyed in 3 consecutive G1 races and eventually became the Champion 3YO. What ever happened to an open mind?

Social Inclusion finished 3rd in the G1 Wood and Preakness. He then stepped down to contest the G2 Woody Stephens and was destroyed by Bayern a horse not considered his equal. His Stephen performance is certainly not an indication of progress. Social Inclusion has been one pace in the final furlong of his last 3 races whereas KC has been full on run passing stubborn leaders.

25 Jul 2014 12:11 PM

Monarchos Matt;

You may be right that it's premature to assume that Medal Count can't be successful on dirt. His effort in the Belmont Stakes was a strong one (and came in a very strong renewal of the race), and he certainly ran better than Dale Romans' Dullahan did in the 2012 Belmont Stakes. Using Dullahan as an example of a true synthetic/turf horse that ran in the Haskell, there were hints after the Belmont that Dullahan was better on synthetic than on dirt, and he seemed to affirm that with his subsequent poor showing in the Haskell. Medal Count's effort in the Belmont, over a dirt track that is not nearly as kind to turf horses as Churchill Downs (over which Dullahan ran third in the 2012 Kentucky Derby), seems to suggest that he is more likely to handle the Monmouth dirt than Dullahan.

If there is indeed a pace meltdown in the Haskell, I agree that Medal Count is among the most likely to benefit. I'll give him a closer look, and assuming there isn't an obvious speed-bias on Sunday at Monmouth, I'll probably find a way to use him. After all, I liked him in the Derby and the Belmont, and it would be a shame to jump ship and then watch him romp in the Haskell!

25 Jul 2014 12:22 PM
Rusty Weisner

I like Long River a lot in R10 on the Haskell card and may build a P4/P5 around him.  I think it sets up well with Bradester, Valid and Pants on Fire, and it's a class drop.  This was the race last year where Take Charge Indy came up lame.

25 Jul 2014 1:52 PM

KY Vet: Come on man, give us your professional selections and point of view. Your record doesn't suggest there'll be a run down of the odds (LOL).

25 Jul 2014 3:00 PM

Coldfacts : You can try and glorify Kid Cruz all you want but until he proves he can win against top level competition, he's no different than Samraat.

This discussion is about the quality of the field, KC alone doesn't make the Jim Dandy a better or an even competition compared to the Haskell.

Keelerman : Agree with your assessment of the number of speed in the race but Bayern and SI has not shown they can carry their speed and WR has so I’m glad we’re in agreement.  I’m not worried about WR’s post at all, he’s got one of the most underrated jockey in Saez.   I’m more worried about Albano than Social Inclusion or Bayern, I’ll have a look at your Kenny horse, I totally ignored him when looking at the field.   I think the race will be won on the front but if the pace falls apart, I expect Medal Count to pick up the pieces.  I think MC is a late bloomer and he might just be starting to get it together, yes, it's very possible it's the distance that helped him in the Belmont but I do think it helped him progress and I'm expecting a big run from him again in the Haskell.

If Cousin Stephen scratches, there’s no one left that will be able to press Tonalist up front and he might actually win this by a mile.  I'll put Ulanbator up for 2nd and will use him a lot on exacta/tri and super.  If Tonalist falls asleep on the lead, I hope he's in a spot to pull a shocker.

25 Jul 2014 4:29 PM
Carlos in Cali

Tonalist & WS will be fitter for the Travers, so I'm going with Kid Cruz for the upset. The pace will be slow,but I think KC will outkick them both because of the recency edge.

Just Call Kenny to win the Haskell @ BIG odds,with Untapable and Bayern rounding out the tri.

25 Jul 2014 4:42 PM

Carlos in Cali,

I love your Haskell pick.

25 Jul 2014 4:59 PM

Keelerman : I picked Irish You Well over Kenny, I don't think Kenny will be turning the tables on him on Sunday.  I wouldn't be surprised if IYW actually sets the pace, with Bayern and WR tracking him.  I will actually play a late double of Lezcano/Catalano (Irish You Well to Squall King).

