08/12/2009 12:29PM

HandiGambling 146


Today's HandiGambling 146 exercise is the ninth race at Saratoga, the 7th running of the New York Stallion Cab Calloway Stakes at 1 1/16 miles 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.

So far, we're fast and firm at the Spa, but we all know that can change in the blink of an eye.  Hopefully, there will be no changes.

I like #6 MINNIE PUNT.  A former $35,000 maiden claimer, Minnie Punt pulled off a 28-1 shocker in a New York Stallion event going seven furlongs over the Belmont sod, but he looked pretty good that day, getting bumped around in between horses turning for home, and still charging through with gusto.  He finished ahead of UNCLE T SEVEN that day, and was flattered when the fourth- and sixth-place finishers both returned to win.  Last time out, he may have been a bit too close to the pace when trying older horses over yielding ground.  With THE PLOT THICKENS and PUREGOODNISS expected to dictate the pace, Minnie Punt and jockey John Velazquez might work out a good stalk-and-pounce trip while racing in the clear.  He shows a pair of quick workouts since her last start.

#1 SCIENTIST also projects for a decent trip.  He goes second off the layoff, and should track the pace while saving valuable ground throughout.  A lightly-raced colt, Scientist is coming into this race off back-to-back career-best Beyers, and may have another forward move in the tank.  He won his maiden over this course last year.

#2 The Plot Thickens has good early speed, but the stamina has been lacking in his last few starts.  He cruised on an uncontested lead last time out at Belmont, but was still run down in the shadow of the wire.  Puregoodniss also has speed, and that may work against The Plot Thickens when it's time to hunker down, and hold off the closers.

#3 Puregoodniss has yet to win on grass, but may be a bit quicker out of the gate than The Plot Thickens, and could get brave if that one lets him alone on the front end.  By sprint sire Good and Tough, he must prove that he can last this route distance.

#4 STORM HOPE steps up off a maiden score for the red-hot Barclay Tagg, but he was 3-5 that day stalking a moderate pace.  These are tougher, and he may have to come from a few more lengths back here.

#5 UNCLE T SEVEN is a legitimate threat as he's kept good New York-bred company throughout the year.  He's never won on grass, but has acquitted himself quite nicely on the surface, and would appreciate a hectic duel on the front end.  Expect Julien Leparoux to have this one rolling in the lane.

#7 KATSKILL BAY may be a bit more effective on the main track, and he didn't do much in his most recent start against statebred foes at Belmont.

#8 LIVIN LARGE steps up off a maiden win for a crafty trainer, and I like that he's wheeling back on short notice.  He's really come to hand since being switched to the turf, and isn't the worst longshot in the world.

Here's how I'll play the race:

$50 Exacta:  Minnie Punt - Scientist (6-1)
$50 Exacta:  Minnie Punt - The Plot Thickens (6-2)

Best of luck to all.


Swamped with Saratoga stuff so will get to comments, questions, and more next time.

