Handicapping a Fantastic Travers Day

By J. Keeler Johnson ("Keelerman")

Get ready, folks! On Saturday, Saratoga will host a spectacular fourteen-race card featuring four graded stakes races, including a trio of grade I events headlined by the $1,250,000 Travers Stakes (gr. I). Each race has drawn a wide-open field of talented competitors, and there should be plenty of opportunity to track down nice-priced longshots if you don’t care for the favorites. Let’s take a quick look at some of the highlights!

Travers Stakes (gr. I)

As I outlined in my last blog post, I believe that Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Tonalist is absolutely the horse to beat, and I expect him to improve sharply off of his runner-up effort in the Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) last time out. Bayern will probably be favored off of his romping win in the Haskell Invitational (gr. I), and while he might get an easy lead in the Travers—he appears to be the lone speed—I’m not convinced that he will be as effective stretching out to ten furlongs over a track that is much less speed-favoring than the one he encountered at Monmouth. Also, it’s worth noting that seven of the last ten Travers winners prepped for the "Midsummer Derby" in the Jim Dandy, while during that same timeframe, only one Travers winner—Summer Bird—prepped in the Haskell.

The other colts I will seriously consider for the exotics are Mr Speaker, winner of the Belmont Derby (gr. I) on turf; Wicked Strong, winner of the Jim Dandy Stakes; Commanding Curve, runner-up in the Kentucky Derby (gr.I) and most recently fourth in the Jim Dandy; and Viva Majorca, a late-running fourth in the Curlin Stakes despite a troubled trip.

King’s Bishop Stakes (gr. I)

This race looks fairly wide-open on paper, with the speedy Haskell third-place finisher Wildcat Red likely to be favored while cutting back to seven-eighths of a mile after seven consecutive starts at a mile or longer. Coup de Grace will also receive a great deal of support off his three-length victory in the Amsterdam Stakes (gr. II) here at Saratoga on July 26th. But hey—the last three King’s Bishop winners have been Capo Bastone (28-1), Willy Beamin (11-1), and Caleb’s Posse (6-1), so keeping in mind that Wildcat Red and Coup de Grace are by no means standouts on paper, I’m going to try and find a longshot to pick on top.

There are two colts that really intrigue me, the first of which is The Big Beast. The Tony Dutrow-trainee caught my eye during the winter when he rallied from far behind to finish second in a maiden race at Oaklawn, but since then, he has transformed into a front-running type with blazing speed. Last time out, in a six-furlong allowance race at Saratoga, The Big Beast won by 6 ¼ lengths in gate-to-wire fashion, recording fractions of :21.74 and :44.41 en route to a final time of 1:09 flat. He may have to work hard to get to the lead from post position seven, but I think he has as much raw speed as any colt in the race, and should give a good account of himself.

The other horse I really like is Myositis Dan. Granted, he’s 3-for-3 on Polytrack and 0-for-5 on dirt. But he possesses a strong finishing kick, and did finish third—beaten two noses—in the Derby Trial Stakes (gr. III) on the dirt two starts back. With Wildcat Red, The Big Beast, and the speedy Gulfstream shipper Fast Anna likely to ensure a quick pace, I hope to see Myositis Dan closing fast in the final furlong to score a major upset.

Ballerina Stakes (gr. I)

If you thought the King’s Bishop was tough to handicap, good luck finding the winner of the Ballerina Stakes! You can take your pick from the proven grade I winners Better Lucky, My Miss Aurelia, and Artemis Agrotera—who have combined to win six grade I races, but not so much as a single graded stakes race this year—or you can choose one of the talented but mostly unproven fillies such as Kipling’s Joy, Willet, La Verdad, Voodoo Tales, Hot Stones, or Geeky Gorgeous, who have won exactly two graded stakes races between them.

My gut feeling is that proven class will emerge victorious in the end, with preference for Artemis Agrotera over My Miss Aurelia. My feeling is that the latter may need one more race before returning to top form, since this will be only her second start in a year and a half.

On the other hand, I also like the chances of Hot Stones, who won the seven-furlong Bed o’ Roses Handicap (gr. III) two starts back in the quick time of 1:21.98 seconds. Her third-place finish in the nine-furlong Shuvee Handicap (gr. III) last time out was not bad, considering that the distance was probably a bit far for her, and the cutback to seven furlongs should help her chances immensely. Don’t count her out!

Ballston Spa Stakes (gr. II)

This 8.5-furlong turf race for fillies and mares has drawn just seven starters, but five of them look like major contenders on paper, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see any one of them end up in the winner’s circle. That said, the horse I like best is Abaco, who has finished second, third, or fourth in all five of her starts this year. Last time out, she unleashed an eye-catching late rally to finish a close fourth in the Diana Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga, beaten just 1 ½ lengths while running her final furlong in :10-and-change. She’s been knocking on the door for a while, and is—in my opinion—long overdue for another victory. The slight class drop on Saturday should help her get the job done.

Who do you like this weekend?


Leave a Comment:

Carlos in Cali


What's the weather forecast looking like?...

21 Aug 2014 2:37 PM

Bayern from pillar to post in the Travers, Wildcat Red to score a facile victory in the King's Bishop, Belle Gallantey to cop the Personal Ensign, My Miss Aurellia in the Ballerina and Toast of New York to upset Shared Belief in the Pacific Classic. Enjoy!!

21 Aug 2014 3:07 PM
Rusty Weisner


I don't like Abaco in the smaller field here.

21 Aug 2014 4:02 PM
Rusty Weisner


I wasn't going to, but I'll try your Hot Stones.  I'll take a bunch in this race:  1,2,4,5,6,8.

I actually like Wildcat Red here best.  I'll consider the other speedy one, too.  I don't think I will try to cover all bases by taking the likely closers.

I'll give DayattheSpa a chance to steal it second back after the long break.  She scratched out of this race last year for easier competition in the Yaddo, I think - this year they've done the opposite.

$1 P4: DayattheSpa/Wildcat Red,The Big Beast/1,2,4,5,6,8/Tonalist,Kid Cruz

$2 P3: Wildcat Red/1,2,4,5,6,8/Tonalist,Kid Cruz

$10 box exacta Tonalist,Kid Cruz

21 Aug 2014 4:17 PM
Monarchos Matt


This looks like a very playable Pick 4 for me as I oppose most of the ML favorites for the win. Some brief thoughts as I work my way through the card:

9- Ballston Spa: I like your Abaco 2nd best, but I'm surprised you didn't mention Dayatthespa at all above. She's listed as the ML second choice behind Filimbi, who just beat her from off the pace in her last when both were coming off long layoffs. However, Dayatthespa was forced into :46.4 opening fractions there which is a lot to ask on 9 months rest, and she looks to be the lone speed in here, and should have an easier time at the front of the pack. She's 4-3-1-0 at SAR and is probably a single for me here.

10- King's Bishop: There should be a decent amount of speed here, but I think Wildcat Red handles it off the cutback. He's battle-tested at 9f against some of the best 3 yo in the land and is professional enough to rate off the lead if the pace is sizzling. For the meltdown scenario I also will take a shot with Myositis Dan, who, remember, finished a head behind Bayern in the Derby Trial. The Big Beast appears talented but takes a big step up in class at this distance with loads of speed and is difficult to support at his ML...you do realize Wildcat Red is listed as the third choice, not the favorite, on the ML? Coup de Grace is listed as 2-1 and The Big Beast at 7-2, with Wildcat Red at 4-1. I sure hope it stays that way in the pools.

11- Ballerina: Goodness. Throw a dart. My angle will be a significant speed duel, even more so than the King's Bishop, with five of the nine entered confirmed front-runners. I think My Miss Aurelia is short at 3-1 here and I can see why she must be respected, but there are too many form questions for me after such a lengthy layoff. I'll take a blind flyer on horse for the course Willet, who has never finished worse than 2nd in five career starts at SAR, and stands to benefit most from a pace meltdown. She also holds the field high speed figure at the distance, so it's the logical value play. Better Lucky could pick up pieces as well, and I'll probably add La Verdad into the mix as a hedge in case I'm wrong and speed holds, as she appears the one to catch in terms of pure speed.

