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Today's HandiGambling exercise comes from Tampa Bay Downs. Last week's king, Buffalo Joe, selected the sixth race, an optional claimer on the grass for fillies and mares, and it is a toughie. Past performances are available in the previous blog entry. Remember that you have a hundred mythical dollars with which to wager on the race.
When I first started handicapping, a long time ago, I found that I did best when hammering a horse to Win, or playing Exacta and Trifectas in single race situations like this. Over the last couple of years, however, my records indicate that my best plays have come in multi-race wagers. That's one of the reasons why I started HandiGambling. Not only is it a fun exercise for all, but it gives me an opportunity to find out what's gone wrong from a single race play standpoint. My results haven't been very good, to say the least, but I think I'm learning with every exercise. At least I hope I am.
Today's race is a wide open optional claimer with several conditions. It is open to 'n2x' and 'n3L' allowance types, but horses that have already surpassed those conditions are eligible with the $32,000 price tag attached.
The late scratches of Knockinelder, and also-eligibles Hurricane Annie and Frozen Prospect drastically alter the complexion of this race. Knockinelder loomed the main speed stretching out off fast-paced sprint races while the other two had some early zip as well. With them out of the way, the fractions should be much more moderate, and finding the horse that will set the pace could be the key to cashing tickets.
If I had to guess, I'd venture that C B T Snakeye will go for the lead. All six of her lifetime wins came when on the front, and she owns valuable winning experience over the Tampa spinach (N2L winner in gate-to-wire fashion on April 3, 2007). We can throw out her most recent flop in the Churchill slop, and she's been consistently facing tougher competition on the grass.
The Lady Waffles may be the horse to beat. She earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure last time out over the Tapeta surface at Presque Isle Downs, and has been given plenty of time to recuperate from that performances. She's run well over this surface in the past (N1X winner on February 21, 2007, and five on-the-board finishes here last season), and has enough tactical speed to sit just off the pace. An 11-time winner, she fits very well in this condition.
Harmony Found isn't the kind of horse I like to play, but she is fast enough to contend on her best day. She is extremely stubborn, however, as evidenced by her penchant for flashing her tail when under pressure. She also seems to have trouble switching leads. Harmony Found has been freshened since mid-October, and the last time she shipped from Calder to Tampa following a layoff, she won ($50K n2L claimer on December 28, 2007).
Frontier Franny ships in from Remington Park, but is another with winning experience at Tampa Bay (n2x optional claimer on February 18, 2006). She may need a bit of pace to run at, though, and the late scratches could adversely affect her chances. Still, this barn has sent out some live horses at the young meet, and Frontier Franny may offer a bit of value.
Starlite Dove and Hurricane Nikki figure to take money. The former raced in the name of her breeder, Moises Yanez, for her first 16 starts, then was sent to trainer Rodolfo Aguilar for Dragonfly Stable for her last seven races. Now, she's back with Yanez as trainer and owner, and Starlight Dove hasn't been involved in any auctions. It's interesting to note that one of the dead-heat winners of Starlight Dove's October 23 race at Hawthorne was trained by Moises Yanez. Starlite Dove's best races have come for the Yanez barn, and she wouldn't be a surprise.
Hurricane Nikki makes the third start of the form cycle with improving Beyer Speed Figures on display, and is another with a local win.
If I was playing multi-race wagers, I'd key in on The Lady Waffles, C B T Snakeye, Harmony Found, and Frontier Franny with a bit more weight to The Lady Waffles. Mostly, I'd be praying to get alive to the next part of the sequence.
In this single-race exercise, I'll go for the long bomb with these plays:
$4 Trifecta Box - Frontier Franny, Harmony Found, The Lady Waffles, C B T Snakeye (2,3,4,9)
$4 Win - The Lady Waffles (4)
Good luck to all!
A few watch horses tomorrow: Datts Our Girl, Calder 10th, 6-1. Lukewarm feelings because this is a very old watch ("8/13 had no pace, terrible ride") that I normally would have deleted. One last try, at a wee price? I can't bet Calder (without hassle), so good luck. Point Attended, HOL, MDN SPC, 6 furlongs synthetic, 6-1. "nice debut, will stretch nicely". Good feeling, but wanted a stretch-out. Special Heart, FG, 10th (Sugar Bowl Stakes), 6 furlongs, 6-1. "beat obligingly in mdn win, clearly going well late in last, willingly, at churchhill 11/29." Good luck with the HAW carryover, all. Chicago gerry, right back at you, my man, Happy Holidays everyone!
victsu, lilly, jim tully, and steve t., some great posts today! your comments have stimulated thoughts on my part, regarding handicapping which I hope to share. jim tully, got to agree with all except, I agree with C regarding Peppers Pride. One can't give her HOY, but in light what it takes to keep a horse healthy and in form, for such along period of time, in light of what can influence the out come of a race, what she has been able to accomplish, does seem pretty remarkable. Maybe it was careful management, beating up on the JR. Varsity, and luck I don't know. In terms of a 5 year old mare have made a million dollars and remaining undefeated for 19 races, I am thinking she is something special. Jim, I think your comments on pPrecious Passion were right on and I was thinking something similar when she won her last. SR Vegas, I will reveal what happened to Czar, by Christmas Eve. Czar wants his story out there. Thanks for asking.
