• La Coronel (5-1) leads them all the way in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.Posted 4 days ago
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  • Engage (1-2) rolls home from last to win the Grade 3 Futurity Stakes.Posted 4 days ago
  • Bolt d'Oro is the 12-1 favorite in the current Las Vegas line for Kentucky Derby 2018.Posted 7 days ago
  • Romantic Vision (6-1) takes the sloppy Spinster (G1) at Keeneland.Posted 10 days ago
  • Unique Bella (1-5) returns with a clear victory in the L. A. Woman (G3) at Santa Anita.Posted 10 days ago
  • Flameaway (5-1) wins a three-horse photo finish in the Dixiana Bourbon (G3) at a wet Keeneland.Posted 10 days ago
  • War Flag (9-1) wins the stretch battle in Belmont's Flower Bowl (G1).Posted 10 days ago
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The Dark Horse

The Dark Report - June 1, 2014

Wicked Strong Wood Memorial 2 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire - Sue Kawczynski
Greetings and happy Sunday everyone! We have just less than one week to see if we will have our first Triple Crown winner in 36 years! Belmont Day is shaping up nicely as the big race and the under card surely will not disappoint. I think many of us are holding our breath with cautious optimism and wondering if California Chrome can get the job done. I sure hope he can! However let’s put things into perspective, there are many streaks a lot worse than the 36 year drought of the horse racing Triple Crown. This week’s Dark Report contains contenders, indices, breathing, rainbows, streaks, and some impressive winners. Let’s jump right in!


In looking at the contenders for next Saturday’s Belmont Stakes, I’m starting to think about who might have a legitimate shot to beat California Chrome.
Two furlongs longer than the Kentucky Derby, the mile and a half run at the “Big Sandy” is the ultimate test of stamina. Does California Chrome have what it takes to get the distance? Art Sherman, trainer of California Chrome, said he “got chills” watching his horse work out at Belmont yesterday. The horse seems to be in very good form! My question is, who has the best chance for an upset bid? Here are a few horses I’m considering:

Wicked Strong: One of the two horses really bred for long distances; in my opinion Wicked Strong has the best chance in the field at the Triple Crown upset.
The issue with this horse is that he likes to come from the back of the pack, make one move, and score. In the Belmont Stakes, typical winners are just off the pace, not more than a handful of lengths behind, from the beginning.
(Above: Belmont winners - points of call.  Thanks Scoggay!) 
I think this colt will have to alter his running style to have a good chance.

Tonalist: This horse absolutely destroyed the field in the Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont back on May 10th.

He took the lead early on and never looked back, winning easily by 4 lengths. A couple other possible Belmont stakes runners such as Commissioner and Matterhorn are coming out of this same race. Tonalist’s impressive win at Belmont was also over the sloppy track so that might have been a factor as well. Does he have what it takes to win this race? Possibly. He is by Tapit, and if you remember my Kentucky Derby recap, I am skeptical of Tapit’s being able to get the distance. He has the right running style for the race and I’ll be keeping my eye on him.

Medal Count: Yes, a lot of folks have tossed out this horse already due to his dismal showing at the Kentucky Derby. I however haven’t given up hope on Medal Count. If you watch the Kentucky Derby again, you may notice that Medal Count was starting to make a move when he was bumped by Danza and couldn’t recover. With about half of the field size in the Belmont, Medal Count should have a somewhat cleaner trip. Like Wicked Strong, this horse has the pedigree to go all day. The issue though, his running style also isn’t conducive to what the most typical Belmont winner running style has been.

Samraat: Here’s another horse that I think has a good shot at the major upset. With five lifetime victories out of seven races, Samraat loves New York and has the front-running style that makes him a challenger here. He has fought hard in every race he’s been in and he never seems to give up. My only issue with this horse is that he is out of an Indian Charlie mare and in the years I’ve been covering racing, I’ve noticed that offspring of Indian Charlie sometimes has issues with getting the longer distances. The 1 ½ miles might be too much for him, but I’m anxious to see how he does.


As I stated in my Kentucky Derby recap, I still think the dosage index and profile are valid handicapping angles. Sure, a lot of folks, like Andy Beyer, think they’re outdated and/or invalid but I think it gives a good indication of the horse’s pedigree and ability to get longer distances. When it comes to the Belmont Stakes, most winners have a Dosage Index of less than 4.00, with many of them even under 3.00.
Let’s look at this year’s contenders and see how they stack up:

As you can see, four horses in the Belmont Stakes have a dosage index above 3.00. One of which is, yes, California Chrome. So what though, right? There have been horses with a dosage index above 3.00 which have won the Belmont before, right?

The answer is yes, but not many; only nine have accomplished that feat since 1979. (I also give a pass to those who have any non-zero numbers in the last two places on the right of the dosage profile; indicating that there is still some distance pedigree)

Still, he’s going for the Triple Crown. How have previous Triple Crown winners stacked up against the dosage index?

Can California Chrome win the Triple Crown? You be the judge.


I just had to put the final touch on nasal-strip-gate. The actual Breathe-Right company had this to offer in reply to my tweet:

Wow a free sample!  Apparently Breathe Right is taking full advantage of California Chrome's historic run!
So why not support California Chrome's breathing, right? Go get 'em champ!


Yep, I was one of those people too. I was about to join a syndicate to try to nail the Rainbow Pick 6 at Gulfstream Park on closing day this last Monday. With an enormous carryover, I had dreams of what I was going to do with all the cash our group was going to win. Capper, ZATT, Scoggy, Scott, and I started putting together the winning ticket. With good handicappers all putting our heads together, this was a sure thing.

