04/08/2009 2:23PM

HandiGambling 128


Today's HandiGambling 128 exercise is the ninth race from Oaklawn, The Bayakoa Stakes at 1 1/16 miles for older fillies and mares.  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

Let's scratch #7 Stealin' Kisses, and #10 Lindsey's Wish.

1. My prediction is, in observing the wagering habits of Captain Dan Illman over these many decades,  he will use #8 Distinctive Dixie on top. I know this is kind of handicapping our leader rather than the runners, but if he doesn't I would be surprised and further, I'll eat my hat.
chicago gerry

You don't have to eat your hat.  I am going to go with #8 DISTINCTIVE DIXIE.  It looks like she's finally found her niche going long on the dirt.  That's not a surprise as she's by Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus out of the Grade 2 route winner A Lady From Dixie, a half-sister to millionaire The Wicked North, and Ohio Derby winner Wild and Wicked.  Distinctive Dixie sure looked good winning a mile allowance race last time out at the Fair Grounds.  He pressed her entrymate from the inside, made the front on the backstretch, and drew away under minimal encouragement.  There are some other speeds to her inside, but I'm hoping that Jesus Castanon can get Distinctive Dixie to relax just off the early leaders.  I think 7-2 would be a fair price to win.

#5 EUPHONY has won six of eight, and is a perfect three for three over this surface.  She has the right running style for this race, but hasn't been out since October, and it's possible that she won't be fully cranked up for this.  She could be an underlay, but you do have to respect her.

#9 ALINA set the pace against Eight Belles in the Grade 2 Fantasy over this track and trip last year, but I didn't like he way she galloped out after that race, and it took her almost a year after that to reach the winner's circle.  She got it done at Delta Downs last time out, but may be overbet based on her company lines.

#1 MY HEAVENLY SIGN is a rare Larry Jones-trained filly that should go off at a nice price, and she can work out a decent trip from her inside post.

#2 DEVIL HOUSE may be the speed of the speed.  She set hot fractions against Acoma and Bear Now in the Grade 3 Azeri last time out before understandably tiring late.  She won both the Dixie Belle and Martha Washington over this course in 2007, but has lost ground in the late stages of her last six races, and may face some pressure up front. 

#3 HOLISTIC may have been a bit short off the minor layoff, and could improve in her second start of the form cycle.  

#4 CLEVER STRIKE wheels back in 11 days following an even performance against a quality sprinter in Palanka City. 

#6 TAMMY'S VICTRESS raced evenly behind Alina at Delta Downs, and can work out a decent stalking trip.

Here's hoping Distinctive Dixie has found herself at age four.

$100 Win - Distinctive Dixie (#8)

Good luck to all.



Very Strange, indeed, and I have yet to find a decent story on the race, with comments from Valdivia.  Did you find anything written from Valdivia, in terms of explanation?

From Steve Andersen's column posted on drf.com on April 6:

Crowd's cheers fool Valdivia
"The noise coming from an ontrack crowd of 50,915 on Saturday caught jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. by surprise as he neared the wire of the Santana Mile aboard the heavily favored Rail Trip.
Rail Trip had a three-length advantage with a furlong remaining and the growing cheers sounded to Valdivia like the chorus from an appreciative crowd. It was not until a few strides before the wire that he realized the crowd was hooting and hollering over the late threat posed by Dakota Phone.
"I thought they were applauding a good horse," Valdivia said on Sunday morning.
Rail Trip held on to win by a nose, stretching his unbeaten streak to five, and avoiding an embarrassment for Valdivia. On most days, when crowds are small, Valdivia said he can hear Trevor Denman's commentary during a race, which provides a tip when a front-runner is threatened by a closer.
That commentary was drowned out on Saturday.
"We had such a big crowd, you couldn't really hear," Valdivia said.
By the time, he returned to the jockeys' room, the grief from fellow riders was in full voice, Valdivia said. "All the guys were telling stories about the time they got beat," he said. "How they were posing on one and they got caught."
The Santana Mile was Rail Trip's stakes debut after a win in a maiden race in November and three allowance or optional claimers from late December to late February. Valdivia has been aboard for all five wins.
"His stride is so fluid," Valdivia said"


Didn't Kafwain, his sire, actually scratch on KY Derby morning and never race again?

Good memory.  Kafwain injured himself during a workout three days before the Derby (after the post position draw), and never raced again.  Hopefully, his son, The Pamplemousse, will eventually return to the track.


BTW, what ever happened to Stimulas Plan. He was flying at the end (although the pace was rapid) at DD?