Travers: I've spent all year supporting Wicked Strong and I'm prepared to do so again here. I know he's more proven at 9f but I'm going to stay on board here. Tonalist admittedly should be tough and it's a bit of a toss up between those two so my main play will be an exacta box, which with both listed at 3-1 and 7-2 isn't the worst value in the world. I'm not going to get too cute and look for a longshot this year, although crazier things have certainly happened in this race, I just can't get past the top three in terms of sheer talent. The key for me in this race will be trying to beat Bayern for the win and keeping him out of the exacta based on distance concerns and track surface, lone speed or not.

Still tweaking, but those are my general thoughts. Good luck!

21 Aug 2014 4:21 PM
Rusty Weisner

Off to the beach. Good luck!

21 Aug 2014 4:51 PM

Ranag!!!! seriously! why do you keep making the same mistake?......i've been trying to get it in your head.....get these horses WHEN they get sharp! not AFTER!......that ship has sailed!       sheesh!

21 Aug 2014 7:15 PM

Carlos in Cali


What's the weather forecast looking like?...

21 Aug 2014 2:37 PM

The forecast just given on HRTV was 78 degrees and partly cloudy.

21 Aug 2014 10:08 PM
Mary Zinke

One longer shot I like is Fiftyshades, especially if the track is sloppy. Of course I like favorite Close Hatches, too.

22 Aug 2014 3:44 AM

I'm hoping for a huge payout in this P4 :

09:  Centre Court / Fillimbi / Dayatthespa and Strathnaver

10:  Noble Moon and Wildcat Red

11:  Willet and Better Lucky

12:  Commanding Curve and Tonalist

I think Closed Hatches will continue her winning ways in the Personal Ensign.   Shared Belief to battle it out with Clubhouse Ride and Majestic Harbor in the Pacific Classic if Game On Dude fizzles again but I have a feeling he'll be tough on the lead coming for home.   I kinda like Ice Cream Truck in here as a longshot.

KY Vet : Ranagulzion mentioned 5 horses, which one are you referring to ?

22 Aug 2014 9:11 AM
Pedigree Ann

I'd like to point out to you folks a 2yo filly named Tiggy Wiggy (yes, somebody did that to her) who won the Lowther S (G2) yesterday at York. This is one fast filly, who led from gate to wire, running them off their feet. She is a smallish filly, but as one announcer said, "She has a big engine and a big heart." The same fellow noted that she comes out the gate like an American dirt horse. The longest she has gone is 6f so far - Euros don't race their 2yos past a straight or one-turn mile until much later in the season. In the post-race interview, the owner spoke of sending her for the Abbaye (Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp) on Arc day at 1000m (5f) - it is a race for 2yos and up and the 2yos get a really good weight break. And have won the race in the past.

22 Aug 2014 9:45 AM

Final Picks

$1 P4 Day at Spa/Wildcat Red, Coop De Gras/Artemis,La Verdad,Willet,Hot Stones/Tonelist

$2 P3 Same/with Same/w Tonelist, W/S, Bayern

$2 Super 6,7 w 2,6,7 w 1-2-6-7 w 1-2-3-8-10

$100 Win $200 Place Tonalist

Good luck

22 Aug 2014 9:59 AM
Monarchos Matt

Beginning to worry that Dayatthespa will scratch out of the Ballston Spa, which will kill my entire plan. From her camp via twitter:

"no decision yet. As you know she doesn't like yielding or soft turf. One ? We are considering is will turf be dry enough tomorrow"

22 Aug 2014 10:43 AM
Monarchos Matt


Peter Bradley ‏@BradleyTBs  5m

#Dayatthespa update: we will wait until tomorrow AM to make decision. All depending on turf. Would like to run Sat if turf isn't too soft.

22 Aug 2014 10:58 AM

Monarchos Matt;

The Big Beast is the second choice on the King's Bishop morning line? I wouldn't have guessed that! When I wrote the post, Equibase didn't have the morning line odds listed yet, so I was just speculating on how the wagering might unfold. If Wildcat Red does hold as the third choice at around 4-1, that's a price worth taking on a very talented colt!

In the Ballston Spa, Dayatthespa -- if she does stay in the race -- would definitely be my second choice, but it is starting to look like she'll scratch in favor of the Yaddo Stakes on Sunday. Then again, perhaps the turf course will dry out in time and she'll stay in the Ballston Spa, in which case she would be a must-use in the pick four. Good luck with your selections!

22 Aug 2014 11:15 AM

Pedigree Ann;

Thanks for your thoughts on Tiggy Wiggy! I'll be sure to keep an eye out for her on Arc day!

22 Aug 2014 11:17 AM

Rusty Weisner & Monarchos Matt;

The Ballerina is a tough one, isn't it? I have the feeling that this race is going to feature a very close finish, with four or five fillies crossing the wire separated by just a length or two at the end. Really, I wouldn't be totally shocked to see any of the nine entrants win, and I expect the superfecta to pay extremely well if anyone can hit it. Win or lose, it should be entertaining to watch!

22 Aug 2014 11:24 AM

From an historic angle the 2014 Travers should be decided between 5 horses. The 3 exiting the Jim Dandy, the winner and the Belmont Derby winner are the logical choices.

The horses above will carry the bulk of the wagering. Which of the 5 can be safely eliminated from the top spot in the Travers?

Kid Cruz: I cannot think of a running strategy that could be employed to get him a victory. If he is close to the pace he will not have his explosive finishing kick. If he drops back he will have too much do against the high cruisers that can kick in the stretch. He is 8Lbs worst off heading in to the Travers. I see no path to victory for this colt. Eliminated!

Bayern: Won his last 2 start impressively over Top Fortitude, Albano and others. Top Fortitude and Albano are G3 winners that would not pose any serious danger to the top colts in training. Bayern appears to be the superior speed in the field but his speed has to be perfectly managed for him to win 10F against top G1 routers. He has never won a race with 126lbs and will carry 8Lbs more than he carried in the Haskell going 1F longer against top class routers. He will be competitive but I see no path to victory for this colt.  Eliminated!

Tonalist: He and Kid Cruz were impressive winners of both their starts at Belmont but have signaled their dislike for the Saratoga surface with inexplicable sub-par performances in the Jim Dandy. Tonalist is a bid of a grinder with long strides but not an explosive turn of foot. His running style is not suited to Saratoga and susceptible to speed. His and his only chance to secure the top spot will be contingent on rain. He will be competitive but a victory is unlikely. Eliminated!

Wicked Strong: With blinker and bandages added he had only MSW winner Legend to contend with on the lead and ran away late from the one paced Tonalist in the Jim Dandy. The only horse that closed any ground late was the Kid Cruz who running into real estate long vacated by the top two. Being upfront with Bayern will be a significantly different experience than the one with MSW winner Legend. This will compromise his chances. He will have to contend with well-bred, fresh and talented new shooters who are poised to breakthrough at the graded level. I did not like the lack of extension in his strides in the latter part of the final furlong. He will be competitive but a victory is unlikely. Eliminated!

Mr. Speaker: He will be trying dirt for the 2nd time in his career. In his 1st attempt he weakened badly after being prominent. Will his 2nd time be better? I believe in keeping an opened mind but it’s difficult to imagine this colt being be competitive on dirt. Why?  Charge Now, V E Day and Kid Cruz all a made their 1st starts on turf. They were all successful in their dirt debuts whereas Mr. Speaker flopped. In the case of V E Day his dirt debut was a race taken off the turf. He was returned to turf for his next start over 9F and he won. He then returned to dirt to win the Curlin. Mr. Speaker’s dirt debut was just too a bad to inspire confidence. If he had hit the board or not beaten 10L he would deserve another chance but other in the field made the successful transition and he did not and this cannot be ignored. He is a classy turf colt that should be kept where he excels. Eliminated!

