07/22/2009 2:52PM

HandiGambling 134


Today's HandiGambling 143 exercise is the eighth race at Del Mar, the 63rd running of the Oceanside Stakes at one mile on the turf for three-year-olds.

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 are available on 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 processes about wagering, it would be appreciated.

Let's scratch Gretsky (#7), Position A (#11), Nashoba Express (#12), Dream Now (#13), and Rainbow Goose (#14).

I like Azul Leon (#4), a colt that knocked heads with the better West Coast juveniles in 2008 on synthetic surfaces.  He finished an even fifth in the CashCall Futurity, a race that produced three next-out winners as well as the talented I Want Revenge, and he should benefit from his comeback race, a curious spot to be sure in a two-turn sprint at Charles Town.  There are no I Want Revenges or Big Dramas in this field, and Azul Leon may work out a trip tracking a solid pace under Garrett Gomez.  His dam was a winner on grass, and I'm hopeful that Azul Leon will take to the green.

Afleet Eagle (#8) is a lightly-raced gelding with some upside potential.  Like Azul Leon, he has never raced on grass, but has shown good speed on synthetic surfaces, and shouldn't be too far off the pace when the field hits the final bend.  The grass is a question mark, but if he can transfer his good synthetic form to turf (and we've seen that happen plenty of times in the past), he may offer some value.

Rendezvous (#3) returns home after poor showings on the East Coast, but he's tactical enough to work out a trip, and shows some quick workouts at Hollywood Park.  Let's throw out his last race in the slop, but he earned a good number two back (albeit with a golden trip), and can contend with his 'A' race.

Herr Mozart (#1) was Victor Espinoza's second call behind the now-scratched Position A, but he should save valuable ground going into the first turn, and he can improve turning back in distance for the second start of the form cycle.

Lesson in Deceit (#2) is Hall of Fame rider Gary Stevens' first runner as a trainer.  A late-running sort, Lesson in Deceit needs pace and race luck.

Flashmans Papers (#5) faltered in the Cinema last time out, but nine furlongs may be a bit beyond his scope.  He'll be close to the pace, and I like the rider switch to Talamo.  He won the Eddie Logan at this distance last year, but the pacesetter bolted over the hedge that day.  I'm not sure he's this good.

I've always liked Mark S the Cooler (#6), but his last two races concern me.  Two back, he was all-out to win at 9-10 odds after a good ground-saving trip.  On June 20, he never factored in the Colonial Turf Cup.  The drop in class and trip should work to his advantage, and he has a strong kick.  He gives me mixed feelings.

Mr. Mandella has always been high on Meteore (#9), and the late-blooming colt has figured the game out in his last few races.  He wouldn't be a surprise considering his good recent form.

Backbackbackgone (#10) may be the main speed in this race, but he failed to stay a mile last time out, and has always projected as more of a sprinter.

Here's how I'll play it:

$34 Win:  Azul Leon (#4)
$11 Exacta Box:  Rendezvous (#3), Azul Leon (#4), Afleet Eagle (#8)

Best of luck to all.

Back next time with questions and comments.