Then this happened the day before the mandatory payout:

And yet another horse racing dream of mine had been shattered. My congratulations go out to the winner for playing the ALL x ALL x ALL x 2 x ALL x ALL ticket paying over $6.6 Million for a mere $7,603 wager. For those calculating it’s about an 86,000% ROI.


OK so the Triple Crown hasn’t been won since 1978. It’s quite a long time, but that’s not as bad as some other sports streaks that we have endured. Let’s put things into perspective:

** The NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers had lost 26 games in a row to start off the franchise!

** In 1980, the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets had lost 30 games in a row!
** From 1989-1998 a college by the name of Prairie View lost 80 straight football games!

** The city of San Diego hasn’t experienced a professional sports championship in 49 years!

** Make that 48 years for the city of Cleveland too!

** The Cal-Tech University Beavers basketball team had lost 207 games in a row from 1996-2007 and also had lost 310 consecutive conference games from 1985-2010!

But still, nothing will ever compare to the misery that Chicago Cubs fans had been experiencing since 1908. Yes folks, as if you didn’t know, that was the last year the Cubs won the World Series.  Here is a list of things that have happened since the Cubs last won the World Series: 

** Both radio and TV were invented
** Haley's comet passed Earth, twice
** The NBA, NHL and NFL were formed, and Chicago teams won championships in each league
** The US fought in World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, Iraq War, Afghanistan War
** Man landed on the moon

** Eleven amendments added to the Constitution
** The Titanic was built, set sail, sank, and was re-discovered
** Wrigley Field was built (yes before the Cubs moved in) and becomes the oldest park in the National League
** Flag poles were erected on Wrigley Field roof to hold all of the team's future World Series pennants, which have since rusted and been taken down
** Swing music, bell-bottoms, and disco came in style, went out of style and came back in style
** Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Oklahoma and New Mexico were admitted to the Union

(List credit to Sean Parnell of the Chicago Bar Project 2010)

So let's not lose perspective if California Chrome doesn't get the job done this year. 


…and I’m certainly not talking about the Cubs.

First, in the 3rd race at Arlington Park yesterday, a Speightstown filly named Pirate’s Trove absolutely destroyed a field of maidens during a 6 ½ furlong sprint, winning by over 12 lengths under a hand ride by Florent Geroux. The horse broke sharp out of the gate and never looked back. You really need to watch the replay to appreciate the domination.

And finally, in the $100,000 Springfield Stakes at Arlington, Tom Swearingen-trained I Got It All also destroyed his competition pulling away from the field of Illinois-bred horses and winning by over 9 lengths. He’s another one to watch on the Chicago circuit!













(I Got It All - Thanks Four Footed Fotos!) 






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Older Comments about The Dark Report - June 1, 2014...

The Texas sharpshooter fallacy is an informal fallacy which is committed when differences in data are ignored, but similarities are stressed. From this reasoning a false conclusion is inferred. This fallacy is the philosophical/rhetorical application of the multiple comparisons problem (in statistics) and apophenia (in cognitive psychology). It is related to the clustering illusion, which refers to the tendency in human cognition to interpret patterns where none actually exist.
Breeding as related to performance is a retro active proceedure not unlike the statistcally anomalous Texas Sharpshooter fallacy of statiscaly analysis
imagine attempting to predict who will be an athlete in any specific sport based upon their parentage. Laughable
Pompous> disregarding any specific methodology means simply that you don't follow it. Pedigree analysis s SP FULL OR RANDOMNESS as to be useless anyway.
Interesting facts and the Beyer comment about Dosage proves his pompus attitude towards any angle outside of his Speed Ratings.
Personally, I think Ride On Curlin is the biggest spoiler threat.
I Got It All might be more than just a Chicago circuit horse ... looking for big things from this gelded grandson on Tiznow.
This a very fine Dark Report and I'm proud to have made a contribution!
If you're analyzing running style, it should be noted that every trainer knows that in the Belmont Stakes it’s better to make a midpack run than then to try to run down the field as a closer would, therefore it’s hard to tell who will be on the pace. I remember Dunkirk was a closer/stalker prior to the Belmont, but Todd P. had him set the pace in 2009.

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 (Whoa - it's me - the DARK HORSE)
Greetings and welcome to my "dark" blog!  I have been a fan of horse racing since I was about 12 years old.  Growing up in Minnesota, my dad would take me and my brothers to Canterbury Downs and I would practically beg to go every weekend!!  I made my first "big" score there hitting the win, place, and exacta in the same race at age 14 (pulled in $84 with horses named Railroad Red and Racers Dream!).  I even had a poster in my bedroom of Lost Code winning the 1987 St. Paul Derby!
While finishing school in Chicago, I spent every possible moment at Arlington Park with my dad.  We took the time to develop computer programs (on the ever popular Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS) to try to find patterns and handicap races more accurately.  My dad taught me a lot about handicapping races, paying particular attention to class moves!

Since then, I have become more involved with horse racing each passing year through a variety of different media-based roles. Once deemed the "second best racing ambassador in Chicago" (hey I've been called worse), 
I now reside in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the USA and will be covering many different aspects of racing - in my unpredictable DARK HORSE STYLE!  
My favorite tracks are:
Del Mar
Kentucky Downs

Some of my all-time favorite horses include: 
Feel free to contact me anytime and I will respond! 
Twitter: @GoDarkHorse <---Preferred
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This blog is eternally dedicated to the memory of Tim "Tiznow" Reynolds.

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