Having eliminated the top five contenders from the #1 spot I have no doubt left myself opened to look like a buffoon. I just think the race is poised for an upset that will make the 3YO  male division even more intriguing.

My selection to win will follow.

22 Aug 2014 12:41 PM
Carlos in Cali

Thanks derbygal.

Travers: Mr. Speaker over Tonalist/Bayern/WS/KC.

King's Bishop: Coupe de Grace over WR/MD

Ballerina: My Miss Aurelia over BL/AA/HS

22 Aug 2014 2:38 PM


My friend you have repeatedly posted that "you see no path for victory ..." let your blinded eyes be opened buddy. Bayern has blinding speed and an eye-catching turn of foot, enough to romp home in the Travers. See you in the aftermath if you can see you way to the blog (LOL).

22 Aug 2014 3:04 PM


As usual I respect your assessment but I think that with the additional 8lbs and furlong Bayern cannot escape the horse best bred to stay 10F.

See my selection.

22 Aug 2014 3:47 PM
NY bred

My Travers Day Pick 6 will start with the Darley stable and their two home breds with the oldest Ortiz brother in the 1st leg and the younger brother in the 2nd leg; if Day at the Spa scratches for the Yaddo, I'll single Filimbi in the Ballston Spa; all the speed in the Kings Bishop will set it up perfectly for Coup De Grace; I'll play the five ML faves (throwing out La Verdad) in the wide open Ballerina, and will finish by playing the speed (Bayern) and the most proven distance horse (Tonalist) in the Travers; total cost of the ticket $20.  If I am eliminated early in the P6, then I will play the same horses in the P4 that I already mentioned for $20.  Saratoga is my home track and I will be up there amongst the throng tomorrow loving every minute of it.  Afterwards, my wife and I are heading next door to the Performing Arts Center for the last night of the Philadelphia Orchestra.  Good luck to all and enjoy the great horse racing this weekend.  

22 Aug 2014 4:37 PM
Carlos in Cali

Post time:

Antipathy,POS,Fiftyshades,Majestic River box.

22 Aug 2014 5:15 PM

I have spent some time reviewing the pat performances of the contenders and I am of the opinion that the winner will not emerge from the five fancied horses as denoted in the MLs.

Viva Majorca contested the Curlin off a 6 1/2F race. The Curlin was his 1st attempt beyond 7F and he finished willingly with a less than ideal trip. However, I was not impressed with his gallop out as he appeared to be the most tired of the top 4. This colt must be a very tough. He breezed 5F, five days before the Curlin and was back breezing  4F, ten days later. Two additional 5F breezes in August suggest this colt has been trained to the minute and is ultra-fit.

Charge Now contested the Curlin off a 7th place finish in the Iowa Derby. He was fitted with blinkers for that Derby and he broke slowly and stayed with the back group the entire race. The blinkers were removed for the Curlin and he finished a determined 2nd after being prominent. He was passed by V E Day in the stretch but battled back and was gaining in deep stretch when the post came. He had the best gallop out of the top 4.

V E Day is an extremely interesting colt. Rarely does a 3YO’s record reflect four 9F races in its first 5 starts. He has to be one of the most versatile 3YO seen this season. The colt’s first two starts were losing efforts over 9F on turf. He then won his 3rd start on a sloppy dirt track as a result of his intended turf race being moved to the main track. He was back on turf for his 4th start and 3rd over 9F and won. Then it was back to dirt for the 9F Culin and another victory. His last 3 starts that resulted in victories were contested on a sloppy dirt track, a firm turf course and a fast dirt track. There is clearly no challenge too big for this colt. He contested two 9F races on two different surfaces in July and has not missed a beat in training since based on published work records.

V.E Day was sired by the exceptional turf router English Challenge whom I consider above Wise Dan.  One is forced to get excited about V E Day’s unraced Deputy Minister dam.  Curlin, Sarava and Japanese champion Kane Hekili were produced from unraced Deputy minister  mares.  This colt is clearly bred to run all day. English Challenge is a grandson of Mr. Prospector and belongs to an elite group of sires. The Mr. Prospector line horses can never be discount when they show ability and this colt has shown a ton of same plus versatility.

I consider him the best suited for the distance of the Travers. With the expected honest pace to be set by Bayern and company, he will be the one with the most energy in the last furlong. If he is good enough he will win. If the tracks come up sloppy it will even be better.

V E Day is my section to upset in the Travers.

22 Aug 2014 5:29 PM

Look for Viva Majorca to win the Travers. Will be set up, second time two turns and Bayern tiring, looks like he should upset. Not afraid of other graded newbie, (someone got their facts wrong, Channel not Challenge)V.E. Day, as Viva will relish evey inch of the mile and a quarter, not so much V.E. Day.

22 Aug 2014 8:35 PM

Cold Facts, Predict,

Your words were that Bayern picks up 8 lbs and will tire, Your horse picks up the same 8 lbs and runs against a proven 1 1/2 mile Grade 1 winner. What makes you think that they are going to improve 6 lengths against proven winners?

Both of them will be gasping for air. Best chance is maybe 4th if the others quit

Predict your horse picks up 9 lbs,

Same scenario the jump in class and weight will hit them at the 1/8 pole like a brick wall and will stop.

You will be rewarded handsomely if you are right and I am wrong.

Good Luck

22 Aug 2014 10:00 PM

KY Vet: You keep making the same mistake and you're consistently funny ...I'll give yo that. Post your pick when I post mine and your criicism will have credibility (LOL)

I'll say it again ...Bayern romps the Travers and wins by daylight. There's no lack of stamina in this colts pedigree.

22 Aug 2014 10:28 PM

Hi Keerlman

I'll follow NY bred with a pick six

R7 - Divided Attention

R8- Seton Hall


R10-Coupe De Grace

R11-Hot Stones ( or all ...hard race)

R12-Tonalist/Wicked Strong

Will take another shot with waging war in the 2 yo race.

Good Luck

Good Luck

22 Aug 2014 11:02 PM

How many times have you seen a horse go wire to wire and win then tire in his next race(Bayern) it will happen, and how many times have you seen a short horse going two turns first time and tire only to immprove immensely in his next start(Viva Majorca), it can happen with this guys breeding. Also, Viva Majorca shows he does possess 3 digit speed figure capability in his pass performances. Think he will be a live longshot that could take it all.

23 Aug 2014 12:01 AM
Sam Santschi

Betting that finally a dirt race falls apart. Tonalist, Viva Majorca, Kid Cruz, Mr. Speaker.  Looking for charge now and WS to harass Bayern.  Having said that, I've bet Bayern the times when he's lost and in neither of the last two so it could end up being another boring irritating race from this year's nemesis. (Shug sure being coy about Mr. Speaker, huh?)

23 Aug 2014 12:01 AM

Have not been on here much lately; retired from the military, had to find a new job, moved, and have an infant.  With that said, need to pick my spots better.  If it stays on the turf, Toy Cannon (#8) in the 14th at Saratoga. 8-1 ML.

23 Aug 2014 7:12 AM

I respect your knowledge but you are wrong in two instances with your statement below.

"Your horse picks up the same 8lbs and runs against a proven 1 1/2 mile Grade 1 winner”

V E Day will carry an additional 7lbs. There is no such animal as a proven 1 ½ mile horse in the field.  One 12F victory a proven 12F horse does not make. Both Union Rags and Place malice won the Belmont in slow time. Are they proven 12F horse?  These horses may never run the distance again in their careers

"What makes you think that they are going to improve 6 lengths against proven winners"

The distance of the race suits V E Day more than any other horse in the field. His sire won multiple 12F races and mares from his dam sire are responsible for 3 Belmont winners and as runner-up. Japanese champion Kane Hekili won over 12F and he was also produced from a Deputy Minister mare.

