04/22/2009 1:50PM

HandiGambling 130

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Today's HandiGambling 130 exercise is the eighth race from Gulfstream Park, a 'n2x' optional claimer with a $62.500 price tag 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."   Anyone going over the $100 limit will be disqualified.  In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference.  Past performances can be accessed from yesterday's blog.

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 #2 Desert Falcon, #5 Granizo, and #12 Brush On By

I landed on four contenders in here, but have little confidence in them, and they won't offer much value.  #3 Blues Street was rank going into the first turn on March 25, but he may have been merely reacting to his new blinkers while in a tight spot.  He just missed after a furious stretch drive, shows an improving Beyer pattern, and should get a quick pace to attack this afternoon.

#11 Just Playin Around defeated at least three next-out winners when going gate-to-wire in a five-furlong turf sprint on March 1.  He's won at this distance in the past, but seems most comfortable when able to relax on the lead.  With fellow stretchout sprinter Evenings End a pace possibility, Just Playin Around may have to duel all the way around, or cope with the prospect of passing another horse. 

#4 T Harry has stepped up his game since being moved to the Peter Walder barn earlier this winter.  He's won both of his starts for Walder, is very comfortable at this mile distance, and should get enough pace to adequately setup his late run.  He's taking a step up in class from open 35K claimers, but he's too sharp to ignore.

#9 Murch went through the 'n2x' condition way back on November 24, 2006, but the Grade 3-placed ridgeling is only 1 for 16 since that win.  Of course, the victory occurred in his most recent start, and Murch may finally be rounding back into form for Mark Hennig.  He's another that likes to race from off the pace, and would benefit from strong fractions up front. 

I've always been a fan of #1 Gold Pageantry, and he's put it all together since joining the Kirk Ziadie outfit.  The New York-bred may work out a wonderful trip from his inside post, and wouldn't be a surprise despite hiking up from the 25K ranks.

#6 Colonial Causeway makes the important third start of the form cycle while switching from a ten-pound bug rider to Jeffrey Sanchez.  His turf races haven't been impressive, however, and he may be at his best on a wet dirt track.

#7 Evenings End has never been a step past six furlongs, and both of his career victories came against fellow New Jersey-breds.  He has shown good speed in the past, and figures to be fresh making his first start since October.  I'm expecting him to be there early, but the closers may swallow him up when the real running begins.

#8 Alezzandro won the $500,000 Prince of Wales at Fort Erie as a three-year-old (one of the Canadian Triple Crown races), and his lone turf try to date can be excused (a tired sixth in the 12 furlong Breeders' Stakes).  Alezzandro likes to be close to the pace, and may get the jump on the closers from just behind the early leaders.  Still, the layoff coupled with his poor form at the end of 2008 makes him a fringe contender in my opinion.

#10 Carson Hall really improved after switching to turf last year, but he likes to race near the lead, and the fractions could be faster than he's been used to facing.  He has stalked and pounced in the past, and isn't the worst longshot in the world.

I would use my four contenders in multi-race wagers, but in HandiGambling, I'll go this way:

$8 Exacta - Blues Street - T. Harry (3-4)

$8 Exacta - Blues Street - Murch (3-9)

$8 Exacta - Blues Street - Just Playing Around (3-11)

$3 Trifecta Box - Blues Street, T. Harry, Murch, Just Playing Around (3,4,9,11)

$4 for the broke handicapper fund.

Best of luck to all.

Talk to you soon,

Dan