03/25/2009 1:22PM

HandiGambling 126


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,


rr More than 1 year ago
Annie, thanks for the (temporary) kudos. You are right about my reason for backing "R"egal "R"ansom... the overlay. Alan's last contest was my first foray into a contest of this format, and my usual chalky tendencies did not serve me well. I liked Desert Party, but "no thanks" when the horse that ran second behind DP twice is sitting there at double digit odds. We all know that 3yr olds can improve by leaps in between Springtime starts. I'll add to the grappling over BD's DQ. It was absolutely justified (and yes, I profited handsomely when Phil's number was put up). Mid-stretch, Phil pulled up eye to eye (and looked to be going right on by), and that is when the critical contact occurred. A split second later, BD seemed to be almost a length in front. Phil did not break his action, but clearly he was thrown into a funk. Had he packed it in, there would be no DQ, but he surged again, making the interference at the 1/16th pole relevant to the outcome. I think the graded earnings system needs to be tiered. 2yr old earnings should only count 50%. That gives the late bloomers a more reasonable shot.
Luisbe More than 1 year ago
I guess Swale's 108 Beyer is calculated regarding to final time, if so it belongs to Big Drama, Isn't it?
jim tully More than 1 year ago
Boy, trainers at Aqueduct are sure trying to squeeze as many races as possible out of the inner dirt. In the second race, Aphi Mohkat (who was my bet of the day last Sunday--as thrilling a finish as you'll ever see. He never saw the the TV screen or got a call until the last three or four jumps) makes his second start in five days and third start in three weeks while Mr. Serious makes his fourth start in two weeks.
Ray Manley More than 1 year ago
Alan, So Maylan should have a 5 pound bug. But she is being classified as a journeyman (woman). Slew, The next time you are talking with the NYRA stewards, please ask them about this and as Slew would say (smile).
Thaboy More than 1 year ago
Hi Dan, I was watching race replays of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe to look at Youmzain for Dubai this weekend. I was wondering if you could post the retired Zarkava's past performances. Really an amazing filly. Thanks.
p ensign More than 1 year ago
a little piece on the winner of the opener at the BigA thursday http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/27/nyregion/27jockey.html?_r=1&hp i think we can issue her an honorary blue thong
slewofdamascus More than 1 year ago
Alan, happy beleated birthday! *** Perhaps we need a Secretary of Birthdays at formblog? Amongst other things, I suppose. Smile. *** Dan, I liked your write up on Chocalate Candy, I really think he has a huge shot, because let's be honest, this race is about staying the distance and overcoming adversity just as much as it is about talent, maybe more so. Many Derby winners have been so-so after the fact, but they nearly all shared a certain intangible I suspect. I do not believe for a second that we've seen CC's best race, and given his blue collar ethic and professionalism, I think he will go as far as his talent will take him. Not every "super" contender this year can say that they have proven their mettle in this regard. A huge "key" for him, in my mind, is this mini-freshening (also mentioned by haskin at bloodhorse), I just have a very good feeling about it, how many trainers have had that luxury in the history of this race? I had no idea that he had that relationship to Affirmed, that's really pretty awesome, imo, as an amateur (with a capital A) pedigree enthusiast. I would be very excited to find a connection in the family tree like that. Unless something happens in the SA Derby (a close 3rd is fine with me) to either push him to the fore or its opposite, he's the favorite to be my Derby pick this year. I know I said I was "open", but when was the last time you saw a horseplayer who was "open"? Well, there's plenty of time yet, some people want to wait to see the actual odds, but things are firming up and Candy is definitely on my mind.
Annie More than 1 year ago
SR Vegas, So sorry to hear that you have a really, really bad cold! But, boy, you really must be grumpy. No welcome back or anything. Just go to your happy place. :) Annie
slewofdamascus More than 1 year ago
Fyi, that's the same book I touted pretty vociferously on this blog about six months ago. Very few people (like no one, I think) expressed interest. Just a curiousity to me, that's all. It must be the messenger. Noted.
Alan More than 1 year ago
Ray, That was a great article. For every "rough" article about racing, the NY Times has recently had some fantastic articles about jockeys with great slideshows. I recommend all Formbloggers take a look! Here are the apprentice rules - she should keep a 5 pound allowance until a year from her 5th win (her 1st win according to the article was in August 2008. http://www.racing.state.ny.us/about/thbred/Sec4030.1-4034.15.html PART 4032 APPRENTICE JOCKEYS AND WEIGHT ALLOWANCES 4032.1. Apprentice jockeys; allowances. An apprentice jockey licensed in accordance with section 4002.26 of this Subtitle may claim the following weight allowances in all overnight races except stakes and handicaps: (a) ten pound allowance beginning with the first mount and continuing until the apprentice has ridden five winners; (b) a seven pound allowance until the apprentice has ridden an additional 35 winners; (c) if an apprentice has ridden a total of 40 winners prior to the end of a period of one year from the date of riding his or her fifth winner, he or she shall have an allowance of five pounds until one year from the date of the fifth winning mount; (d) if after one year from the date of the fifth winning mount the apprentice jockey has not ridden 40 winners, the applicable weight allowance shall continue for one more year from the date of the fifth winning mount, or until the 40th winner, whichever comes first. But in no event may a weight allowance be claimed for more than two years from the date of the fifth winning mount, unless an extension has been granted under this rule; and (e) a contracted apprentice may claim an allowance of three pounds for an additional one year when riding horses owned or trained by the original contract employer. Laura, Iron maidens = Fantastic job!!!!!