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TimeformUS Race Analysis



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TimeformUS Analysis for August 2

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

TimeformUS Saratoga Analysis for Saturday, August 2
Race 1:  One final try for #11 Ziggy the Great, who was an impressive (and heavily bet) debut winner over this course and distance last summer.  Rallied gamely through the stretch vs. a tougher overall field when cut back last time.  
#8 Leroy Jr. returns to turf off the layoff. He blew away a field of maidens when last seen sprinting on dirt.  Last turf race was OK going long, and he may simply be a better sprinter.  #2 Hooked Forever was outfinished by #1 Soul House after they contested the pace together on June 22nd, but he is a better horse making one run and will be a much better price today. 
Selections:  11-8-2-1
Race 2:  #8 Alexis Inspires caught a muddy track and completely blew the break in her Churchill debut.  Thought she did well to finish where she did. She is eligible to deliver a much better performance second-time out.  
#3 Skidmore also broke slowly in her debut, then had little chance to impact front-running Resistivity over a Gulfstream main track that tends to carry speed.  Like Alexis Inspires, she is eligible to be much improved with that experience as she returns from a layoff.  #2 Snowbell made a promising debut here last summer, but hasn't been able to build upon that effort and remains a maiden over a full year later.  Didn't run poorly in her second start, which came off of a layoff, and she may appreciate getting back over this track.  #6 Brilliant Jewel and #7 Ridingwiththedevil are the two fastest horses to this point, but they've both disappointed at short prices more than once and are vulnerable to their progressive rivals.  
Selections:  8-2-3-6
Race 3:  #3 Face the Music is by a strong turf influence in Stormy Atlantic, and his dam is a half-sister to champion turfer Point of Entry. Shug not known for first-out success, but he's starting to get there with six debut winners over the past 12 months and three already this year. #5 Cordero is the horse to beat.  He debuted in a super-tough spot vs. stakes company in Europe over seven furlongs and earned progressive marks after being bothered in the late stages.  
#10 Firespike was on his way to an easy debut victory at Ellis Park when he appeared to attempt to jump the rail in midstretch.  Switches from a 7-lb. bug to NY's leading rider.  #4 Strong Coffee is a half to a pair of stakes winners over grass and debuts for a trainer adept at getting runners to win off of workouts.  
Selections:  3-5-10-4
Race 4:  #9 Flashy Gal appeared full of potential as a 2yo in NY for Chad Brown, but never really got going as a 3yo after being transferred to this barn.  Seems back on track after pair of improved starts this year, including a convincing win last time, and while Pace Projector indicates that the runners closer to the pace may hold the advantage, we'll hope that she can use her potent late kick (she has the top late pace rating in the field) to overcome any disadvantage.  #3 Strike Charmer is still lightly raced and improving from start to start.  She was way up against it while trying to close into a slow pace up here last year, and she appeared to take a step forward in her 2014 debut.  #10 Tokyo Time hasn't quite panned out for top connections, but she has run well in her last two starts since returned to NY and fits very well in here.  #2 Lady of Gold has a great inside post and competitive form, and may be a good price to include, assuming the trainer change doesn't attract too much attention. 
Selections:  9-3-10-2
Race 5:  As usual, dirt sprint for 2yos, with several first-time starters, figures to go through trainer Todd Pletcher.  He has two entered, including ML favorite #1 Royal Son.  Winstar homebred is from the family of 2yo champion Countess Diana, and he's a half to Awesome Mama, who was a debut winner a couple of years ago.  We're interested in one of his experienced rivals, #6 Pride of Stride, who gets first-time Lasix after dropping back and then rallying late in his Delaware debut.  #7 Waging War brought big money as a yearling and debuts for a trainer who can win with first-time starters, but he has more of a turf pedigree.  #4 Burndines debuts for a red-hot trainer and has attracted Javier Castellano despite Pletcher having two in here.  
Selections:  6-1-4-7
