12/03/2008 1:59PM

HandiGambling 112

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Today's HandiGambling 112 exercise is the seventh race at Aqueduct, a six furlong optional claimer for New York-bred fillies and mares over the inner track.  Past performances can be accessed from Monday's blog entry.  Remember that you have a mythical $100 with which to wager on the race. 

As is par for the course for our HandiGambling exercises, this is a tough, tough race.  The first thing I noticed was the plethora of early speed in the mix.  All About Allison, Instant Lady, and Seasons Wise all have good gate zip while Anita Rosita, Megadeed, and Swept the Series should be close by after the opening two furlongs. 
The possibility of a sub 46 half mile time should aid the closers, and the most likely beneficiary is Rizzi's Twist for high-percentage trainer Bruce Levine.  Rizzi's Twist was a game winner over a pair of next-out victors two back at Belmont, and has been flattered by the recent successes of runner-up Under Serviced (took three of her next four including two statebred stakes races).  Also, the seventh-place finisher from that June 28 race, Karakorum Katie, returned to take a $50,000 stakes race at Finger Lakes. Most recently, Rizzi's Twist finished second in an open allowance race against runaway 104 Beyer winner Loving Vindication (has since returned to finish second twice in open 'n2x' optional claimers for Bobby Frankel).  Sounds like a cinch, right?  Well, supporters of Rizzi's Twist have to ask themselves how they view the recent four-plus month layoff coupled with a $25,000 price tag.  Since Rizzi's Twist doesn't have the blacktype that potential breeders crave, and since she's been a successful claim for these connections (taken for $16,000 in January 2007, earned almost $100,000 in each of the last two years), perhaps the owners won't mind losing her this afternoon.  Still, she doesn't seem like a strong win proposition at short odds.  Her entrymate, Catty Madeline, is an even bigger question mark.  While she seemingly has the right running style for this race, she's never raced on dirt, and fails to show a published workout over the last three weeks. 
Megadeed chased three next-out winners when a tiring ninth on grass in early October, then was sold for $100,000 at the Keeneland November Sale.  She adds blinkers for her new connections, and may wind up in a decent spot in the second flight.  She only shows one published workout since the auction, however.
Although Anita Rosita may get cooked in a hot pace up front, she might be worth the risk at a nice price.  At Saratoga, she was a game winner of her statebred 'n1x' condition.  That day, she set the pace over a closer-friendly track, and re-rallied after being passed in the lane to get up at the wire.  She adds blinkers and a ten-pound apprentice, and should be a good price. 
Sorority Sister looks logical based on her consistent Beyer Speed Figures, strong tactical speed, and a previous win over this surface.  She won three in a row earlier in the year, and should be closing late.  Swept the Series may not have cared for wet conditions last time out, and makes the third start of the form cycle today.  A repeat of the race two back gives her a good chance.  For $25,000, you can take home Waytotheleft, the winner of last year's Broadway Handicap over the inner track.  A $375,000 earner, Waytotheleft will likely make a broodmare for somebody one day.

A tough race to pick apart.  Here's the not-so-confident play:

$16 Exacta Box - Rizzi's Twist Entry - Anita Rosita Entry - Megadeed (1-2-6)

$4 for a Clam Chowder

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Mulling over some comments and questions for tomorrow.

Good luck!

Dan