03/11/2009 1:39PM

HandiGambling 124

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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:

Dan