Take care,


mpm101 More than 1 year ago
There is a free Brisnet contest being run tomorrow with 3 seats in Vegas and 7 seats for the Twin Spires last chance contest later in the year. Pick 12 races and the entry deadline is 2PM Eastern time tomorrow. The contest has 2-Calder,2-AP,2-Del Mar,3-Bel and 3-Canterbury races. Does anyone have any hints regarding Canterbury such as biases, jockeys, etc. Any help is appreciated. mpm101
billg More than 1 year ago
Annie, Yes, I have it on the HIGHEST authority that Slew may live forever! LOL I guess you can figure out that I wasn't much for English class! I just admire Slew's passion for this game! My idea for the Delmar challenge. For 'favorites' in the 2 to 5-1 range play the $100 to win only. On longer shots, 6-1 or above, maybe you spread 50/50 win place. For a 25-1 shot or more, would you spread WPS? Would you ever play more than 1 horse? Thanks again.
slewofdamascus More than 1 year ago
I'm pretty sick about DMR today. Just a little bit of everything. Did you see Nakatani give the worst ride ever (hi, C) to that poor horse in the 8th who was bet down from 15-1 to 3-1. I mean, incredible. There ought to be a law. It's as though he tried to lose. Pathetic, because that horse was much the best. Sometimes you just wonder how they can get away with it. If I ever own a racehorse and a jockey gives me that effort, we're going to have a problem, Houston. Because he's not getting back to the jock's room without a thorough and complete explanation. You should see what he did with this horse. In any case, I feel like I'm getting dialed in at DMR, I was all around some very nice payoffs. Let's see about tomorrow.
Van Savant More than 1 year ago
Causeways37; Nice posts. You are killing me with the descriptions, so please keep it up. As for the dress code, I love your admonitions, as I suspect they are spot-on. By-the-way, I believe that I invented the sport-coat-look (your typical 80’s sports-anchor-type-look…snort)! My lovely wife derides me on this as a matter of due-course. I on the other hand remind her daily that that there were witnesses at our wedding and that no photographs exist that prove that anyone was pointing a gun at her…☺! All; More swim meets for the weekend, so I may not be posting any picks. I may not even find the means to play the free online tournaments, let alone lose real money… If I have time, and the means to post, I will. BigEasyChok; Evangeline is a devil, but a diamond in disguise, I believe. Do you play this often, and do you do well? Tejanorun sends me his picks, and I post mine, but can’t the three (or more) of us figure out a way to take down a HUGE pot over there? I dunno. I want friends in this, and maybe the Pick 3 is the way to go, but I keep looking at those Superfecta payouts… Have a great weekend folks, and please be safe in all that you do!
billg More than 1 year ago
Fellow Formbloggers, I entered only my 2nd tourney ever. The Delmar Challenge. I'm only a weekend player and I participate in the HG races. The only tourney I ever entered before was the NTRA Breeders Cup challenge last year and the related one Alan ran on the blog last year. that was a simple $2 win/place wager on one horse. The one at Delmar is a mythical $100 per race and can be divided amongst any # of horses in the WPS format. My question is how do yiou more experienced handicappers approach this? Win bets only, WP, WPS, bet more than one horse? any comment would be appreciated. I participated in my first race yesterday and picked two horses who ran 2nd and 3rd and turned my $100 into $111 since I played some place and show money. Uncle Steve, nice hit on the 22-1 winner sir. Thanks to any and all in advance. by the way, the contest race today is nice as well> I'm leaning towards Gretzky right now.
blackstone More than 1 year ago
Van Savant In the PH Contest take a look at Sassifaction in the Ellis Park Race. Lightly raced, Speckert can really train on the grass, and J/T combo is terrific! M/L of 15 to 1, currently on PH at 29 to 1, and, best of all, a very beatable field, especially for a $100,000 purse. Weather forecast isn't good, but on balance, the horse has a heck of a shot.
BigEasyBigChok More than 1 year ago
Van Savant, I try to play EVD with you on Wednesdays and usually a Friday night. Feel as if I have been running in place. Not getting crushed but not crushing them, similar to you. I am with you on PK 3's and/or supers. Good information seems to be just as, if not more important, than good handicapping and I pay attention to money on a horse I normally would not play. Crazy I know but these types generally run pretty good. I'm all for putting our heads together and trying to nail one of those monster supers. BigEasyBigChok
Stephen Taylor More than 1 year ago
