05/21/2009 12:56PM

HandiGambling 134

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Today's HandiGambling 134 exercise is the eighth race from Churchill Downs, a 'n2x' allowance for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

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 process about wagering, it would be appreciated.

Let's scratch #1A Morakami, #5 Hungry Tigress, and #11 A Wee Gift.  There is an additional workout for #9 Sandstorm Cat.  She worked on May 13 at Keeneland, and went five furlongs in 1:02 3/5 breezing.

At first glance of the past performances, I was licking my chops.  Namaste's Wish (#2) has never been a big favorite of mine, and I thought I could try to beat her at a short price.  After looking at the other contenders, however, I'm not so sure.  Namaste's Wish hasn't won a race since the Miss Grillo of 2007, and has never really lived up to her advance billing, but she did run well in the Gaviola last year, and was in and among horses for most of the way over polytrack in her seasonal debut.  It's possible that she needed the race, and she returns to her preferred surface this afternoon.  She can be within range of the expected moderate splits as well.  The price isn't appealing, but Namaste's Wish seems like the most likely winner.  This may be her last chance, though.

How to play her?  She isn't very appealing at something-to-five so I may have to key her on top in the exotics.  Other interesting horses include:

Talkin Indian (#3) was beaten 26 lengths in her most recent start, but I'm guessing that the daughter of Indian Charlie wanted no part of 1 1/2 miles that day.  She raced evenly in her previous starts against solid horses like Points of Grace and Tizaqueena, and she's run well off short layoffs in the past. 

Leamington (#4) finished ahead of a couple of these in her stateside debut going longer, and she was flattered when the winner, Winter View, returned to take the Grade 3 Bewitch at Keeneland.  Another winner emerging from that race, sixth-finisher Gloria Goodbody, took a 'n2x' allowance at Keeneland at 34-1 odds with a 93 Beyer.  Leamington's tactical speed gives her an advantage, and she should acquit herself nicely in this spot.

Woodford Girl (#6) enters this race in good form, having won an entry-level allowance race at  Keeneland in her second start of the form cycle.  It's possible that the four-year-old filly has figured the game out, and she wouldn't be a surprise for red-hot connections.

I'm not as enamored with the rest of the field.

Silver Chest (#1) earned a career-best Beyer two back at Churchill, but she was the beneficiary of a decent in-out trip, and she changed back to her wrong lead in midstretch.  She didn't pick up her feet in her most recent try, and the addition of blinkers seems like a bit of a desperation move.

Polo Lounge (#7) hasn't won since September 13, 2007, and is hard to recommend off a last-place finish at 83-1 odds against the aforementioned longshot winner, Gloria Goodbody.

Mein Fraulein (#8) chased the classy Laragh in her turf debut in the Edgewood, but will face older runners in this allowance spot.  She's fairly lightly-raced, and can improve.  She's not the worst stab in the world at good odds.

Sandstorm Cat (#9) should appreciate turning back in distance, and she looked good winning at Saratoga last year.  These connections have to be respected, and Sandstorm Cat certainly isn't impossible.

Miss Doctor Ty (#10) may be the key to this race.  She showed speed two starts back on the grass, but opted to come from off of it in her most recent start on polytrack.  If she shows fresh speed, she may make things a bit more difficult for Leamington.  If she rates, Leamington may be long gone on the lead.  Miss Doctor Ty has never won on grass, and may be up against it here.

Here's how I'm going to play this for our exercise.

$33 Exacta:  Namaste's Wish over Talkin Indian, Leamington, Woodford Girl (2 with 3,4,6)
$1 for the candy machine

Good Luck!

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Back with questions, comments, and weekend plays tomorrow.

Cheers,

Dan