Race 6:  #7 Pretty Syrie flashed potential while sprinting on synthetic and dirt, but is well-bred to handle the switch to grass, and her trainer gets a 99 rating with horses making their first start on turf.  #8 Pink Poppy impressed when charging down maidens through the stretch of her second career start, and then failed to fire after getting rank in the early stages last time.  Should be able to settle this time with a fast pace projected, and can be given a chance to rebound.  #2 Granny Mc's Kitten broke her maiden vs. stakes company up here as a 2yo; makes third start of the year for top connections, and this will be her first attempt at this allowance condition on grass.  
Selections:  7-8-2-9
Race 7:  De La Rose stakes features the return of a pair of graded stakes winners for trainer Chad Brown in #7 Pianist and #8 Dayatthespa.  Of those two, we prefer Dayatthespa, but they'll both have to be ready to go right away if #9 Filimbi continues her ascent for Bill Mott.
She has recency on her two main rivals, and was highly impressive in her confident score over allowance foes when last seen.
Selections:  9-8-7-5
Race 8:  Guaranteed Late Pick 4 kicks off with the Grade 1 Vanderbilt for older sprinters. Both #1 Palace and #8 Bakken arrive here via the True North, which was contested the day before the Belmont Stakes downstate.  Palace prevailed that day with the benefit of a perfect trip tracking a pace duel in which Bakken was involved.  
With plenty of speed signed on here, we could see a replay of that race, though we are expecting Bakken, who was making his first start of the year in the True North, to be a tougher customer this time.  #5 Happy My Way is a razor sharp speed stepping up to face his toughest test to date, and he could have a difficult time early with speed to his outside in the form of Bakken and to his inside in the form of #2 Falling Sky.  
Selections:  1-8-5-7
Race 9:  
Excellent running of the Grade 1 Test figures to be a war from start to finish.  We believe #7 Sweet Reason to be the best horse in the race to this point, and perhaps the top 3yo filly overall at distances under a mile, but she was able to work out a perfect trip from off the pace to win the Grade 1 Acorn last time, and may need a similar clean run to prevail today.  #4 Thank You Marylou turns back to a better distance after trying to stretch out recently, and she had impressed over sprint distances earlier in her career.  #5 Southern Honey has been improving rapidly for Rusty Arnold, winning three in a row while earning competitive TimeformUS Speed Figures along the way. #8 Little Alexis is stepping way up in class off of a pair of convincing wins in Florida.  This is likely to be too tough for her, but she impressed in burying the talented My Miss Sophia in her debut.  #12 Miss Behaviour is a very dangerous horse drawn out in the clear, but she may be pushing her limits over this distance.
Selections:  7-4-5-12
Race 10:  Grade 1 Whitney Handicap with a new $1.5 million purse goes straight through #5 Palace Malice. He is the clear leader of this handicap division right now and appears to be going from strength to strength since returning as a 4yo.
#1 Will Take Charge hasn't been able to hold his terrific form from the second half of 2013 and early 2014 but has a race in him that would make Palace Malice sweat.  He was up against the dynamics of the Foster last time, but will have to rebound all the way in order to take down this prize.  #3 Moreno matched up well with both Palace Malice and Will Take Charge as a 3yo, and he may be set to break through after his game runner-up performance going longer last time.
Selections:  3-5-1-7
Race 11:  Our Pace Projector indicates that a fast pace is on tap for the Lure Stakes, and that may allow #4 Big Blue Kitten to pick up right where he left off after his terrific 2013 season.  Will be tough with something approaching his best, but he may be prepping for some longer graded stakes assignments later in the season.  #8 Villandry never really got going as a 4yo, but he's been in improved form this year, and he was up against it when trying to close down a loose-on-the-lead Silver Max last time.  #12 Kharafa took the worst of the draw, but he has been going well over a long series of races and can be tough if able to work out a trip.  #2 Swift Warrior is also a big danger from his perfect inside post, and he will be hoping to catch firm ground for the first time this year.
Selections:  2-4-8-12

