10/14/2009 7:04PM

HandiGambling 155 (Penn Nat)

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Today's HandiGambling 155 exercise is the ninth race from Penn National, a $5,000 maiden claimer for three-year-olds and upward going 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.

As of this writing, the track is fast, and there are no program changes.

This was a fun race to handicap, and I came up with three contenders.

#3 Marty Time drops in class, and adds blinkers after racing very greenly through the stretch here two weeks ago.  It's nice to see him return on such short notice, and jockey Thomas Clifton chose him over two other horses he was named to ride on the overnight.  Marty Time may show better speed and focus with the addition of the "Rogue's Badge," and he did run a 41 Beyer Speed Figure three back when attempting to rally from last over a speed-favoring, sloppy racetrack.

#1 Thegraygiginthesky is an enigma warpped in a riddle.  Either that, or he's just not very good.  He ran a competitive second as the favorite in his first start for this barn back in May, and was third over "good" going two back.  What happened last time?  He was beaten over forty lengths!.  Jockey David Cora chose this one over first-time starter Out Smiling, and the fairly-good Thegraygiginthesky can contend against these.

#6 High Favor wasn't disgraced in his only start at this level four back, and we can safely draw a line through his most recent start over the jumps, but he was listed as a vet scratch at Delaware on October 3, and Clifton jumped off to ride Marty Time.  Perhaps the new blinkers will turn him around.

As for the rest:

#2 Inmybackpocket hasn't raced in over a year, and changes barns from 25% Ryan Beattie to 5% Konstanti Harigeorgiou.  He may show some fresh speed, but is hard to trust given the inactivity.

#4 Shady General has earned a combined 20 Beyer in five lifetime starts, and that's well behind the 41 Beyer par needed to win this race.  Jockey David Perez bails for #11 Dubai Warrior.

#5 Nana's Token was forced to go too fast during the middle part of a two-turn mile race for $10,000 thirteen days ago, and could end up the main speed under seven-pound bug rider.  He chased some wicked fractions for $12,000 two back, and could prove tough to catch if able to establish a clear early lead. 

#7 If Not for Love is still searching for his first double-digit Beyer Speed Figure after four starts, and didn't do much at 78-1 odds against Pennsylvania-breds last time out.

#8 Out Smiling was a $3,000 RNA as a weanling, and shows a huge gap between the last two workouts.  The dam is kin to Abigailthewife, a Grade 2 winner going long on turf.  Cora leaps to the rail.

#9 Three Lovers is 0-19, and hasn't broken a 20 Beyer since April. 

#10 Razzle Dazzle figures to take money based on his early speed and solid back Beyers, but he didn't do anything for $7,500 in his local debut, and has only raced once since early March.

#11 Dubai Warrior attracts Perez off Shady General, and he wouldn't be the worst stab in the world as this will be his first start around one turn, and he hasn't been this cheap. 

#12 Getty Man drops below the level of the Rebecca Mazzaro claim, but loses Clifton to Marty Time.  Perhaps he'll do better on dry footing.

I'll play #3 Marty Time to Win ($100 Win #3)

Best of luck to all.

