08/12/2010 11:41AM

HandiGambling 198 (Saratoga)


Today's HandiGambling 198 exercise is the fifth race from Saratoga, a $50,000 starter allowance at seven furlongs 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. Please post your plays and analysis to the blog. Past performances are available on the previous blog post. In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference. One entry per person please. I reserve the right to approve or deny any entries

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 main track is listed as FAST. 

Let's scratch #1 STORM FALCON, #3 ELTISH STAR, and #7 BRAZEN KAT.

An interesting race, and I'll try to advance in my multi-race wagers by going two deep.

#8 HARMONIZER rallied to finish second at this level in a one-turn mile at Belmont three starts back, and then wasn't disgraced against 'n1x' foes going two turns at Monmouth on July 3.  Returned on only two weeks rest, Harmonizer was involved in a weirdly-run race at Philly Park on July 17.  Harmonizer bobbled at the start but, because of the dearth of pace, ended up involved in a five-ply "skirmish" for the early lead while three wide and in between horses.  The "skirmish" certainly wasn't heated as the first quarter was completed in a dawdling 24 4/5 with the half in 47 1/5.  Perhaps Harmonizer couldn't keep up with the quicker internal fractions as he dropped off the pace on the turn.  Still, he re-rallied to finish a solid second behind the favored winner.  Deanoguska, five lengths behind Harmonizer at Philly, returned to finish second in a $12,500 starter with a 70 Beyer Speed Figure. 
Harmonizer should get some pace to attack in this spot and he reunited with Garrett Gomez for a barn that has gotten off to a nice start at this meet.

Trainer Dominic Galluscio defeated odds-on favorite #9 STAR OF NEW YORK with Emma's Posse in an open 'n1x' allowance at Aqueduct on April 25.  He must have liked what he saw as he claimed Star of New York for $50,000 on June 18 at Belmont.  Star of New York will now make the turf-to-dirt move that was successful when he won his maiden by eight lengths last fall. 
Over the past five years, Galluscio is 3-16 (19%, $2.20 ROI) with first-time claims at Saratoga.  Star of New York is consistent (15-18 in the money) and has good tactical speed.  He should be prominent when the field turns for home.

As for the others:

#2 NUMB LIPS earned a big Beyer Speed Figure two starts back around two turns at Monmouth, and then didn't have the best trip in the world when a well-beaten fifth on July 3.  A lightly-raced colt, he'll have to break from the inside post position this afternoon.  Expect him to lag behind in the early stages, but he's shown enough that a good late run isn't out of the questions.  An exotics factor at the very least.

#4 GOOD KARMA, like Star of New York, will attempt to repeat a turf-to-dirt pattern that has been successful for him in the past.  Two back, utilizing the surface switch, Good Karma defeated statebred entry-level allowance runners around a one-turn mile at Belmont.  He's only sprinted once in his career (debut on October 31, 2009, beaten 15+ lengths), and may need some pace help up front.

#5 HENCEFORTH figures to be up and on the lead along with STAR OF NEW YORK.  He whipped $50,000 maiden claimers by six lengths at Churchill Downs on May 31 going a one-turn mile before faltering to finish midpack in his first start against winners.  That was a productive entry-level allowance.  Of the six horses to come back from that race, one won an allowance at Hoosier Park with an 86 Beyer, three others placed in allowance races, and the winner returned to finish fourth in the Ohio Derby)
Henceforth has competitive speed figures and can be dangerous if able to relax on the lead.

Lightly-raced #6 GREEN BANANAS couldn't kick on in his first start with winners, but he's now paired up Beyer tops and may be ready for another forward move in the fourth start of the form cycle for Mike Hushion.  He was headed by Tar Beach on July 4 at Belmont and that one returned to take a $25,000 off-the-turf claimer this meet with a 78 Beyer. 

#10 HERITAGE HALL, an $800,000 yearling, didn't do anything in his career debut at 48-1 odds in 2009, then missed over a year of action before winning a $10,000 maiden claimer at Churchill on July 3.  The fourth-place finisher of that race returned to graduate for a $7,500 tag at Ellis Park with a 61 Beyer.

Here's how I'll play the HandiGambling exercise:

$100 Win - Harmonizer (8)

Best of luck to all.


Here are the top 25 Winning Beyer Speed Figures from last week's racing action:


Check the bottom of this blog posting for the past performances of the week's highest Beyer performer:

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