08/20/2009 12:30PM

HandiGambling 147


Today's HandiGambling 147 exercise is the ninth race from Saratoga, the 104th running of the Grade 2 Saratoga Special for 2-year-olds going 6 1/2 furlongs on the main track.

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.

We're fast and firm at the racing paradise called Saratoga, and today's Special is a competitive event featuring several well-matched babies.  Let's scratch #2 CHINA.

It's an eight horse field.  I think seven can win.  That's why when someone asked me the other day how I'd rate myself as a handicapper, I replied, "I'm a heckuva nice guy."

The Saratoga Special is essentially a non-winners of two race with the exception of #9 FEARLESS COWBOY, who has won twice over the polytrack surface at Woodbine. I've been impressed with the tenacity Fearless Cowboy has displayed in his Canadian races, and he was purchased privately after an ultra-game score in the Colin Stakes on July 18.  That afternoon, he pressed the pace, made the front, and doggedly fought off a stretch-long rally from the favored runnerup.  Even during the gallop-out, Fearless Cowboy refused to be passed.  There looks to be a good pace in here, and Fearless Cowboy may work out a good stalking journey while racing in the clear.  The $150,000 question is whether he will appreciate the dirt.  If he was a short-priced unknown, he would be virtually unbettable, but if he is dismissed at close to this 8-1 morning line odds, he's worth a gamble.

#6 D' FUNNYBONE was also privately purchased after his most recent start, a runner-up effort in a stakes race at Calder.  He's now with Richard Dutrow Jr., and looks to have more early zip than Fearless Cowboy.  The problem is whether he'll be able to relax in the opening stages with #7 ACTIVITY REPORT and #8 TINY WOODS likely to be forwardly placed as well.  He's hard to toss off two good performances in South Florida.

#3 ZIP QUIK adds Lasix for the first time, and has the stalking ability that may prove beneficial in this heat.  A New York-bred based in Southern California for Pat Biancone, Zip Quik, like Fearless Cowboy, must prove that he can run on dirt, but shouldn't be ignored as the race may set up for him.

#4 FLATTER THAN ME seemed like a tired runner at the end of the Grade 3 Bashford Manor Stakes at Churchill Downs as he was run over by the undefeated Backtalk in the final strides.  The additional distance is a bit of a question mark, and Flatter Than Me missed some time earlier in the month with an illness.  He blitzed five furlongs in 58 and change the other morning, but make sure you demand a price on this one.  His only win came in gate-to-wire fashion over "good" going, and he may not make the front here.

#5 INSIGHTFUL is taking a big step up in class following an upset maiden score, but he's the only horse in the field with a seven furlong race on paper so today's distance shouldn't be a question mark.  He chased some legitimate fractions last time out so might be able to handle stalking quick splits here.

#1 THISKYHASNOLIMIT was reported to be a runner from the moment he started serious training with Steve Asmussen, and he had the misfortune to run into Backtalk in his well-backed career debut.  He ran well in that race, came back to drill maidens by seven, and may try to grab a forward position from a difficult inside post.  This horse wouldn't be a surprise at all.

Tiny Woods showed good early speed going gate-to-wire over Del Mar's polytrack, and Mr. Baffert is showing a lot of faith in sending this inexperienced baby all the way across the country for this race.  He seemed to be weakening in the final furlong of his debut, and will have to stretch his speed another furlong.
Activity Report got cooked in the Sanford, and needs a great deal of improvement to upset these. 

I'm not going to get too creative.

$50 Win-Place #9 Fearless Cowboy

Best of luck to all.

I'm swamped with Spa Babies reports so will get to your questions, comments, and requests in the next few days.

Enjoy the racing.


SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Thanks PGM I TOTALLY missed on the captions! SR Vegas
"JoltinJoel" More than 1 year ago
Hello Dan, and fellow handicappers. First off, a hearty "Thank You", to SR Vegas, p ensign, and the beautiful Annie, for the warm congratulatory thoughts on my win last week! I was gonna sneek in a 2YO Maiden claimer at Penn National on you guys, but the race is Tue. night already, so not much time to 'cap. Drum roll please.... I guess I will stick with the 2YO theme, but this time on the "left coast". Drum roll please.... MY RACE PICK FOR THE "HANDIGAMBLING #148" CONTEST IS.......RACE #6 FROM DEL MAR ON AUG. 26 2009. A 6F sprint, with a gate full of young ladies! There ya have it folks, good luck and good handicapping!
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Annie General horse notes.. Just before the Solana Beach Hndcp race #8 with (Bootleg Annie) TVG was showing Emerald Downs & their 7th race paddock and warm up. What caught my eye was "Annie Laurie" (a cross of Annie/Laura-another Blue Thong) OF COURSE this is nothing more than a silly name bet, with a 15 minute window between the DelMar & Emeralds Down race. So, Okay, in the back of my mind I'm thinking could I email Annie about another "ANNIE" horse (Lord, there is only about 300-400+ of them) or run to the computer & throw a note on Formblog...that no one will see in time. So, instead I wait & watch. Solana Beach H..Bootleg Annie finished 3rd.. Emerald Downs, Annie Laurie was 1st..paid 42.00 15.80 7.80 Oh those Annie horses!!! SR Vegas
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Alhattab It seems that you and Anthony are going to be winners in life..Good on Ya' Thanks for sharing. I'm borrowing a BIG SMILE from Slew... SR Vegas
Laura More than 1 year ago
Annie, Here's another Annie horse for your stable! Anne Margaret is entered at Saratoga, Aug. 27 in Race 4. She should be a fast filly. Anne is by Songandaprayer out of a mare by Distorted Humor. Her half brother is stakes placed and her dam is full sister to a stakes winner and two half siblings are stakes winners too. Second dam is a stakes winner, Borrego and Kelly Leak were produced from this family and her fourth dam is Smarty Deb, Champion 2 YO. of 1962.
blackstone More than 1 year ago
Virgin Thank you for the comments on Careless Jewel-they were very helpful. I'm just wondering, when you pick a horse are you always right? Or is this one of those hindsight deals?
Mike A More than 1 year ago
Alanh, I hear ya brother. Mostly my one race too soon was because I was putting myself in the trainers shoes. Though when I patterned a horse I rarely missed. There was one horse in particular who ran in the middle to late 70's, his name was Wayward Red. Now Wayward Red had some back class, but through infirmities found himself running against cheaper claimers as he got older. He was a stone closer. The only distance he seem to win at was 7f. He'd run his races double digits behind the leaders and usually finish that way, beaten anywhere from 10 -15 lengths. But this horse had a tip off to when he was going to run well. Like the story of Babe Ruth sticking his tongue out when he was going to throw a curve ball and unknowingly tip off the batter. Wayward Red would signal a good race going ( his next out) by running well after the race he was in was already decided. He's hit the eigth pole hopelessly beaten, but once the race was decided the jock would shake the reins abit and he would take off. I used to sit in the stands and clock his last sixteenth. Mind you he was so far back no one paid attention, but I knew when he'd run that last 1`/16 a shade under 6 seconds he was ready. His running line in the form next out would show him out of contention by 15 or so at the eigth pole, but he'd finish beaten 9. He'd close most of that graound in that final 1/16th. I'd bet heavy and sure enough he'd win and always pay 15-1 or better. He'd do this every 7 or 8 starts like clockwork. I caught him 3 or 4 times that way. Horses like that are out there, they will tip you off if you know what to look for and do your due diligence. Due Diligence is a P.G. Johnson horse I also patterned that way, by the way. LOL! Mike A
Turnbackthealarm More than 1 year ago
Alanh, I bet Arcangues in the BC Classic. My mom and I were out at Santa Anita in the Turf Club with a bunch of high rollers. We were feeling pretty dopey and unsophisticated like any $2 better would, since all these guys kept coming back to the tables with signers. Anyway, that is the backdrop for what turned out to be a long standing BC tradition. We began throwing down $2 on the longest shot or one of the longest shots in each BC race. We have some standards, we did not bet Rick Natural Star (I think that was the poor horse's name). We were pretty happy when Arcagues paid off and our friends were mystified. We have now progressed to $2 WPS and are still having fun. Street Sense was our latest success in the BC Juvenile. I believe he was over 20-1.
C More than 1 year ago
alanh, I know 1 person who hit the Arcangues-Bertrando exacta and cashed a win bet on Arcangues. One. That's it.
Mike A More than 1 year ago
AlHattab, If you haven't gathered I love stories like that and we all have them. I, like you and Dan have a niece/nephew who put me onto a winner or two. I always thought there was something other worldly about the way the "innocents" would pick horses. Once when I was 18 and down to my last 2.00 I laid out the racing form and asked my 4 yr.old niece Natalie to point out three horses in the 9th race. She picked the 3,4 and 5. My mom was watching her that day so I offered to take her along with me to OTB to give my mom a break. We stroll into the betting shop, full of grizzled old men and a few young hotshots, I put her on top of one of the tables, where a friend watched her while I plunked down the 2.00 on the 345 triple. It won and paid 600 and some change. Luck? probably, but I never contested it or questioned it and with 5 brothers and sisters I had a good supply of nieces and nephews for the hard times. I swear it was amazing, they never lost. When folks ask me how can you be truly successful playing horses I tell them you can do it one of 2 ways one; never grow up or two; marry a woman who loves kids. Mike A