I watched SI's Preakness race again and I think if he can duplicate that race, it might just be enough to hit the board.  They set a pretty quick pace and he was actually looking pretty good on the final turn but was just overmatched against CC.  I'm really starting to like him in this race.  I'll probably drop Untapable in favor of SI.

25 Jul 2014 5:14 PM

"Kid Cruz: Until he proves he can win against top level competition, he's no different than Samraat"

As usual you have missed the point I was making. Did Tonalist win against top level competition before his Belmont victory?

Kid Cruz chances of being competitive against top level competition must be evaluated based on his performances since his poor Preakness effort. Do those performances signal that he has improved? I contend  yes!

Heading into the Preakness he recorded the following times:

AQU: 8F - 1st in 1:37.73

AQU: 8.5F - 2nd in 1:44.33

LRL: 9F 1st in 1:54.84

PIM: 8.5F 1st 1:47.38

The 9.5F Preakness was completed in 1:54.84. KC won the Private Term contest at 9F in 1:54.82. What chance did he have in the Preakness being so slow?

Is he still that slow colt?  He has recorded two 1:34 plus mile at Belmont en route to a pair of 1:41.12 victories over 8.5F. What additional evidence do you need to see he can be competitive in top class company.

I think he will be better at 9F.

Ulaanbaatar: He was defeated handily by KC in his last effort. Your preference for 2nd is a MSW winner over a colt that has five victories and is at a stage of rapid improvement. Ulanbator and KC were on even terms at one point down the back stretch. In the stretch KC left him for dead. I suggest you revisit the Dwyer and save yourself pending embarrassment.

25 Jul 2014 5:38 PM

$100 Quinella Tonelist/Wicked Strong

$20 TRI Straight/ Tonelist/Wicked Strong/Kid Cruz.

Kid Cruz may scratch, if he does I will replace him with Commanding Curve.

Haskell  Untappable Bayern Medal Count Tri Box

Good Luck all!

25 Jul 2014 5:40 PM

$100 Quinella Tonelist/Wicked Strong

$20 TRI straight Tonelist/Wicked Strong/Commanding Curve.

Kid Cruz may scratch

25 Jul 2014 5:50 PM

Today Brown Pletcher  had 4 entrants and three came in the money, one1st one2nd and one 3rd.Mclaughlin ran one 1st time starter he is 0 for 10 in the money.

KY VET It just gets stupider and stupider!

Yeah anyone who would bet KD futures in November brag about his picks before both of them are hurt and off the Derby trail and then a few posts later state that he knows when horses are hurt.You remind me of the comic strip Beavis and Butthead I saw it years ago just cabt remember which one you resemble more.

25 Jul 2014 5:59 PM
El Kabong


Great races this weekend, The JD has such a small field with obvious outcome that I will watch this one. But the Haskell, I love Albano. He can rate off the pace and I like the front end at this track. As much as I would love to see Medal Count fulfill Big Daddy Dale's faith in this horse, I don't think this is the track to do it. Going for a juicy payout on Albano. Good luck everyone, enjoy the races.

25 Jul 2014 6:14 PM

Pedigree Ann Im glad you passed your disertation and Im very sure about what I have done.I am also very sure of my style of play.I hope you can show us how statistics can be used in picking winners of horse races say how about making your own odds for the race in question the Jim Dandy.

25 Jul 2014 6:16 PM

Pedigree Ann if I said oddsboard I meant oddsline.Make your own oddsline for the Jim Dandy and then I will trust the quants to be more than theorist.The quants have an edge in the stock market because it is made made synthetic but horseracing is not so synthetic at least in the exercise of running,what the horses injest is something else.

25 Jul 2014 6:24 PM

i'm with you el kabong......albano for the win

Settled on ws tonalist straight exacta.

Pletcher/brown angle is always a winner, but not much fun.

25 Jul 2014 6:43 PM

wrote because it is made meant to write man-made synthetic the stock markets are full of quants but there arent any formulas for black swan events.

