06/25/2009 1:18AM

HandiGambling 139...it's good to be back


Three days of vacation, and I need a vacation from the vacation.  I can't complain, I guess.  I stuffed my face, slept to my heart's content, took long walks, played golf, and even went to the Meadowlands to watch the jugheads pace and trot in a circle.  With another day off staring me in the face, I came to one realization...I miss the FormBloggers.  So, at 1:23 a.m in the morning, I decided to get ready for some HandiGambling.  Let's do it to it.

Today's HandiGambling 139 exercise is the eighth race from Hollywood Park, a Cal-bred maiden special weight at five furlongs for two-year-old fillies.

Here are the past performances:

Download HG139

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.

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 NOTWITHSTANDING (#2)

I'm going to go with a new face.  BRIANNA MARIE (#9) doesn't have much pedigree, but her works are pretty interesting.  Her sire, One Man Army, was only stakes-placed on the grass, and has yet to sire a juvenile debut winner in his short career at stud.  The dam was unraced, and Brianna Marie is the first of four foals to make it to the starting gate. 
The three workouts between May 15 and May 29 (all at five furlongs) match up with Bruce Headley's six-year-old gelding Ace High Hand, a 93 Beyer performer that hasn't run since October.  The June 12 drill, also at five panels, matches up with Headley's four-year-old filly Hard Eight (67 Beyer top in her career). 
Headley has three debut winners this year including Woman Warrior, a four-year-old daughter of One Man Army that won a little restricted stake first-out.
Brianna Marie's most recent workout was a bullet half-mile out of the gate in 46 3/5.  While the times get all the press, it's probably more important how the workout was accomplished. 
Bruno De Julio is one of the most recognizable clockers in the game, and the work he does for the "Today's Racing Digest" publication in Southern California is absolutely first-rate.  Anyone interested in workouts should take a look at his daily postings.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I also want to mention that Bruno is a friend of mine, and I helped edit his book, "Bruno On Workouts."  Bruno confirmed the May 29 company work with Ace High Hand with the comment, "Flashy little filly is all heart. Worked heads up with older mate Ace High Hand--gutty try."

She's 5-1 on the morning line, and I'll put my HandiGambling dollars on her nose to win.

As for the others...

SWISS LOVE (#1) looms the horse to beat, and wouldn't be a surprise.  She chased hot fractions last time out, and was previously hammered down to favoritism in a full field of ten in a quarter-mile heat at Santa Anita.  Expect Jockey Joe to send hard from the inside, and she will take some catching. 

GALLANTLY (#3) was a $4,700 RNA as a yearling, and the June 10 workout matches up with the barn's juvenile gelding Ranger Heartley (came back to finish eighth on June 20 with a 31 Beyer).  Although Ranger Heartley returned to race poorly, De Julio was pleased with Gallantly's last two workouts. 

June 10:  "Caught the eye working with Ranger Hartley. Worked well here."
June 18:  "A little green after slow start, was on the wrong lead while pulling
Tyler from the saddle. Went in 24.3, 36.3, 48.3 and 100.3. Finished out
in 114 flat. Green but can definitely run."

DRF's Steve Andersen had this interesting tidbit on trainer Jeff Hebert posted on the homepage on May 28:

"Hebert, 47, had hoped to have a few starters earlier this month, but the stable missed a week of training because of illness shortly after arriving from Louisiana."

SATURN MOON (#4) goes out for the always-dangerous Hollendorfer barn, and seems to be on the improve.  She just missed for a $40,000 tag last time out, and came out of that race to work a bullet a week later.  She doesn't have much early speed, however, and may be behind the eight ball at this five furlong distance.

MULTIPLYINGTHEHEAT (#5) is by the top California stallion Unusual Heat, but I prefer his progeny as they get older.  This filly has been working in steady fashion since late March, but De Julio isn't impressed.

June 21:  "Outworked by Bold N Regent-- He hasn't been able to show much finish yet."

GIVEME ONEREASON (#6) has a solid pedigree, but three of her workouts (May 16, May 23, June 5) match up with This Time Baby, a juvenile filly also trained by Walther Solis that finished seventh in her only start. 

June 19:  "In company and most likely best drill to fate. Went in 24.4 through the lane."

GAMBLING POKERFACE (#7) did nothing in her career debut at 63-1 odds.  She drops in with statebreds, but needs plenty of improvement to threaten.

TARO (#8) boasts strong bloodlines as a full sister to stakes-winners Liberian Freighter (juvenile debut winner with 409K in earnings), and Frankelstein (238K).  I found six works that matched up with Clifford Sise's juvenile filly Word Association, a runner that finished fifth on June 4 with a 40 Beyer Speed Figure. 

April 26:  "Worked in company with stable-mates, "Word Association & Safeguard." The trio departed the 3/8 pole in hand and traveled fairly well until the wire to finish all square. Galloped out a strong 1/2 in 48 4/5."

June 16:  "Flores on board. This guy has some ability while still a tad green and finishing on wrong lead late."

DOWNHILL DIVA (#10) raced evenly in her debut, and can move forward off that effort.  I don't think she'll win this, but she may crash the Super High 5.

SIBERIAN HEART (#11) rallied in her debut to just get necked for the place by Saturn Moon.  She wheels back on two weeks rest, but needs to escape the starting stalls a bit better this time.

I'll play $100 Win on Brianna Marie (#9)

Good luck to all.

Back tomorrow with some stakes previews, and a look at a race like no other.