06/13/2014 2:27PM

Decoding the Pegasus

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When handicapping Sunday's Grade 3 Pegasus Stakes, the local prep for Monmouth's Grade 1 Haskell Invitational, I found myself stuck.

Do I pick the devil I know or the devil I don't know?

I'm very familiar with #1 UNCLE SIGH and #4 RING WEEKEND. The former burst onto the scene with runner-up efforts behind fellow New York-bred Samraat in both the Grade 3 Withers and Grade 3 Gotham. Perhaps he was thrown to the wolves in Grade 1 events like the Wood Memorial and Kentucky Derby, and he is getting the class and distance relief he needs in the Pegasus.

Still, I wonder if the road to the Derby took some of the starch out of Uncle Sigh. He's going to get bet in the Pegasus and his trainer, Gary Contessa, has stated that he doesn't want to be on the lead.

That seems a bit weird considering that Uncle Sigh could be the controlling speed from the rail. I'm not convinced that Uncle Sigh is as good rating as he is when he lays down the fractions. He can certainly win, but looms an underlay at his 2-1 morning line price.

Ring Weekend rode an easy lead over a gold rail when upsetting a weak field in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby. He failed to change leads in the stretch and the race just didn't do it for me, 95 Beyer or no.

Since that start, he bombed at 3-10 in the Calder Derby (a strange placement considering he just won a "Derby Prep") and never threatened in the Preakness. We can excuse the Preakness since Ring Weekend was essentially overmatched, but his other races don't leap off the page. I just can't pull the trigger on him at 3-1.

I have no idea if #3 ENCRYPTION is any good as it's simply too early to tell. I do believe that we've seen the best races from Uncle Sigh and Ring Weekend, however, and Encryption is the colt with the most upside potential. He earned the field's best last Beyer Speed Figure when wiring maidens over this course 22 days ago and he didn't seem rusty despite an eight-month layoff.

That race was visually solid. Encryption took some mild pace pressure from All Included before putting that one to bed with with a third-quarter fraction of 23.42. Todd Pletcher's Bay of Biscay made a run at Encryption turning for home, but the Exchange Rate colt finished up well and was pulling away at the finish.

If Uncle Sigh is taken back from the gate, perhaps Encryption will end up in front. That's not a bad place to be at Monmouth, a course that has a reputation for being speed-friendly. If someone else, perhaps Ring Weekend, wants the front, I'm willing to gamble that Encryption can rate.

#6 ALBANO could toss a wrench into my plans He was training for the Peter Pan, but took ill before the scheduled meeting with Tonalist, and was re-routed here. Albano showed some promise at the Fair Grounds over the winter and is handled by the talented crew from the Larry Jones barn.

I believe Encryption offers some value as the fourth choice in the race and I'd take somewhere in the vicinty of 4-1 or 9-2 to win.

More importantly, who do you like this weekend? I want to know.

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You can find the weekend stakes previews at the following page. The videos for Saturday's Obeah at Delaware, Sunday's Woodbine Oaks and Sunday's Pegasus Stakes should be up by early Friday evening.

http://www.drf.com/events/weekend-stakes-previews-picks-analysis-more

There will also be a late Pick 4 Preview for Saturday's card at Santa Anita

http://www.drf.com/events/shoemaker-mile-santa-anita

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*The links to the previous blogs (and blog comments) are listed below:

http://www.drf.com/blogs/bayern-back-track

http://www.drf.com/blogs/looking-back-looking-ahead

http://www.drf.com/blogs/jack-milton-ace-hole

http://www.drf.com/blogs/stormin-track-record

http://www.drf.com/blogs/kalifornia-ko

http://www.drf.com/blogs/lying-wait

http://www.drf.com/blogs/potential-price-plays-sunday

http://www.drf.com/blogs/unstoppable-untapable

http://www.drf.com/blogs/kentucky-derby-non-opinions

http://www.drf.com/blogs/davona-dale

http://www.drf.com/blogs/can-hudson-landing-still-go

http://www.drf.com/blogs/tricky-elkhorn

http://www.drf.com/blogs/hail-mary-claim

http://www.drf.com/blogs/grounding-hawk

http://www.drf.com/blogs/cat-burglar-creeping-upward

http://www.drf.com/blogs/3-year-old-filly-sprinter-watch

http://www.drf.com/blogs/tale-two-wins

http://www.drf.com/blogs/beatable-favorites

http://www.drf.com/blogs/baker-cooks-calder

http://www.drf.com/blogs/keeneland-baby

http://www.drf.com/blogs/derby-prep-thoughts

http://www.drf.com/blogs/fishing-opinions

http://www.drf.com/blogs/keeneland-its-spring-again

http://www.drf.com/blogs/sprinter-rise

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You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman

***

Congrats to Carl C. for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling race.

Rick M's scoresheet is available at the bottom of this blog post.

On tab 2 you will see each HG Race we've held and they are color coded to denote if the race was run on Turf, Dirt or Poly.

Saturday's Vanity from Santa Anita will be this week's HandiGambling exercise

PAST PERFORMANCES ARE AVAILABLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG POST.

SR Vegas and Rick M. have graciously decided to streamline all of the HG rules in order to make them an easier read for everyone...

With so many new people attending Dan's Formblog we thought it would be a good time to update the Handigambling Guidelines and Rules as we go forward in 2014.

Let's remember WHY we began the HandiGambling races in the first place. The goal was to share ideas on why we like these horses and why we're betting them the way we are. We are not asking for a novel but if you could spare a sentence or two outlining your handicapping angles and thought processes about wagering, it would be appreciated.

HANDIGAMBLING:

-  Please start your post with  HG or HANDIGAMBLING to better recognize and find your entry.

-  You have a mythical $100 to wager in whatever format you choose and that is available for that HG race.
Anyone going over the $100 limit will be disqualified.

- Post your WAGER and ANALYSIS to the blog WITH YOUR NAME/OR MONIKER AT THE END OF THE POST.  Remember that posts may start as 'anonymous' or an 'alternate name'. You MUST sign yourself at the end (even if it is the same) This enables the scorekeeper to recognize you .

- (1) ONE ENTRY per person for the Handigambling contest. If you have multiple email addresses, use just ONE for contest purposes.  Multiple entries will be cause for disqualification.

- Separate your analysis from the wager and use the horses # in your wager. Just like you would do in a real wager. No horse names.

-In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference. Dan reserves the right to approve or deny any entries.

- The winner will receive a "Monthly Enhanced 60-Card Past Performance Plan"

As an example :

HG 2014
The speed in this race goes to  horses # 1, 4 ,6 ..Ennie , Meenie, and Mo
Since it's a sprint I don't see any closers catching them.. like # 9 Miney.
I think trainer Groucho with the #6 Mo has the best stats in this condition, route to sprint.. just a gut feeling at large odds ML 20-1

HG wager
50$ Ex box 1-6
total $100

Thanks Dan!

Harpo
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A MORE DETAILED ANALYSIS IS ALWAYS APPRECIATED !
 
REMEMBER, IF YOU ARE DECLARED THE WINNER OF THE HANDIGAMBLING EXERCISE; PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM WITH YOUR DRF LOGIN AND PASSWORD IN ORDER TO ACCESS YOUR PRIZE PACKAGE.

ALSO, IF THE WINNER WOULD LIKE TO SELECT THE FOLLOWING WEEK'S RACE, PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM NO LATER THAN THE FOLLOWING WEDNESDAY MORNING (A FRIDAY RACE IS MOST IDEAL).

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Copy of Formblog Belmont Stakes 6-7-14.xls73 KB
HGVANITY.pdf184.66 KB