Forbes’ Firsters for Saturday, August 2, 2014

Jon Forbes


Forbes’ Firsters for Saturday, August 2, 2014

Race 3, All 2-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles, turf, 2:02 p.m.

FACE THE MUSIC (bay colt, Stormy Atlantic—Voyage, by Rahy) is out of an unraced half-sister to Pine Island, who won the Grade 1 Alabama and Grade 1 Gazelle on the dirt, and Point of Entry, who registered Grade 1 victories on the turf in the Man o’ War, Sword Dancer Invitational, Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational, Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap, and Manhattan Handicap. Face the Music’s second dam, Matlacha Pass, produced multiple graded stakes winner/multiple grade 1 placed runner Country Hideaway and Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Pleasant Home. His fourth dam, Maplejinsky, won the Grade 1 Alabama and produced Champion Three-Year-Old Filly Sky Beauty. Voyage has produced one winner from two starters, with that runner’s sole victory coming in a turf race.

Owner: Phipps Stable

Trainer: Claude McGaughey III

Jockey: Joel Rosario


STRONG COFFEE (dark bay or brown colt, Warrior’s Reward—Classic Approval, by With Approval) is a half-brother to Gulch Approval, who on the turf won the Grade 3 Oceanport Handicap and Grade 3 Appleton and was third in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile; Approval Rating, who ran primarily on turf and all-weather surfaces and at Woodbine won the Victoria Park and was second in the Grade 3 Dominion Day Handicap; and Rusty Slipper, who took the Little Silver on the turf at Monmouth Park. Classic Approval, who placed in stakes on the dirt and turf, also produced Moyne Abbey, the dam of Grade 1 TwinSpires.com Wood Memorial and Jim Dandy winner Wicked Strong. Strong Coffee’s second dam, Classic Value, did most of her running in sprints, winning a pair of Grade 3 races and placing in a Grade 1. Classic Value also produced multiple graded stakes winner Class Kris and stakes winner/multiple graded stakes placed Patriot Act.


Owner: Albert Frassetto

Trainer: H. Graham Motion

Jockey: Irad Ortiz, Jr.

Sales history: $120,000 OBS March 2-year-old (two furlongs in 22 1/5 seconds, video)


MR MONEYPANTS (dark bay or brown colt, Sarava—Bodyguard, by Private Terms) is out of a winning daughter of Fortissima, a Group 1 winner in Chile who was third in a stakes at Santa Anita. Bodyguard, who won five races on the dirt, has produced four winners from as many starters. Two of her starters have won on the turf.

Owner: New Phoenix Stable

Trainer: Wayne Catalano

Jockey: Robby Albarado


DELTA OUTLAW (bay colt, Tiznow—Mistical Plan, by Game Plan) is the first foal out of his dam, a dirt runner who when sprinting won the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap and when routing took the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks and was third in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Handicap.

Owner:  R A Hill Stable

Trainer: George Weaver

Jockey: Joseph Rocco, Jr.

Sales history:  $410,000 Keeneland September yearling


Race 5, All 2-year-olds, six furlongs, dirt, 3:06 p.m.

WAGING WAR (bay colt, War Front—Sidle, by Seeking the Gold) is out of a mare who won a single race on the dirt. Sidle is a half-sister to Patrol, who won three turf stakes and was third in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, and Stroll, who won the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic. Waging War’s second dam, Maid for Walking, was second in a Group 3 in England.


Owner: Columbine Stable

Trainer: Albert Stall, Jr.

Jockey: Joel Rosario

Sales history: $350,000 Keeneland September yearling


FIRE AWAY(bay colt, War Front—Salute, by Unbridled’s Song) is a half-brother to Mr Speaker, who in July captured the inaugural Grade 1 Belmont Derby Invitational on the turf. The only other starter out of Salute won a single race apiece on dirt, turf, and synthetic surfaces. Salute herself placed in the Grade 2 Demoiselle and Grade 3 Tempted and is a daughter of unbeaten Hall of Famer Personal Ensign, who also produced Grade 1 winners Miner’s Mark, My Flag, and Traditionally.

