09/30/2009 2:10PM

HandiGambling 153 (Belmont)


Today's HandiGambling 153 exercise is the seventh race from Belmont Park, an entry-level allowance race for fillies and mares going nine furlongs on the inner turf course.

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.

The course is yielding, and there is a threat of rain in the air.  Hopefully, we'll stay on the grass.  Let's scratch #1A Starship Angel, #2 Lisa B, and #10 Ain't Love Grand.

I don't really have a strong opinion on this race, and it's not one that I would usually bet.  I've found four win contenders, and am going to have to narrow it down a bit.

#5 - Shine Softly didn't show any track rust in her turf debut off a one-year layoff as she held on to beat maiden foes at Saratoga.  Her affinity for grass shouldn't be a major surprise as her dam, Soaring Softly, won seven of eight turf appearances including the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf. 
It's never easy for maiden graduates to immediately find success against winners, however, and one must wonder if Shine Softly is eligible for a regression in her second start off the long layoff.  Her good tactical speed should have her in a decent spot behind the early pace runners.

#4 - Gran Appeal may offer some wagering value.  I thought she received a questionable ride three back over this course and trip.  After breaking on top, Jose Lezcano wrangled Gran Appeal back, and she ended up in behind horses on the far turn.  Once clear, she rallied nicely to finish second.  In her most recent appearance, she took on a solid bunch of allowance horses.  Of the six horses to exit that August 19 race at Saratoga, five won next time, and the other finished second.  The winner, Miss World, returned to upset the Grade 1 Garden City with a 98 Bey while the runner-up won the Twin Lights Stakes at Monmouth. 
Gran Appeal also has good tactical speed, but her only lifetime win came in a dirt sprint in Chile.

#3 - Changing Skies has kept the best company as she was Group 3-placed last year in France, and the runner-up from her most recent start in England, Dar Re Mi, has come back to finish first in her next three starts...all at the Group 1 level.  She gets Lasix for the first time, but she doesn't seem like the usual European import as early speed is her game.  Her lone win came in gate-to-wire fashion at Leicester last year, and it's doubtful that she'll make the lead here with Classical Fashion and Life At Ten both expected to show early zip.  In an ideal world, Bill Mott would love Kent Desormeaux to obtain the pocket spot in behind the leader, and that could certainly happen as Changing Skies draws the inside post position.  She's a logical contender, but I'm not sure I want a short price on her.

#1 - Minishaft, like Shine Softly, is a well-bred filly exiting a maiden win at Saratoga.  Minishaft was flattered somewhat when the runner-up from that race, Gold d'Oro, returned to graduate with an 84 Beyer.  She was close to some legimate fractions that day, and still kept on to her task to prevail by a diminishing neck.  Minishaft has hit the board in her last three starts, but the jump up in class coupled with the soft ground gives some cause for pause. 

As for the others...

#6 - Life At Ten makes her turf debut, and the dam, a daughter of noted grass sire Rahy, earned her only career win going 7 1/2 furlongs on the weeds.  She has good polytrack form, and we've seen that successfully translate to the turf so I'm guessing she'll handle the surface just fine.  She stretches out off two sprints for the third start of the form cycle, and can be close to the pace in this spot.  She's not out of this, but the plethora of runner-up finishes on the record makes her seem like a better play on the undeneath slots of exotics than to win.

#7 - Proud Lisa rallied late going a mile at Monmouth last time out, and should get a good pace to attack this afternoon.  You have to think that the New Jersey race was against weaker foes as the $40,000 beaten claimer was for three-year-old fillies OR older mares with a 'n2L' condition.  She needs to run faster than the mid-70 Beyers she's put up in her four races against winners.

#8- Classical Fashion showed a lot of heart in winning a $50,000 starter allowance at Saratoga, and may be the main speed once again.  She's really turned a corner since being switched to the grass by Gary Contessa, but this race features a lot of pressing types, and Classical Fashion may face wave after wave of pressure if she doesn't shake loose early.  The 16-day gap between her last two published workouts is a bit disconcerting.

#9 - One in a Romp finished third in a New York-bred stakes race four back over yielding going, and she showed a good late kick to beat statebreds two weeks ago on the Widener course.  I'm guessing she'll have some pace to run at in the stretch, but she may need another 'A' race to affect the win outcome.

