12/04/2009 4:24PM

HandiGambling 162 (Delta Jackpot)


This week's HandiGambling 162 exercise is the ninth race from Delta Downs, the Grade 3 Delta Jackpot for two-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles 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.

I don't have a strong opinion on this race as most of the juveniles have yet to distinguish themselves from the pack.  I landed on four main contenders.

#3 - Rule looks obvious after breaking the Delta track record in his first start around two turns, but I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the idea that he's a legitimate stakes horse.  He wasn't very impressive in his first few races in New York, and figures to face some more pace pressure in this spot. 
On the positive side, you have Pletcher and Velazquez in this corner, and it's possible that he just wants to go long (his dam is a half-sister to Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide).  He'll be forwardly-placed, and probably doesn't have to be the next Derby winner to take this big pot down.

#8 - Oak Motte finished nine lengths behind Rule in the Jean Lafitte Futurity, but he didn't break especially well that evening, and the addition of blinkers may help him focus better on the task at hand.  Trainer Tom Amoss excels when giving a runner blinkers for the first time (15-52, 29% over the last three years). 
By speed influence Valid Expectations, one has to wonder if Oak Motte is more of a closing sprinter than a route horse, but a fast pace would likely enhance his chances.

#7 - My Time to Star may be the X-factor as the undefeated colt stretches out after winning the Sun Power Stakes for Illinois-breds at six furlongs.  He enjoyed a pretty good trip at Hawthorne last time as he never strayed off the rail, and it will be interesting to see how far this son of the quick Cape Canaveral wants to go (the dam, by longwinded Northern Spur, did win twice at nine furlongs). 

I'm not sure if I'm willing to believe #2 - Uh Oh Bango's triple-digit Beyer at Prairie Meadows as it's out of whack with his other three races.  This will be his first start around two turns, and the horse that beat him in the Iroquois, Thiskyhasnolimit, came back to bomb in the Kentucky Jockey Club.  He may work out a nice trip while saving ground, and wouldn't be a total shock for high-percentatge Southwest connections.

As for the rest:

# 1 - Gallant Gent was only beaten 2 1/4 lengths by top 2-year-old Lookin At Lucky in the Grade 1 Norfolk over Pro-Ride, and he showed his affinity for a tight dirt track by winning the Afflebaugh at Fairplex in September.  He goes turf to dirt after chasing tepid fractions in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, and may get the proper pace setup while saving valuable ground.  The only negative may be the price.  He's listed at 2-1 on the morning line, and may not be worth those odds.  At a longer price, he looks more playable. 

# 2 - Grand Slam Andre was no match for Rule when just heading Oak Motte in the Jean Lafitte, and his best game may be sprinting at this point in his career.  He hasn't gained ground from the stretch call to the finish in his three races contested past six furlongs.

# 5 - Litigation Risk looked good winning his maiden at Belmont, and has the speed to be forwardly-placed under Javier Castellano.  Two of the three horses that returned from the October 25 race graduated, but the combination of first-time winners and first-time two turns may prove too much of a daunting task. 

# 6 - Bench the Judge has to turn the tables on the three rivals that finished in front of him in the Jean Lafitte.

I don't like the race nor Rule's price, but I have a sneaking suspicion that he can win another.  I'll play it this way:

$40 Exacta:  Rule - Oak Motte (3-8)
$40 Exacta:  Rule - My Time to Star (3-7)
$20 Exacta:  Rule - Uh Oh Bango (3-2)

Best of luck to all:

Back tomorrow with some weekend stakes thoughts and other questions.