V E day has been a regular fixture at 9F. He has covered 18F in the month of July on two different surfaces. Do you believe he is not strong enough to wear down these over 10F?

The weather might play a major role in the outcome of the race as it has to be raining at Saratoga at this moment. If the track comes up sloppy/muddy it could negatively impact certain horses and be a blessing for others.

Commanding Curve: Debuted at Saratoga on a sloppy track and was beaten 23L

Wicked Strong: : Debuted at Belmont on a sloppy track and was beaten 51/2L

Charge Now: Contested the Iowa Derby on a sloppy track and did not raise gallop and was beaten 6 1/2L.

V E Day won his debut on a sloppy track closing 7 1/2L and finished in hand.

Viva  Majorca: Won his race preceding the Curlin on a sloppy track and finished in hand.

Tonalist: His most impressive race was the Peter Pan contested on a sloppy track.

Mr. Speaker won both his races that were contested on good turf.

V E Day’s most impressive victory was his MSW victory on a sloppy track. He trailed the field by 7L . He launched his challenge in the stretch against the rails and had to be switched sharply close home due the tiring leader drifting left. He blew by the leader and finished in hand. He then returned to turf to win a 9F race in 1:47.74. English Channel scored his most impressive victory on a soft turf when he destroyed the field in the Breeders Cup Turf Classic. Curlin’s most impressive victory came in the BCC on a sloppy track. Bothe horses were sired by Smart Strike. Curlin’s dam was sired by Deputy Minister.

V E day should just love a sloppy/muddy track. It will be a difficult take to defeat top 3 but I believe he has the best credential to so.

23 Aug 2014 7:53 AM


You were all the rage over Princess Of Sylmar in 2013. If my recollection is correct, not only were you advocating for her to contest the BCC but emphatically stated that the Eclipse for Champion 3YO filly was already secured.

I cited that she had only defeated the top 3 fillies once and it was by a morrow margin. In addition the fillies she defeated in Alabama and Coaching Club were also defeated by Close Hatches and Beholder. Whereas she had a win record over Beholder, she and Close Hatches were even head to head. She finished last in the Distaff and the excuses wee a plenty.

It was the consensus  of the Mr. Haskin's  supporters that she would be the dominant 4YO filly. It appear they ignored the fact that she is trained by Todd Pletcher.

Well the potential 2013 HOY nominee, 2013 Champion 3YO filly designate and world beater has only managed to secure one victory from 4 starts in 2014. Her lack luster 5th place in the Personal Ensign is consistent with the Todd Pletcher play book.

23 Aug 2014 8:17 AM

Coldfacts my friend,

I did not fancy Princess of Sylmar's chances in the Personal Ensign ...she's clearly not the force of yesteryear therefore your remarks are redundant.

Interestingly you've quickly abandoned Tonalist after being gung-ho over him leading up to the Jim Dandy Stakes, a race you were suspicious of. Now you've quickly switched to an unproven late developer ...your logic and lack of belief beats me. I figure that Tonalist has a great shot if he doesn't go after Bayern too early, especially on a likely sloppy track.

23 Aug 2014 9:41 AM

Keelerman you will be giving out the blogs congradulatory cigar after the Travers as ALL the colts in the field have been picked by the bloggers.

Thats what you all should have done in the all stakes pick 4 last week, eventhough it is ludicrous to bet a pick 4 and do all that work to end up with 4-1 odds.I wont be organizing all the picks on ONE BLOG because of only two reasons all of you dont make the same bet and all of you dont bet the same amount so I expect one of you to receive the congradulatory cigar from your chief pundit Keelerman.GL to all

23 Aug 2014 9:45 AM

Good morning, everyone! It's great to see so many familiar names on here today! I'd like to wish you all the best of luck with your selections this afternoon!

The scratches for today's card at Saratoga have been announced, and -- unfortunately -- Dayatthespa has indeed been scratched from the Ballston Spa. Also, Voodoo Tales has been scratched from the Ballerina Stakes, leaving just eight fillies and mares to contest that wide-open race.

Per Equibase, the weather forecast for Saratoga today is partly cloudy with a 20% chance of rain.

Also, DRF.com has reported that Princess of Sylmar emerged from her fifth-place finish in the Personal Ensign "with a case of the thumps, an electrolyte imbalance," which possibly explains her poor showing. It is unknown whether she will race again or be retired.

23 Aug 2014 10:11 AM
Plod Boy Phil

re: King's Bishop

Myositis Dan it is following his solid win from off the pace despite a Flow that was favorable for Speed. Positive stake experience adds to the appeal.

23 Aug 2014 11:25 AM
Mary Zinke

Congrats, Kevin, and GL.

Here are my chalkies and longer shots. Saratoga: Ballston Spa:Nellie Cashman, Centre Court. King's Bishop: Coup De Grace, C.Zee. Ballerina: MyMiss, Willet, Better Lucky.Travers: longshots are V.E.Day and Commanding Curve. Chalkies are Bayern and Wicked Strong.

23 Aug 2014 1:47 PM

Replaced Day at The Spa with 4 Strathnaver in the P4

23 Aug 2014 2:32 PM
Little Bill

Long story short-

P-4) 7w3w9w5

23 Aug 2014 3:37 PM
Monarchos Matt

Sitting out the Pick 4 after the Dayatthespa scratch. Don't like Filimbi enough to single her at 3/5, and don't like the others enough to try to beat her, and don't want to use 2 horses here. So, Pick 3 it is:

Wildcat Red/

Willet, Better Lucky, Hot Stones, La Verdad/

Wicked Strong, Tonalist

Will also play a small flyer:

Myotosis Dan/


Wicked Strong, Tonalist

Good luck to all!

23 Aug 2014 4:00 PM
Pedigree Ann

It's August Bank Holiday weekend and the racing has been wall-to-wall today, with the last day of York's Ebor Festival plus 3 stakes races at Goodwood, one at Newmarket, and two at Windsor. So have just finished watching the first Dr. Who of the new regeneration - I'm old! I have grey hair! - so now I can turn my attention to Saratoga.

Did the rain come? How is the track playing? I see the turf is good - is that left over from overnight or yesterday? See Abaco won the Ballston Spa - somebody had mentioned her, I think.

23 Aug 2014 4:35 PM
Pedigree Ann

The Big Beast certainly is one. Looks like he's approaching 17-2, to look at how he towers over the people around him. Wouldn't have expected it from his bloodlines - Yes It's True over Deputy Minister - but, hey! genetics is a lottery.

23 Aug 2014 4:52 PM

Looking at the odds for the upcoming Ballerina Stakes, I'm a bit surprised to see Hot Stones as the 7-2 second choice, and even more surprised to see Artemis Agrotera as the 6-1 sixth choice in a field of eight. What a tough race to try and handicap!

I'm actually starting to like the chances of Geeky Gorgeous, who is currently 13-1. She's flashed good speed in the past, and her speed figures are comparable to the top contenders. Maybe she can spruce up the exotics by placing second or third, or maybe even winning!

23 Aug 2014 5:04 PM

Tony Dutrow has done well at this meet (trainer of Big Beast)especially with these same owners and high priced maidens never heard of them.Dutrow helped me win one of my cold daily doubles at the meet the one where he was the 2nd leg and Mclaughlin was the first leg.

23 Aug 2014 5:09 PM
Pedigree Ann

Your gut called the exacta in the Ballerina, Keelerman! Well done.

23 Aug 2014 5:13 PM

Thanks, Pedigree Ann! That was fun to watch! :)

23 Aug 2014 5:18 PM

Wow -- I'm very surprised to see Bayern as the 7-2 third choice in the Travers, behind 9-5 favorite Tonalist and 5-2 second choice Wicked Strong. I was expecting to see Bayern as the favorite, if only a narrow one.

On a side note, it's rare to see extreme longshots in major stakes races, but Ulanbator is currently listed at 99-1!

