09/29/2010 1:51PM

HandiGambling 204 (Anniron)


Today's HandiGambling 204 exercise is the eighth race from Belmont Park, The Anniron Stakes for fillies and mares at seven furlongs. 

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.

Heavy rains on Monday and Tuesday have left the main track MUDDY and SEALED.

Let's scratch #2 WICKED DIVA and #3 FREUD'S NOTEBOOK.

I will go three deep in the Pick 4 this afternoon. 

#9 MEESE ROCKS is a head away from riding a three-race winning streak into the Anniron and has done good work on wet tracks (2 for 3) in the past.  She earned a big number in the Saratoga slop last time out and the recent bullet workout at Aqueduct (5 furlongs in 1:00 4/5) allays fears of a regression.  She draws a good attack post position on the outside, and may end up tracking LA CONCERTO, the likely pacesetter, going into the turn.  Meese Rocks may get first crack on that one and figures to be prominent when they swing into the stretch.  Seven furlongs may be pushing her distance capabilities, but I'm hoping the wet track carries her to the wire.  Not only did Meese Rocks finish ahead of La Concerto last time, but two of the other also-rans from that August 23 race returned to win (83 Beyer on turf, 71 Beyer at Finger Lakes, respectively)

#10 SAPPHIRE SKY has won her last two races over wet going and is 6 for 9 overall on non-firm ground.  Compare that with her 0-8 record on all other surfaces and we have ourselves a mud-lark.  Away since the Belmont sprint meet, Sapphire Sky shows several quick workouts in preparation for her return, and could end up in a great stalking position while in the clear.  She adores seven furlongs, but I thought she may have raced on the best part of the track when winning an open optional claimer here on May 12.  Of the five horses to return from the last race, only one came back to crack the trifecta (four ran in stakes events). 

#1 R BETTY GRAYBULL looms an intriguing longshot chance.  Two starts back, she raced five wide every step of the way in an open 'n3x' optional claimer, and still was only beaten a length.  Last time out, she didn't do much running, but was in against the sharp Love That Dance in the $100,000 Trenton Stakes.  Love That Dance came back to win a statebred stakes race at Monmouth with a 98 Beyer while the Trenton's seventh-place finisher, D'wild Ride, returned to win an allowance at Parx Racing with an 87.  Critics will note that the Trenton was 2/5ths slower than an entry-level allowance for fillies and mares that afternoon at Monmouth, but R Betty Graybull should appreciate today's class relief (back against statebreds), is capable over wet going (2 for 6), and figures to get a good pace to rally into during the stretch run.

As for the others:

#4 MY DINAH won the Fleet Indian Stakes at Saratoga three back at this distance and forgiving handicappers will draw a line through her most recent races (turf two back, wide going two turns last time).  Expect jockey Jose Espinoza to take her back in the hope of making one strong late run.  My Dinah is a salty veteran - she's earned over 400K - and shouldn't be discounted from exotics consideration. 

#5 LA CONCERTO may be the main speed for trainer Steve Asmussen.  She won a statebred stakes race at Finger Lakes two back with a 90 Beyer, but she only beat three rivals that afternoon, and was all out to get by Gold for the Queen (that one came back to be defeated by over six lengths by Meese Rocks at Saratoga).  Last time out, La Concerto bombed as the favorite, and it's hard to get excited about a short- to mid-priced contender off such a poor running line.  I'm guessing she'll be in front early, and she likes a wet track (3 for 5), but extended pace pressure at this distance may doom her to a minor placing.

#6 ROGUE'S JEWEl is a three-year-old tackling elders after winning the New York Oaks around two turns at Finger Lakes on August 28.  While sharp and a filly that should get the proper race flow, she has been handled by a pair of these older rivals in the past, and needs a strong Beyer boost to upset these.

#7 CODY SAMORA is the wild card.  We'll find out how good the undefeated daughter of Mayakovsky is thias afternoon after winning all three of her lifetime starts over wet going.  Note that she was on the lead through moderate fractions in all of her races, and she may have to rate with La Concerto breaking to her inside.  Cody Samora is still a bit green, understandable given her lack of experience, and she'll have to be on her best behavior to handle this class hike.

#8 MONEY'S SWEET won her maiden three back against statebreds, but was the beaten favorite in both starts at Saratoga, and was claimed for only $10,000 by Greg DiPrima out of the September 3 race.  Her numbers pale in comparison to those of the top contenders.

