12/10/2008 3:29PM

HandiGambling 113

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Today's HandiGambling race is the eighth at Calder, a $32,000 maiden claimer at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.  Past performances can be found in the previous blog entry.  Remember that you have 100 mythical dollars with which to play the race. 

I found this to be a fascinating event.  If I played multi-race gimmicks, I could certainly see myself going six or seven deep.  It's that tough a race!  Let's go over the contenders:

Ada Clare:
If you get a chance to watch the sixth race at Calder on November 9, you'll have an opportunity to get familiar with several of the horses in today's heat.  Ada Clare had a little bit of trouble on the turn that day, but I was more intrigued by her subsequent start on November 22.  She made an extremely premature mid-race move while four paths off the rail down the backstretch, and might have won the whole she-bang if she changed leads sooner in the stretch.  She didn't switch until right before the wire, and wasn't able to fend off a fellow closer.  She doesn't have much early speed, and there isn't a lot of pace signed on so that's a concern this afternoon.  Still, she may go off at a solid price, and is certainly worth consideration.   

Shoshone Girl:
Another that ran in the November 9 trip from hell race.  Shoshone Girl was in a pretty good spot during the backstretch run, but was shuffled out by an exhausted pacesetter, and ended up desperately searching for a clear path in the stretch.  She altered course a couple of times in the final quarter-mile, but ended up switching leads back and forth in the drive.  She still showed a bit of late resolve, and I really like to see maidens with recent five-furlong workouts on the tab.  I wonder if the wise-guys jump all over her considering the high-percentage connections involved. 

Jackie's Causeway:
The deserving morning line favorite, Jackie's Causeway almost reeled in a loose leader two starts back.  If she repeats that 76 Beyer Speed Figure, she'll be tough to down this afternoon, but I didn't like how she was drifting out during the final eighth of a mile in that September 26 affair.  I maintain that she wins that day if she keeps a straight path.  Last time out, in the November 9 race, Jackie's Causeway was mugged while in between horses going into the first turn, and raced five wide on the far turn and into the stretch.  Exhausted, she switched back to her wrong lead in the final sixteenth of a mile.  She's very logical, but may be bet to underlay status.

Jack's Grace:
If any horse needed blinkers, it's Jack's Grace.  This Northeast shipper was extremely hard to handle while three wide on the first turn two back at the Meadowlands, but kicked it in late while in between horses to only get beat three and change. Last time out, she broke from a terrible post position (the story of her career on turf), and was hung out against three next-out winners.  John Kimmel adds the rogue's badge today, and you could certainly argue that Jack's Grace was facing tougher competition in New Jersey.  Don't be surprised if she runs well here.

Grandeza:
She may control this thing from the get-go, and well, you know that pace makes the race.  In her first start since February, Grandeza was extremely eager, and eschewed a nice pocket spot to press the leader from the two path.  It turned out to be a wise move from Ariel Smith as the pacesetter soon backed up while clogging up the inside.  Grandeza inherited the lead after only five furlongs, and immediately faced pressure.  She battled on gamely to only lose by three+ lengths, and can move forward off that effort.  The rider switch to Elvis Trujillo signals serious intent, and if Grandeza can relax on the lead, she'll be tough to run down. 

Miss Bertila:
Goes out for a low-percentage barn (only 1 for the last 27), but draws a good inside post position, and makes the second start of the form cycle with improved Beyers on display.  It's possible that this daughter of Bernstein is beginning to figure the game out, and she may work out a nice pace-tracking, ground-saving trip behind moderate fractions.  An interesting longshot.

One March:
One March was the pacesetter that stopped to a walk in the November 9 race, but she had to go very fast to secure the lead (22 and change for these is quick).  Last time out, she was hung out three wide going into the first turn before finishing evenly.  She gets a trainer change to the hot Steve DiMauro, and may be in closest attendance to the leader going down the backstretch.  I don't love her, but there is Super Hi-5 Wagering on this race, right?

The only three I haven't discussed are Gaily Couture, a dull seventh behind Ada Clare and company last time out, Change the Storm, sixth in that race despite some trouble, and Frisky Pj's, a first-time starter marooned in a tough post position.  Now, watch that triple box come in!

From a gambling standpoint, I'm completely perplexed.  It's an interesting Superfecta race, but alas, it's not in the wagering menu.  I'm not sure I'm ready to jump into the Super Hi-5.  It's more of a "make lemonade out of lemons race," and I prefer scotch. 

I guess what I'm trying to say is that discretion is the better part of valor. Sometimes, the best bet is no bet at all, even with mythical funds.

Of course, I could simply be a yellow-belly.

Good luck!