25 Jul 2014 8:21 PM


Wicked Strong will race with blinkers for the 1st time in the Jim Dandy. I believe he will be up with the pace and will not show his usual closing burst. I consider the $100 Quinella (Tonalist/Wicked Strong) a bad wager. The return from such a wager is not worth the worth the risk.

Kid Cruz for 2nd is a better wager. In fact I believe KC will upset the top two and consequently the ($20 TRI Straight/ Tonalist/Wicked Strong/Kid Cruz) has the wrong horse in 3rd.

Kid Cruz sire Lemon Drop Kid won the Belmont and several other rout races and was Champion Older Horse. In 2000 he won the 10F Suburban is 1:58.97. This stallion has been disappointing based on his pedigree and performance. He has a better race record than Tapit and Hard Spun. I have a sneaky feeling Kid Cruz could turn out to be best of his best progenies.

My love affair with horses from the Mr. Prospector sire line has not been impacted by the dominance of the A P Indy sire in 2014. The fact that Kid Cruz was produced from an unraced mare makes him even more appealing.

I hope he takes to the surface at Saratoga. His ML of 8-1 is certainly more appealing than Tonalist’s 8-5. I love Tonalist but I think KC will tag him.

25 Jul 2014 9:14 PM
Little Bill

The play- 2,4.Legend looks like lone speed unless Rosario shakes up Tonalist, which is likely. Legend has really not ran a bad one yet. Scratch inside also helps.

25 Jul 2014 9:39 PM

Coldfacts : Again, let me remind you that the point of the discussion was the quality of the field.  You're so desperate to be right you often missed the point.  Let me remind you again : KC alone does NOT make the JD a better or an even competition field than the Haskell.  

I never said KC isn’t a good horse, I said the one time he faced top level competition he didn’t show up.  If you look at my picks, I actually had him in my trifecta before you even posted about him.   I would like to see him actually hit the board and I’m betting that he’ll close enough to do it.   Ulanbator (spelled Ulanbator) is my longshot play.  He’s the one that I chose to bet on to make it a juicier payout, thanks but I actually don’t believe in “history” or “number of times a mare was bred” type of handicapping.  I’ll let myself be embarrassed before I use that kind of handicapping :)   Just curious, how much money have you lost betting on the Mr. P line this year ?

It's quite obvious based on records that Tonalist,  WS and KC are the top horses in the Jim Dandy, it doesn't take an expert to figure that out.   I'm a gambler, I play to make money.   If I believe that the race will result in a Tonalist, WS, KC trifecta I wouldn't play it.   I'm not in the sport to pick favorites, I'd rather lose a $2 bet on a value play than play all favorites.

Secreteriat :  Interesting bet with that Quinella, why not exacta ?  Do you think there’ll be a big difference in the payout with a quinella over the exacta ?  I’m not really sure how they calculate the quinella payout.  I only play quinellas in Aussie races.

I just noticed the jockey on Medal Count, as much as I love this horse, I can’t and will not be playing him and I hope he doesn’t hit the board or my tickets will be dead.

25 Jul 2014 11:50 PM

-Keelerman the blogs characters have abandoned CC2 consensus seems to be Tonalist and WS with a few picking KC.Its a six horse field Ill take the 4 over the 256 and the 7 win/place.

26 Jul 2014 1:21 AM

sundays haskell is way too tough for pick.....sat race dont like either because odds too low on tonalist...........but i will let you know that wicked strong will not be around much longer....there is something not right with him......nice horse, but i dont think he's sound............we shall looks like tonalist and wicked strong only horses......sundays race is unreal bets

26 Jul 2014 1:51 AM
Pedigree Ann

El Kabong and Tnt - I took Albano for the Haskell contest at Mth because of his running style and his race over the track. Of course, that contest gives credit for all in the money payouts, so a nice place price works, too.

I consider Wildcat Red suspect because all of his best races have been at Gulfstream which is turning into a track whose form translates nowhere else, e. g. Quality Road and Social Inclusion. I don't know why; I just observe results. Given how poorly the Stronach management team has done with main track surfaces at Santa Anita over the last 7 years, one might conclude that they just are incompetent.