Again, I'm going three deep in the multi-race bets, but for HandiGambling, I'll play it this way:

$50 Exacta:  Meese Rocks - Sapphire Sky (9-10)
$50 Exacta:  Meese Rocks - R Betty Graybull (9-1)

Best of luck

SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Turnbackthealarm re Ms Z ...DON'T be surprised if you get another sobbing & blubbering phone call / message from this Blue Thong on Saturday night, regardless of the outcome :) Hey! Where are my Captchas!
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Curt V Very scary times, I know. My thoughts with you and your father and that you both come through this time well.
Van Savant More than 1 year ago
Eric T; Funny you should ask these questions regarding Crown of Thorns…were you listening in on the conversation I was having in my head during my two mile walk tonight? You’ll have to teach me that trick… But seriously, I was thinking kind of the same thing during my walk. I am assuming that he will win the Goodwood, and then it becomes decision time. He can contend in the Breeder’s Cup Sprint, but the pace has to be hot, and he has to be put into the race at the right time. He is a very dangerous closing sprinter. He could contend in the Dirt Mile, and that race is probably most in his wheel-house. Churchill runs their Mile races out of the chute, and he would be a strong contender for this. As for the Classic, 10 furlongs is a long way, especially for a sprinter. His breeding suggests that under the right conditions, he could go this far, but that is probably a stretch given the way he has been trained and raced. Trainer Mandella is confident for this weekend’s race, so I’ll just take this one step at a time. I like this race, and if the price is right, I will bet it. Afterwards we shall see. All will be revealed.
Mike A More than 1 year ago
Eric T, Van Savant Before I begin I wish to say I am by no means telling you what to do. I would never do that with anyone. But I'm curious, why Crown Of Thorns? It's been my experience, especially with a horse whose only won up to 1 1/16th, early in his career, that prepping him with a 7f race, to then go a 1 1/8th, a 1/16th further than ever before, against the best horses CA has at the distance, is a bit backwards. The BC is only a month away......he is better suited to the sprint, only lost last years by a nose.....why the distance switch now? To me, with only one race under his belt Mr. Mandella is stretching him out to give him his wind and better prepare him for the sprint next month, or posibbly the mile, though I doubt it. With Majesticperfection out, COT has an excellent chance of winning the sprint......no one has asserted themselves in the division, at least not like MP did. Unless of course with the lack of real "speed" in the race you presume he'll go wire to wire. I thought on that myself, but Twirling Candy should give him all he can handle......at least enough to make the 1 1/8th seem like a 1 1/4. Now going from SYN to dirt at Churchill Eric believes he a possible good thing in the Classic perhaps. One race at a time......SYN plays like turf, at least where I believe a horse will go further on the surface than he would on dirt, that is if he can run on it to begin with. Having a fresh horse is a good thing......but it's another to try an do something he's never done before. He did win the Norfolk in 2008, but against what? Every horse in that race was going the distance for the first time, so how fast did they go, how did he finish? There are many questions to answer here. I would hate to see the horse finish up the track, then be entered in the sprint next month and Mr. Mandella say." well the money was there in the Goodwood, we gave it a shot, he needed a race anyway, that should set him up perfectly for the sprint". As I say I'm not saying don't bet.....that ultimately up to you, just make sure you get your odds and all your ducks are in a row. Mike A
Off Track More than 1 year ago
Wow! Andy Beyer sure knows how to push some buttons. Anyway, why isn't Zenyatta running in the Goodwood?
Alan More than 1 year ago
Caseyjeaux, It's good to hear from you, my long time Formblogian friend!! IMO if Zenyatta runs, she runs in the Classic. We could argue all day long whether Z would have remained undefeated if she spent this year racing full-time against males on this side of the Mississippi, but I still believe that: 1. Zenyatta performs equally well, if not better, on dirt (despite what Andy might imply in his article). Her two greatest margins of victory (4.5L and 4.25L in the AplBlsm) were in dirt races. Could Z have lost a race because of speed favoring biases that we see more often on dirt tracks? Perhaps...but unless we see one on BC Day 2010, we will never know... 2. The longer the race, the more likely Zenyatta will win. I would have loved to see Z race at 12f. Zenyatta certainly gave one the impression that she'd relish even extra furlongs from her performance in last year's Classic - just compare Z's 10th furlong in that race to the struggle Rachel had bravely holding off the guys in the 9th furlong of last year's Woodward. 3. It is woefully unfair that Zenyatta gets a weight allowance in the Classic. Is that an archaic and sexist rule that gives F&M's 3 pounds off in the race? Is the implication that Z is not big and strong enough to tackle the boys otherwise?
