04/15/2009 2:28PM

HandiGambling 129, questions


Today's HandiGambling 128 exercise is the seventh race from Aqueduct, a statebred 'n2x' optional claimer.  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.

It's a yucky day in the Big Apple.  The track is sloppy.  Let's scratch #3 - Mr. Bourbon Street, and #10 - Raffie's Deer.

Let's take a look at the remaining entrants:

#1 - Dr. Decter makes his dirt debut at the ripe old age of five after a pair of fade jobs at Gulfstream. He's bred grass as a half-brother to stakes-placed grass runner Won Jenelle from the family of turf marathoner El Senor.  He also draws a difficult inside post.

#2 - Little Wise Guy looms the horse to beat based on speed figures, but he doesn't seem to be the most courageous type in the world with six runner-up finishes on his record.  He's the horse to beat, but won't offer much value

#4 - Baxter looked home free three starts back, but blew a big late lead while noticeably shortening stride.  He won two of his first three races, but is 0 for his last 20, and has been stuck at this level since August 6, 2007.

#5 - Wolfson has won on a wet track in the past, and looks like an interesting price horse here.  He rallied against the grain of a speed-favoring track two starts back at this level to finish second behind a gate-to-wire winner, and then may have been in a bit too steep last time out.  He's the only horse in the race the race that has successfully completed this condition, and should be running late.

#6 - Motor Patrol didn't have an easy time of it against open company following a long layoff at Gulfstream Park, but he should do better against this weaker crew, and may show the best early speed.  He has some longshot potential.

#7 - GOLDEN CAESAR has yet to gain ground from the stretch call to the wire in three starts at this level.

#8 - PLEASE IMPRESS beat 'n2L' claimers at the Meadowlands over sloppy going last year, but was drifting out during the stretch drive, and hasn't visited the winner's circle since.  He has solid numbers, goes out for major connections, and should get bet hard.  He can win, but may not offer much of a price.

#9 - THAT'S RICH has some speed, and can be forgiven his defeat against open foes on March 7.  He shows a bullet workout leading up to the race, but needs a Beyer boost.

This is wide, wide open, and I'm going to chicken out.  Discretion is the better part of valor...even with monopoly money.

Best of luck to all.


Theregoesjojo was a bust in the Blue Grass while attending the pace early on. Borel was noted as saying that something happened with the horse around the 2nd turn. So far no reports of any soundness issues.

From Jay Privman's article posted on April 13:

"Theregoesjojo, who finished ninth, had a stifle problem that plagued him as a 2-year-old flare anew, according to trainer Ken McPeek. He is off the Derby trail."


Before I give you my handigambling picks how do you think the long layoff will affect Friesan Fire.  I really like this horse and think that he will be overlooked due to the long layoff but obviously history is not on his side.  What are your thoughts.
Wes Preble

The layoff is a concern but you could argue that the greater worry is that Friesan Fire, due to preparing at the Fair Grounds, has yet to race past 1 1/16 miles.  These combination of factors would usually worry me, but Friesan Fire's pedigree is conducive to longer distances, and Larry Jones is one of the better trainers in the country.  Also, Friesan Fire's excellent tactical speed may put him in a forward position and out of early trouble, and that is so important in a cavalry charge like the Derby.
To answer your question, I don't think it will affect him that much.  He's had plenty of racing without a break, and seems to be working well at Keeneland.  The excellent Keeneland Clocker Report (www.keeneland.com) notes that Friesan Fire "finished very nicely on his own, last quarter in 23 2/5" for the April 8 breeze while yesterday's work was achieved "evenly, and was not asked for effort."


HB?? is Hello Broadway???
If SO where did this race take place?
i'd lov eto see the chart
fashion slipper

Here's the chart for Hello Broadway's recent allowance win:

Download Hello Broadway

Tagg has mentioned the Preakness as a possibility...


I wonder if he feels the same away about Dunkirk for the Derby? Let's ask him.

This Derby has so many interesting stories, but Dunkirk is the name that seems to incite the most passionate discussion.  He's either an overhyped media creation, or a superhorse ready to defy the "Derby rules" (Derby rules are mostly silliness, in my opinion). 
I'm not sure he's either of those two opinions.  I believe he's a good horse that has the potential to be more than that.  He's shown his quality by overcoming adverse situations in his first two starts, and I thought he ran well in the Florida Derby considering the step up in class and the speed-favoring racetrack.
Will he be an underlay in the Derby?  Most likely.  Will he be faced with the most daunting task of his young career?  Certainly.  Can he win the race?  I think he can.  It seems they all have questions to answer this year.  Quality Road's quarter crack could conceivably flare up any minute.  Friesan Fire hasn't raced in a long time, and hasn't been past 8 1/2 furlongs.  Pioneerof the Nile, Chocolate Candy, and Hold Me Back must prove that they can run on dirt.  Does Musket Man really want to go this far?  Are the Godolphin runners really that good?  Can I Want Revenge put in three big efforts back-to-back-to-back?  Dunkirk's inexperience is another piece in this very confusing, and very fun, Derby puzzle.  I have liked what I've seen from him thus far.  It's not fair to compare him with Curlin, a graded winner at this point in his career with obvious superhorse potential, but Dunkirk has ability.  In my opinion, he's a very strong contender.  But, as always, let the odds be your guide.


