04/08/2009 1:23PM

HandiGambling 128

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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.

 

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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?
Craig

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"

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

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.

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

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.

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Dan,
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.
tencentcielo

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.

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

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

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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?
jon

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? 

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Talk to you soon,

Dan