03/18/2009 12:17PM

HandiGambling 125


Today's HandiGambling 125 exercise is the ninth race from Laurel Park, a $5,000 claiming race for older horses that have not won three times in 2008-2009.  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.

I know that there is a time issue for some of you, but let's remember why we began the HandiGambling races in the first place.  The goal was to share ideas on why we like these horses, and why we're betting them the way we are.  I'm not asking for a novel, but if you could spare a sentence or two outlining your handicapping angles, and thought process about wagering, it would be appreciated.

First, let's scratch the #1 half of the coupled entry, Showmesnow.

The key to this race may be just how much pressure, if any, Unadulterated (#7) will face on the front end.  He looks like the main speed, but Desperado Kid (#10) has shown some early foot on occasion, and may try to push Unadulterated from the outside down the backstretch.  
If Unadulterated has to go faster than expected, it might set things up for Coyote Trust (#1A), a powerful recent winner around two turns at Philadelphia Park.  That day, Coyote Trust tracked the pace from the two path, opened up on his foes on the final turn, and poured it on down the stretch.  It was eerily reminiscent of Coyote Trust's previous Beyer top, a win at Delaware Park going 1 Mile and 70 Yards on October 7, 2007.  That day, he pressed the pace from the rail, eased out to the two path late on the backstretch, and ran away from his opponents on the turn.  He then came back to lose at 6-5 after breaking through the gate at the start. 

As usual, there are concerns.  Coyote Trust has never won a sprint race.  He hasn't even competed in one since April 1, 2007, a non-threatening fifth-place finish going 7 1/2 furlongs in a $16,000 maiden claimer at Gulfstream Park.  He's taking a step up in class as he faced 'n1Y' claimers last time out (non-winners since August 17, 2008), and will try 'n3Y' performers today.  Twice previously, he earned 70 or greater Beyer Speed Figures, and came back to regress and lose. 

Still, I like him to get the job done for his high-percentage connections.  He has enough tactical speed to find a decent stalking position while in the clear, and may get first run going into the turn.  A possible short price doesn't make him an appealing win candidate so I'll try to hook him up in exotics with a couple of other logical contenders.

Unadulterated makes the third start of the form cycle, and he has improved his Beyer Speed Figure the two previous times he made that move (including a win at Laurel going this seven furlong distnce on November 26). 

Farleyshelonwheels (#8) is a previous track and distance winner, and he should apperciate turning back to a sprint.  He really looked fatigued in his most recent race, however, and may need a faster-than-expected pace to properly setup his late kick.

Here's the play:

$50 Exacta - Coyote Trust - Unadulterated (#1A - #7)

$50 Exacta - Coyote Trust - Farleyshelonwheels (#1A - #8)

Best of luck to all.

I'm kinda swamped with Derby prep recaps for the website so will have to cut it short for now.  Will be back tomorrow with a Past Champions Retrospective as well as catching up to your questions and comments.

Take it easy,