Owner: Phipps Stable

Trainer: Claude McGaughey III

Jockey: Jose Ortiz



To be eligible for Forbes’ Firsters, a first-time starter running in a non-statebred race must meet at least one of the following criteria:

? Is out of a graded-stakes-winning mare

? Is a sibling to a graded-stakes winner

? Is out of a Grade 1-placed mare

? Is a sibling to a Grade 1-placed runner

? Is out of a black-type earning mare who earned at least $300,000

? Is a sibling to a black-type earner who has earned at least $300,000

? Has a second dam who was a Grade 1 winner

? Has a second dam who produced a Grade 1 winner

? Sold for at least $300,000 at auction

Forbes’ Firsters is a collaboration among Jon Forbes, Susie Raisher, and Lily Pierce


TimeformUS Analysis for August 1

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

TimeformUS Saratoga Analysis for Friday, Aug 1
Race 1:  #7 The Mooche is third back from the layoff today and switching to grass for a trainer who has gone 4-for-7 with maidens making this surface switch since starting out with his own string last year.  Meets the right kind of field and distance isn't supposed to pose a problem for him.  #8 Royal Posse ran deceptively well a couple of times over a route of ground at Aqueduct earlier this year and figures to appreciate the class relief he gets here.  #4 Invasion Point took a little money but failed to offer much after showing brief speed in his debut; figures to be on the front, but that pedigree rating of 59 for this distance on dirt has to be a concern.
Selections:  7-8-4-6
Race 2:  #3 Point to the Wild has posted a solid record sprinting over turf and has picked up her game since being taken by this high-percentage barn.  Each of her four turf sprints for these connections (she won three of those) has earned her TFUS Speed Figures of 90+, which is rarefied air in this field on grass.  #4 Justalittleloopy is a huge question mark in here based on her first two starts back from the layoff, but she may be set for better now, and getting to turf may suit her based on her prior synthetic form.  #6 Ave's Halo will likely need to improve a bit if Point to the Wild brings her best, but she is eligible to do so off the claim by a dangerous trainer.
Selections:  3-4-6-7
Race 3:  Super-interesting maiden route features the Saratoga debut of Rachel Alexandra's little sister, #4 Samantha Nicole.  She ran well to be second-best after a very awkward break in her debut and can be expected to go forward here, but is a cinch to be overbet.
#3 Dragonberry was defeated as a heavy favorite first time out, but actually ran well that day while appearing to be a horse who wanted more ground.  Stretches out here, and will be very tough to beat if improving upon the 94 TimeformUS Speed Figure she earned first time out.  #7 Twenty in One was rated back away from a moderate pace when on fast dirt for the first time last out. She finished well in there behind a repeat winner.  
Selections: 3-7-4-1
Race 4:  We always thought highly of #2 North Slope as a turf horse, but he disappointed there and then surprised running a huge race when switched to dirt last time.  He was after a fast pace all the way that day, and wound up in a long duel with the eventual runner-up, Escapefromreality, before they were both closed down by a perfect-trip winner. They may not be looking to send him again as he takes on more distance, but there is not much confirmed speed in this race.  
#3 Praetereo has fast races to get back to, but he seemed to really improve once cut back in distance off the claim, and he has never been that effective over this trip.  #4 Ever Rider gets some much needed class relief here and has the kind of tactical speed to get the right trip.
