10/21/2009 3:31PM

HandiGambling 156 (Down the Hill)

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Today's HandiGambling 156 exercise is the fifth race from Oak Tree at Santa Anita, a $62,500 claimer for three-year-old fillies at about 6 1/2 furlongs on the grass. 

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.

There are no changes as of this writing. 

I found this race very challenging, and don't have a ton of confidence in my handicapping.  I narrowed the race down to three strong contenders.

#4 - Salty Sarah is one of only two runners with previous experience over this tricky hillside course, and that could prove key.  She projects for a good trip tracking probable pacesetters #1 - Mary the Princess and #5 - Terrify, and may get first jump on the deep closers turning for home.  The negatives are that she's on an eight-race losing streak, and couldn't do better than third last time out despite a pretty good trip.  Still, when in doubt, trust Go-Go, and Salty Sarah has been facing older runners lately.

#9 - Coatcheck Girl has blown clear leads in her last two races, and looked like a pretty tired filly during the final stages of that mile turf race 19 days ago.  She sat in the garden spot down the backstretch that afternoon, made a three wide burst to the lead turning for home, and looked like she was on her way to a popular victory before being run down late.  She has very competitive Beyer Speed Figures, may apperciate turning back in distance, and will make her first start for John Sadler, a trainer that excels off the claim.

#8 - Dash Dot Dash looks like she's up for sale as it isn't too often that a multiple stakes-winner is placed in a claiming race.  She's only run once since early July, and her lead changes didn't look very smooth during that fifth-place finish in the Sandy Blue Handicap at Del Mar.  She fits from a speed figure and class perspective, but the drop is a bit puzzling.

As for the rest:

#1 - Mary the Princess is taking a huge step up in class after faltering on the dirt at Fresno last time out.  She has a good amount of early speed, but figures to take pressure, and may find these foes a bit too tough.  Her only lifetime wins came in a $8,000 maiden claimer at Golden Gate, and a $4,000 'n2L' at Pleasanton.

#2 - Cornish Rose won her maiden sprinting at Chester, and pulled off a 20-1 upset over Salty Sarah when last in for a tag at Del Mar.  She should get a solid pace to attack this afternoon, and isn't the worst upset stab in the world switching to Mike Smith.

#3 - Ocean Style disappionted as the favorite behind Cornish Rose and Salty Sarah at Del Mar, and hasn't shown much pop in her two subsequent starts over synthetics.  She has the right running style for this race, and is the other runner with previous experience over the course.

#5 - Terrify tired in her first start against winners, and it will be interesting to see how she classes up with these.  Her only win came at 4 furlongs on dirt at Fairplex, and she may be involved in an early battle with Mary the Princess.

#6 - Madeline Ruby drops out of a pair of allowance races going longer, and the sprint-bred filly may appreciate turning back 2 1/2 furlongs this afternoon.  She wheels back on relatively short notice, and should be charging in the stretch.

#7 - Skim Milk needed 12 tries to win her maiden, and did so going 5 1/2 furlongs in a $25,000 maiden claimer.  She ran last in her first start against winners, and failed to crack the trifecta in her three previous starts on grass.

#9 - Yodelady O tries turf for the first time after finishing a rallying third in her first start of the form cycle.  She can improve in her second start back, and will be the better price of the two Sadler runners.

Here's how I'll play it:

$100 Win - Salty Sarah (#4)

Best of luck to all.

SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Okay... P6 on Sunday at Belmont races 4-9 It's an overheard Blue Thong conversation: SR: Annie, I got to say you just love anything Chocolate.. Annie: Yep SR, that's me.. Chocolate Candy, Chocolate Bon Bons, JUSTMAKEMINECHOCOLATE SR: And you are quite the BELLA UNO in my book when it comes to horses. Handicapping them, or owning them..Sounds like fun. Annie: Well, Thanks SR SR: I'm sure there is a MR VEGAS out there who could take your tips. Ever getting out to Sin City? Annie: Maybe one day..Blue Thongs go Wild! SR: Annie, YOU GO WEST GIRL and check out the So Cal tracks, too!. It's where the weather is perfect. You have way too much FEMALE DRAMA out there in that cold snowy country. Ick..It may be pretty, but it's cold! Annie: Don't you have an Uncle out there? SR: Well there is UNCLE T SEVEN... I mean, Uncle Steve who is a wizard at the So Cal tracks. Annie: Uhh, I hear he doesn't like Chocolate Candy much... SR: No, I think he's more into that Hot Stuff. ..Catch you later, Bye! SR Vegas
angelo More than 1 year ago
I see now that Kodiak Kowboy does have a win at Woodbine and a 4th at Keeneland. He could be flying late with Gayego. Fatal Bullet finished second last year to ML in the Sprint after leading in the stretch. FB broke well last year, pressed the pace, took the lead about the 1/2 and lost by about 2 to ML. Maybe someone else can help with his current form. He may keep Zensational honest especially if he draws outside. I will say I saw Zensational's work this week...Wow! "The Beast" looked good. May be up against it with only 4 BC Sprint winners going wire to wire and will probably be a short price.
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Uncle Steve I like your recap "after the race" posts... When I have the time, I like to recheck your picks to the results. In the past, I see that your picks finish more often than not, in the money... or 1st-2nd-3rd.This make it easier for me. Especially comming into the Breeders Cup, some of the Handicappers here may find some clues to the track, or race conditions. Ok, I'm NOT going to see 10K claimers on BC day... SR Vegas
slewofdamascus More than 1 year ago
The video feed is not the greatest, but do yourself a favor and watch the Pletcher 2yo, FTS, Connemara win on 10/4 at TP going a mile. I happened to be looking at this race while I was handicapping the 7th from KEE on Saturday. While the field he beat did not blow my socks away, it was the manner of victory, which was as remarkable a win as your likely to see under the circumstances (FTS going a mile), including a horrific start, giving the field 10 or 11 lengths after also steadying behind another runner who broke poorly (Heart Butte, in Sat's 7th, 6-1). What happened next was enough to make you sit up and take notice. If this 2yo hoss has been mentioned here, forgive me, but I thought those interested in the 2yo set, for KD purposes, might want to take a closer look at his race. Because the quality of the feed is poor, you'll have to watch both the pan and head-on to get the full flavor of the moment. A special horse won this race.
slewofdamascus More than 1 year ago
Folks, sorry for the TMI moment.......smile.... I've really enjoyed the vibe around here lately, lots of disparate voices, humor (that one still cracks me up, SteveT.), and I don't want to do or add anything that might put a streak on that shine. See you all in a while. Keep it up.
Steve T. More than 1 year ago
Mike, Bruce Levine has been claiming California horses and taking them to New York for a while - usually with owner Roddy Valente. I used to tease his son about the "Levine Underground Railroad". California changed claiming rules to discourage taking horses out of state and has now changed it back so think Levine will continue on. With field sizes dropping all over the country, I think that there will be more and more poaching from one circuit to another.
slewofdamascus More than 1 year ago
Vic, it's good to know there's more than one of us, my great uncle was a governor/us senator from Nebraska who ran the Greek Aid Mission after WWII (after being the top civilian administrator in Germany immediately following the war). He and Prescott Bush played many rounds of golf. Do I have to mention that he was a mason? My grandfather (full bird) was also. I'm not talking about the "masons" club that exists in every town and city, these masons exist on a whole different plane. Here is a speech by John Kennedy that many claim was the reason behind his murder - the topic is "secret societies". I add this link because first not many people realize this speech exists nor the reason he felt so compelled to make it. The fact he did make it emboldens the notion that he was about to uncover the true guiding hand in our lives. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ej9pZEPHqPg&NR=1 And yes, I am a strong believer that 9-11 was strictly an inside job. I have very good reason for thinking so. If you have a couple hours, type "Zeitgeist" into the search engine at either google video or youtube, try to find the "addendum" version, which is the latest. Watch it with an open mind, if possible. My last word on the subject, although feel free to chide me (I'm used to it). Big [brother] smile
Mike A More than 1 year ago
Steve T, I saw that about D. Oneill, Seems like a good move for any horses he has that he feels would do better on the dirt, or the ones he feels need some class relief on the SYN as PID is only a good van ride away. Can't beat the purses either. I see that B. Levine and a few others in NY have been getting some SYN runners from CA too. Could make for some better racing than we're used to in the cold north, especially on the IDT at Aqueduct. That track holds up well to the freeze thaw cycles it handles during the winter, all things considered, but horses either run well on it or don't. A rather unusual statistic I found, after the IDT was open for racing after a few years was horses that ran well over that surface, tended to run well at Saratoga also. Considering that everyone believes horses of lesser value run in the winter in NY you wouldn't expect that type of result. It's been good for a longshot or two over the years. Mike A
Mike A More than 1 year ago
Mickey, I looked at those races quick after I dropped "Calamity Jane" off at her car, grabbed a quick bite and cleared some of the Saki from my head. But, since even after a quick look, and because the horses did so poorly I had to go back and look again. In the real world I would never have singled on Silver Reunion even as much as I liked her for 2 reasons. One the yielding racecourse, which of coures I never bothered checking, second..When I think a horse has run a superior race, as Silver Reunion did in her last, I would expect the trainer to feel the same way. So I'd expect them to enter a race that showed that confidence, I didn't think the split division of that stake much of a "jump up". I won't give up on her though, I watched the race and she obviuosly didn't handle it well, if you compare her race at Saratoga on firm ground to yesterdays race, her stride was way off. While I have much respect for K. McLaughlin, I don't see Bluegrass Princess winning on the firm ground. However his horse that won the second division could be any kind and bears watching. The race with Sheltered basically I saw an inform horse at 11-1 with the switch to Desormeaux, nothiing more and going back the horse that won Adriana d, I'm guessing the one you had, was very playable, it's beyond me how she went off at 20-1. I wasn't very confident in any of my choices, that's why I said there "quik Pic's like the lottery" You have about as much chance of winning LOL! I just though I'd throw them out there, I know you've been at it long enough to make your own picks, and better than me off the fly. One more thing about the trotters, and this is for Walt P too. I found it my experience that betting the trotters and pacers, one had to pay particular attention to pace and speed along with PP. I just found that discipline to be very helpful when betting the flats. Any thoughts? Mike A
Mickey More than 1 year ago
Keith L: I'm wondering if the emergence of Careless Jewel and now Unriveled Belle, who won under a hand-ride and wrapped up in the last 70yds says something more about the caliber of 3 yo fillies Rachal Alexandra towered over this spring and summer? So when did RA actually race against these 2 filly's? That is like me comparing Gio Ponti and Sea of Stars?..I can't tell you the caliber of Gio Ponti by telling you they both raced on the grass! Flashing? Just Jenda?...yeah that is some group of 3 year old filly's she "towered" over. Now if she would have beaten...Careless Jewel or Stardom Bound, Justwhistledixie, etc...then maybe you have a case...but she didn't. Now "C": said it best on here a week ago..I can't use that against her because of "injuries, racing out of her division, etc..."..I'll take what "C" stated...BUT...IMO you can't use it as a prop either. Steve T Know what you mean..thought Dreamalong was a good play...and she did nothing.