Take care,


Robert Slifer More than 1 year ago
Rule ran his eyeballs out to win the front end was bad all night and the track was good and slow also. I was very impressed by both the winner and the second place horse races in this spot.
Annie More than 1 year ago
Whackymacky, WTG! I see Chantal brought in a $26 horse for you. Whoopee! Annie
Annie More than 1 year ago
Mike A, I believe you mean Unforgotten in the 5th. Quiet Temper is good, but I don't think she can win two races on the same day. :) Annie
Annie More than 1 year ago
Blackstone, Ahem, now don't be starting rumors like that. :) Annie
Annie More than 1 year ago
Dylbert, Well, maybe in honor of your late grandmother, Annie, you should take a nice two year old to root for on the Derby Trail. :) Annie
Annie More than 1 year ago
Anne M, "How do other people participate in MKB?" Other than who? :) I presume you mean that you would like to participate, and that is all you had to do was ask. I will put your name on the list, and on Dec. 20th will draw a horse for you from the Magic Kleenex Box (MKB). Hopefully, a beautiful, talented two year old that will do well on the Derby Trail. Good luck! BTW, are you the one they named Anne Margaret (the horse) after? :) We can always use another Anne on here. LOL Annie
Laura More than 1 year ago
Oops, I’ve been watching too many Tinky and the Brain episodes. Sorry Tinky, I meant Pinky. Darn fingers have a life of their own. Laura
Van Savant More than 1 year ago
Hollywood Park, 12/05/09 The Cushion Track is difficult for me of late, but there is a nice turf race in the 7th today, and with that in mind, I submit my selections for certain races on this card. I will not be watching (but hope to wager) these races, as College Football reigns supreme for me today; 2nd – Dance the Dance, Crème Dela Suances, Word Association, Infinity n’ Beyond 4th – Smokenomore, Captain Cash, Ben’s Bullet, Oakdell Road 6th - Alphie’s Bet, Lone Justice, Lending Freeze, Excusemecomingthru 7th – Cavanal, Kris Silver, Epic Power, No Dream 8th – Eissoai (Brz), Cat by the Tale, Teamgeist (Arg), Lucky Copy I have yet to view the odds on these selections, and I suspect many of them to be somewhat crazy, but they are what I came up with. Please use wisely, and hopefully Uncle Steve will supplement/correct my selections. Nevertheless, enjoy this wonderful gift of a day, wager wisely, be safe, and please tell someone (anyone) that you love them (because it matters…I swear). vs
Laura More than 1 year ago
2 y.o. Filly to keep an eye on: Summer Humor (Distorted Humor - Summer Colony, by Summer Squall) F. Distorted Humor has three graded stakes winners at 10F or longer. Summer Colony is a multiple grade 1 winning mare who excelled at 10F, yet beat Azeri and Spain at 9F. What’s interesting about this distaff family is that in each of the last five generations there has been one multiple graded stakes horse, always a filly. Summer Humor is the first daughter of Summer Colony. Summer Humor recently broke her maiden going a mile at the Meadowlands in a battle to the finish. She was passed yet showed her dam’s determination and came back to win by a neck. http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/race/USA/MED/2009/12/3/5 Tinky, We found some common ground. I agree with your assessment of the speed figures. I also prefer to follow the other variables you mentioned pedigree, physical type, temperament, and trip handicapping, but also add how a horse works before and after a race. Clues can be found in the work patterns as to how the horse may perform next out. Learning how the surface plays at the training tracks or wherever the horse works and the methods of individual trainers can be invaluable. Blackstone, So, Annie’s taking bribes is she? I wondered why she asked for my credit card number. Entry into the IM Syndicate is free! With enough members, we can put those other syndicates out of business and rule the world! Oops, I’ve been watching too many Tinky and the Brain episodes. Hey Dan, You need a MKB horse too!
Steve T. More than 1 year ago
MikeA, "Now for all you folks and Annie....you see why I downplay horses from CA" - That was not exactly our "A" team. I said in my write up for the race that neither had a good shot. Kent is terrible from the rail (like 1 for 70 last year) and Gallant Gent has been less than impressive in California, why would he be impressive in Louisiana? Last week we sent a real horse East, Misremembered, and he did quite well. Just because they are from California doesn't make them tosses (or picks). You just keep discounting them, more beer for me...