After the Delta Jackpot, Stimulus Plan underwent surgery to repair a fractured right hind pastern.  He was scheduled to recover in Canada with an eye on the Travers if his recovery goes well.  You can follow his progress on our Disabled List on the right hand side of the blog.


thank you for the pp's. love that game horse. I have a new question: Whatever happened to CLOSING ARGUEMENT? (can't rememebered if the name had the 1st e or not.) After his 2nd in Derby to Giacomo, did he ever run again? Is he standing at stud somewhere, or was he a gelding? I would know. Thanks.

Closing Argument ran ninth in the Preakness before being retired.  He stands at Hill 'N' Dale Farm for a $12,500 stud fee, and his first babies will run this year.


Do you have Mr. Hot Stuff's figures for the SA Derby.?

Mr. Hot Stuff received a 93 Beyer Speed Figure in the Santa Anita Derby. 


Looking toward  the Oaks, why would one look for a long shot?  Watching RA's last three races, it would appear that she would have to fall down to be beaten.  Easy lead or not, it's not like she has been running 25 and change fractions up front. If you want to see how she responds to a horse outside her, just watch the Golden Rod. It is hard for me to imagine  trying to beat her based on her last 4 performances. Can someone explain Illman's comments?

Rachel Alexandra is obviously the horse to beat in the Oaks, but she will probably be hammered at the windows, has never gone nine furlongs, and her last two races were merely public workouts.  I wonder how much she got out of those races, and I'm pretty sure someone is going to make her run at some point in the Oaks.  If I can find a longshot to beat her, I'm going to give it a shot.  Whether I find one that fits my criteria...I don't know.
The Oaks offers so many intangibles.  Big crowd, possible quick pace, improving fillies.  Why chalk out on a filly that's had everything her own way recently? 