Selections:  2-4-3-1
Race 5:  #10 Solly's Mischief was rated back to last and then had no chance to catch an impressive winner in his last start, but finished gamely to get up for 2nd in there, and he has faced better than this right along since breaking his maiden at the end of last year. #11 Brendan G is the horse to beat for a trainer who scores a strong 96 rating moving horses from turf to dirt, but he has some hang in him, and we're not taking it as a good sign that he drops below the level of the claim so quickly.  #7 Herd Mentality has run some competitive figures for Asmussen and has some speed.  
Selections:  10-11-7-1
Race 6:  #7 How is clearly the horse to beat on the drop into restricted claiming company after rating and giving way in a tough spot on turf last time.  Dirt form is solid, and Pace Projector indicates that he will be up close in a race that favors runners on or near the early lead.  
We'll lean on him in the mid-card multis and make #2 Daddy Loves Gold our backup, as he figures to appreciate the class relief, as well, and he was wide all the way in his lone dirt start, which came over an inside-speed-favoring track.
Selections:  7-2-4-1
Race 7:  Pace Projector for this race favors runners on or near the early lead, and expects the horse to beat, #8 Shore Runner, to be in position up there on the outside.  He has come away narrowly second-best in each of his two recent turf starts, but earned a TimeformUS Speed Figure of 99 for that last one, and drops back down in class.  #12 Pirate's Pleasure arrives with recent excuses and is entered right back at the level of the claim by a sharp trainer.  For a price, include #2 Greeley Pack, who will start in a claiming race on the turf for the first time here. He was a strong winner over this track and trip last summer.
Selections:  8-12-2-7
Race 8:  #11 Arch Avenger made the transition to turf that his pedigree suggested he would last time (his dam is a sister to Stroll, a Grade 1 winner on grass), digging in gamely after a wide trip to just miss.  Claimed by a going concern, and will be tough with a similar effort.  
#6 Aripeka stepped it up on turf when last seen, to be second-best behind the talented Middleburg; layoff is the concern. #8 Peb the Champ put in an inexplicably poor performance at Pimlico two back, but his two turf starts surrounding that one are solid, and he was much the best last time, albeit with a perfect trip.
Selections:  11-6-8-9
Race 9:  #5 Munnings Sister holds dangerous speed and a pedigree rating of 93 for turf sprints, which suggests that she may be a handful as she switches to grass for the first time here.  #10 Madam Giry has been at her best over this course in the past, and appeared to get back to one of her good races with blinkers added last time.  #3 Free as a Bird is very nearly 5-for-5 since concentrating on turf sprints this year, though she has benefited from some easy trips.  Still, she is the horse to beat here. 
Selections:  5-10-3-6
Race 10:  Hard to believe that #3 All Cash remains a maiden a year after arriving on the scene here last summer, considering some of the races he ran, but here he is, in for $40k and carrying an 0-for-11 record.  We'll give him one more chance back over this turf course, as he projects to be on a clear early lead and is supposed to be tough with that scenario.  #9 All My Trails had little chance to impact in a race that held together up front last time, and figures to benefit from this class drop.  #7 Dividend was picked up by trainer John Terranova last time, and he gets a 99 rating with horses making their first start out of his barn, from a limited sample.
Selections:  3-9-7-6