So, how to bet?  In a multi-race sequence, I would probably use Shine Softly and Gran Appeal as "A's" while relegating Changing Skies and Minishaft to "B" status.  For HandiGambling, that point becomes moot.  I'm not really comfortable boxing four horses in a trifecta, and hoping for the best, and I'm not confident enough in any of them to simply place $100 to Win. 

Instead, I'll concentrate on an 'A-B' exacta box, and savers with the others.  Something like this:

$30 Exacta Box - Gran Appeal, Shine Softly (4,5)
$10 Exacta - Gran Appeal - Changing Skies (4-3)
$10 Exacta - Gran Appeal - Minishaft (4-1)
$10 Exacta - Shine Softly - Changing Skies (5-3)
$10 Exacta - Shine Softly - Minishaft (5-1)

You do realize that I'm just begging for some combination of the 1 and 3 to finish 1-2 simply to stick it to me. 

Of course, the Gambling part of HandiGambling won't pay off if the Handi-part stinks and vice versa. 

What a game!

I'm falling way behind on the Disabled List and other stuff so will have to wait until tomorrow to get to questions, comments, and pp requests.

Good luck,


turfruler More than 1 year ago
HG 153 post analysis: Just how hard is it to hit a superfecta? Try catching the wind that blew last year. $2 superfecta 3 // 1-6-7-9 // 4 // 1-6-7-9 = $24 Payoff $2 superfecta 3-4-7-9 $$1,331.00 I hate to see an obvious winning horse at low odds. Being that today’s race is being run in New York, I have to believe that the #3 will prevail at a low price. I can always blame it on her being one of my top picks if she loses. But the combination of the first time lasix, first US debut, Mott as the trainer, being competitive against colts, makes me believe that Changing Skies is the real deal. Although I'm going to hedge and say that she will run a good race and win or lose by a nose a whisker or a hair. Odds 1.25-1 #3 Changing Skies TR 75 front runner, non winner class, consistency 12, no stopping this first time twice (lasix-US debut), twice racing against males and in today’s race. Posed by turfruler September 30. I wouldn’t bet the #3 WPS with your money. I am a firm believer in betting a little to win a lot and not bet a lot to win a little. That is exactly why I would play a superfecta any day of the week for an investment of $24 as opposed to betting the rent on an even money or less favorite, because they will lose by a nose a whisker or a hair. If you think a horse is going to win at these odds it is better to watch the race without contemplating jumping off a bridge.
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
chigago gerry Thanks for you're note regarding my previous post. SMILE SR Vegas
Calvin L. Carter More than 1 year ago
Turnbackthealarm, I thought you would appreciate this: http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=74835
turfruler More than 1 year ago
One thing the DRF blog has given the horseplayer is a archive of past posting for a nine month period. Merry Christmas and I hope everyone had a joyous holiday in 2008. What I've been doing since December 20008 is reading the previous post for the record period that the blog has listed, from Dan to Crist and now the newer blog members. One reason I've only posted on the days of handigambling races is because I've been trying to catch up by reading the archives first. On that note and the critisim being directed at the prize offered in the contest. I suggest that if you have time a review of the December 2008 of Dan's blog offers a consensus of why handigambling has become so popular and since HG114 (before the prize) it is still the best contest on the internet. Here is a sample of what was being posted before Dan and DRF generously offered a prize. From Dan December 17, : When I first started handicapping, a long time ago, I found that I did best when hammering a horse to Win, or playing Exacta and Trifectas in single race situations like this. Over the last couple of years, however, my records indicate that my best plays have come in multi-race wagers. That's one of the reasons why I started HandiGambling. Not only is it a fun exercise for all, but it gives me an opportunity to find out what's gone wrong from a single race play standpoint. My results haven't been very good, to say the least, but I think I'm learning with every exercise. At least I hope I am. Welcome to the FormBlog. The Handigambling contest is every Wednesday. Dan usually provides the past performances by late Monday, early Tuesday. Invite all of your friends and good luck! Posted by: Calvin Carter on December 18, at 11 Yes since your publicity at equidaily you have been found. When's the next handigambling race? Chomping at the bit. Posted by: TurfRuler on December 17, at 11:08 PM I've never participated in an organized betting contest, even with playdough, this is as close as i've come, and as some of my comments through the weeks have rankled, i've tried to adjust my play 1. to the friendly atmosphere/circumstance here, 2. to try to learn something about my play, and 