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Today's HandiGambling race is the finale at Oak Tree. It's a $25,000 maiden claimer with a big field of 13 signed on (before scratches). The past performances for this race were posted on yesterday's blog. If you haven't made your play yet, remember that you have a mythical $100 with which to wager on the race.
Last week's HandiGambling race turned out awfully for me. My handicapping was terrible, my gambling was worse, and I ended up with a donut for the day. Since then, the past performances look like hieroglyphics.
Slumps. They don't make sense, and mathematically speaking, they shouldn't happen at all. But they do, and who knows why? Hopefully, today will be the breakout I've been waiting for.
I've always found that these sort of races (low-level maiden claimer) are full of horses just begging to be thrown out. Full fields or not, several of these horses don't deserve a second glance. J's Dirty Martini was beaten 26+ lengths at 45-1 odds in his debut at Fairplex, and now draws the rail.
Flying Blue was beaten 20+ at 28-1. Ata Benchmark has finished ahead of one horse in two starts, and has a problem coming out of the gate. Lee's Top Ferrier doesn't have much pedigree, and seven furlongs is a difficult debut distance for any horse, let alone a Cal-bred with slow works at Fairplex.
Conversely, you can never really throw these bombs all the way out of bets like the Trifecta and the Super High 5. There are reasons that the top contenders are in for this low tag. First and foremost, they don't have much ability, and second, they probably have their share of physical infirmities. Still, they must be given consideration under the "Every Horse Has His/Her Day" rule.
Angles are powerful in these kind of races. Fortunate Victory has a big angle in his corner. He's never been in for a claiming tag before, and the drop-off in competition from special weights to maiden claimers is huge. Orientation Hall has never been in this cheaply. Although he's failed for $40K and $32K, these are weaker horses. Of course, Fortunate Victory hasn't raced since January, and Orientation Hall has burned a lot of money so they don't seem that dependable.
The fact remains that no one is dependable in this race so I'll try and find the best horse, and hope he survives the inevitable stagger-fest to the wire.
I think Midnight Corredor is the best horse. Two starts back, for a $50,000 tag, he pressed the pace while down on the rail, and looked good for a half-mile. Unfortunately for him, the last quarter-mile was rather ugly. He failed to change leads, and galloped out poorly. Still, there doesn't seem to be much speed in this race, and it's always a plus to have speed in lower-level races. Midnight Corredor rallied for third as the beaten favorite in his lone start at this level, and the blinkers are once again added to his arsenal. A lightly-raced gelding, it's possible he still has slight improvement in the tank. Here's hoping Mike Smith is aggressive, and says "catch me if ya can" from the gate.
Unfortunately, Midnight Corredor won't offer much value on the win end so I'll have to find some horses to hook up with him 'underneath' in exotics. Legend of My Own showed speed at Fairplex last time out, and Martin Pedroza is an aggressive rider. That race was the slower division of $25,000 maiden claimers on September 20, however, and Legend of My Own failed to hold on at 2-5 odds. His speed figures fit well with these, and he should also be close to the pace. An on-the-board finish seems likely. Orientation Hall failed to switch leads when he earned a 78 Beyer two back, but he was dueling over a closer-friendly Hollywood surface, and was only beaten three-parts of a length. He's only raced once since that race in late May, though, and has burned a lot of money. He's another that can be in the hunt when they swing into the stretch although his rider, Brice Blanc, is on a 1-38 cold streak, and Orientation Hall has been the beaten favorite in one-third of his starts.
Afleet Bud may be a sleeper. He's going second off a long layoff for a very capable barn, shows an improved workout for this race, and has really picked up his game since being equipped with blinkers. He'll be running late and can make the exotics at the very least. Concinnity is another interesting price horse. Marty Jones is having an excellent Oak Tree meeting, and Concinnity will make the third start of the form cycle with improving Beyers on display. He's tactical enough to sit just off the pace.
After 15 losses, it's hard to love Fortunate Victory, especially off the January layoff, but that drop is very powerful. Still, someone has to be excluded, and it will be him that gets washed from my tickets.