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.....?
Randy J. Perez

From Marty McGee's article posted on April 14:

"Mr. Hot Stuff, third in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby on April 4, worked a half-mile in 48 seconds at Santa Anita on Tuesday. The time equaled the sixth-fastest of 21 recorded works at the distance.
Trainer Eoin Harty and owners WinStar Farms are holding out hope that Mr. Hot Stuff will gain a place in the Kentucky Derby. Mr. Hot Stuff has earned $114,000 in graded stakes, and Harty is hopeful that it will be sufficient to earn a spot in the Kentucky Derby. The first 19 on the graded stakes earnings list earn berths to the Kentucky Derby. Mafaaz, who is under consideration for the Derby, earned an automatic starting berth by winning the Kentucky Derby Challenge Stakes at Kempton Park.
"If he gets in the Kentucky Derby, we'll take a shot," Harty said of Mr. Hot Stuff. "I'm training him like he is going to the Derby. If not, we'll go to plan B."
As a backup, Harty could run Mr. Hot Stuff in the $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes at 1 1/8 miles at Belmont Park on May 9.
Mr. Hot Stuff has one victory in seven starts. He was third in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes in late February."

He's still very green, and I'm not sure he'll be ready to handle the Derby hoopla.  He has some ability, and can be a solid three-year-old later in the season, but he's immature, and will have to deal with the crowd as well as being a one-run closer in a very bulky field. 


I was wondering if you could tell me what is going on with jockeys Ryan Fogelsonger and Horatio Karamanos. I know Ryan shifted his tack to Hawthorne months ago after riding at Presque Isle last summer, but I haven't seen his name anywhere for a while. Same with Karamanos. I know he usually rides on the east coast, but where is he now? With Atlantic City opening this week, I figured maybe he would be there, but he's not among the entries. I think he may have won the riding title there last year?He is/was a very good turf jock and I've made money just betting him on the turf. I live in MD and these two were mainstays here for a while. What gives?

From Joe DeVivo's article posted on April 10:

"Travis Dunkelberger, one of the top jockeys at Charles Town, will be sidelined indefinitely after sustaining a neck injury in a spill during training hours Wednesday.
Dunkelberger, 31, will be out three to six months with a possible fracture in his neck, according to his agent, Billy Kennedy. Kennedy said the injury occurred when a horse Dunkelberger was exercising for trainer Gary Capuano broke down.
According to Kennedy, doctors checking the CAT scan performed on Dunkelberger originally believed the images showed an old injury. Doctors now feel Dunkelberger may actually have a new fracture in the same area as a neck injury sustained years ago.
Kennedy said Dunkelberger has been able to walk the hallways at Winchester Medical Center in Winchester, Va., and is in good spirits, though disappointed he will miss next Saturday's four stakes at Charles Town, including a mount on Cowgirls Don't Cry, a leading contender in the $250,000 Sugar Maple Stakes.
Dunkelberger, the third leading rider in the nation in 2001 when he won 395 races, ranks third in the current Charles Town standings with 42 winners. He rode winners on each of his final two mounts last Sunday, the last time he competed."

Karamanos hasn't ridden since the Maryland Million card.  He won two that day.  Last year, Karamanos took some time off before returning at the Pimlico meet. I'm expecting him to resurface there this year.


Anyway, who appears to be the speed at this point?  It looks to be setting up for a very fair pace.  I would appreciate your thoughts. Thanks

It's very early, but Regal Ransom likes to race near the front.  I wouldn't be surprised if Quality Road and Friesan Fire are up close as well, and Papa Clem shouldn't be too far away from the early leaders. 


Alan and bobc have an excellent idea for a HandiGambling/Kentucky Derby contest.  We'll keep the HandiGambling rules, but that week's race would be the Derby.  Any wager on the race (Oaks/Derby double, etc.) would be accepted. 

Let's do it.

