09/25/2010 11:39AM

HandiGambling 203, Some weekend picks


Today's HandiGambling 203 exercise is the tenth race from Parx Racing, the $200,000 Turf Amazon Handicap for fillies and mares going five furlongs 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. Please post your plays and analysis to the blog.  Past performances are available at 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.

The turf course is FIRM.  Let's scratch #5 DUBAI MAJESTY.

#6 CANADIAN BALLET won last year's Turf Amazon and will turn back to her favorite distance (4-7 at five furlongs) after being involved in a cut-throat speed duel in the Lena Spencer Stakes at Saratoga on September 4.  In that race, contested at 5 1/2 furlongs over the Mellon Turf, Canadian Ballet was used hard from post position 11, and soon found herself battling with 17-1 shot Stormandaprayer through hot fractions of 21.20 and 43.95.  Canadian Ballet would finish almost three lengths in front of Stormandaprayer, but was understandably no match for the top finishers after that early battle.  She's the main speed today, should be prominent when they turn for home, and is a playable price in a short field. 

I'm a big fan of #2 WEST OCEAN, and I'm interested to see how she'll do today at Parx Racing.  The Elusive Quality filly has won three of her last four turf sprints for Todd Pletcher and is probably relieved that Dubai Majesty, the filly that outfinished her last out at Monmouth, scratched from the Turf Amazon.  West Ocean has a strong turn of foot, switches to John Velazquez, and should get a solid pace to track this afternoon.  In that Dubai Majesty race, West Ocean raced four wide every step of the way before forging to the front in upper stretch.  Perhaps she'll save more ground in here.  She's the horse to beat, but figures to be hammered at the windows.

#1 ROSE CATHERINE also goes out for Pletcher.  She beat Canadian Ballet in the Lena Spencer, but wound up in a picture-perfect garden spot tracking the early speed duel.  She angled three wide at the quarter-pole, inhaled the exhausted pacesetters, and went on to a professional score.  Note that the only runner to return from the Lena Spencer, Karakorum Elektra, came back to beat males in a 'n3x' optional claimer with a 91 Beyer.  She is also capable from on the pace so it will be interesting to see if Javier Castellano urges her from the gate in order to deny Canadian Ballet an easy early advantage.  It's possible she's simply a superior horse than Canadian Ballet, but I'd rather not play any runner at short odds following a perfect trip. 

#3 ASHTON GIRL has won two of her last three starts, but you or I could have taken her for $7,500 three back.  She handled entry-level allowance foes over this course and trip last time out.  Note that the second -, third-, and fifth-place finishers from that race returned to win with Beyers ranging from 74 to 83. 

#4 LADY RIZZI won a stakes race at Colonial Downs three back, but failed to take advantage of a good ground-saving trip when behind West Ocean at Monmouth, and then was no match for Rose Catherine at the Spa.  Expect Cornelio Velasquez to take her back and make one run in the hope that a quick pace would take the starch out of the front-runners.

I'll just take a stab in HandiGambling with $100 Win - Canadian Ballet (#6)

Best of luck to all.


Here are some quick-and-dirty selections for some of today's other stakes races:

Pennsylvania Derby:  A Little Warm, Morning Line, Exhi

Kent:  Grand Rapport, Workin for Hops, They Call Me Giant

Gallant Bloom:  My Jen, Rapport, Sara Louise

Super Derby:  Hurricane Ike, Golden Moka, Apart

More importantly, who do you like this weekend?  I want to know.