I'll key Midnight Corredor in the first two legs of the Exacta, and hope to catch something.
Here are my plays:
$40 Exacta - Midnight Corredor/Legend of My Own (11-9)
$20 Exacta - Midnight Corredor/Orientation Hall (11-10)
$10 Exacta - Midnight Corredor/Afleet Bud (11-5)
$10 Exacta - Midnight Corredor/Concinnity (11-8)
$10 Exacta - Legend of My Own/Midnight Corredor (9-11)
$10 Exacta - Orientation Hall/Midnight Corredor (10-11)
Hoping to just grind it out in a difficult race.
Steve T, Thanks. Always have the phone bookers. Was in Vegas 1 year for Derby and had to listen to dozens of bettors in line in front of me try to bet 2 dollars to show on the horse by using the horses name and not number and then watch as they tried to cap the race, at the window using the scratch sheet Think I got the parking solved. More importantly, how hard will it be to get a cold beer when necessary? jlove, agree with you some on Curlin. He certainly can win by daylight but I am just as convinced he may run 3 or worse but all this does for me is greatly increase any pk 4 wagers as thinking if you play against Curlin and possibly use him as a saver only for pk 4, you will have to go up tp 6 deep in classic. Am very much looking forward to first trip to SA though. BigEasyBigChok
slew or chicago gerry, what is the title of the book by Wilson? I might have missed it somewhere in here. cayman, I agree with you on Intangaroo. I'm hoping she gets overlooked (again). The only thing is her figs are a little lower on the synth than on dirt but that's easily attributable to the 5pt dirt bounce. Distance and pace scenario play right into her favor. Even Baffert said that the synth "takes away a bit of [Indian Blessing's] brilliance." One that I think is going to run well is Sealy Hill in the F&M Turf. She'll be a huge price. I know her races outside of Canada haven't been great but she's a better horse now and at her best distance. Who cares what she did against Zenyatta on synth? She ran really well closing last time into a fast final fraction behind a ridiculously slow pace.
Tinky, You aren't going to "waste your time cutting and pasting 20 (or more) counter examples for every one you were harsh for no good reason" because there aren't that many. You are"harsh" as you call it (sarcastic, demeaning and rude as others see it) and incapable of disagreeing with the opinions of others without attacking. If I recall, your very first post directed towards one of my comments, which was not addressed to you, was quite scathing and unwarranted, so your comment that your posts have always been calm and respectful, is a total lie. I have noticed, though, that you are "respectful" towards others only when they agree with you. Also, if you are a "professional in the racing industry," as you have often stated, how do you find the time to write your lengthy missives and still get any quality work done? Yes, you are quite knowledgeable, but I've repeatedly stated, your knowledge and writing skills are clouded by the tone of your comments, especially when someone questions your opinions. You will undoubtedly, gleefully post another sarcastic reply, so have at it. I won't reply. I don't have time to play your tiresome games, and I know others could care less.