3. yes, i want to be the king of the hill one week, soon. So thanks again, Dan, for this forum - it's got me thinking, and that's always a good thing. Posted by: p ensign on December 17, at 11:22 PM As we wind down the year I have taken the time to do a recap of handigambling from class 101-114. It has taken me three nights to go thru all the posts and calculate the numbers, but I was curious to see how everyone was doing. Who made money (quite a few ) and who lost ( quite a few more). Before I go any further let me apologize in advance if I missed any of your results. I'm sure i've messed up. We've had well over 100 handicappers put in tickets for handigambling. We've had five miscreants..... err handicappers play every race. Cayman01, buffalojoe,Steve T., van savant, and Chicago jerry. and of the five only van savant is currently showing a loss ( and only 18 bucks at that!). Nobody has hit more than five races, and here the ladies lead us as SR Vegas has hit 5 out of 7 (!) and Katieattherail has popped 5 of 9.Both have hit four in a row at some point (I did not see a pick for katie today so she's active at four in a row). A few on the list have only played three or four races, but most have played at least half. Many regular posters on the list so I guess we are helping each other out. The more you read here at Formblog the better capper you'll become. I know I've improved tremendously since finding our home here. I hope everyone else improves as much as I have. Dan, I have a suggestion. I know we are doing this as an exercise in handicapping, but how about DRF putting on a contest like this for a couple of spots in the NHC in 2010? most of the contests out there are one day WP formats. If DRF put on one that includes all formats of wagering and does it over a period of say 5-6 months that would be a true test of handicapping ability. I also think it would draw a high volume of traffic to the website which is always a big plus. The more the merrier. I would NOT want it under the Formblog guise but as a separate DRF entity on the site. Posted by: cayman01 on December 18, at 11:14 AM I wish we could turn these weekly Handigambling exercises into something that carries over; that is to say something like Alan's contest from this past year. We could keep ROI statistics and see how we do for the year. I know it would help me see if I could improve my bet structure. It would be interesting to see how the "big hit" structure would match up long term with the slow and steady hits, and everything in between, don't you think? Posted by: J.D. on December 18, at 11:14 AM I can't explain how I made the plays I selected in the contest. I wanted to cover the possibilities of a good payout. Even though I had the contenders and pretenders I still contructed the ticket into another loser. Posted by: TurfRuler on December 18, at 11:57 AM For this last Handigambling, I too, reread everyone’s analysis and betting strategy. I counted 53 participants. I think cayman said there's been over 100 participants total for handigambling, but I think this is the most we've had in one exercise. If this keeps growing, it’ll be even more challenging to win, but more important, we'll learn a lot more from others' techniques. It is very interesting reviewing everything, and if I had read them in detail before I did my analysis, I probably would do much better (for instance, Danny B’s analysis on the #5 should have made me include her in the triple). In the past, I have done my own analysis and seldom heeded others advise before I wrote my analysis. I really appreciate these exercises (I also bet mine at normally $25-$40 instead of the $100) and I know you all have helped me with my handicapping. Below are the names of those I found for this exercise during my review. I wish thank you all and wish you the very best for the coming holidays. Alan, Alhattab, Annie, BigEasyBigChok, billg, Blackstone, BombsawayBob Grant, Bryan, Buffalo Joe, C, Calvin Carter, Caymon01, Chicago Gerry, Chilly Willy, CM, Dave K, Dale, Danny B, dk, dylbert, easygoer, J.D., jerry, Jesse Dunn, jim tully, John N, Johnny-Z, Katieattherail, ktalbany, Mickey Hoops, Michael H, Midwest Ed, mpm101, Paulie Walnuts, p ensign, Peter Vescovo, Randy, Ray Flack, Ray Manley, Rob, rr, SR Vegas, Stefan, Stephen Taylor, Steve T., tencentceilo, Tom D., trenton Ralph, Turf in Paradise, Turfruler, Van Savant, Zarpo. I hope I didn’t miss anyone. Best of luck in your handicapping…Leo Posted by: Leo on December 18, at 01:00 PM Again, thanks to everyone who is taking the time to explain their handicapping and their wagering strategies. It’s been an extremely informative experience and I’m looking forward to seeing what we get to look at next Wednesday. Posted by: Danny B. on December 18, at 02:33 PM Just a suggestion for whoever chooses next time. You certainly don't have to comply. First off, I'm NOT complaining at all about the race selection... they've all been pretty interesting and tough. But maybe there's a tendency