10/01/2008 3:53PM

HandiGambling 104

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Today's HandiGambling 104 exercise is the seventh race from Oak Tree, a 'n2x' optional claimer on the turf, and it is a tough, tough race to handicap.  I landed on three "key" horses.  Nownownow will always go down in history as the winner of the inaugural Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, but he suffered from the horrible combination of mismanagement and injury since that race.  His connections shipped him overseas to contest the Irish 2,000 Guineas for his 3-year-debut, and he was terribly mismatched against horses like Henrythenavigator and New Approach.  After that race, he had a foot abscess, and may have been a bit short when fifth in the Grade 2 La Jolla at Del Mar.  His most recent race, the Del Mar Derby, resulted in a career-high Beyer Speed Figure, and Nownownow may be rounding back into his best form as he makes the third start of the form cycle.  He draws inside, and should save some ground going into the first turn. 
Gabriel's Hill looks like an interesting longshot.  He hasn't been out in over one year, but the son of A.P. Indy and Irish Oaks winner Lailani pulled off a 42-1 shocker over a pair of next-out winners in his most recent appearance, and has done some good work on turf in the past.  Gabriel's Hill has won off shorter layoffs in the past, and has the tactical speed to find a good spot tracking likely pacesetters Kris Silver and Global Heat.  At 20-1 on the morning line, he's worth inclusion.
Prince Rexy impressed me in his North American debut.  A son of top sire Redoute's Choice, Prince Rexy made a four wide move on the far turn at Del Mar, then powered away from the field while drifting out slightly in the stretch.  He's been freshened since that race by master horseman Neil Drysdale, and should be rallying stoutly when the real running begins. 
I debated what do do with Moral Compass.  He was blocked turning for home in the faster division of the Oceanside two back at Del Mar, but he's a bit of a nibbler, and may be overbet in the win pool.  He may work out an advantageous pace-tracking, ground-saving trip under Garrett Gomez, but I can't play 'em all, can I?
As for the others, Bright Prediction has been away for over a year, and his last win came against $35,000 claimers going two furlongs longer.  Joe Bravo broke poorly over yielding going at Belmont, and can improve in his second start for Bobby Frankel.  Global Heat enjoyed easy fractions when going gate-to-wire in his route debut, and may feel more pressure from Kris Silver here.  I didn't like the way T'aint War Sir galloped out after he won his 'n1x' optional claimer last year, and he's only started twice since.  Kris Silver is perfect over this course, but his stamina is somewhat suspect.

I'm kinda sorta taking a leap of faith in predicting that Nownownow will return to his best form.  I know he's a good horse when he's right.  His runner-up finish in the Bourbon at Keeneland despite being 3-4 wide throughout showed his grit. 

$50 Win Nownownow (#1)
$20 Exacta Nownownow-Prince Rexy (#1-#8)
$10 Exacta Nownownow - Gabriel's Hill (#1-#10)
$10 Exacta Prince Rexy - Nownownow (#8-#1)
$5 Exacta Gabriel's Hill - Nownownow (#10-#1)
$2 Exacta Box Gabriel's Hill - Prince Rexy (#10-#8)

$1 for the till.

Back tomorrow with answers to questions and comments, and a Past Champion Retrospective.

Good luck today.

Dan

chillywilly More than 1 year ago
Hey Everyone, I just wanted to say. We all have our opinions about HOY, BUT PLEASE don't let that ruin a great year of racing. One of the best filly in years and Curlin ran despite the track. We seen some of the best Euros. I am one of the ones who didn't like SA for Breeders Cup. I was wrong!! It was a great two days for all of us. I have realy enjoyed the people on this blog and have joined in occasionaly!! What I learned from this..... The Euros can run on synthetics and their stamina is a little better on longer races. We can't have everything we want....but we can support the sport we all love ;) Chillywilly
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Michael H Oh my Gawd, you just named off my most favorite vinyl records that I had.(well my older bro had them) but still, I heard them while having parties at our house. Uriah Heap..Magician's Birthday, Classic!! and their album covers were some I tried to replicate when in high school art school. Yes...oh, YES! YES! YES ! ..Okay, that's enough, this Den Mother is certainly showing her..uhmmmm, age. he-he-he But really, Thanks for taking me back to some real good times. SR Vegas
Michael H. More than 1 year ago
Dan, In the Frizette I see that the owner of Miss Ocean City is Leon Blusiewicz. Was he a trainer many years ago in Maryland. I was looking through some of my Dad's old racing stuff and came across some charts from the early 80's and saw his name. Dan, On some of the charts I saw I was really amazed. Mostly all the races I saw had at least 12 horses entered. Either Pimlico or Laurel big fields. Maybe 3 or 4 Exacta wagering, a triple on last race. Wow, How could you make the money. And now look. Michael H.
Steve T. More than 1 year ago
Alan Contest Change Scratch Golden Doc A, replace with Indian Delight
Annie More than 1 year ago
Casino Drive has arrived at SA to prepare for the BC. Annie
Mike S More than 1 year ago
I want to buy a racehorse (by TIZNOW, DYNAFORMER, MORE THAN READY, RAHY, IN EXCESS or CEE'S TIZZY, preferably) but I am just afraid I'll end up going broke!
cayman01 More than 1 year ago
Don't know what just happened so I'll repost my contest picks here: Canadian International: DOCTOR DINO in here is like Big Brown in his maiden race only we know how good he is. Completely towers over everybody else in here.Will have two nice targets to aim at in Marlang and Seaside retreat and then watch him explode in the lane. EP Taylor: FOLK OPERA will get an easy lead here and with Lasix added should roll on home. Annie, LONE SPEED KILLS! Neartic:Inside speed seems to have an advantage at WO, and with that STARTICUS fits the bill.Loves WO and the distance loooks just right. Six furlongs is his limit. he starts fading after that. Hero's Reward is the deserving favorite, but Can't catch larryk with him and Doctor Dino. Looking for the inside bias to carry Starticus to the winner's circle.
cayman01 More than 1 year ago
More contest selections: EP Taylor: Looks like an easy lead for FOLK OPERA, and as much as i can't stand the trainer he's really going to have to work hard to lose this one.First time Lasix should help endurance.Annie, LONE SPEED KILLS!! Canadian International:
cayman01 More than 1 year ago
BeLmont Million Pick 6: Annie looked at the three ahead of her and announced with her best Italian accent, "IMAGONNACATCHYOU !!". With her SILVER STETSON MAN with an SINISTER PASS (gotta be Uncle Steve , right?) giving her encouragement along the way she was hoping to see what HAPPENS IN VEGAS (even though she lives there :-). The KEY EVENT tuned out to be the G1 Spinster where she was HANGINONAPRAYER and a horse named Carriage Trail. Good luck Annie! Hope we make it to Vegas. Don't forget everybody. NYRA has another qualifier this weekend too!
Alan More than 1 year ago
C, I want Watchmaker to be objective and since you have taken up this initiative, I now expect you to prove it to me. Proof of objectivity is not Zenyatta (BTW, did Watchmaker like/pick Zenyatta when she first shipped to OP to face Ginger Punch??) Call me naive, but I would expect that an objective reporter to have similar articles in which he has used race results in an opposite way. Your task: Find an article in the past 12 months in which Watchmaker drew a comparison between east and west coast horses that didn't support/validate an opinion favoring east coast racing. DAY 0 OF THE C CHALLENGE!! Prove that Watchmaker likes west coast racing!!