26 Jul 2014 5:44 AM

It is interesting to read that so many believe that the top two in the Jim Dandy are so good that they can give 6 pounds to Commanding Curve and beat him.

It may be the case but I would never bet on it.

The top two seem to be better horses, but 6 lbs better?

It might even rain.

Good luck to those taking the plunge.

26 Jul 2014 6:42 AM

Good morning, everyone! I hope you're all ready for a terrific day of racing!

The complete list of scratches for today's card at Saratoga has not yet been released, but I should mention that Rock Fall and Noble Moon were early scratches from the Amsterdam Stakes, leaving that race with a field of seven.

Good luck to all! 

26 Jul 2014 10:05 AM
El Kabong

Pedigree Ann,

Your candor concerning the Stronach group had me in tears laughing. It's too bad too, because I used to enjoy playing GP's main surface. Still play the turf there, but that's it. Good luck with the contest, I have a feeling Albano will be a layover too. Let's hope. I just love it when people disregard Larry Jones. Not me. Would people respect him more if he wore a black hat?

26 Jul 2014 10:08 AM

Good news! It has been confirmed that Kid Cruz, who had been under consideration for a possible start in the West Virginia Derby next week, will pass on that race and instead run in the Jim Dandy Stakes later this afternoon.

26 Jul 2014 10:11 AM
El Kabong

Pedigree Ann,

make that an overlay. I'm sure he made the flight just fine.

26 Jul 2014 10:21 AM

Welcome back, El Kabong! Good luck with your selections!

26 Jul 2014 10:51 AM

What a run by Taghrooda in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes! Entering the homestretch, it looked like Mukhadram and Telescope were poised to battle it out for the top spot, but in deep stretch, the filly wore them down in clear-cut fashion to win going away!

It looked like Telescope narrowly edged Mukhadram for the runner-up spot, while Eagle Top ran on well for fourth. Magician failed to challenge and finished in the rear of the field.

26 Jul 2014 11:00 AM
Rusty Weisner


I like your post on "keeping an open mind".  Wanted to tell you that "Cold Facts" is running on the Haskell undercard and looks like one of the contenders (no "Clueless Rusty" on the card, I'm afraid).

I give chances for the upset in the Haskell and it looks like the odds don't make Bayern worth it.  I will probably try Long River in R10 as a single on any tickets and hope for pace issues in the Haskell.  I don't know if Untapable overmatches these the way some recent favorites have (Paynter, Verrazano/Oxbow).

26 Jul 2014 11:15 AM
Rusty Weisner

There's also an "Alternative Meds" in R8 at Saratoga.  

26 Jul 2014 11:28 AM
Rusty Weisner


Those scratches in the Amsterdam make for a small field and for me make Captain Serious more appealing than the slight favorite, as the likely leader.  I might give C. Zee a chance here, too.

26 Jul 2014 11:34 AM

Rusty Weisner;

I just took a look at tomorrow's pick four sequence at Monmouth, and it looks like a tough one! But if you can get Long River home as a single, that would certainly make it more manageable. Good luck!

26 Jul 2014 1:18 PM

From what I hear, there are a few very well-regarded first-time starters in today's third race at Saratoga, led by morning line favorites Aldrin and Competitive Edge. It wouldn't surprise me if we see more than one future stakes winner emerge from this race!

26 Jul 2014 1:20 PM

Below is an extract from your submission posted on 25 Jul 2014 1:56 AM.

“As Keelerman noted, Kid Cruz can beat up on the lower caliber horses but in the race he faced tougher competition, he wasn't able to close on them.”  

My submissions regarding Kid Cruz subsequent to the above date were triggered by your endorsement of Keelerman’ s statement.

I am I not way attempting to be right I am only stating some cold facts coupled with some opinions.

I addressed the comparison of the Haskell and JD fields in another post.

“I never said KC isn’t a good horse, I said the one time he faced top level competition he didn’t show up”

It appears you missed the section of my post highlighting the times when both Wicked Strong and Untapable both did not show up in graded races. They subsequently won G1 races. Given those cold facts, why should KC‘s poor performance in his graded stakes debut be used to conclude that he is unlikely to show up because of the company?  Do you believe KC is aware that Tonalist & WS are G1 winners?