to try to stump the crowd with the most difficult race one can dig up on a Wednesday (big turf fields, complicated conditions, etc). How about picking a race representing something we see multiple times per day, every time we go to the track or play a simulcast? I'm thinking a MSW or n1x (very simple conditions) on dirt with a small 5-7 horse field. A somewhat heavy favorite wouldn't hurt either. Of course, some of us might not ever pour $100 into such a race, but it's hard to completely avoid these races and pounding these short fields is how most professionals make their living. What if we also impose WPS, Exacta, and (maybe) Trifecta wagering only? That's probably all that'll be offered anyway. It's only a suggestion. I'd be curious to hear what others think. Posted by: C on December 18, at 04:09 PM Cayman, Sometimes I feel pretty invisible on this blog, put I have played every HG exercise sans one and while I haven't kept track of my cashes I'm pretty sure I hit one for $1100 or $1200 or so and another place hit for under $100. It's no biggie as you have stated you couldn't catch everybody's numbers. I think it's great what you've done and if you read my 2 a.m.(eastern time) post I wrote that it would be great to keep r.o.i. statistics for the year. I didn't see your previous post probably due to the delay of comments posted. Posted by: J.D. on December 18, at 04:09 PM - P Ensign, I am sure you will top one of these HG exercises, but it is getting tougher every week as we see more and more new faces. 3-Cayman, Thank you very much for going thru pains to go back over 14 weeks plays to compile the results for us. I was pleasantly suprised to find myself at the top, but it only brings out another flaw in my gambling (not keep records or a ledger). Posted by: Buffalo Joe on December 18, Ray Flack, you hit the nail on the head for me when you wrote “The problem with post mortems and deriving lessons for the future is that every race is unique.” Once I see something that worked, I try to see the same thing again, but it can’t be forced. There is just so much to remember and situational analysis plays a major role in handicapping. The other thing you said also pegs me well, “We can see our mistakes in betting but we seldom change our habits.”. I’m somewhat stubborn and it takes a while for me to buy into a new approach. Yeah, we know what we did wrong, but as Britney says, “Whoops, I did it again”. Thanks for the insight – this is what I love about this blog. Posted by: Leo on December 18, at 11:43 PM
Mike A More than 1 year ago
I find todays 9th race at Belmont intriguing. It's early and I don't know who will scratch, but as of now I have it down to 4 horses. Three of them are obvious choices, Ketubah, Ms Stilleto and Vivi's Book. However there is one longshot I like alot and that is Michelle The Great. No I don't care that her last was in an optional claimer for 10,000 a Finger Lakes, as she ran a good race, she seems to be rounding to form and on her best is right there with these, as she owns a highest beyer on this course. Chris Englehart's averages this year are through the roof and he's an excellent horseman. AS I always say, "turf is the great equalizer". I will key on one of the three I mentioned, and depending on scratchs build from there with the hopes MTG lands one or two. Otherwise I believe the exacta will pay a minimum of 12-1 otherwis and will still make money. The bet will be built around these four. Ketubah, Ms Stilleto, Vivi's Book and Michelle The Great. Mike A
Turnbackthealarm More than 1 year ago
Tinky, I believe the key to Head's quote is the last part..... "Goldikova may be a better horse than Miesque: Head said that even before Goldikova won the Mile last year. Miesque was top-class, but she did not have Goldikova's breath-taking acceleration AND COULD BE DIFFICULT TO RIDE." Most people WOULD place a push button horse over one who was tricky to ride.
Tom D. More than 1 year ago
Eibar Coa is moving his tack to Calder? Back to the minors! Coa the Calder Creep deserves this. Enjoy the world 5000 claimers.
Captain Bodgit More than 1 year ago
If more people betting leads to bigger purses, somebody needs to let Chuchill Downs know. Maybe somebody can help me with this but how is it that over $100 million dollars is bet on the KY Derby each year, yet the purse is only $2 million?
brutus4633 More than 1 year ago
Just a heads up for fans of Flat Bold (who hasn't gotten a trip if he could buy it on Greyhound) is entered to run the Indiana Derby Saturday. IIRC, Baffert's Misremembered looks like the fave. Maybe Flat Bold will get some racing luck this time...
Captain Bodgit More than 1 year ago
Long story short. Churchill is putting up lights so more people will come to the track for 5 and 6 horse filds that plague Churchill these days. The lights attract more non-race fans. That and $1 beers. Now that the lights are in we may see a "prime time" Derby or BC, but that wasn't the reason behind putting the lights in.