TimeformUS Analysis Thursday July 31

TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer

TimeformUS Analysis for Thursday July 31st.
Race 1:  Steeplechase
Race 2:  Pick 5 kicks off here, and #4 None Like Nolan figures to be solidly favored.  He came back to dirt at Monmouth last time and put in a good enough effort to be second best, and the 90 TFUS Speed Figure he earned there is tops in the field.  We aren't wildly against him, but he doesn't have much speed. Could be vulnerable to a horse like #2 Warrior's Hero, who stretches out after getting the best of a pace duel going shorter last time.  Distance is a question for him, but he could wind up in early control here and be dangerous.  We are also interested in #1 Updraft, who raced greenly behind graded-stakes bound The Big Beast in his debut and will now stretch out for his second start. Dam was a Breeders' Cup Distaff winner, and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin excels with second-time starters (100 rating) and with horses going from sprint to route (99).  
Selections:  2-4-1-3
Race 3:  #2 Henry's Gal cut a quick pace going longer in her turf debut last time, and figures to benefit from this turn-back to 5.5-furlongs.  She's had gate trouble more than once in the past, which she won't be able to afford today, but she's fast and talented, and she handled turf well last time.  
#4 Image of Noon will appreciate any pace that Henry's Gal brings to the table, and she has returned in good form this year.  #8 Hot Squeeze holds an entry into an overnight stakes race here on Wednesday, but would obviously be a big player were she to await this spot.  #7 Neck of the Moon and #9 White Sangria are also contenders in what has come up a solid race.
Selections:  2-4-8-7
Race 4:  #6 Big Town is dropping off the claim, which may not be the best sign in the world, but he has been in very good form recently in Kentucky, where he has been facing tougher (race ratings have consistently been higher for those races than the 100 rating for today's race) while putting his fine early speed to good use.  #4 North Ocean seemed to get back to one of his better races last time, and he earned the top last speed figure in the field by a clear margin for that front-running score, but he was able to get away unchallenged in there, and that may not be the case today.  Will be making first start off the claim by Pletcher/Repole here, so wouldn't expect him to be a fair price.  #5 Crushing is making his third start back from a long layoff, and may be the main beneficiary if a contested pace develops.  He's managed to win only at Parx so far, but he's run OK in NY in the past, and faced a runaway winner last time. 
Selections:  6-5-4-1
Race 5:  Wide-open turf sprint for maiden claimers appears to be a good spot for returnee #5 Stay in Front and first-time starter #10 Boca Babe.  Stay in Front ran very well in her only start, which came over this track last summer, and returns for a $40k tag with a trainer change (she raced for the same owners in that debut run).  Of the others, we'll use a little of #3 Golden Maria, as she has been involved in a pair of very fast paces this year and may be dangerous if able to get away a little easier in this spot.  
Selections:  5-10-3-6
Race 6:  Tough way to close out the sequence, with a field full of NY-bred first time starting 2yos awaiting.  #1 Scorecard Harry wins the pedigree contest, as his dam was a Grade 2 winner and has already dropped three stakes winners, including Lovely Lil, who won the Grade 2 Go for Wand and made just shy of $300k.  
#3 Persuasive Devil has valuable experience and showed enough in her debut to be considered.  Pletcher has a firster in #5 Bullheaded Boy, who was just purchased for $115k in June after working a quarter in :21.3.   #7 Saratoga Heater brought $100k after working a furlong in :10.2 and has continued to breeze well up here, and #8 Watergate has been working well for George Weaver.  
Selections:  1-3-5-8
Race 7:  Full gate of hard-hitting older turf horses going 9 furlongs here, and the ML favorite, #3 Grand Rapport, is the horse to beat.  He's one of the coolest horses around, having returned to competitive form after a layoff of over a year, and he ran very well over 1 1/2 miles here less than a week ago.  We'll use him, but we want to play #7 Zane on top. Zane has endured some tough luck in NY recently, with his rider overcommitting to the inside all the way in each of his last two starts.  He gets a rider change today to Joe Rocco, Jr., who was aboard for that convincing win at Gulfstream back in March.  #8 Sayler's Creek is one length away from winning six straight turf routes, but he's been getting one perfect trip after another in those races and was defeated the one time he didn't have all the best of it.  Trainer Chris Englehart saddles a pair of contenders in #4 Majestic Raffy and #5 Madris.  We prefer the former, as he had little chance to impact from off of a walking pace here opening day.
Selections:  7-3-4-5
Race 8:  One-mile turf race goes through Todd Pletcher's #6 Storm, undefeated on grass and out of state-bred conditions.  He has a versatile running style and plenty of upside, and he could have found a much tougher field than this one, all things considered.  #5 Shaun's Blessing could be a big danger to the favorite as he makes just his third lifetime start.  He's raced a bit greenly so far, but has positional speed and may have found the nine furlongs a touch too far last time.  #9 Los Borrachos has transferred well to grass for Bill Mott, and #4 Mister Special made a promising debut in Chicago last summer before going to the sidelines for top connections.  
Selections:  5-6-9-4
Race 9:  $100k Evan Shipman for NY-breds is perhaps set to feature a contested pace between the two favorites, #6 Escapefromreality and #8 Big Business.  
Both enter here off of big performances and are the right two horses, assuming they don't battle each other into defeat.  We prefer Escapefromreality, who was first back from the layoff when engaged in a hard duel last time and did well to get the best of it before getting nailed on the line.  He figures tighter for this one, has shown the ability to rate, if necessary, and owns a win over this track and trip.  Big Business has been holding strong form over a long series of races since getting on dirt, but he has been at his best around one turn downstate and may be severely tested by this trip.  If those two hurt each other early, #7 Awesome Vision seems likeliest to pick up the pieces.
Selections:  6-8-7-4
Race 10:  #3 Bold Challenger hasn't been seen in 180 days, but he is unlikely to find a much better spot than this one to make his return.  He's kept the best company and run the fastest races, and he has the kind of speed that should allow him to avoid being compromised by pace or trip.  Assuming he's not ready, I guess #2 Anmaat could be given another chance, as he received an ill-advised unaggressive ride and then got wired by Cashmere Cat last time.  #11 Grandpa Len comes back to grass after running well in each of his two starts off of a long break.  Think he's better on dirt, but he certainly fits here.
Selections:  3-2-11-8