“I actually don’t believe in “history” or “number of times a mare was bred” type of handicapping”

History is not something in which one believes. If history is correct, it is merely to be acknowledged and cited if considered necessary. If you actually meant you are not guided by history its entirely different position.

Highlighting historic factor has nothing to do with handicapping. Records reflect that Mr. P’s grandsons are amongst the best stallion. Some of the most exceptional horses have been produced from lightly raced and unraced mares. KC is late developer that has the profile that fits that of a potential champion. If horse with similar profile was not displaying ability I would not be interested.

26 Jul 2014 1:30 PM


Ulanbator: You specified he would be placed in the 2nd slot behind likely winner Tonalist. That makes no sense. Ulanbator was in receipt of 6lbs from KC in the Dwyer and was beaten 51/4L. He was one pace in the final furlong. He will be in receipt of 2lbs from KC in the JD. He is 10Lbs worst off going 1/2F longer and you are contemplating inserting him in the 2nd slot and yet you give Tonalist as the likely winner.

You like to reference handicapping, how you can justify your pending decision. It does not make handicapping sense. If you seriously like Ulanbator to finish 2nd then KC should be on top.

I realize that thoroughbred racing is a sport of glorious uncertainties but a lot of things have to be in Ulanbatorre's favor for him to split the top three.

26 Jul 2014 1:35 PM

The dam of Aldrin is Tap Your Heels who is also dam of  leading sire Tapit.

26 Jul 2014 1:41 PM

No Quinella in the Dandy

I will now do A $60 Exacta Tonelist/ W/S

$40 Ex W/S Tonelist

$20 Straight  TRI Tonelist/Legend/W/S

26 Jul 2014 2:14 PM

K Y Vet 26 Jul 2014 1:51 AM :

I appreciate your post. Regarding Wicked Strong, the experienced and very competent trainer Jimmy Jerkens thinks it just a matter of focus for the horse ...we'll see if you're right about soundness issues but I think that the colt packs the best closing punch in the Jim Dandy to overall Tonalist and stave off the onrushing Kid Cruz.

In the Haskel, the time of freshening and jockey change to Edgar Prado should work wonders for Social Inclusion to stamp his class on this salty group. The pace will be ramped up leaving the half mile marker with Bayern trying to wire the field and Wildcat Red going after him but I can envision Prado sitting in the catbird seat with Social Inclusion and scampering away when they turn for home. Can't wait for a great race. Any upset of my calculation would have to be the filly Untappable from well off the pace.

26 Jul 2014 4:22 PM

Coldfacts :   It's funny how you quote me and you still missed the point of the post.   I don't believe in "History" type of handicapping, I didn't say I don't believe in history.   As always, I have to explain everything twice with you.

26 Jul 2014 4:48 PM

With eight minutes to post time for the Jim Dandy, Tonalist is a very heavy favorite at even money, with Wicked Strong sitting at 2-1. Kid Cruz has dropped considerably from his morning line price of 8-1, and is currently 9-2. Legend and Commanding Curve are both 9-1 (a bit surprising to me), while Ulanbator is the only horse at double-digit odds, currently being listed at 30-1.

If you believe that this is a two-horse race between Tonalist and Wicked Strong, you can secure a profit by boxing them in an exacta -- the Tonalist/Wicked Strong exacta probable is currently paying $4 for every $1 you bet, while the Wicked Strong/Tonalist probable is paying $7 for every $1.

26 Jul 2014 6:04 PM

English Pete, Ranagulzion, & Secreteriat;

Great job handicapping the Jim Dandy Stakes! Ranagulzion, I hope you bet the trifecta -- you nailed it cold!

26 Jul 2014 6:29 PM

Coldfacts : Looks like I was right, KC can't compete against top level horses.  I'm sure they'll drop him down to another G3/G2 race and will win like a monster.  I tried to post to you explaining why I was betting Ulanbator but looks like it's not getting posted.