Captain Bodgit More than 1 year ago
ya'll ever look at the World Thoroughbred Rankings? http://www.horseracingintfed.com/resources/2009Rankings/2009_1007_WTR.asp Check it out. here's a good chart for Timeform to Beyer speed ratings. http://books.google.com/books?id=79q_peU8Kq4C&pg=PA311&lpg=PA311&dq=beyer+to+timeform+conversion+table&source=bl&ots=UXG9lTCfCm&sig=YuYkK5pYODOWPAIGJv-mNusK9Cg&hl=en&ei=L8HZSuL8K42W8Ab8k7G3BQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CBYQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=&f=false
Alan More than 1 year ago
Congratulations to Gary Stevens for his first win in his new career! Higher Incentive won OSA3, a downhill $32K claimer. And the Kyla Stra wait is over!! She won OSA4 Thursday for her first win in...uh...I don't know how long!! Etched, who was on many Watch Lists (myself included) for the 2008 Derby, has come back as a 4yo to be quite the horse...another dark horse (or, more accurately, chestnut horse) for the Breeders' Cup? Anyone else looking forward to seeing Rainbow View tomorrow? I'm not sure about the distance, but I'll be watching...
Mike A More than 1 year ago
James MC, Dick W, They really smoked the track last night at the Meadowlands. I was a bit surprised when CMC laid back, but then I reckon they didn't want to get into a duel with Great Debater. He did hug the rail as you figured he would, just didn't have enough to gut it out. All things considered Etched ran a very good race as did KTK. My main interest in the race was to see how Racketeer ran. IF there's a price to be had next out. KTK's retiring, and you'll never get good odds on Etched and Anak Nakal,so Im was looking for a future bet. Racketeer ran well to be 4th after a cross country trip, and 3 weeks rest, against a very good horse in Etched, so I'll keep an eye on him. Way to go by the way. As a side note, CC kicked butt last night, Go Yanks. Mike A
vicstu More than 1 year ago
Also, A reminder. Jackson Brown goes for the sweep today in the Florida Stallion Series. The In Reality at 8.5 furlongs. He should get some competition from Bim Bam, who won last tim out at 1 mile and 70 ft. and should like the extra distance: "What do D' Funnybone, Homeboykris, and Blind Luck all have in common? All three began their careers at Calder and are considered to be among the top 2-year-olds in the country. They also have one more thing in common. None was considered to be the cream of Calder's 2-year-old division at the time of their departure from south Florida. That honor still belongs to Jackson Bend, who will attempt to complete a sweep of the open division of the Florida Stallion series with a victory in Saturday's $400,000 In Reality Stakes." Here is the rest of the article by Mike Welsh at this link: http://www.drf.com/news/article/108135.html
Mike A More than 1 year ago
Craig, Van Savant Sometimes when I write I do it as if I'm having a conversation and the folks are there with me. In that scenario you would realize it's a generalization and not directed at you per se, just in your direction. Yes I can take the heat, and clean up a mess when I think it warrents it. So mess is clean, Next.... Mike A
vicstu More than 1 year ago
C, Re: Makybe Diva. I never said that she was the most accomplished filly ever. I am not sure who would be...she would be near the top, but I merely stated she was more accomplished than RA at this juncture. Given her track record(s), numerous group 1s, and being 3 time winner of the Melbourne Cup, an extremely pretigeous turf race at 2 miles in that part of the world, make her very accomplished. She won numerous other group 1 or 2 stakes races, and raced her entire 5 and 6 year old season carrying equal or greater weight than any male she raced. To me, that is remarkable. Given her rep as a late running stayer, I thought her national record for 1:58 and change on turf for 10 furlongs was extremely fast. There was some debate at the time whether it would be a world record on turf, if not, its extremely close. I believe The Bid ran a 1:57-4/5 on a hard dirt surface for a world record in the Strub Stakes. Given the turf Makybe Diva ran on was a more giving surface, and she ran the final furlong in 10.75 seconds, her 1:58.65 is impressive in my book. Let me be clear: I chose my words carefully. Notice I did not say Diva was the more talented filly of the two. RA has as much, if not more, natural ability. Its also apples to oranges (as I know you would agree). Turf to dirt. Stayer against intermediate router-miler. However, what are the odds that she outearns Makybe Diva? That 14.6 million in Australian currency is now comparable to $14.5 U.S. currency due to devaluation of the US dollar thanks to the Fed flooding the market with fiat currency off the printing presses. I wonder if the dollar tanks and stays there if Makybe Diva, not Curlin, will become the all-time leading earner amongst throughbreds? She was right there with him as it was... Either way, those horses won so much stakes money because big horses win the big races. I hope RA enters some big races next year with multiple million purses, so she can enter that fray. Many of Diva's races were preps for very long routes-1.5 to 2 miles. It would have made no sense to have her all out to win at a 9 furlong prep. Hence, they did not pad her record, they ran to prep for the money. In any event, she showed up BIG when it counted, did she not? Given what she did, and the last time carrying the weight that she did, at this juncture, she simply is more accomplished than the 3 year old filly RA (who is the best I have seen in some time). C, you know the style runners I normally admire the most...the Big Brown, Hard Spun, Spend a Buck types. Horses that have extreme speed, tactical speed, stamina to carry that speed, and courage and heart. How could I NOT admire RA and not enjoy what she has done? She fits right in with that group. Except she went undefeated in her 3 year old season. She is the best I have seen since Ruffian, but I would have love to see her take on Icon Project, Zenyatta, etc... They say Makybe Diva could run just about as good on dirt, and that makes total sense as her sire and Big Brown shared to same grandsire and damsire. And Danzigs can usually run on multiple surfaces. Maybe next year we can see RA run on turf. And remember, Musket Man was a May foal, and was 2 when the Derby was run. He will be improved and bigger and faster (if all goes well) next year. His trainer says RA is horse of the year and the only horse he saw who might be able to outrun Musket Man if they both got a clean trip (Ryan was blown away by her last work before the Preakness). I would say Derek Ryan has a pretty good eye for horse talent. He repeatedly told us MM would be competitive up to 10 furlongs despite the pedigree...he was right. He also said RA was the best horse before the Preakness (although he felt MM had just as much natural ability). In any event, if MM recovers completely and trains well, he should progress and give RA some competition (along with MTB, possibly BD). I have no idea when Summer Bird will be retired. Probably when he wins his next graded race...Or, maybe if he flops in the BC Classic. One thing is for sure, next year's older horse division looks promising. Lets keep our fingers crossed it stays that way.
Captain Bodgit More than 1 year ago
here's a good chart for Timeform to Beyer speed ratings. http://books.google.com/books?id=79q_peU8Kq4C&pg=PA311&lpg=PA311&dq=beyer+to+timeform+conversion+table&source=bl&ots=UXG9lTCfCm&sig=YuYkK5pYODOWPAIGJv-mNusK9Cg&hl=en&ei=L8HZSuL8K42W8Ab8k7G3BQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CBYQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=&f=false
Captain Bodgit More than 1 year ago
ya'll ever look at the World Thoroughbred Rankings? http://www.horseracingintfed.com/resources/2009Rankings/2009_1007_WTR.asp Check it out.
Uncle B More than 1 year ago
Joem: I recommend Twinspires (Brisbet). Reasons: no fees, streaming video, downloadable history. Hope this helps.
chicago gerry More than 1 year ago
Laura, You are so right about a woman who is the better horse-player a the table! Mike A, Van Savant, C, Craig, and others, Been out of town these past few days but you will never know how much I enjoyed reading your conversation on playing professionally. I have a few more, I comments, which I want to make on the subject later this weekend, if I get the chance. Personality aside, I think besides weakness I have already mentioned, I need to develop a little more handicapping knowledge or competencies in a few areas. I am fully aware of what those areas are. Additionally, I wish I had a better grasp on working with numbers and probabilities such as Lenny, Walt P. P.Ensign, steve t,. Alan, C, PGM, Cayman, and a few others on the Formblog (sorry Van Savant, I know you are a very good handicapper, and I love you man, but I had to leave you out when it comes to numbers// my guess is is you do keep good records however) :)