Talk to you soon,



Randy J. Perez More than 1 year ago
Dan, do you know if Eoin Harty plans on running Mr. Hot Stuff in The Derby since as of right now he has enough graded earnings to get in. What are your thoughts on him in the Derby..... In my opinion he is a very very live longshot..what say you.....?
Flip Dawson More than 1 year ago
While I'm giving Honest Jim a pat on the back, one person who does a lot of work in keeping this blog going is DAN the MAN. This blog is just one facet of his daily work, and without his assistance, the blog would be in tatters. (Notice how Dan's #8 got beat right on the wire?) Who knows his horses? A good guy to study, IMO.
Turn Back The Alarm More than 1 year ago
OOOOOPPPPPPS.....one last silly story. I'm in Jersey for the week, so my dear sweet husband calls tonight with the following: DSH: Hi honey, are you back in Chicago the last week of April? Me: No, why? DSH: My dad just called and said a friend of his just offered his horse racing box for us because he heard from my dad that your really love racing. It's in a real nice section and we'll get food, drink and special service" Me:Really, that sounds nice. Where are we going? DSH: Hawthorne. Me: I don't think so!!!!!! DSH: But,it's free....and it's really nice...... Me: oh well....sometimes you just don't want to look gift horses in the mouth. I'll let the blog know if I end up caving!
Flip Dawson More than 1 year ago
Give it to Honest Jim. Buffalo Joe feels the same way. Honest Jim needs some work on building his ticket. A simple honest mistake. He didn't put up a fuss when someone else was supposedly the winner. I think he is the most honest one in the blog. He was apologetic for going to the wrong blog with his ticket. Almost ashamed he would be thought to be lying, etc. I felt bad personally when he sent his info to the wrong location. Even eternal-arcadia was one of the first to wish him well. I can't speak for arcadia, but no doubt he would vote for Jim to keep the spoils. This guy is a winner--I am very impressed all-around with him. Someone will have to help him with building a ticket. He could go to handicapping .com for assistance.
slewofdamascus More than 1 year ago
I have decided not to continue my part in this owner/trainer debate because obviously it inspires a great deal of potential hard feelings. I do agree that it isn't black and white (and I never truly meant to imply that, although I can certainy understand how it might be inferred from what I originally stated and the obvious "attitude" I employed). I will say this. I don't doubt there are trainers who are bad handicappers and also bad at spotting their horses (I think these are two different things, ultimately, the condition book is a complex and often politically driven apparatus), and they have the winning percentages to prove it. I also think there are owners who vastly overrate their ability to handicap and judge the ability of their own stock. I said I wasn't going to comment......(insert swear word here).....
chicago gerry More than 1 year ago
Chris Kirin, Glad to see you blogging here. Hope you made your flight. Am flying into Newark on Friday night on AA to spend the Easter weekend with one of my sons. Generally speaking, for me pilots are heroes; especially if they get me some where I want to go in one piece.
slewofdamascus More than 1 year ago
Going over the allotted amount can be a problem, especially if the bet can't be parsed out (I don't know the circumstances in this case), but I do believe it's the player's responsibility to keep it to $100 or less. That's just my personal opinion, I have no axe to grind with anyone, I would say this regardless of the people involved, including myself.
slewofdamascus More than 1 year ago
Tencent, you are correct we talked a lot about Donnaguska, I had her on my hoi list for some time, she turned out to be a nice filly who made me some money. I like her. Vic, I haven't had a chance to read it yet, I will. TBTA, thanks, glad it struck a chord. Smile. Parents, indeed. Patena and Terrain are two horses with whom I am going to pay special attention, some video work, see if this might be their time to make some noise. Sorry about Pleasant Song, but I still think she has some quality (hated the ride today, could you tell?), I don't ordinarily suggest people to play maiden winners against winners first out (although it's a HUGE winning angle in my personal handicapping), it requires a special aptitiude, imo (how's that for chutzpah, after Pleasant Song), for spotting a nice maiden win (in my case, visually), regardless of level (Becky's something running at Kee tomorrow is a good example of a mdn winner beating winners first out at a big number, a maiden win I was lucky enough to witness). What a jerk, huh? Sorry (I do win, though). Smile. Theregoesjojo could prove a lot this weekend. About a lot of things. Like the GP "expressway", for one. All of it, folks, is jmo. We are lucky to have a lot of smart people that post here, probably more who just read, what binds us is this passion we have (so deep and abiding, in many cases) and hopefully there is enough room here for a crazy voice, or three (like mine) and enough other opinions to make it all palatable. \Here's the recent Paragallo story: OZONE PARK, N.Y. - One day after state officials took possession of 177 horses belonging to agent/breeder Ernie Paragallo because of neglect and possible animal abuse, the New York Racing Association on Thursday notified Paragallo that it has revoked his racing credentials and will not allow his family-owned Paraneck Stable to run horses here until he is replaced as the authorized agent. The five horses Paraneck had entered for cards at Aqueduct Friday through next Wednesday will be scratched. A Paraneck horse was scratched on Thursday because foal papers were not present with the horse. Two Paraneck horses were scratched Wednesday by the state veterinarian, according to the stewards. Paragallo, 51, is licensed by the state as an authorized agent for Paraneck Stable, whose proprietors are Paragallo's daughters, Jennifer, 26, and Kristen, 25. Paragallo's daughters will have to submit the name of a new agent to NYRA, which then must approve that person. "We're saying we want to see somebody who is not a blood relative, somebody who is not a current employee running the affairs of that stable," said Hal Handel, NYRA's executive vice president and chief operating officer. Paragallo said his daughter Jennifer is out of the country and is not due home until next week. Paragallo also said he would surrender his authorized agent's license to the state on April 16. Handel said he did not consider banning Paraneck and the 40 horses it has stabled at Aqueduct from the grounds. "The horses are here, the horses are racing-fit," Handel said. "If the horses are going to leave here and go back to that farm, we don't think that would be a terribly happy outcome. We feel it's a more prudent and safer course of action to have them under the control of a non-biased third party than to have them ship back to that farm in the midst of everything that's gone up there." On Wednesday, state police, representatives of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, veterinarians representing the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and officials of the Columbia-Greene Humane Society executed a search warrant on Paragallo's Center Brook Farm in Climax, N.Y. The ASPCA determined that the horses stabled there "showed varying stages of malnutrition" and the state took possession of the horses. "It's a disaster," said Handel, who said he had two conversations with an official from the ASPCA. According to Handel, Ron Perez, president of the Columbia-Greene Humane Society - which is overseeing the care of these horses - said a young stallion on the farm died on Thursday. Paragallo was scheduled to meet with the state police officer in charge of the investigation into possible animal abuse on Friday morning. Paragallo said that he will pay for the food, hay, and straw that the horses need. "I have to pay for it, they're still my horses," Paragallo said. On Thursday, NYRA said it would overnight a $20,000 check to the Columbia-Greene Humane Society in Hudson, N.Y. Perez said NYRA's money will "be insurance for us if we have to take over more of the feeding" of the horses. Paragallo said he has had discussions with the state police about trying to find proper homes for as many as 60 horses. He also wants to put some horses up for adoption. "My kids will put somebody else in charge [of the stable]," Paragallo said. "I'm going to dedicate myself right now to righting that situation on the farm. That's my goal right now."
chicago gerry More than 1 year ago
cayman01, Sorry you get put in these spots. I agree with Blackstone about how appreciative we all are to have you tracking the Hg results. IMO, because Jim went over, and it means winning or losing the contest, I think it should go to asguido52 because apparently he wagered by Dan's rules and in my mind that should be the primary consideration. The fact that Jim ended up on adifferent thread makes no difference to me because I spend half my time on the wrong thread any way. I would like to hear from Jum however, because perhaps he has an explanation or a disagreement about what he wagered and/or perhaps he might voluntarily withdraw his name.
Calvin Carter More than 1 year ago
vicstu, I'm busy today, but I'll get back with as soon as I can.