11/13/2009 4:38PM

HandiGambling 159 (Hollywood)


This week's HandiGambling 159 exercise is the fifth race at Hollywood Park, a conditioned allowance race for fillies and mares going 1 mile on the turf.

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.

Only a six-horse field, but the European runner, #1 Firey Red looks very, very interesting.  A multiple Group 3-placed filly out of the Gulch mare Step With Style (went 1-4 in Ireland for Dermot Weld before shipping stateside to win her first two starts in North America), Firey Red broke from the far outside post in her most recent start at Tipperary, and was used early to find a pace-tracking spot while three wide.  She had no punch in the stretch, but adds Lasix for her first start here, and it's promising that Garrett Gomez accepts the mount.  That listed race on September 10 hasn't produced anything of note, but Firey Red may work out a good ground-saving trip if able to break alertly (always a question with European runners). 

You can view Firey Red's last race at attheraces.com (free registration required). 

Clocker extraordinaire Bruno De Julio was very impressed with Firey Red's workout on November 10 over the Pro-Ride surface (you can find his analysis from Today's Racing Digest on our homepage).  Bruno noted that Firey Red "worked five furlongs here for Weld in 1:02.4.  In company with Ruffled Feathers from the Gallagher barn, a recent maiden winner.  Broke two back, caught workmate at 1/4 pole, and finished the last 1/4 in 23.4.  Good."

Of the rest:

I thought #2 Flashover gave a good account of herself going this distance at Del Mar on August 12.  She was caught between a rock and a hard place chasing lone pacesetter Zardana through fast fractions.  She had to expend a lot of energy to catch Zardana turning for home, and simply had nothing left when late-runner Hot n' Dusty came calling in the stretch.  She ran well against males last time out going down the hill, and may end up on or near the lead as she stretches out off three sprint races. 

#3 Carmel Coffee should also show speed after contesting the early issue in sprints on dirt, polytrack, and grass.  The five-year-old, like Flashover, has yet to win a route race, and may feel some early heat in this spot.  She faced a solid dirt filly in Victorina last time out in her first start following the layoff, and can move forward off that race (note that she won her second lifetime start, her second race off a layoff on November 26, 2008, and her second race off a layoff on JUne 26, 2009).

De Julio wrote for the most recent work that Carmel Coffee "looked ok...didn't look like the old her finishing up in 1:02.3 having to be slightly urged through the lane."

#4 Christmas Ship is tailor-made for the distance, but is only 1-10 on grass.  A stakes-winner on the main track, she would benefit from the expected solid pace, and should come running when the chips are down. 

#5 Made for Magic gets a pass for the most recent loss against Zenyatta, but her lone turf win came in a $20,000 claimer at Golden Gate.  She's improved since being claimed by A. C. Avila, and has the tactical speed to work out a nice stalking trip while just off the two speeds.  She can't be counted out.

#6 Theodora has only raced once since April, and is another that can be close to the pace.  She's run well fresh in the pace, but I'm leaning to others on the top spot.

I'll play the European over the two speeds, and hope to get something for the exacta.

$75 Exacta - Firey Red - Flashover (1-2)
$25 Exacta - Fire Red - Carmel Coffee (1-3)

Best of luck to all: