07/01/2009 12:48PM

HandiGambling 140


Tonight's HandiGambling 140 exercise is the fourth race from Penn National, a $5,000 maiden claimer for fillies and mares at six furlongs.

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.

GRESHIE BAY (#3) looks like the horse to beat based on her speed figures, but we have to keep in mind that those numbers were earned on turf and polytrack at Woodbine, and this will be her first start on dirt.  Also, I'm a bit dubious how the Woodbine Beyers will translate to Penn National as it's been my experience that Woodbine shippers generally under-perform at lower class levels at tracks like Finger Lakes. 
Still, her last race looked okay.  It was a key event that produced next-out winners from the third- and sixth-place finishers, and Greshie Bay was in-and-among horses while four wide down the backstretch.  Her new trainer, Layne Giliforte, is 8-33 over the past year at Penn National (according to Formulator Web statistics), and jockey William Otero predictably chose Greshie Bay over ELFIES DREAM (#11, the other horse Otero was named to ride on the overnight sheet). 

MINE (#9) has had 11 chances to break her maiden to no avail, and has been the beaten favorite in an amazing 10 of those starts.  She could be the main speed for the high-percentage Stephanie Beattie barn, but doesn't seem very trustworthy on the win end of things. 

TEST NOTES (#5) doesn't look very good on paper (heck, most of these don't look very good no paper), but she's only raced once at this $5,000 maiden claiming level, and may not have cared for the "good" racing conditions.  She finished second for $7,500 earlier this year, and may clunk along for a piece of the pie at a solid price. 

The plunge from maiden special weights to maiden claimers is arguably the most powerful class drop in the game, and PREACHER (#4) held her own against better in West Virginia as a juvenile filly.  She doesn't have much early speed, but should relish the class relief, and only needs to improve her 2-year-old figures a little bit to reach par (37) for this level.  The layoff is a bit of a concern, however.

KATIE'S COURT (#11) has never been this cheap in her career, and it's quite possible that she simply can't hang with 10K, or even 7.5K maiden claimers at this stage in her career.  As a filly trying the low level for the first time, she isn't the worst longshot to hang your hat on if you want to try and beat the chalks.

RUNNING HOME (#6) also will drop to this 5K group for the first time, but her recent form isn't as good as that of Katie's Court.  She has earned single-digit Beyers in three of her last four races at odds ranging from 18-1 to 101-1, and must improve.

CICADA SUNRISE (#12) adds Lasix for the first time, and that's another powerful angle in maiden races.  Jockey Vladimir Diaz had his choice of Cicada Sunrise and PEACEFUL PLEASURE (#2), and he bolted to the inside runner. 

ICALL SOFIA MYJULE (#7) may not have liked the sloppy conditions at Penn National on May 28, and has a hint of early speed.  She may try to press Mine in the early portion of the race, but her stamina is suspect.

Peaceful Pleasure (#2) attracted Diaz off Cicada Sunrise, and halves in price for her second start of the meet.  She wouldn't be a surprise in this weak field.

SPANISH BREEZE (#8) tired badly going two turns in her first start in almost six months, and should be tighter for this assignment.  She's a six-year-old maiden, though, and those types aren't usually appealing plays.

Elfies Dream (#10) lost Otero to Greshie Bay, and has yet to make an impact in six starts.

LADY BY FAR (#1) is 0-20, and she earned a -0 Beyer in her first start with blinkers.

This isn't much of a race, but I'll play it like this:

$50 Exacta:  Greshie Bay - Mine (3-9)
$50 Exacta:  Greshie Bay - Test Notes (3-5)

Good luck to all:


When is a filly not a filly?  When it's a male pseudohermaphrodite, that's when.  Check out Mr. Bergstein's article on the pacing "filly" Martha Maxine:



RE; Euro 1 mile times . Do they also use runups to begin timing or is it timed out of the gate ?

That's another good point about the slower times of European turf races.  I don't believe they use run-up times.  Couple that with the often-wet condition of the green, undulating courses, and the European style of concentrating on a strong finish after a slow early pace, and you have slower times.  Shuback's new book is a must-read.  Part travelogue, part history lesson, and part handicapping primer, it really gives the reader a sharp look at foreign racing.


What about Ghanaati. . . ???

Ghanaati, a three-year-old filly homebred from Shadwell Stables, has now won three in a row across the pond including the 1000 Guineas and Coronation Stakes, both at one mile.  Her next assignment could come against older mares in the Group 1 Abu Dhabi Falmouth Stakes at one mile at Newmarket.  A trip to the Breeders' Cup is questionable as she may be best suited in the mile turf race against males.


Talk to you soon,



Mathieu More than 1 year ago
Anybody like Fabulous Strike this weekend? He's an A1 false favorite to me. The race is heavily slanted Munnings way as I see it. * I needed to look forward to something as it is now five hours after the race but I'm still steaming over Solis' ride on Savu this afternoon.
mike More than 1 year ago
Virgin Queen Perhaps you are right and I overstated my case. Being passionate about the horses will do that. I also realize none of those trainers would put a horse on the track who wasn't "right". I'll leave you with a story. My Dad, when he was younger wanted to be a jockey. He was a natural, small and strong as heck, he could tack 104lbs. without any difficulty. He was learning the trade from the Stable and trainer who raced Market Wise, who was co-handicap champ with Devil Diver in I believe 1943. My dad never got to work Market Wise, but did get to gallop him around the track for excersise. He said it was a thrill. Well as luck would have it WWII and my mom intervened and my Dad'a racetrack career ended, when he returned from overseas he went to work with his brothers in the concrete business. Many years later, when I was married and had kids of my own we had a family outing at Rye Beach, an amusement park in Rye NY, just outside of the city. Being that, before I got married, I used to bet horses for a living and had many racetrack friends a few of them came along. Well there's this merry go round there, not your typical merry go round, this one I believe was called the Derby ( It's been awhile and I don't know if it's still there) it had all manner of racehorses on it and went much faster than a typical merry go round. Well my dad gets up on one of the "horses" and puts my oldest daughter in front of him, she was 3. With this, one of my racetrack pals turns to me and says " man your dad still sits a horse pretty good, I bet he still could make weight". I just looked at him kind of quizically, he continues, "Man if I could bet I'd put it all on your dad's horse. I looked at him and said " It's a Merry go round", he looked back as if to say "what"? That is a person with a gambling problem, not necessarily someone who bets 5,000 md. races at Penn national. Forgive me? Mike
Mike Romeo More than 1 year ago
Cayman01, I believe you missed my wager on this week's HG race. For reference it was posted on 6/30 at 5:58pm. Wager on the #11 was 40 win 60 show for a $204 return. Thanks for your service in keeping the official records.
Stephen L Taylor More than 1 year ago
Midwest Ed-It's gonna be a zoo today so I have no idea where I'll be -glad the picks worked out for you. Also, I finally figured out how to play the Z5 affordably and with acceptable coverage (Hit it at Arlington yesterday-$400 plus-I was kind of disappointed, aren't they usually 4 figures?) Here's an example of a $32 ticket: 1,2 w 1,2,3 w 1,2,3,4 w 1,2,3,4,5 w 1,2,3,4,5,6- Cost is acceptable for the potential reward, and I've got that "extra". (I've got a thing about having one horse having the potential to screw up my gimmix) Here's what I like today, so y'all will know who not to bet on at Arlington 1st-6-Maxy Levens won't be much of a price but has been right there this level in last 2 and this is 3rd race off a brief vacation-1-Not Souh was in with much better last, and was competitive this level the race before that and 4-Triptane is prime top but the continuous drops alarm me. 2nd-7-Flying Flag ran a solid race last, shortens up and returns to poly-breeding says poly, tomlinson says sprint, he fits. 2-Unbridled Mon drops and ships in from Woodbine-last was better than it looks at first glance 3rd-WARNING-THIS IS OUR HORSE SO I'M PREDJUDICED! 2-Tatum Girl beat the ml favorite (3-Sassy Shore Breeze) the only time they met. To be honest if 6-Sky N Mighty runs back to her last race we're all runniing for 2nd but if is the biggest 2 letter word in the dictionary. I talked Mike into not entering for 10 last Saturday, we entered for 14 last Wednesday and the race didn't go so here we are. (I'll feel like a goof if Tatum doesn't run well, so I'm REALLY pulling for her) Note if you're handicapping the card that you can totally throw out the poly races last year (I better leave it at that) and that she got checked so hard her last race that Mike called the stewards and filed an objection-they actually looked at it for about 5 minutes) 4th-Speaking of being careful of what I say, after what I've heard the last few days I'm going to have to try to beat 6-Erdiston here. I gotta be careful how I say this but while he's got a heart the size of Texas, he's 8 years old, obviously has issues, and I'm not sold on coming back in 23 days. (Not ripping the connections, just explaining why he isn't my top pick-However because of his desire, he'll be on my tickets) Try to beat him with 1-Cure-claimed out of the 2 races before last, Magana didn't lose him last and bumps him up, a sign the horse is in good form and Hector wants to keep him-with Erdistion and 3-Go Bucky Go (drops after winning for 25?) in the race, the price should be right on Cure and you get Runnin Da Fences with him, who was selected on top by a local handicapper. 5th-4-Heart Thief only needs to get out of the gate more smoothly to win this-Hazelton's been around long enough to figure out how to do it. 6th-8-Lumen is the prime top by 9 points and barn has been paitient since the claim-works say he's ready to go. 2-West Web poly bred, first poly, obviously worried about 16 month layoff but taking a shot in the gimmix-6-Collidin the other polybred and only poly start (at Turfway) was at least ok and he was a firster in that race. 7th-6-Mojito Man and 7-Athiest will vie for favoritism and deserve it-I gave Mojito Man the edge based on a solid 2nd at the distance over this racetrack last summer. 3-Pirates Vow could sit off the leaders and get a nice trip at a nice price. 8th-Not many prices today but 3-Black Vicar is 10/1-wired a field of 17.5 maidens easily in last, and was actually claimed as a first time starter out of that race. Does move up in class but won so easily last there's no way to tell how good he really is-this could be one of those "special claims" that owners and trainers dream of! 9th-Another longie-1A-Gathering Kings will hopefully (for me) get the lead and speed seems to be holding a little bit better on turf than most would think. 15/1 and we also get Sword and Shield who actually ran a couple of ok races over this grass course last year. Wouldn't play him alone but wouldn't be a total shock if he won either. 10th-For me there's no way around 1-Colorado Trail-Huge drop BUT the stud fee was only 6k so it's not really a fire sale. I know he's gonna be a short price and as much as I hate chalk, I'd be really suprised if he got beat here. Here's the HIFIVE for today ($32 ticket) 2,8 w 2,6,8 w 2,3,6,8 w 2,3,6,8,9 w 2,3,5,6,8,9 (If I post tomorrow that I hit it again I don't want to be accused of snowboarding or whatever somebody accused someone of a while back)
turnbackthealarm More than 1 year ago
Virgin Queen, I should have given the proper blogger his due, it was Jim Tully who said that the Handigambling field would soon turn up on a Japanese dinner table, not you or Mike.
Calvin L. Carter More than 1 year ago
According to the Churchill Downs program changes, there are no changes in the the 108th running of the Bashford Manor Stakes. Mission Impazible is not scratched.
Van Savant More than 1 year ago
slew; Confusing me with BigChok is quite the compliment. Thank you kind sir! Off to the swim meets. I have handicapped some races for tomorrow, and will try to post later today.
slewofdamascus More than 1 year ago
On paper, You And I Forever outclassed his rivals today, and at an eventual 4/5, the expectation was clear. He was probably going to win. Terrible race call, btw, but the question for me, considering he was beating nothing, was how did YAIF do it? One things for sure, he's going to need to move forward off this race, but once the 4yo colt overcame some intial trepidation when approaching the leaders (the confidence thing), he put his heart out there and didn't get it crushed. This was undoubtedly a good confidence builder, and this colt needed one, I promise you (he had his spirit broken against Mambo In Seattle), he had come off a succession of efforts that screamed of 'lost cojones', and so I'm sure a few of his backers were holding their breaths when he sort of hesitated at the quarter pole - smile - but he soon realized that these were pretenders and finished up with good energy after a right hand stick got his attention past the 1/8th poll. Not a bad effort, certainly. OIn fact, I'd say it was good effort - all things considered. Wolfson knows a heck of a lot more about this than I do, so I'll be curious to see what kind of jump in Class he authors for this colt next, I'm guessing he wants to follow a reasonable progression that doesn't ask too much too soon. Nevertheless, I'm optimistic, because he's in the right hands. Let's see another and against slightly better.
Whackymacky More than 1 year ago
Good afternoon all... Just got home from 30 straight hours at Foxwoods in Conn. What a Zoo. Went down to get away from the girls and eat some prime rib and see how the other gamblers live. I see that people are posting on this Horse racing blog WSOP talk. Have we lost it all together? HG140 Nice win Jerry. Midwest Ed... In response to my girl Chantel. I bet her yesterday with both hands. That was my game plan. I looked over the card and she had 6 mounts on the 8 race card. She had some live mounts. I wagered $1680 to win and received $3410 back on her 6 mounts. I managed a ROI of +$1730 into my accounts. Race #2 $100WP #7 16.90-1 Lost -200 Race #3 $50W #7 1.35-1 Lost -50 Race #4 $200WP #2 6.15-1 Lost -400 Won $1430 Won $850 Race #5 $200WP #12 2.70-1 Lost -400 Won $740 Won $390 Race #7 $100WP #9 12.70-1 Lost -200 Race #8 $200WP #5 9.80-1 Lost -$400 If you go back and watch both of her wins on the day, she came from way back to close on the front runners. I think that she can get it done on MTB. She has made me money over the past 3 weeks and I would make the call ASAP. Who else is out there? Tell me what you think people. I really do not care about the WSOP. I have seen enough 22 year old card players yesterday. LOL today. Bedtime for me.OUT
slewofdamascus More than 1 year ago
Sorry, I was referring Van Savant's take on HG, I have Big Chok on my mind, I guess. smile