Slew, Neeiiigghhhh. And here's why: Regarding Repriced, this 20 year old stallion stands at Darby Dan for a "private" fee. That can mean either a very high fee or one so low they don't want to advertise it, or since he's getting on in years, they want to be selective about his book. I'm guessing the last two reasons. Repriced is a large (17 hands) stallion who has a short, thick neck, a high, but deep shoulder, well-formed hindquarters but appears to toe out in his left fore. He appears to be more of a stocky horse, but that might be the picture or just age. His claim to fame is winning the 1 mile turf Oceanside Stakes and placing in a Grade 2 race and he won from 6 1/2F to 1 1/8 miles. Repriced offspring have won up to 1 1/8 miles, he's produced 19 black-type, six of them male. His most successful progeny is Spruce Run, a Grade 3 winner of $554,403 in 54 starts. He is the maternal dam sire of Cizzi Capital, a stakes winner at Calder and Grade 3 placed. One of the only (if not the only) sons of Roberto still active at stud, Repriced is inbred to Nearco, a brilliant/classic influence, and Bull Dog, a speed influence, top and bottom. From the Lowe 1-N family, which is basically a running family as opposed to a sire line, the fillies have distinguished themselves as high-class, prolific broodmares. This family has produced La Troienne, Buckpasser, Dr. Fager, Dream Rush, etc., Repriced has a very good female family. His dam, Feature Price, has produced three other stakes winners, Undercut, a Group 3 winner and two Grade 1 placed sisters. Feature Price ran only twice with a win and third to her credit. She is a half sister to Grade 1 Oak Leaf Stakes winner, Header Card, Group 1 placed Bellotto, and stakes winner Big Presentation. Feature Price's half sister, Dire, is the second dam of Grade 2 winning sire Intidab. Others produced by this female family include Breeder's Cup Classic winner, Alphabet Soup, Grade 1 winner Pompeii, and interestingly, Grade 1 Lane's End Futurity and BC Juvenile runner, Square Eddie and the good juvenile, Turtle Creek Babe. I know someone is going to compare him to Boundary so let me address that issue too. Boundary has been a more successful sire at stud than Repriced, siring 38 black-type winners to Repriced's 16. Of Boundary's 38 black-type, three, all male, are Grade/Group one winners and two currently stand at stud. Like Repriced, Boundary descends directly from Nearco, but through the Northern Dancer line, rather than the Hail To Reason line, and Boundary has no inbreeding through five generations. As he was more successful at stud than Repriced, Boundary had access to better mares. So, to sum it up, despite a good sire line and female family, Repriced has been rather unspectacular at stud and gets better daughters than sons. Anything can (and as we've seen, does) happen, but with the few years left to him at stud and the quality of broodmare he gets, I doubt Repriced will be siring any Derby winners.
Vicstu, West Side Bernie (that would be BY a sprinter who was sired by Storm Cat). Slew, Gomez is listed on Hystericalady. Hillbilly, I feel for you! Been there, done that. Stephen Taylor, You are so right! Annie
Ray Manley, chicago gerry, van savant, Thank you for the kind words.
Looking at these BC races, gives me an idea of how someone like Barack Obama thinks. You see so many good horses and you end up thinking. "I need to spread the wealth around."
Just read in the BC Advance that our DAN will be moderating a Pre-Race Show on DRF.com at 5PM Eastern on Thurs., 10/23. Steve Crist and Mike Watchmaker will also be on. A must see, I would say. Talking about putting up big bucks to run, Cocoa Beach's connections must pay a 15% supplement - that's $300,000 folks! This former Chilean Wonder then conquered Dubai racing and came here and won 2 of 2 including beating Ginger Punch. Now she's taking on Zenyatta and had a very impressive work at SA on Sat. Just read that there are 71 exotic choices over the two days. ACK!!!! Annie
One final thing on Hystericalady. At this stage of her career, a mare well into her fifth year, she's begun to relax and come off the pace nicely, in fact she probably prefers it, and I think that's why the last race is not as telling as some people are making it out to be. To me, the only thing it solidified, was just how good Z is. If she fires, gets through, there's probably no race here, but for 2nd. I take my cue, however, from the Indyanne race with Porte Bonheur. Let the odds be thy guide. I think there is quite a lot of speed in here that Hystericalady can draft in behind. I don't see her in a front end battle, she doesn't need to that. Hollendorfer had her ready for her best race the last time this event was held, thus I have to believe he can do it again with the same lady. Thanks.
Cayman, I hear you, wanted to make sure you were'nt going to be one of those people kicking yourself - you're not (smile)! Of course, I know she prefers dirt, but I also know she's about 3-5 lengths better this year than she was last year, on all surfaces. She's never gotten the true respect she deserves, but that's due mostly to the strength of the competition, but also the enormous east coast bias in media reporting. I assume Garcia still has the mount for the distaff? I'm expecting a huge effort, she had a fine prep. Is this a great game, or what?