Van Savant More than 1 year ago
Hollywood Recap: I only played one Exacta (1st race), and managed to hit it by boxing my top three selections. I played Win tickets on races 1 through 7, and had $5 winners in the 6th and 7th. I played rolling Dailiy Doubles until the 6th race (of course), so I won nothing there. I didn't play the 8th race, but it was my top selection. Final tally was $41.00 wagered, $75.10 returned. Really, the only mistakes that I made were in the Daily Double pools. My plan was to play them all the way through the 8th race, but I changed my mind in favour of cost-savings and a generally conservative philosophy for the beginning of a meet. Overall I give myslef an A-. I'll be posting Charles Town selections for tonight. PGM; Thanks for reiterating the condition book angle/conundrum for this track. Did you look at tonight's card? I went back through it, and it looks to me to contain races with very straighforward conditions (well...seemingly straightforward). Either that, or I am missing something. In any event, it's my hope that my selections will put to rest any misunderstanding of these. You never know. It is a "new" track for me. We'll see. Thanks for the note.
PGM More than 1 year ago
Alan, For the extra credit: A contract holdout? Other than that (or a tummy ache), I got nothing. Van Savant, Conditions wise, the first six races are straightforward: either straight claimers or non-winners-life (N2L, N3L, N4L). A Statebred race is thrown in just for fun. So is the ninth and final race. The seventh and eighth are trickier: Here's how Equibase (and the track's overnights/form conditions say it): "For Fillies And Mares Three Years Old And Upward Which Have Not Won Three Races Since October 1, 2009." In form code, an N3Y $5K claimer. I would ask yourself how the horses qualify. That "since 10/1/09" phrase means that a horse could have 7 lifetime wins, but as long as it has not won three races in the past year, they qualify. One thing I look at is this: Could an N3L runner qualify for a N3Y? Sure. If they have two (or one or zero wins) in their life, they would certainly have two (or one or zero) wins in the past year. So, N3L claimers are in fact a subset of N3Y claimers. Now Races 3 and 5 are N3L claimers and the purse is $7800. The purses of the 7th and 8th (one for males and one for females) is $8600. In short, I may take a longer look at a runner that qualifies for the "N3L" condition in addition to qualifying to the N3Y condition. If the horse is two-for-thirty, as in, a horse that should be in a straight N3L and/or demonstrates bad form, then you've got a horse that you can maybe throw out on paper (or let them beat you and not feel badly if they do beat you). But a lightly raced and/or in form horse that is stepping up from N2Y or N2L company? Or a horse that did well in a strong (with respect to pars/clock) N3L and goes here? Shazam! (Caution: winning again at this level. If the price is fair I would dive in, but watch out for overbetting.) I would also look hard at trainers who have strong statistics off layoffs or when importing horses (first time trainer change) in these "time" races. Seems a lot of layoff runners end up in these races, as they can use the condition multiple times if it warrants it. And also, since these are the many different flavors of $5000 claimers and $5K is the lowest level for Mountaineer, be sure to do your physical handicapping homework. Watch out for signs of bad behavior, unusual tendencies, and so forth. Finally, be prepared tonight for possibly an off-track. The same rains that forced a cancellation at Belmont will probably make tonight's MTR track less than fast. It may have dried out, but I don't know. Good luck!
knm More than 1 year ago
Blackstone, Thank you so much for your input. I will check everything out thoroughly, and hopefully we will be able to do this. Naturally, it would really help if you could come up with some sure-fire big winners for me to play this weekend! (Just joking.)
blackstone More than 1 year ago
Jeffrey Good luck with the Z race. You did some nice work on it so I hope it pays off for you. I'll be working so will likely miss the race. I will be playing a few from Belmont and one from GGF.
Alan More than 1 year ago
PGM, You're right!!! Priceless Gem as a 2yo beat Buckpasser (who finished 2nd) in the Futurity! Prior to that loss, Buckpasser had an 8-race winning streak. Buckpasser lost the first start of his career prior to rattling off those 8 straight wins, finishing 4th after a poor break...Buckpasser's only off-the-board finish in his career! His final record was 31-25-4-1! Buckpasser got his revenge by beating Priceless Gem the following month in the Champagne, although his connections used a "rabbit" against the filly in that race. Here is a hard EXTRA CREDIT: Why did Buckpasser lose the Futurity as a 2yo in 1965? (Hint: The loss was not due to pace, post, track condition or injury. It was due to a common affliction of athletes over the past 55+ years.)