23 Aug 2014 5:21 PM

Im sticking with what works for me and thats trainers and their good horses.Jerkens Jr wins the Travers with Wicked Strong a colt I have liked before the KD and I picked him win place last time in the Jim Dandy.Jerkens is having a better meet than CC triner of Tonalist and he will win this one too,good move with the addition of blinkers he ran an uneven race in the Belmont thats exactly how I stated it on this blog.

23 Aug 2014 5:44 PM

Cold Facts

Let me be the first to congratulations!


23 Aug 2014 5:51 PM
Monarchos Matt


23 Aug 2014 5:53 PM

BOOM!  CONGRATS COLDCUTS! KING FOR A DAY! NAILED IT!........um ranag,............learn!

23 Aug 2014 5:55 PM

V. E. Day wins the Travers by a nose! Brilliant job, Coldfacts!! You called it at 19-1!

23 Aug 2014 5:56 PM
Monarchos Matt

My only bet in the Travers, after the odds shook out like they did, was Wicked Strong to win. Brutal beat to say the least! Was sure he had it coming home but that wire just wouldn't come. Debated between a win bet on Viva Majorca and VE Day but couldn't decide which and didn't want to spread too thin, oops! Congrats to Coldfacts and anyone else who cashed there.

23 Aug 2014 6:05 PM
Pedigree Ann

So Coldfacts nailed it with VE Day (who is, I agree, bred to run all day) and Brontexx was half-right - Jimmy Jerkens won it but with the wrong horse. The Jerkens exacta paid nicely. And the top 3 were all horses who prepped at Saratoga. Bayern did indeed run out of gas, as he had in the Preakness and Arkansas Derby.

23 Aug 2014 6:10 PM

Coldfacts my buddy,

Awesome call in the Travers ...even by the narrowest of margins (LOL) Gotta go eat some crow for tangling with you on this one. Keep it up Pal ...even the "Vet" will acknowledge that its your "V E Day" today at whopping odds.

23 Aug 2014 6:19 PM

KY Vet:

A few questions for you: What was your selection in the Travers?  Assuming you also were beaten by VE Day, what lesson did you learn? (or are you now gonna say after the race that you nailed it like Coldfacts? LOL),  Should I hold my breath for your answers?

23 Aug 2014 6:27 PM

ranag.....didnt like any of the top contenders......couldnt and didnt bet.....longshot was probable....didnt know which one..........they were already peaked, and due to go off form.....

23 Aug 2014 7:32 PM

That was a nice pick with VE Day Coldfacts, nicely done.  When you post your picks this way, no one can question it.  It's good to see you're actually posting your pick instead of this handicapping/evaluating comments.   Hope you loaded up on this one.

23 Aug 2014 8:48 PM

Congrats Coldfacts, you nailed it.

Was surprised WS and Tonalist went so early, I was expecting Kid Cruz to be the closer., ah well.

23 Aug 2014 8:52 PM

Also thanks NY bred, cashed on Big Beast.

23 Aug 2014 8:54 PM

Thanks guys!  Even a broken clock is right sometimes.

"I consider him the best suited for the distance of the Travers. With the expected honest pace to be set by Bayern and company, he will be the one with the most energy in the last furlong. If he is good enough he will win. If the tracks come up sloppy it will even be better."

"V E Day is my selection to upset in the Travers"

23 Aug 2014 10:32 PM


I was unaware that I was violating establishes guidelines regarding handicapping/evaluating comments.

The next time you see such comments I suggest you bypass them as they are not intended for all and certainly not those contributors who find them offensive.

23 Aug 2014 11:06 PM

I was not a believer of Tonalist but I thought this is a weak field for a 10F race and yet, he was beaten by a horse who has never ran on a graded stakes race before today.  While he managed to hang on for 3rd, he was all out.   I'll stick to my analysis of Tonalist as being a G2 horse until he proves he belongs.  The same can be said of Kid Cruz, it's time to bring him back down to his level, another G2 horse.

It would be interesting to see how Shared Belief runs tomorrow against older horses and if he wins, he'll have a shot at becoming the 3YO champion even if Chrome wins the Penn Derby.   It will come down to the Classic which is going to be a very very nice race.   I've already book my flight and hotel hehe.

23 Aug 2014 11:07 PM

Pedigree Ann,

"The horse was named Quiet American, not Quite"

I was unaware that JerseyBoy's nitpicking syndrome was contagious. Sadly I have been proven wrong. For your benefit and that of the particular contributor the definition of nitpicking is listed below.

NITPICKING: looking for small or unimportant errors or faults, especially in order to criticize unnecessarily

JerseyBoy is an agent of hate and intolerance and  merits no emulation. It therefore saddens me that you have chosen to do same.

It is blatantly obvious that I transposed the last two letters in the word. The error did not impact the point that was being made. I consider it childish and immature that you would dedicate time to highlight such an insignificant issue.

In the interest of full disclosure, I possess no formal education as I am a School drop out. You therefore should cut me some slack if I am not proficient in proofreading and consequently fail to properly edit my prepare submissions.

23 Aug 2014 11:39 PM


Great call in the Travers! Congratulations, hope you bet with conviction; you are no broken clock, just a very hard working handicapper with very good insight.

24 Aug 2014 12:02 AM

Coldfacts :  Stop acting like the victim all the time.  I never said you were violating any guidelines, my point was (you missed it again), if you post your pick clearly, no one can question it rather than posting your handicapping and evaluation of horses without so much as stating who you will actually play.   When the race is over, and you claim to have picked the winners, it's hard to know which one you actually pick when you comment on 3/4 of the field.   You did the same with the Travers but you did actually post your selection which is my point.

Enough of the "everyone hates me", this is a blog, stop taking it seriously.   You act like you're always the victim, you question other people's way of handicapping, questioning their sanity for picking a longshot but when someone question yours, it seems like you cry like a baby...lol.

24 Aug 2014 12:12 AM

Overbred stallions!

Definition - Overbreed: To breed (a plant or animal) to excess especially without regard to the quality of the breeding stock.

The above definition is relevant to a stallion even if it is the top rated stallion in the world.  

Some contributors might not agree with the conclusion but it does not make the claim nonsense.

Giants Causeway is the king of the overbreeds and his progenies are so fragile they spend more time in gestation than they do on the track.

24 Aug 2014 12:18 AM
Pedigree Ann

Coldfacts - I beg to differ about the cause of the frequent unsoundness seen in Giant's Causeway offspring. I see the Storm Cat side prevailing over the Mariah's Storm side of the family. Those GCs are unsound because they come from unsound stock (have you checked the dam's sides??), not because their sire covered a lot of mares. You just see more of them if the sire has a lot more foals on the ground.

Look - if you see a stallion with 150+ foals in a crop, that tells you that the stallion manager has no reason to practice discrimination among the mares bred. In the olden days of 30-40 mares tops, the manager (often the owner) would carefully choose the ones which, in his experienced opinion, best suited the stallion and gave him the best chance of siring sound, fast racehorses. He would reject mares whose conformational faults mirrored the stallion's own faults, even if the mares were otherwise acceptable.

Modern stallion managers will take anything with a uterus and the right names in the pedigree: she doesn't need to have had racing talent or produced winners herself, nor be out of a mare who had racing ability or produced winners herself. The probability of unsound genes meeting unsound genes is greatly increased. But overbreeding does not CAUSE the unsoundness in and of itself.

P.S. I fail to see what a lack of formal education has to do with knowing or not knowing the name of a horse. Once wrong, I would have assumed a typo; but you misspelled it twice, so I had to assume you were genuinely confused about the horse's name. And you missed the whole reason I brought the topic up - my mare is a Quiet American, too! I love Quiet American mares and so does my pedigree-geek buddy who runs the farm where I board my mare. Great for a pedigree.

24 Aug 2014 4:38 AM


For reasons unknown, I missed your response to my submission regarding POS.

“she's clearly not the force of yesteryear therefore your remarks are redundant.”