Keelerman : Any reason why my other post to Coldfacts is not going through ?

26 Jul 2014 6:52 PM

Today 6 starters between Brown and Pletcher 1first 1 second.Mclauglin still 0fer now 11.

As far as my paper pick on here I got WS win and place yes bloggers I can pick winners with the paper but with the strategy I win at a much much higher percentage.

26 Jul 2014 6:53 PM


I'm not sure why it wouldn't have gone through, except that sometimes the blog's spam detection software will decide -- totally out of the blue! -- that a given comment is spam. It happens to my comments from time to time, but I've found that if I re-word them a bit, they will go through without issue.

26 Jul 2014 7:10 PM

Keelerman : No worries, I was dead wrong about Ulanbator anyway but I had to take a shot lol.   What did you think of Tonalist's run ?  It's either he's not cranked 100% or he's just not as good as Coldfacts thinks he is and no, I'm not trying to single Coldfacts out but the's the only one that I've seen post that Tonalist is the best 3 yr old in the country or something like that.  I watched the race twice and Rosario was all over him.  I wasn’t a believer of Tonalist as I think being fresh helped him win the Belmont but this race was a huge drop for him and I’m thinking now that what you said about MC applies to him as well, the distance of the Belmont helped him too.   If this was an off day, then it’s great for the bettors as his odds have gone up for the Travers.

Pedigree Ann : Nice point about WR running well only at GP although, the only time he ran bad and outside of GP was in the Derby and I'm willing to toss that one out and look at the Haskell as his true first race outside of GP.  It’s a shorter distance and field, and the post is a lot better.  I don’t know how Monmouth compares to GP track though so we’ll see.

I'll probably single Micromanage in the first leg of the P4 with 2by3by3.

26 Jul 2014 7:57 PM
Rusty Weisner

So NOW Wicked Strong decides to beat Tonalist! Must have been those blinkers, KY VET.  Review Jerkens's description of WS's Belmont and in retrospect you see a horse needing 'em.  

Bet and lost $7 today trying that horse in R8 in a p3 with Tonalist and a bunch of others in r9.  Tomorrow I'll be incommunicado, diving into the deep of a 14-race Monmouth card, heaven help me.  I haven't even doped anything out yet, though my interest is the overlapping p5-p4 sequence in r5-9.

26 Jul 2014 9:28 PM
Rusty Weisner


Nice little bit of visualizing that race in the Jim Dandy.  I hope you bet it like you called it.


Kid Cruz got a wrong ride there.  Should have been more of a contender for second late.

26 Jul 2014 9:34 PM

Rusty : Regardless of the ride, I don't see him as a top level horse.  I can't see him doing anything different in the Travers or any race where he's facing top horses and I'll feel that way until he proves me wrong.

WS pretty much set the pace in that race and still managed to pull away from Tonalist at the top of the stretch.  This is a weak field so I'm not going to go bonkers on WS.

26 Jul 2014 9:55 PM


I hope you realize you are being ridiculous. Wicked Strong was unplaced in his 2nd start in a graded race. KC finished 3rd in his second attempt in a graded race.

Moreno won the Dwyer and finished third to the Jim Dandy. He was caught on the line in the 10F Travers by WTC the eventual Champion 3YO.

The race was disappointing as denoted by the final time of 1:49 plus. It did not set up for KC.

Try to keep it real.

The race was disappointing as denoted by the time of 1:49 plus.

I expected more pace

The time of the race 1:49 plus is not overly impressive and he probably needs more pace upfront.

26 Jul 2014 10:19 PM

Rusty Weisner;

Good luck tomorrow! I'll be cheering for you and Long River!


My first impression of the Jim Dandy is that Wicked Strong -- by seizing the initiative in a slowly-paced race -- was able to secure an insurmountable tactical advantage over Tonalist, who seemed a bit slow to get going and was hindered as a result. The internal half-mile from the end of the first quarter to the three-eighths pole was timed in a blazing :46.91 seconds, during which Tonalist actually gained 1 1/2 lengths on Wicked Strong. Had Tonalist been urged more at the start of the race, and taken up position alongside or in front of Wicked Strong, this half-mile fraction would not have been as big a challenge to overcome, which might have led to a very different outcome at the finish.

