03/25/2009 12:22PM

HandiGambling 126

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Today's HandiGambling 126 exercise is the eighth race from Oaklawn Park, an entry-level optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles with a $22,000 price for those so inclined.  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 the previous 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.

This was a rather confusing race for me to handicap, and I probably won't wager much, if any, real money.  I landed on three "main" contenders, but must admit I'm not very confident.

MENACING (#10) takes a double-drop in class from 'n2x - 40K' claimers to this 'n1x - 22.5K' event, and should get a good pace to properly setup his late kick.  He was "good" enough to be stakes-placed at Delaware in 2008, makes the third start of the form cycle, and his connections cannot be underestimated.  That being said, it does look like the "for sale" sign is on, and he hasn't shown a published workout since his last race 38 days ago.  He once finished ahead of Prom Shoes on this track and, if he can summon any of his back class, can make his presence felt. 

GOT A QUESTION (#8) blew an easy lead against straight allowance types last time out, and may face more speed in this spot.  He hasn't shown that he can rate and win, but trainer Chris Richard is having a fnatstic meet, and a repeat of that 91 Beyer earned in the February 22 race would make Got a Question tough to beat.  The slight turnback in distance should also work in his favor.

LETTHEBIGTIMESROLL (#4) has found his niche since being stretched out around two turns by trainer Vickie Foley.  He's already won twice at this meet, and his stalking style fits the race well.  I think thathe's going to take a good deal of money, however, and you have to wonder if that 90 Beyer earned last time out (11 points better than anything he's ever earned) was a result of the sloppy conditions.  Trainer analysts will note that the barn is 0 for the last 41 in allowance races (according to Formulator Statistics). 

PRADEROSO (#1) went gate to wire against conditioned claimers last time out, and was just taken by a barn that is 7-21 (33%, $2.71 ROI) over the past five years off the claim (according to Formulator Statistics).

BOURNES LAND (#2) steps up off a sharp win against open claimers, and was flattered when a couple of horses came out of that race to score.

DEL CASTILLO DIAZ (#3) earned his only career win in the mud against weak maidens at Belmont Park, and didn't look very impressive in doing so.  He has a license to improve in his second start of the year, but may be in too steep.

TROJAN WAR (#5) tries route racing for the first time, but boasts the same breeding 'nick' (Distorted Humor - Slewacide) as Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide.  His only win came in gate-to-wire fashion over a speed-favoring track, but he has some upside, and can be a strong pace factor.

CHIN HIGH (#6) can be forgiven for his last two races as he was compromised by wet going on March 12, and was in over his head on February 13.  He won his previous start over this track and distance, and isn't the worst longshot stab in the world.  He won the Grade 3 Transylvania Stakes over Keeneland's turf course in 2006. 

MOMENTARILY (#7) boasts consistent Beyers, sharp form, and a recent win over this track and trip.

BUDDY'S BID (#9) is a course specialist that is stepping up off a longshot gate-to-wire victory.  It's unlikely that he'll receive a similar trip here.

As you can see, this is a pretty tough race.  I'm going to play a very small WP bet on Menacing in the hope that I can get at least 5-1 on him.  The main investment will go to exacta boxes with my other two main contenders.

Here's the play:

$10 WP - Menacing (#10)

$13 Exacta Box - Letthebigtimesroll, Got a Question, Menacing (#4, #8, #10)

$2 for Chocolate Candy (the treat, not the horse)

Best of luck to all.

Back tomorrow with questions, comments, and more.

Take care,

Dan