You have to forgive my redundancy. You were the chief advocate for the then 3YO filly. You were one of the many that was of the opinion that she would be the dominant 4YO filly. Her victories in the Alabama and Coaching Club were achieved against opponents not ranked in the upper echelon of the division and were previously defeated by Close Hatches and Beholder. What made her so special?

The analysis of her resume was as usual done through emotionally tainted lenses that shaded the cold facts. In her second encounter with the real competitor she was comprehensively beaten and that provided evidence she was overhyped.

To now state that she is not the force of yesteryear and label my remarks as redundant is an easy way to cover the flaws in your 2013 assessment of the filly. As usual my dear collage to err is human to forgive is divine. I choose to be divine and forgive your POS transgression.

“your logic and lack of belief beats me.”

I am sure you are familiar with the quote ‘there is no man blinder than one who refuses to see.’  With young developing horses one cannot be fixated and blinded to cold facts. The analysis of cold facts will vary between contributors but it is important that analysis be done objectively and devoid of emotions.

V E Day’ resume reflected exceptional routing ability compliments by unprecedented versatility. This led me to conclude that there was no challenge too big for him. Two 9F races on two different surfaces in the same month is unheard of. Three consecutive victories on three different surfaces is unheard of.

One does not have to believe in history but one should equally not be dismissive of historic facts. Unraced Deputy Minister mares have produced three winners and one runner-up of the longest race on the calendar for 3YOs. Stallions who are grandsons of Mr. Prospector have been the most dominant in the Triple Crown history. Combine these two historic factors and apply them to a fast developing, talented and versatile 3YO and he will fit the profile of a Travers winner.

Many might consider it twisted logic or logic that beats he mind. Irrespective how the logic was viewed, V E Day fitted profile of so many past champions that is was hard not to recognize same.

I provided my rational for selecting him. I was recently advised that I should desist from providing handicapping/evaluating comments. I overwhelmingly believe that sharing is caring.

24 Aug 2014 9:19 AM

I knew that someone would pick the winner with all the blog characters being so indecisive that they covered ALL the horses in the field.I dont play like that my pick finished 2nd and thats all I need to either win more money than I bet, or hit the exacta.Thats why I play my way I dont let the PPs confuse me when the race is wide open. I either I play one number in the majority of the races I play year round or I pass the race.Gl to all

Keelerman has yet to offer the congradulatory cigar unless it was done by coded submission.

24 Aug 2014 10:23 AM

On the subject of the PPs,there is no unlocking to be done Denk came up with this to make it seem like HE KNEW A SECRET.How many times has a salesman mentioned the word secret to try and sell you something online,it works for the gullible.A lot of you overlook the most obvious factors and one of them was overlooked by all of you except Coldfacts who used the same factor to pick Hardest Core last week or did he?This is a bussiness and a sport and the most important factor is winning.Now students see if you can unlock the same factor that VE Day and Hardest Core had in common coming into the race.This will be half score because it is in retrospect students.

24 Aug 2014 10:53 AM
Mary Zinke

PC: Dude, Shared Belief, Irish Surf, Imperative

24 Aug 2014 10:58 AM
Mary Zinke

Congrats, Coldfacts, keep up the good work.

24 Aug 2014 11:03 AM
Mary Zinke

Didn't mean to leave out Clubhouse ride to hit the board in the PC. So, 5 win, 11,2,9,3. Think 5, 11 could go around the whole way like that.

24 Aug 2014 11:13 AM

Great job Coldfacts!  I did not see VE Day at all but in hindsight, love his breeding...  I had Bayern, Wicked Strong and Tonalist in that order.  So I was 2/3rds correct (LOL) but only won two of my show bets but not my exacta box (Bayern/Wicked Strong).  :-(   Glad to see you are still posting - ignore the critics!  Some like to nitpick everything others say (Pedigree Ann for example regularly corrects people for spelling and grammar) but I do not see where it is necessary one bit.  Who do you like in the Pacific Classic?  I love Game On Dude but I am not sure he is still the same as before.  I will place a bet on him for "old times sake" - show and exacta box with Shared Belief who I think will probably win (show bet on him as well). I also think Majestic Harbor could be in there but will not be betting him.  Obviously, I am not a big bettor, mostly just a huge fan!  Best of luck to all!

24 Aug 2014 11:43 AM


You are just too funny.

24 Aug 2014 11:47 AM


You are right, there is no secret lock in handicapping.

The best two horses yesterday were Wicked Strong and Tonalist. Rosario did the work killing Bayern and all chance of winning while the rider Wicked Strong thought he  had the race won and V E caught him at the wire. Five out of ten times Tonalist and W/S will beat V E. The problem with handicapping no matter how good you are there is a 20% chance of something going wrong that you cannot handicap for like an abscess the morning of the race, acting up in the gate, bad rides by jockey, unable, to get the distance, spooked by shadows or crowds, suicide speed duels and on and on. We experienced all this with our horses. The horse in front of is Miss Linda in the B/C distaff in 2001 flipped and died in the tunnel. Miss Linda won the Spinster that year and was supplemented to the B C distaff and although she got in the gate her race was over. How is that for the Thrill of Victory and The Agony of Defeat!!

I lost in Travers.

Thank goodness I hit the P3 in races 9/10/11. It helped to reduce my losses.

I treat this game as entertainment, sometimes I win, sometimes I loose.

Well done ColdFacts,

Keep doing what you're doing.

24 Aug 2014 1:38 PM

Brontexx : Who are you addressing your comments to ?   Also, no need to re-handicap the previous races...move forward.   Who is your pick in the Pacific Classic ?   or which of the BPM horses will hit the board today ?

I want to believe Shared Belief can actually tangle with the older horses and he just might.  I got really excited watching him win the LA Derby and was really impressed not by the field he beat but the way he ran on dirt, there was no change, he runs the same way whether it's synthetic or dirt.   The PC is a different race though, lots of seasoned horses and they're not about to let a 3 yr old embarrass them...GoD is the 2nd choice, I almost want to single him for my P4...I keep thinking no one's going to go with him and he'll get the race he likes.  I might play a few tickets with him on top specially if he goes off at 5-2.

24 Aug 2014 2:00 PM

PC: Mystery Train!, Shared Belief, and Clubhouse Ride

24 Aug 2014 3:04 PM

Majestic Harbor.

Go To The Window!

24 Aug 2014 3:22 PM
Pedigree Ann

Hey, it isn't me - it's the spirit of my Great-Aunt Sadie, the High School English teacher (taught 1903-1921). She stands behind my shoulder and keeps nudging me until I HAVE to say something or she'll keep at it forever. Her sister, my Gramma, only taught math and Latin...., you think Gramma is involved with this, too? Latin seems to attract grammar freaks - see the John Cleese as a Roman soldier correcting Graham Chapman as Brian in "The Life of Brian."

24 Aug 2014 4:30 PM


You are just too funny.

Not as funny as you and Cartoon Huckleberry Vet.

Tiny humans armed with whips Mr coded submissions and the purveyor of long winded posts as if you are a professor when all you do is pick long shots and you claim the reason is history thats hysterical,I know you think your professorial which makes it so much more comedic.

24 Aug 2014 9:44 PM

JayJay Im only playing when I think they can win no place and show daily doubles and key on top in exactas no plays today one yesterday.

24 Aug 2014 9:45 PM

Secreteriat you are the most astute horseplayer on this blog. I have played a whole year and made a lot more money than I bet so thats my learned opinion.

Coldfacts just picks longshots he dosent even know what his picks Hardest Core and VE Day have in common then he rambles on about how many runnings of so and so race and the times etc.He did pick it but hes a contrarian whoever the other bloggers dont pick he picks and trys to prove his case as if he were an attorney when hes more comedian than anyone on here including the cartoon huckleberry Vet.

24 Aug 2014 9:51 PM

Coldfacts is one of those comedians who try to act serious but what they write or say is so funny.