In any case, I believe that the stretch-out to ten furlongs in the Travers, coupled with some additional sharpening workouts during the next few weeks, should have Tonalist ready to turn the tables on Wicked Strong. That's a race I can't wait to see!

26 Jul 2014 10:45 PM


Kid Cruz: “I don't see him as a top level horse”

I am trying desperately to objectively understand your views regarding KC. Will Take Charge finish 8th, 7th & 10th respectively in the Derby, Preakness and Belmont. Who would have predicted that he would be the eventual Champion 3YO?

KC is a former claimer that finished 3rd in his 2nd graded race opposing two G1 winners and somehow you have concluded that he is not a top level horse. A horse does not have to win at the top level to prove it is top level. Given the right set up, KC will win at the top level.

WTC won the G2 Rebel before he won the G1 Travers. KC won the G2 Dwyer and will probably contest the 10F Travers next. The additional furlong could be to his benefit.

There must be something amiss with your reasoning. KC was sent off at 9-2. He had the Derby runner up behind him. The Belmont winner was only 3 1/2L ahead of him in a pace less race.

Are you remotely aware he is a 3YO? The extreme position you have taken is irrational. You should know better.

26 Jul 2014 10:46 PM

In less than twenty-four hours, the Haskell Invitational will have been run! Whose name will have been added to the long list of memorable winners? Here's the link to my latest blog post, with my full thoughts on the race:

26 Jul 2014 10:48 PM

Coldfacts :  Ahh, ok.   So after all the multiple comments about how KC is the best horse in this race, after all the research and information you posted, you forgot to consider the pace ??  Did you look at the Federico Tesio race at Pimlico ? ( 24, 50, 1:16, 1:41 and he still won by 3 ), and the Preakness ( 23, 46, 1:11, 1:35 ) ?  Can you see the difference in those two races ?   One was against maiden/low level claiming horses and one is a G1 race with top level horses.  It seems you should be the one to try and keep it real.   The pace wasn’t the reason KC lost.  I would take Rusty’s reasoning as more valid than yours.

Instead of admitting you were wrong, you posted about Moreno ??  It’s that type of “history” handicapping I’m talking about, how did you even come up with that ?   Is Moreno the same horse as Kid Cruz ?   Does this mean KC is a lock to get 2nd, beaten by a nose by whoever is “WTC” this year ?  Look, you were wrong about KC, it’s not the end of the world.  You might get lucky with your picks in the Haskell tomorrow.  Speaking of which, who is your bet to win the Haskell ?

26 Jul 2014 11:23 PM

Keelerman :   Interesting, I’m not sure he was slow to get going, I think maybe he’s not cranked up and was just outrun out of the gate or maybe Joel thought he can stalk WS believing he has a better horse.  I’m hoping WR or even Bayern romps in the Haskell which will make Tonalist a better price in the Travers.  Agree the additional distance will help him unless of course KC enters the race, then it's all over.

Coldfacts :   If you’re going to quote me, please read the whole comment.  What part of “until he proves me wrong” is irrational ?  If he wins the Travers, that’s proving me wrong and I will then say maybe he’s a top horse but (and here’s the keyword) UNTIL he does, I won’t consider him a top level horse.

There's reasons why longshots wins races, with the right set up, any horse can win.  It does not mean they are top level horses.  You can stop handicapping the Jim Dandy, KC finished 3rd, no threat to the top two horses.  I’m seriously having a hard time understanding why you’re handicapping last year’s Travers on this blog.

27 Jul 2014 2:31 AM
English Pete

Just crawled out of bed after a "Taghrooda Party", and watched the Jim Dandy replay. Tonalist appeared close enough if good enough off the final bend, though Keelerman is correct that Tonalist made up a lot of ground in the fastest part of the race and that didn't help the cause. Bottom line is that Wicked Strong was the better horse at the distance on the day, and both were way superior to their rivals.  Both may strip a little fitter in the Travers, but to be honest neither may be quite good enough to win it.