See you soon,


Teri More than 1 year ago
Well Vinny is scratched from the Derby, so everyone has a chance to win now. I really wanted to see him win though, But better to scratch him, than something happening to him in the race. I am glad he will be okay. I guess I will be rooting for Dunkirk now. Hope all the horses come back safe and sound. Good luck to everyone. Teri
ktalbany More than 1 year ago
Alan contest pick I need a good price, since I didn't have General Quarters last week. I'll go with MASALA. He at least can get the distance. Brave Victory looks like he hates going long. Omniscient is untested, El creepo is a turf horse. Jeranimo scares me, and may be the one, but I don't like the connections.
Craig More than 1 year ago
Ray Manley, I think I got your point. Was it, my posts are all wrong, but, at least ( by accident ) he showed us the path to prosperity in this sport with getting the kids involved? Thanks for the backhanded compliment Ray, even a blind squirel finds... You are welcome, I think.
Causeways37 More than 1 year ago
Van Savant, Not too worried about the owners catching derby fever at this time. I'm sure Dale Romans isn't too keen on that idea. That's interesting that they would bring him back so quickly. Maybe they're just trying to figure out what they have? Who knows. I'm between Omniscent & Masala as my top two choices. Masala ran a good one in that GP Allowance against Take the Points. I thought he would run better in the Gotham, but he just flattened out. Willing to forgive him for that. Speaking of "Willing". More Than Willing runs in an allowance today at Kee. I can't believe Dream of Kaylee is the m/l fave. After his last race in the HG 120 something a few weeks back, I've decided to write that horse off. I think MTW takes it today with J. Leparoux. Thoughts?
Van Savant More than 1 year ago
Blackstone; Thanks for your thoughts on the Giant's Causeway. Good points.
Van Savant More than 1 year ago
slew; I read Mr. Quinn's piece earlier in the week, and I must confess that I had to go back and re-read portions of Mr. Brohamer's Modern Pace Handicapping in order to understand his points more fully. Also, for those without this invaluable book, the F (fast), S (slow), and A (average) refer to the speed, or variant of the track at the two points of call (6 f and finish).
tinky More than 1 year ago
robertSD – Broadly speaking, I'd say that she has joint issues. With regards to the sale, these type of issues don't just pop up – they are cumulative. I wasn't at the Keenland sale, nor am I privy to any specific vet reports. However, people pay large sums of money for horses with serious physical issues on a shockingly frequent basis in this industry. In this particular case, it is possible that IEAH overvalued her as a broodmare prospect, and were therefore willing to accept added risk on the racing side, or they and their vets may have believed that the issues were manageable. I will say this, though: she's 1/5 to be retired before the end of the season, and the public excuse will almost certainly be that she has suffered some sort of "recent" injury.
Annie More than 1 year ago
Good morning everyone! I was out yesterday enjoying the beautiful Minnesota weather, 71 degrees and sunny! So many great posts. It really is hard to catch up if you miss only one day. I see Tencentcielo (always the glutton for punishment as he says) wants to adopt HIS GREATNESS. That's fine with me. Not necessary for me to present his resume as I assume everyone has the PPs for the Lexington. So, here's the face-off for the Lexington tomorrow: KT Albany's SQUARE EDDIE 9-5 Dominic Riccio's MASALA 6-1 Tencentcielo's HIS GREATNESS 20-1 Good luck all! I have added Laura's name to Regal Ransom's ownership papers. Slew, that was so nice of you to share your Derby horse with Laura. Such a gentlemen! :) So nice of Cayman and John C to let me know that I am only losing 10 cents for every dollar I bet. Should take me a long time to go broke. :) I'll be back shortly with my own chart. Well, kind of. Typepad doesn't allow a real nice chart. I know their's that spreadsheet, cut and paste thing, but I made my chart on lined legal paper and the format Typepad allows will just have to do. Annie
Van Savant More than 1 year ago
Causeways37; I have Hull tabbed as my third choice here, but mainly for underneaths. Fitness is my main concern, but this is only 8.5 furlongs, and he has shown an affinity for a synthetic surface. He is coming back to race fairly quickly, so I am not sure if it is becuase he is kicking down the barn and ready to go, or if the connections have derby fever.
johnnyz More than 1 year ago
C, When I was posting daily, I stated while this years 3 yr. olds looks strong, I don't see a Triple Crown winner. Jon White has been very adamant with his thoughts regarding Pioneerof The Nile to win the TC. I will say that if PON does indeed win the Derby, he would stand a good chance to win the TC. As previously stated, there are several in this group with pedigrees that should excell at a distance. My problem is, I think it doesn't only take the genes to get a distance but also takes a very gifted (special) horse to win the TC! BTW, I love and will mimick your betting strategy Derby day. That is something I have done on a smaller scale the past few years that has paid very well. Anyway, with this field your mathmatics is right on! DRS, regarding Mafaaz not running in the Derby, does not surprise me one iota. Gosden use to train in the US and I know he would have loved to walked one over on May 2nd. That is just part of the different mindset with European trainers and, racing for that matter. It is still first and foremost a sport in the UK and not all about the BUCK! Also I think the "win and your in the Derby" was a brain child of Churchill, not the NTRA. Papa Clem, while at this point don't feel he is a Derby winner, is one that I planned on using on the bottom of Tri's/Supers. On the other hand there is something to be said for prepping at Oaklawn and winning the Ark. Derby. Pretty good form the last few years! Anyway I ran across this pedigree article on him today and, whether you like him or not, despise pedigree study or love it. This is a very well written article on a Derby contender that should be read by anyone that is going to wager on the Derby. Here is the link: http://www.paulickreport.com/blog/edwin-anthony-pedigree-report-papa-clem/ I won't comment on the article, will let you come to your on conclusion, although I will state that I think Papa Clem is a very good looking colt. And, as Zito has stated for many years, "looks never hurt"! Good Luck to All!