A couple of his lines Tiny humans armed with whips his attempt on encyclopedic definition of a jockey.

Coded Submissions his choice of words would have judges laughing out lous in a court room.

24 Aug 2014 9:55 PM

Secreteriat you are the most astute horseplayer on this blog. I have played a whole year and made a lot more money than I bet so thats my learned opinion.

I played full time one full year 2010 following 6 then 5 trainers at different tracks and let me tell you it was work it aint easy.Now I only play two both on the NYRA circuit and Pletcher isnt one of them he runs as many horses as the jockeys that ride them.

24 Aug 2014 10:08 PM


“The best two horses yesterday were Wicked Strong and Tonalist”

The horses in the Travers with the best records on Saturday were Wicked Strong and Tonalist. However, they were not the best horses on the day as they were defeated by a better horse on the day.

Neither Wicked Strong nor Tonalist had any excuses for their defeat. They were both in good positions in fractions similar to those recorded in the Jim Dandy. Tonalist was one paced in the stretch in a similar scenario to the Jim Dandy. Wicked Strong ran a similar race to the JD but was caught by a superior stayer.

"W/S will Five out of ten times Tonalist and beat V E Day”

I find the above to be driven by emotions.  How does one arrive at such a conclusion? Wicked Strong and Tonalist entered the Travers with a combined 15 starts with 9 being in graded races. They combined for 4 graded stakes victories and had contested races against the best 3YOs in the country. Tonalist holds a victory over the top rated 3YO colt in the country.

In every category Wicked Strong and Tonalist had the advantage over V E Day. They were not the only horses that possessed an advantage over him.  Kid Cruz, Bayern and Mr. Speaker in combination contested 13 graded races with a combined 6 victories to their credit. I guess five out of ten times they too would defeat V E Day.

V E Day was making his graded stakes debut in the Travers and defeated all the graded stakes winners on the square. He was the best horse on the day and the result in an incident free race proved it.

24 Aug 2014 10:58 PM


“The best two horses yesterday were Wicked Strong and Tonalist”

The horses in the Travers with the best records on Saturday were Wicked Strong and Tonalist. However, they were not the best  horses on the day as they were defeated in an incident free race.

Neither Wicked Strong nor Tonalist have any excuses for their defeat. They were both in good positions in fractions similar to those recorded in the Jim Dandy. Tonalist was one pace in the stretch in a similar scenario to the Jim Dandy. Wicked Strong ran a similar race to the JD but was caught by a superior stayer.

“W/S will Five out of ten times Tonalist and beat V E Day”

I find the above to be driven by emotions. How does one arrive at such a conclusion?

Wicked Strong and Tonalist entered the Travers with a combined 15 starts with 9 being in graded races. They combined for 4 graded stakes victories and had contested races against some of the best 3YOs in the country. Tonalist even holds a victory over the top rated 3YO colt in the country.

In every category Wicked Strong and Tonalist had the advantage over V E Day. They were not the only horses that possessed an advantage over him. Kid Cruz, Bayern and Mr. Speaker in combination contested 13 graded races with a combined 6 victories to their credit. I guess five out of ten times they too would defeat V E Day.

V E Day was making his graded stakes debut in the Travers and defeated all the graded stakes winners on the square. He was the best horse on the day and the result in an incident free race proved it.

24 Aug 2014 11:04 PM

Sahred Belief proved himself a genuine crackerjack in the Pacific Classic. Wow! He disposed of the synthetic specialist, Toast of New York (my pick), with authority.  The Breeder's Cup Classic will be worth travelling miles to see ...The clash between him and California Chrome for 3YO supremacy and perhaps Horse of te Year is shaping up to be to be quite a spectacle.  

24 Aug 2014 11:05 PM


I was once asked about the sport of my choice and gave the description below. The person posing the question was baffled to say the least.

"One involving tiny humans armed with whips relentlessly urging on tired 1000lbs animals battling the effects of lactic acid build up in their muscles."

I am by no mean a comedian but merely try to inject a bit humor in some of my submissions.

24 Aug 2014 11:21 PM

"Mr. purveyor of long winded posts as if you are a professor when all you do is pick long shots and you claim the reason is history thats hysterical"

With all due respect, you do not have to read my submissions. There are sufficient submissions to the blog that are concisely brief that you will obviously find more suitable in length.

You obviously lack an understanding and an appreciation for my approach of detailing the basis of my final selections. I cannot be held responsible for your limitations.

Racing Forms/Programs provide historic information that is used as a guide in handicapping the chances horses in particular races. To imply that historic data is not used by all is to be blatantly ignorant.

Historic data relating to the pedigree profiles of past champions is only useful to those that maintain such historic records. Obviously it is beyond your capacity to understand the importance of such records as there are usefulness go beyond handicapping.

Tonalist was 9-1 and Hardest Core was 11-1 and from my perspective are not long shots. I will concede V E day was a long shot. I cannot determine the final odds of my final selections. An unfancied horse can be bet down on race day and leave the gate well below its ML. The ML on Hardest Core was 20-1 it went off at 11-1. I try to pick potential winners that have been missed by most.  

The section of your highlighted statement above that make reference to my assuming I am either a professor or constantly being professorial has left me puzzled. How did you arrive at such a conclusion? I have long held the belief that you are missing a few screws as some of your submissions are incomprehensible. However, to suggest that a primary school dropout is trying to be professorial indicate that all your screws are missing.

I am going to do you and a couple other agents of intolerance a favor and make this my last submission to this blog.

25 Aug 2014 12:14 AM

Coldfacts : Do you still believe that Tonalist is better than Chrome ?

Shared Belief was phenomenal today, granted, it's not the best of the older horses but to dominate the race the way he did clocking a flat 2:00 for 10Fs is very impressive.   It's now down to the Classic for the 3YO championship and possibly the HOTY regardless of what Chrome does in the Penn Derby and I see him dominating that race as well unless his injury affected him mentally or physically.   It would be an awesome Classic to have the top two 3YOs in the country be the top contenders.  

I'm anxiously waiting to see how Coldfacts will break down the current favorite of the masses...

Keelerman : You need to start negotiating a trip to the Classic!

25 Aug 2014 12:57 AM

Coldfacts if you cant take it, dont dish it out I think you are funny you call me funny but I get silly on here because of some of what I read on here you on the otherhand want to be taken serious all the time.I am not hurt by what others write on here I know I am good at this game and laugh at some who try to critisize the way I play I could care less.I have mentioned to  Keelerman several times if he wants to boot me to go ahead I wont worry about it.

I am not in the PPs camp I use PPs but if I didnt have access to comprehensive PPs tommorrow just simple ones with facts that I use I could still win at this game.

25 Aug 2014 11:43 AM

Coldfacts the same factor that Hardest Core and VE Day had in common before their races were that they both had three race win streaks although the betting public edited that fact to mean the 3 race win streak didnt mean much because it wasnt in high class races,why do you think Jerkens ran VE Day in a race where he could have won it with one entry, believe me when any horse wins three in a row they should be expected to run well next race.

25 Aug 2014 11:49 AM

This is not the first time I have written about 3 race win streaks nor will it be the last.

25 Aug 2014 11:50 AM

JayJay I think Shared Belief is the best 3yo in the West right now, he has already beaten older horses in a GR 1.

25 Aug 2014 12:16 PM

I started with PPs as my main process to win bets but IMO a person can read into something that is read that does not exists.I think a horseplayer should spend at least as much time formulating possible bets as they do going over the PPs.Betting properly is at least 50% of this game.Players should take the PPs and transition into their own angles and find out what it is that works for them.As long as the racing media continues claiming that the PPs are the keys to winning many new players will quit the game and go into something like maybe poker where they have a better chance to win more than they bet.Their is no edge in PPs everyone is looking at the same thing.People like Pete Denk mislead people for their own benefit to sell them picks much like the industry and their writers do to maintain the status quo.I dont visualize this being the same game 20 years from now when all the old timers are gone or a lot older.This game wont attract new fans on the path that it is on.