Take care,


SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
John C Thanks!..Smile!! I think you know WHY I fell in love with her, Mz Z. The picture does not do her justice.. .. a quick story..When I saw her with Uncle Steve, He said, "look at Zenyatta and the other fillys" Zenyatta was schooling in the saddling area. Zenyatta was just walking around the perimeter, BUT was the Alpha Female...none of the other fillies in the saddling area would look at her, or they just backed off a bit. There was No doubt who was THE MAN...Umm WOMAN was! It was a real Horse body language education, and experiance. It will be VERY interesting to see how Rachel Alexandra grows into her 4 yo body and season... She could be THE horse for all seasons. But, my heart will still be with Zenyatta this year.. ---------------------------- I have to add another story... so Read at your own risk. The same day I was able to see Zenyatta ( with Uncle Steve) my favorite golfer Tiger Woods (Yes, I have alluded to him in a post or two) was the same day my Rent a Husband ..had the opportunity to Tee it Up with TIGER.. A ONCE in a lifetime wonderful day for him...VS...MY wonderful day with Uncle Steve & Zenyatta. A VERY EVEN TRADE! Oh well, so much for that.. Dolphinblue...what's next weeks HandiG 147 to be? SR Vegas
Stephen More than 1 year ago
Hello, What I meant to say about Xpressbets, is it a decent place to open an account? Or with your knowledge should I pass and use another company? Thanks for your time.....
C More than 1 year ago
Cayman, She may run best on wet tracks, I don't know. I do know she runs pretty darn good on dry ones too. We can go back on forth on who beat who, but I think it's very safe to say that neither has faced anyone as good as the other. Rachel has trounced 3YO colts and fillies, many of whom returned to win stakes. Nevertheless, it's still hard to know how good some of them really are when Rachel is not in the picture. Zenyatta beat good fillies last year, but has been beating the same old mediocre fillies over and over again this year. Bottom line: Zenyatta would be the best filly Rachel has ever faced, and vice versa; Racel would also be the best filly Zenyatta has ever faced. This isn't Hystericalady or Ginger Punch. She's better than those. I'm not diminishing what Zenyatta has done. She is the first with her running style to do what she's done, as far as I know. She'll be in the Hall of Fame one day, as will Rachel. However, it cannot be ignored that the tracks Zenyatta has been running on are likely aiding her quite a bit. In a normal race on a dirt track, however, I want to know how she's going to run down Rachel from 20 or more lengths out. Personally, I have a hard time envisioning that.
José Iglesias García More than 1 year ago
Hi Dan, Sorry for bother you again, but do you have in your files the lifetime pps of European champs Mill Reef, Brigadier Gerard and the Canadian bred Nijinsky II, the last English triple crown, I think the worst performances they made was being runner-up! Thank you so much!
blackstone More than 1 year ago
Perhaps of some interest-Larry Zap, one of the Public Handicappers in the Del Mar Tourney, gave out Red Leader in the 5th at Woodbine yesterday. He apparently has an ownership interest in the horse-anyway, he was very confident. M/L was 10 to 1-horse went off at 3 to 1, and won by 1/2. Paid $8.60. Didn't bet it, but found it interesting nonetheless. Tencent-did you play it?
vicstu More than 1 year ago
Slew, A great post by you, sir! Yes I have noticed how certain horses, especially ones with a ton of heart, re-brake when challenged... And it does take place under so many forms and nuances that I cannot begin to list them. I think Affirmed was one of the best I have seen at re-breaking. If I recall, Quality Road and Big Drama both re-broke on Florida Derby day in their respective races when challenged in the stretch. Unfortunately for BD, Coa had him pinned down on the rail and he also drifted out. But that was Coa's fault, BD, like most speed, hates to be pinned down on the rail in the homestretch. The place to be is midtrack, like where QR was placed in the FL Derby, forcing Dunkirk to go very wide to challenge. TBTA, Hope they let you see HS when you go to Lexington...get a look at Street Sense as well. Maybe pictures of both if you are lucky. They are stalled next to each other. Note: I hope HS and SS get along, or else every day its got to be like, "Oh, no. Not you again!" SR Vegas, In case no one else tells you, I also have Google accounts and I downloaded your picture of Zenyatta no problem. What a looker! Note: Z is Grace Jones and Serena Williams combined. GJ was also in Conan the Barbarian; she was the 6 ft black woman warrior with the crew cut that kept growling at Arnold and Wilt throughout the movie. She may have looked small next to 7-2, 300 pound Chamberlain and the Governator Mr.Olympia, but Grace was one B.A. Amazon
robertSD More than 1 year ago
BigEasyBigChok - Thanks for reminding me I wasn't totally crazy to re-think the race following the scratch. As well, had Wondrous Event broken cleanly who knows the outcome ... and had she won I would have looked a genius. And in hindsight I think the upset was as much about the fact that my original bet (which hit) would have been enough to get me out for the day -- not even so much that it actually hit. - robertSD
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
...a Fun & Frivolous post: John C. LOL! I had to Google who Megan Fox was...But I did see "Tranformers" this last month on DVD. HA! So, My comparison.. Who was an Amazon woman? Grace Jones in the James Bond movies comes to mind, in "A View to a Kill".. aka : Zenyatta A leggy filly? Well all of them are that in James Bonds movies, but let's pick: Barbara Bach in "The Spy who loved me" aka: Rachel Alexander. ...and YES, My husband is a big fan of the James Bond marathons. Whenever they show up on the cable channel, he hides the remote!...LOL! Who else wants to chime in on who RA-Z & who their human counterparts are? SR Vegas
Keith L. More than 1 year ago
Hall of Fame: 1&1/8th on the turf loaded with talent, one of the best 3 yo races carded for sure! There will be pleanty of speed to keep Straight Story company today, with Corageous Cat, No Inflation, Al Khali expected to be up or just off the pace. I'm looking for a closer in this race: perhaps if Lime Rickey or El Crespo come back to form, they might get it done. But, my hunch is that Alan Garcia sits a horse that is sure to be mostly overlooked today: CONSERVATIVE. This Unbridled's Son colt ran two good MSW turf routes this winter in Gulfstream, getting his maiden win there. He's faced some pretty good talent in synthetic races, with include his 2nd in the Lexington stakes, and strangely was up on the pace set by Misremembered in the Swaps early, dueling with that one and Grazen in the early going. Now, back in the Northeast, I look for Garcia to wait in mid-pack and pounce today, at a price. My Spa Play of the Day, 2nd of the Layoff McGauhrey closer CONSERVATIVE, ML 6-1.
turfruler More than 1 year ago
Annie; your questions about TVG: "Why on earth would TVG give away towels?!?!?" If David Letterman doesn't send you a contract, DRF, needs more "umph" in their reportage and everyman(woman) view.