Brisnet has their contest tomorrow (unlike previous years where they started with qualifiers, this year it's one day, 3 spots in Vegas and it's FREE) My picks for Wednesday at Arlington were EMBARASSING but those things happen, it's a contest day at Arlington tomorrow so I'm gonna jump right back on the horse! 1st-8-Open and Closed ran third this level 2 back and for 17.5 mdn claimers was actually a pretty decent field-tried turf last and wasn't terrible. The other I considered is 6-Teen who may be on the lead and "ya never know" 2nd-2 Riskavee either hated Oaklawn or something went wrong. Has three straight bullett works including a 6f in 1:13 (some of the cheaper races here have actually been won in slower time than that) and if Joe K is correct (8/1 ML) we'll get value. 6-Bruce Carl takes a HUGE class hike from 5 to 25 off the Reavis claim. Must see something in the morning to jump him that much and the class hike will allow those who support him value. 3rd-ONE OF TWO "BOMBS AWAY OF THE DAY" 9-Gentleman's Dancer is first time starter, only poly horse (off my list) in the field, and comes from Fairmount with only 3 works so she'll be every bit of the 30/1 the ML promises. First year trainer has won 7 of 27 (26%) and is 52% itm. Only previous firster, although a maiden claimer, won with only 3 works and we may be looking at a trainer who has a successful career ahead of her-first time she's ventured away from Fairmount but to have started like she has, this girl knows how to train racehorses. 4th-really like 4-Lexy's Bay here. computrak top and while last 2 were on the grass they were 2 turns and even though the poly race was iffy, the works haven't been. 7-Betty Lou's two turn race at keeneland was pretty good and she's prime top, and if they've fixed whatever went wrong last race with 2-CC Cerada (and the works say they have) she's also a contender. 5th-2-My Sonny Boy will be coming at the end-is prime and ct 2nd and it looks like a few horses could hook up on the front end leaving this guy to pick up the pieces. If 14-Tight Grip gets in both of his turf races out east were very good and will offer extra value because many people ignore the AE's. 9-Mr Mischief is probably the logical choice but I've seldom been accused of being logical! 6th-I like 8-Timeless Miss here-she got caught late despite a clear lead late in last but the key for me is that she was running back in only 16 days that race and has had 27 days since then which should have her a touch more rested. 5-Pretty Slic Chic ran pretty well here last year and Kirby is LETHAL off the layoff. 7th-SECOND BOMB OF THE DAY! 3-Queen of Lucky is gonna be on the lead. Stopped last on the grass but that was off a 4 month layoff-Not sure how much she likes the grass but did have at least one half sibling who ran very well on it, and with no one else appearing ready to challenge her on the front end could steal this thing at a price (30/1 ML) Despite the post, 12-Holiday Trip looks very good here-only grass race was AWESOME 8th-1-Moyers Pond was was graded stakes placed 3 times as a 3yo and was beaten a head this level at keeneland. 9-Strike Impact does look tough here but despite class hike wouldn't be suprised if he's close to even money. 3-Suddenly Silver right back off a dud in 13 days for McClean Robertson and is 20/1 so could be the price here. 9th-Jonathon Shepard is 2 for 2 in graded stakes this year at Arlington and brings in 8-Confined who's last 4 races have been hurdles! Stamina is obviously there and my only concern is whether he can be close to the front early on-if so, he sure won't get tired late. 4-Lemonette is probably the logical choice and actually won at a mile and a half in Europe-solid form lately as well. 10th-can't believe I'll get 12/1 on 9-Thanks Lord-comment line says he was bumped last (and despite being left farther back than he would like closed to within 2 1/2 lengths) and had won the previous 2 races at this level sitting just off the pace.
cayman01 More than 1 year ago
slew, Nakatani really has become a tentative rider since his spill a year and a half ago. He has not regained that edge a jockey needs and it shows in his rides. Of course, he put the hammer to me in the Oceanside by coming in second on Mark S the Cooler. Bad karma for me. And then there's Garret Gomez who is riding like he's rediscovered the crack pipe. What is wrong with this guy? I know I'm being harsh, but he has really fallen off in the last two months. Maybe another who is riding tentatively because of a crash? On the other hand I love this new kid Santiago. Rides with a lot of confidence and wil put up good numbers if he gets some good horse flesh. And Tyler Baze has really matured as a rider. He is probably the best on a frontrunner but has started to get a good feel for closers, witness his two wins on Battle of Hastings. Good timing. As for the Del Mar contest I've started of really well. Got off Afleet Eagle for Rendezvous the first day, and went up the track with Shediak (gonna chase him till he pays me back) yesterday. Annie, they're hunting me down for money too. today I'm hoping Rainbow Goose reverts back to a one run closing style with all the possible speed in that race.Now you know who not to pick.
Mike A More than 1 year ago
Annie, Good luck with the DMR handicapping challenge. I wanted to pass something along that I've done some research on ( I'm not finished) and thought may help. First a disclaimer, this is in no way advice, wisdom, telling you what to do, or knocking how you play. It is payback for you pointing out my mistake the other day. I've done a little leg work and am passing it along, use it or not as you wish. As you know certain trainers will point their horses for specific meets. It usually manifests itself the first few weeks. I went back to Hollywood and checked on trainers who seemed to be giving their horses brief freshenings or 1 race preps, to have some loaded guns for DMR. So far 4 guy's have jumped off the page. John Sadler, Vladimir Cerin, and Lesser lights Peter Miller and Barry Abrams. If it helps and you wish I will pass along more as I find them. Just keep an eye on these guys when you handicap. That is if you want to, far be it for me to tell you to. LOL! Mike A