02/11/2009 12:51PM

HandiGambling 120


Today's HandiGambling exercise is the eighth race at Gulfstream Park, an entry-level allowance race for older runners at nine furlongs.  Past performances can be accessed from the previous blog entry.  Remember that you have a mythical $100 with which to wager on the race, and the entrant with the highest money total will receive a "Monthly Enhanced 60-Card Past Performance Plan."

Let's scratch Edge of a Shadow (#2).

I've never liked Stevil (#3), and when I saw him listed as the 8-5 morning line favorite, I was very interested in finding someone to beat him.  Then, after considering the options, I threw my hands up in the air.  If you can't beat him, join him.  Stevil is no star.  He's more Sam P. than Curlin, and really doesn't have a ton of ability.  That being said, there's not much in this race from a pace or speed perspective, and Stevil's recent races are simply faster than his rivals.  He should work out a good trip near the lead under Jose Lezcano, and looms the horse to beat at an unappetizing short price.

East End Tap(#7) is an intriguing alternative.  His only win came on Woodbine's polytrack surface, but he earned his best Beyer Speed Figure on dirt in the Prince of Wales at Fort Erie.  In that race, he finished less than two lengths behind the quality stakes horse Harlem Rocker, and a repeat of that performance would put him squarely in today's hunt.  He finished behind Stevil last time out, but that race looks like a one-turn prep off the layoff, and East End Tap may be sharper with the addition of blinkers this afternoon.  I don't think you'll get the 15-1 listed on the morning line, but the price still should be right.

Pegasian (#8) also adds blinkers for this race, and can be close to the expected pokey splits.  His only win came on turf, but he's run well enough on the main track, and his most recent defeat can be attributed to the layoff and the daunting 12 furlong distance.  He shows some sharp workouts (presumably with blinkers) leading up to this race, will appreciate turning back in distance, and has an upset chance under Edgar Prado. 

Southern Terminus (#5) is also eligible to show improved speed as he stretches out a half-mile for his second race after a long layoff.  That five-furlong turf race was nothing more than a workout so don't put too much stock in the dull running line.  Southern Terminus ran well at this distance last year at Gulfstream, and Helen Pitts is one of the more underrated trainers around.  This one is interesting with Julien Leparoux aboard. 

Forty Zip (#6) won a conditioned claiming race in gate-to-wire fashion three back in the mud in New Jersey, and could assume the role of pacesetter by default.  That gives him an advantage considering the strong likelihood of a slow pace.  Forty Zip has failed nine times at the entry-level condition, however, and may be in a bit steep.  Note that he hasn't shown a published workout in almost a month. 

Sr. Henry (#4) kept good company in 2008, finishing second in the Grade 2 American Derby over soft sod at Arlington.  He raced evenly for the hot Ken McPeek barn when finishing behind Stevil last time out, and fits on his best.  Still, it's hard to trust a runner that's 1-20 lifetime. 

He's the Commander (#1) makes the third start of the form cycle after passing tiring horses last time out.  He'll probably need to be closer to the pace to have an impact here, and his speed figures pale in comparison to the top contenders.

Here's how I'll play it:

$40 Exacta - Stevil/East End Tap (3-7)
$30 Exacta - Stevil/Pegasian (3-8)
$20 Exacta - Stevil/Southern Terminus (3-5)
$10 Exacta - Stevil/Forty Zip (3-4)

Best of luck to all.

drf.com handicapper Mike Beer has a completely different take on this race.  To view our "Race of the Day" video for the HandiGambling race, go to the link below:


todd saunders More than 1 year ago
Ron: i did not see your note before, so I did not get a chance to respond to my HG120 pick, but here goes: i had been at my local OTB with a friend on the 10th of jan, when Sr.Henry ran in a competitive allowance. my bussy had said something to me the day before, and asked me to have a look at this horse. we watched the race, and though he came in 4th, the thing that caught my eye was that he got pretty much stopped on the far turn of that rqce, had to go around a tiring horse, and was actually moving very well at the end of the race, while no chance for better than 4th that day. he was off a layoff, and switching back to dirt that day, and i thought it was a eally useful race. when the HG came up, and i saw he was in, i knew i was using him. it was also made easier by my not really liking the fave (stevil), who i think wants to run 2nd, so hence my bet. i thought the tri was the bet, but in retrospect, i would have been much better off playing the exacta. hope this helps, and good luck wagering this weekend
Alan More than 1 year ago
I meant "Higher floor Lower ceiling"!!! Annie, What would Freud say? Perhaps he was waiting for this weekend's results. I didn't notice otherwise! BTW, PPs for the El Camino Real are available on the contest spreadsheet: http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=p0punDkqmTL6-vxV9onbJbw
billg More than 1 year ago
Finally figured out the new configuration thanks to the brother and sisterhood of the blogosphere. Quick pick on the 6th at NAS. Desert Party/ Rocks Off/ Vineyard Haven
tencentcielo More than 1 year ago
Dan, the previous/next button idea is awful. Please get those DRF tech geeks to undo this. Everybody, After a little time away from the 4NGR list, which has spitting out nothing but (winning) favorites for the last week, it finally spits out a decent price: in Race 8 at SA, #8 LIKELY A STAR is the 4NGR horse of the day! tencentcielo
Annie More than 1 year ago
Justin, Or, Annie. Lol Annie
Annie More than 1 year ago
Hey, Dan Did you forget to push the "on" button? Annie
slewofdamascus More than 1 year ago
Annie, the truth behind the myth is, I was stupified at first, but worse, when I figured out what was going on with 'next' and 'previous', at the bottom of the page, I came back later and got confused again, wondering what was happening? Doh. It's the blue. (and in my case, the all-star romulan - smile). Hopefully, after my older sister (by 4 years) refused to help me out with a ride last week, I will be quitting smoking in the coming days. Well, let me clarify about my sister, who works at home. Upon requesting a ride and laying out the important reasons for it, I had to listen to all the reasons I was inadequate for needing a "shot" to quit smoking, at $500 (a complete and total gall to her), and my general lack of will for not quitting cold turkey. In her eyes, it's a character flaw, I should mention I started smoking at 11. I'm addicted. She gave me my first cigarette, I should probably add. You may recall that the 'shot' has properties that makes the affected individual very drowsy, and he or she can't drive. After seeing where my sister was going, I said 'don't worry about it.' I had to cancel my appointment, but I am rescheduling today as I have found a fresh victim to give me a ride. Side note: my sister is smoker, who thinks she can 'quit anytime' she wants to. And I'm the self-delusional one, right? Can you say "dYsfunctional family"? With a capital Y. As in, Y me? Smile. In any case, I am giving it a 'shot' next week, probably Tuesday (the 'dark' day, of course - I'm a degenerate horseplayer, somebody has to die before I miss a racing day). I really don't know if it will work, but I don't want to have not tried. If I try and fail, I can live with that. [ahem]
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
..just a question ...is anyone having problems posting on this Formblog? I see (at this time) 94 comments, but only 25 or so listed and on the last thread 139 comments but only 25 or so listed. SR Vegas
p ensign More than 1 year ago
also, a question for anyone who might know - was peeking at these pps for GP5 tomorrow and noticed something very interesting about the #1 horse - is this something we see with any other owner, or trainer, or jockey..? http://www.brisnet.com/Promo/Free_PPs/gpxcomp0212.pdf
p ensign More than 1 year ago
congrats again, slew. nice points on only playing when they look good to you, as for me, the 50c pricetags on pick 4s and some trifecta pools (that would be FG for the 4s and OP for the tris) really tempt me to go where maybe I shouldn't - so thanks for the little heads up there. i didn't like both horses because of their apparent lack of heart, but when they're out there on their (ha, love using a word that sounds the same three ways in one sentence) own like that, guess it doesn't really matter too much. like the last hg race, where I left out the cerin horse because of his 0% layoff stat, i'm learning not to let one number steer me completely off a horse that has some other things going for it (like a 34% trainer!!!) of course the big problem is that I'm usually just learning one of the lessons I already learned over again.