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Today's HandiGambling exercise is the sixth race from Santa Anita, an entry-level optional claimer at 6 1/2 furlongs over the Pro-Ride surface. 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." Past performances are available from yesterday's blog entry.
No scratches to report at this time, and this is a pretty competitive group. To be honest, it's not a race I would play with real money, but let's give it a shot with HandiGambling funds.
#8 - Bet On Victor - A private purchase since his impressive debut score at Hawthorne, the Yankee Victor gelding was flattered when the runner-up came back to graduate for a $70,000 tag at Oaklawn with an 82 Beyer. Of course, it has to be mentioned that when N. Y. Wise Guy then tried stakes horses in the Mountain Valley, he was distanced. The question marks are obvious. He's trying winners for the first time, and this is his first race over a synthetic surface. Plus, why the blinkers? If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? Still, he seems to have good tactical speed, and should be in the thick of things when they swing into the stretch. My friend, Bruno De Julio, is one of the best clockers in the country, and this is what he wrote about Bet On Victor's most recent drill in today's edition of Today's Racing Digest: "Worked from the pole with Juanca, who won on the pro-ride nicely two starts ago, and went well. Rosario on board for Cerin. Began four back early and finished the last half-mile in 46.2. Looked real good and in 58.4. Workmate went more like 1:01 and change here."
#1 - Supreme Summit - This colt earned a 91 Beyer Speed Figure in winning his career debut for Doug O'Neill, but stalkers and closers did best on the Pro-Ride footing on February 7, and Supreme Summit's running style played perfectly with the course profile. The inside post position can be an intimidating place for inexperienced runners, but Garrett Gomez should have Supreme Summit in a decent position while tracking the speeds. Another facing winners for the first time, and Bruno was encouraged by the most recent workout: "Worked from the pole and went in hand to the wire. Looks good and did it easy."
#7 - Back At You - Looked on his way to a big performance in the Eddie Logan on turf when he bolted over the hedge in a frightening incident. He needed some stitches after the race, but came back with a solid second-place finish at this level, and can move forward in his second start of the form cycle. Note that he won his maiden in his second career race. Trainer Eddie Truman is cold, but we know that he's capable, and his recent slide may simply help Back At You's price today.
#4 - Fu Peg He Rat - Finished behind Back At You last time, but that was his first start of the year, and this is another that has previously run well in the second start of the form cycle. He'll probably need some pace to run at and, like Back At You, goes out for a barn that has had trouble at the meet. Think he'll offer some value.
#2 - Ventana - Best race came in career debut on dirt at Belmont, but he was then smashed in the Champagne, and hasn't shown the same life over synthetics. Thought his San Vicente is better than it looks on paper as he galloped out nicely after the race, and Baffert is finally giving him a chance to go through his conditions after six straight stakes outings. Bruno was quite taken with the bullet work on March 1: "Departed the five four lengths behind barnmate "Ten Churros." Tracked from that distance until upper stretch. Responded well on his own in midstretch and finished up even at the wire while showing some determination in the drive. Excellent!"
#3 - Dream of Kaylee - Three starts, three layoff lines, and that's usually a red flag. Thought he had every chance last time out when racing in a perfect spot stalking a pace duel, but came up empty in the drive as the even-money favorite. Certainly has the numbers to compete successfully against this group, but that last race didn't do it for me.
#5 - Point Attended - Lone win came in life-and-death manner at Hollywood, and he was blown away during the gallop-out after the race. Adds blinkers, and can show improved speed in this spot. Originally was thinking of using him, but the maiden win failed to excite, and his numbers have been sub-par in both starts against winners. Bruno liked his last two workouts including the "breezing" drill on March 7: "Worked from the pole and went very well in hand. Looked good."
#6 - Mt. Davidson - He's the only two-time winner of the group, but needed the length of the stretch to nip $50,000 claimers in his first start for this barn. Plus, the track seemed to favor closers on Valentine's Day, and Mt. Davidson may have been aided somewhat by the perceived bias.
#9 - Cut the Check - Split Ventana and Point Attended in the San Vicente, and I would expect to see improved early speed from him in this spot. The stretch pop just hasn't been there since the blinkers were added, however, and he'll need a speed-figure boost to reach the winner's circle. Bruno's take on the March 6 workout: "Finished well in 24.4 for the last 1/4. Looked OK."
#10 - Arashi Cat - Bombed on grass last time out, but this colt was actually the betting favorite in the San Pedro two back against some of these rivals. He hasn't gained ground from the stretch call to the wire in any of his races, and needs to show stronger stamina here.
Tough, tough race to handicap, and extremely tough for wagering purposes. Bet on Victor and Supreme Summit may be the most likely winners, but Fu Peg He Rat and Back At You could offer excellent value.