25 Aug 2014 7:20 PM

Hey Brontexx put a lid on it 5 posts in a row these screen names and the real people behind them however many there really are dont give a hoot about you or your opinions,you are a degenerate gambler and not a writer like most of us on here.What do you have to say

I dont give a rats a...

25 Aug 2014 7:52 PM
Rusty Weisner

Well, well, well...Congratulations, Coldfacts.  That was a masterpiece, one everyone should be obligated to remember for a long time.  

I just looked at the chart and it looks like Bayern burned Wicked Strong and Tonalist (opening split :23:50, closing :26:50), but still, it seems it was a race where pedigree was the key to the handicapping puzzle.  Also, in hindsight, the Curlin produced three starters in this Travers and should have been taken seriously just on that basis; a case where Beyers, for example, were unhelpful.  

26 Aug 2014 9:12 AM
Rusty Weisner

Anyone still mocking Coldfacts should realize that it only takes one 20-1 shot, bet with conviction, to make a winning year, and Coldfacts has a few every year.  In the last couple months he's had a 9-1 winner in Tonalist and now V.E. Day, as well as someone else in there I forgot.  Kudos!  Ranagulzion, on the other hand, is the kiss of death every year around this time...

26 Aug 2014 9:23 AM
Rusty Weisner


I love your 12:41 "Eliminated!" post.  More of this stuff, please.  Right on the money with this, this, this and and this:

on Wicked Strong:

"Being upfront with Bayern will be a significantly different experience than the one with MSW winner Legend. This will compromise his chances."

"Bayern appears to be the superior speed in the field but his speed has to be perfectly managed for him to win 10F against top G1 routers. He has never won a race with 126lbs and will carry 8Lbs more than he carried in the Haskell going 1F longer against top class routers."

on Kid Cruz:

"I cannot think of a running strategy that could be employed to get him a victory. If he is close to the pace he will not have his explosive finishing kick. If he drops back he will have too much do against the high cruisers that can kick in the stretch."

on Mr. Speaker:

"He is a classy turf colt that should be kept where he excels."

Now THAT is handicapping.

26 Aug 2014 9:40 AM

Ambiguity reigns how about 30-1 or 125-1 and more than one thats exacta pools win pools are for serious horseplayers that put at least 5000 a month in the till

26 Aug 2014 11:40 AM

Rusty Weisner,

Many thanks for the complements contained in your 9.40 submission.

In retrospect my 'Elimination' from top spot submission was simply profound.

There will be no future critical pre-race analyses of contenders as it has not resonated with the majority that support this blog. In addition, there are certain contributors to this blog that are relentlessly annoying.

26 Aug 2014 11:53 AM
Rusty Weisner

I just saw the Travers replay.  Boy, am I going to miss Tom Durkin - everything from the opening "Presto!" to the final "TOO CLOSE TO CALL!!!" was great.  Wicked Strong ran a great race.  I didn't take it as a good sign that Tonalist went wide for no reason early.  

26 Aug 2014 12:01 PM
Rusty Weisner


Lighten up.  Don't have a pity party.  Enjoy it.  I was glad to see you call it cold and cash in.

26 Aug 2014 1:12 PM


Don't worry -- your pre-race analyses are always welcome here, and I for one find them very interesting! You did a terrific job this weekend with V. E. Day, and last weekend as well with Hardest Core. You can't stop now -- you're riding a hot streak!

26 Aug 2014 1:30 PM

DRF.com has reported that Social Inclusion will miss some time with a tendon injury: www.drf.com/.../social-inclusion-sidelined-tendon-injury

26 Aug 2014 1:31 PM

Shared belief looked special on Saturday on poly, hoping he and California Chrome take a lot of money come BC classic. I am totally against both of them.

26 Aug 2014 2:14 PM

TnT if only we could bring back Zenyatta who was regarded as the poly queen by many writers who also self edited her record of 20-16-1-0 as not important because it was on poly.

26 Aug 2014 3:07 PM
Rusty Weisner


Me, too.  Brontexx can't even pick the winner of a race run four years ago.

26 Aug 2014 3:26 PM
English Pete

I missed the weekend's racing as I spent four days at the Belgian Grand Prix (Formula 1) and got home last night.  Just wanted to congratulate Coldfacts.  Not just on picking VE Day, but for the sound reasoning.  Colfacts, I read your post saying you were going to cease your previews. Please don't stop - they are always interesting.

26 Aug 2014 4:24 PM
Sam Santschi

Just getting around to the blog now.  Good one Coldfacts! And as Keelerman said, please do continue to post your analysis.  While I don't always agree or, I must admit, understand, it is still helpful.

26 Aug 2014 4:31 PM

Hi Coldfacts,

Please continue to post! I look forward to reading your in depth analysis of each contendor and non- contendor. Although I will not contribute as I am just learning the art of handicapping, I am sure I am not the only one who also uses this blog as a way to learn from those who break down in detail how they arrive at their selections. I am looking forward to your analysis for this weekend. If you only post your picks the newbies will not be able to learn how to eventually have a more discerning eye..

26 Aug 2014 4:34 PM

Shared Belief's win reminded me of Dullahan a couple years back, I'll take my chances, though Mike Smith seems unbeatable out west.

WTC is still my number one, also think WS and Tonalist can do better next time, the race did not set up for them.

Pletcher is 0 for 25 in his last 25 races at Saratoga, so I would keep an eye on his horses this week.

Nice French filly in the 2 year old race stakes race tomorrow, good value at 4-1.

Strong Coffee in colts stakes on Thursday, but not at 3-1 without Lasix.

26 Aug 2014 6:52 PM

Rusty w.......i'm the expert, so i will educate you......there WAS a reason tonalist was wide.....after bayern went 3 lengths ahead right out of the gate, tonalist was asked to go a little by his jock......tonalist went alittle faster than jock wanted, so he steered him out to the middle......why? Horses relax much better away from the rail, and/or away from another horse..........relaxing is important........class dismissed.........your welcome!

26 Aug 2014 10:12 PM

I wouldn't worry about Coldfacts not posting and I don't think anyone else should.   He's been doing this for much much longer than I have and I started here when Shandler was still the author.    He initially said that his previous post was his last post on this blog, then his last post said there will be no more pre-race analysis...I won't be surprised that on the next big race, we'll see his pre-race analysis again.

27 Aug 2014 12:21 AM


The submission directed to Rusty Weisner was to express my appreciation for his complements. He went to great lengths to highlight why he was impressed with my pre-race analysis.

The comments of the valuable contributor merited an acknowledgement. Do not read beyond that. However, I doubt you capable of same.

27 Aug 2014 10:16 AM
Rusty Weisner



27 Aug 2014 12:17 PM

Coldfacts:  I commented on one sentence from your post to Rusty, I wasn't analyzing your comment to Rusty.   I just know that it would take more than just a couple of bloggers to keep you away.  I’m not going to join the pity party, because I see right through your posts.  If you’re going to question other people’s picks and at times, almost to a level of insult, you should be prepared to be questioned.

LOL, can you post how many times you’ve acknowledged people who picked winners  or even acknowledge their opinions (unless you’re preparing to tear it apart, you’re good at that) ??   You acknowledged Rusty’s comments because it favors you and he’s responding to the pity party.  I’m not dumb.

BTW, I’m looking forward to your analysis of how Shared Belief, although he's not quite the favorite of the masses so I'm not sure if it's worth your time.

28 Aug 2014 1:44 AM


I have some fantastic photos from Saratoga my son took two weeks ago I'd like to share with you and this blog's contributors. If I email them to you would you be able to post them on here?


28 Aug 2014 8:16 PM


Wow!! That sounds great! Thanks for thinking of us! I've contacted the web producers at Bloodhorse.com about the details, and I'll be in touch with you soon!

Thanks again!

29 Aug 2014 10:11 PM

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