27 Jul 2014 7:08 AM


“So after all the multiple comments about how KC is the best horse in this race”

You must be experiencing optical impairment. Kindly post an extract from any of must posts that either specify or infer that KC was the best horse in the race.

You are correct I did not take into account the pace and  it certainly did not favor KC. I also missed the fact that he returned on short rest. However, he was close enough but surprising dropped back at a crucial point in the race but was running at the end. An encouraging effort on which he can build.

In 2013 Moreno almost stole the JD from in front. Palace Malice and WTC caught him late. It appears the JD favors leaders. Alpha was a gate to wire winner the year before. I would not read too much into the race.

“The pace wasn’t the reason KC lost.”

OK Mr. Analyst, why did Tonalist lose?  You consider KC a G2 horse at best. Let’s move on.

“Instead of admitting you were wrong, you posted about Moreno”

You are wearing me down with you misinterpretations. I cited Moreno because he won the G2 Dwyer and finished 3rd in the Jin Dandy. He narrowly missed winning the Travers. His record was somewhat similar to that of KC. He returned with a much improved performance in the Travers. He defeated both the Derby and Belmont winners in the Travers. The issue is or not KC is a top level horse. It has nothing to do with being right or wrong regarding the JD. It about being objective bout ability.

“Look, you were wrong about KC”

I liked the horse to upset the big two and it did not occur. I do not believe I am wrong about its ability. He has the rest of the year to put his ability on display. Calm Down!

I’m seriously having a hard time understanding why you’re handicapping last year’s Travers on this blog“

I have come to the realization that you I have to use bullet points as you get confused when too much information is provided.

How does one handicap a race after it has occurred? After a race what occurs is post-race analysis. If you were unaware of same I expect a thank you for alerting you to this fact. Unbelievable!

27 Jul 2014 9:05 AM
Rusty Weisner

I actually like Cold Facts in Mth r5, an alw/ocl.  The favorite is a somewhat classy 3-yo who just broke his maiden, but my prejudice is in favorite of older.  The second favorite is such an older horse, but I'm inclined to take the one who ran in a faster race at a higher level last out and hopelessly chased a favorite setting the pace in a 5-horse field.  This race starts the p5 with an overlapping p4.  

27 Jul 2014 9:19 AM

Whoever picked the winner even the exotics in the Jim Dandy no big deal I did too and to be honest it was easy but its not wise to play an exacta to the two betting favorites in a six horse field that why my pick going back to my post right before Ky Vet posted his gibberish was:

Keelerman the blogs characters have abandoned CC2 consensus seems to be Tonalist and WS with a few picking KC.Its a six horse field Ill take the 4 over the 256 and the 7 win/place.

27 Jul 2014 11:27 AM

Coldfacts: You either missed or totally ignored it.  I provided two previous races, one with a snail pace where he won and one with a fast pace where he wasn't competitive.  The difference was that he wasn't competitive in the G1 race, get it ?  That was the whole point of the discussion.  I don't get confused even if you try to drown me with useless information because I know that's what you do.

Again, you're handicapping this year's Travers based on what Moreno did last year.  Please continue doing that, don't change.

You were wrong about KC...that comment was for this blog, the Jim Dandy.   You said he was going to upset the top two horses.  Did he ?  No, so you were wrong.

I never said he wasn't going to improve, in fact, I said "until he proves me wrong"

Post race analysis is analyzing the race, this one is the 2014 Jim Dandy, what does last year have anything to do with this race ?? You were using last year to prove that KC has a chance to improve, that's it, nothing more nothing less.  It doesn't make sense because Moreno and KC are two totally different horses, Moreno is a speed horse, KC is a closer...I don't know how you get the correlation.

I get a feeling this has nothing to do with KC at all, just you being mad at me calling you out and questioning your cold facts lol.  I would suggest a name change of MY coldfacts, because your posts are all about how YOU interpret history and the facts.  Snipping little bits and pieces to quote isn't cold facts...

27 Jul 2014 10:16 PM

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