Here's the play:
$4 Trifecta Box - Bet On Victor, Supreme Summit, Back At You, Fu Peg He Rat (8,1,7,4)
$4 for the broke handicapper's fund.
Best of luck to all:
PGM-saw those standings (yup, any one of my 5 horses would have won that race I'd be going to Vegas-and I was over it!) Thanks for the advice on activating, but I've decided (although I've got a few more minutes to change) to leave Patena out. Dutrow's "we had to work thru some issues with the horse" comment kind of scares me a bit, and as for Albarado, I actually agree that he may be a better Derby prospect than Flying Pegasus, but whatever you think about Dutrow, he's brutaly honest, and if he says he's been working thru issues, I think I'll reluctantly have to leave Patena out. Also, the Magna 5 has a carry-over of over 200K so here goes nothin' 1st(Laurel 9th)- 4-Met a Miner-talk about a horse moving up for a new barn-since being claimed by Lake he's won 2 races by a combined 17 lengths wire to wire. 6-Puskita-another coming off 2 straight wins and did have a second in a small stakes at Delaware prior to that. 7-Fascinating Rhythm was just 2nd in a Grade 2, and missed by a neck in a small stakes over this track going a mile-should appreciate the cut back in distance. 2nd leg-SA 4th-While there's no such thing as a sure thing,2- Pioneer of the Nile is about as close as you can come. 3rd leg-GP9th-2-Stormalory just won his first start on grass, gets Douglass, trained by Mott. 5-Duke of Homberg just beat several of these and no reason to think he can't do it again. 4th leg-GG4th-these Golden Gates races are tough. 3-Undeniable Truth-Hollendorfer/Baze, nuff said. 5-Kalookan Ghost was a decent 2nd first start, between improvement caused by experience and the additon of blinks, he fits. 7-Tiz Again Roused-has some quality works including a couple of 6f. Comes off a 5 plus month layoff and could add a bit of value to the ticket. 5th leg-SA 5th-3-Forest Danz has right to improve 2nd off substanial layoff and a win and a 2nd in 3 turf starts including a downhill win at the track. 1/1A entry a couple of horses from Argentina who've both won sprinting there. Bucera entry is 12/1 ML and seems to be intriguing chance to add value to ticket. 11-Billy Allen drops a bit but is 8 years old so that's not a concern. Probably the logical choice.
Alan, I agree with you regarding Met A Miner's sudden turnaround in form. Since Lake ran her back only 2 weeks after the claim, he really didn't have the opportunity to "work" on things that have possibly been troubling her. It must me those "magical" front bandages he put on her for her last two starts. Must be something to or in them. I too find it surprising that the media does not question trainers and publish their resposes so the betting public can make their own determinations as to the validity of the reasons for the turnaround in form. If nothing else it shows some people are paying attention. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. I probably would have missed it if you didn't bring it up.
Calvin and tbta – "The short and unfortunate answer is no response..." You forgot to include UTTERLY PREDICTABLE.
Nancy B, Congratulations, I see you survived another day with Desperate. WTG, girl. Jim Tully, Are you still hanging in there? Annie
Tencentcielo, I guess your horse flat out refused to go and run against Old Fashioned in the Rebel. :) Annie
Sat. Stakes- I'm in a little contest on saturday at Emerald Downs. 13 Stakes races spread out among FG, Tampa. Aqu., Santa Anita. I'm not going to get much handicapping time due to work schedule (plus i've been very cold in 2009 so far). So if anyone has any price horses they like this weekend I'd appreciate it. Hopefully I can return the favor when Emerald Downs opens next month, and my picks start running better. Thanks tbone
Does Churchill plan on showing the probables for the Kentucky Derby Exacta Futures? I looked on the Kentucky Derby site and can't find them. I also checked Twinspires.com and there is an ad for the wager but when you look at the available tracks it is not included. Either I am missing something or this is yet another example of the incompetence in this sport. Why create and advertise a new wager and then provide no way to bet it online or to see the probable payouts. Lenny
victsu, My bad. Major typo! I had my mind wrapped around the FOY so much with the other contenders that it slipped onto my commentary for WSB. But I love the fact he's heading to the Lanes End. Don't think he'll get much competition and I could use the G2 points for RTTR's!
Jim Tully, Sorry to hear you're out of Showvivor! You hung in there really well. Now we'll have to root for Nancy B, who went by the old adage, "Desperate times call for desperate measures". Lol Annie
Molesap, I don't mind a "free space" in a multi-race wager. Though it's likely it won't be a blockbuster payout if the horse wins, it allows more of a chance to have a longshot in one of the other races that can still provide a decent payout for a minimum amount of outlay. I don't pass the multi-race wager because of that. Annie