04/15/2009 1:28PM

HandiGambling 129, questions

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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.
Causeways37

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.
slewofdamascus

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. 

***

Dan,
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?
Thanks,
Mike

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
Jon

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,

Dan