Danny B; I logged on tonight specifically to post my thoughts on Ventana in tomorrow's Cashcall Futurity. You beat me to the punch, but I echo what you wrote. In fact, you saved from me from giving this very speech, because you wrote everything I had in my arsenal. Thanks. We could not be in any more agreement here. Good luck to everyone tomorrow, and especially those of us in the NHC last-chance tournament (even you Alan, eventhough you have already qualified for the World Championships). I have already handicapped six of the ten cards, and feel lost at Golden Gate Fields. We'll see, and I'll try and post tomorrow. Steve T, Leo, Ivan...feel free to post your solid Hollywood picks early!!! Van Savant
Danny B, I like your pick of Ventana in the Cash Call. While Pioneerof The Nile appears the class here, this is a wide open race. Chocolate Candy can't be overlooked as being out of Candy Ride you have to think he will get better with age and more distance. In his last the 20/1ML JP Jammer ran very close to him, so at those odds he can't be ignored. The reason I think your pick of Ventana is good is his pedigree and works. His damsire is Polish Numbers, which IMO just screams more distance. His last two works have been foundation building 6F bullets. I think he is sitting on a big one. Also in his last, the HolPrev. Ventana was right up there with the pace; pretty good turn of foot. Another that intrigues me here is the #11 Mr Rod. While having a superior grass pedigree, since C Sutherland started riding him he has done nothing but improve. Has to be considered with the way early spd. has been playing @ HLW, he might just jump out there and wire this thing. Anyway, I am with you, W/P on #8 Ventana. Couple other quick picks for tomorrow at Fairgrounds: in the Woodchopper I like the favorite: Myboycharlie. The Sugarbowl, W/P on Map of The World 8/1ML. Calvin, thanks for the Euro link. That was news to me. I really fall of Euro racing this time of the year when most of the action is jumping. Will start paying attention about mid-April, two months from Ascot. Was fun reading for me as I knew nothing about at least half of them. Was glad to see Shergar and his trainer Sir Michale Stoute held in such high regard. The mystery surrounding Shergar is something I have put some study into but, as with everyone else, it is still a mystery to me? Owenized, thanks for the video of Nicanor. He really is a good looking colt, and from what little running action the video showed, he has a nice stride. Also very striking resemblance to Barbaro.
All, I'll concur with the majority and vote for moving Handigambling 115 to January 7. Let's start over from scratch. Buffalojoe will be declared the 2008 Handigambling Champion and I'll attempt a spreadsheet (gulp) to keep everyone's results. I may have to consult with Alan about how to set it up. All this without losing sight of the fact that this is an exercise to improve all of our handicapping abilities. Also, thanks for all your kind words. SR VEgas, You live in such an awesome city AND on the golf course? I am SOOOOOOOO jealous. Chicago Jerry, I might be thinking about going back to school with what the economy has done to my business. Truth be told SR and I could have gone to high school together. Buffalojoe, "weakest handicapper"? hee-hee. You don't think anybody here believes that do you? The first sign of a good gambler is his/her ability to hide such fact.......you are a class act. C, Coming to Tampa are you? what part? Maybe we can cross paths at some point. Lilly, Your 1:21 post should be printed out by all of us and taped to our monitors.Maybe even a spot in the blogging HOF. Annie, You have an open invitation to spend a few days down here in sunny Fla. to thaw out. And to all of the Formblog community Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I wish you all good health, steady employment if you need it, personal happiness and successful wagering for the new year.
Lilly, You took it the right way. My early racing education sounds pretty close to yours. SRVegas, I told you that you were having too many birthdays. Change it to Feb 29, and you'll only get older every 4 years. Steve, Clearasil nearly killed me at 14, as I discovered I'm highly allergic to benzoyl peroxide. Geez, now I actually have to wash my face once in a while. What a nuisance.
Congrats to the Zayats. Well deserved (clap clap clap). About the race. The tale of two rides or riders. JT overreacted to the pace change down the backstretch and moved too soon, while POTN had clear sailing in the lane thanks to another HOF ride by Gomez (ugh), all the while young JT and IWR had to deftly split horses, weaving in and through and around before rallying up the disadvantageous inside versus a guy who make a living out of winning nose races. Surprising to me that Mullin would put the "best 2yo I've ever had in my barn" in the hands of an 18yo kid. The horse proved his trainer right in defeat, hardly a consolation. I think IWR has enormous potential going forward. Of the two, I prefer what I saw from IWR today, but POTN WON, so until he's toppled, it's his advantage.
Cayman, Uh, Mr. Rod scratched. Annie
Cash Call: Looking at the first two dirt races today it looks like HOL is again favoring early speed and stalkers. If you are not within four lengths of the lead lately you do NOT win. This will compromise the chances of Azul Leon, Hype, Pioneer of the Nile (sorry Justin !), and Mark S. Mr. Rod and Frumious will set a nice contested pace that Mr. Rod will win.The best I see of the stalkers is I Want Revenge, Bittel Road and Chocolate Candy. Box those four in a super.
Danny B, Oops! Sorry for calling you a nut. But, you did admit, yourself, that it was one of the dumbest things you've ever done. LOL Annie