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Today's HandiGambling 210 exercise is the eighth race from Aqueduct, a $75,000, 'n3x' optional claimer for fillies and mares at one mile on 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 two 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 Aqueduct turf course is listed as FIRM.
Let's scratch #2 BECKY'S EXCHANGE.
There is a rider switch for #8 P J'S LIL TONI to Janice Blake-Baeza.
I like #8 QUEBRADA SHINER, a closing sprinter that will try to navigate a two-turn mile this afternoon for trainer Bobby Barbara and jockey Jose Lezcano. Last time out, Quebrada Shiner was mired in post 11, was forced four wide throughout, and just missed to sharp foreign invader Stormy Publisher. Quebrada Shiner finished a tired fifth in her only route effort to date, but that race was on dirt, and she is certainly a better mare on the grass. She should get a solid pace to attack in the stretch and I'd love to get 7-2 odds or better on her (6-1 on the morning line). The sire, a son of stamina influence A.P. Indy, was a Grade 3 winner at nine furlongs on grass.
#4 DENOMINATION looms the favorite as the Group 3 winner has faced tougher in the majority of her North American races. Last time out, she went very fast during the middle portion of the Grade 3 Gallorette at Pimlico and opened up a clear lead on the final turn. She understandably weakened in the last two furlongs, but that was a strong race that produced three next-out winners, and Denomination can certainly do better with a more patient ride.
Still, her trainer, Christophe Clement, admitted that Denomination came out of the Gallorette "sore," and she hasn't raced since mid-May. Plus, she hasn't won a race of any kind since April 26, 2009 in France.
She certainly figures on class and speed, and I'll use her in multi-race wagers, but will side against her on the win end of things.
#2 FOREST TRAIL looms an intriguing longshot for Shug McGaughey. She'll add blinkers after a dull effort in the Addison Mallory Stakes at Saratoga, and has done well with blinkers in the past (3-1-1-0 with blinks). She only finished a head behind Denomination four back at Keeneland, a race in which Forest Trail had to wait for room turning for home before easing out in midstretch. Hopefully, the blinkers won't get her blood boiling, and she'll be able to relax coming out of the gate. If she does relax, she may work out a great ground-saving, pace-tracking trip under Rajiv Maragh.
#1 ACADEMICIENNE makes the third start of the form cycle after trailing throughout going a one-turn seven furlongs at Woodbine on October 2. It looks like this Royal Academy filly is slowly coming back to herself after missing over a year of racing following last June's Woodbine Oaks. She picks up hot-riding David Cohen, and may benefit from an advantageous inside post, but must improve in order to upset these.
#5 PJS LIL TONI had $20,000 claimers at her mercy three back at Saratoga after opening up a clear lead turning for home, but she drifted out badly during the stretch drive, and was nailed in the final sixteenth. She's face much-tougher opposition this afternoon at the Big A, doesn't show a published move in the last 23 days, and could find other speeds to hound her in the early going.
#6 GRANTED TIGER finished behind Quebrada Shiner on October 7, and then finished an even fourth in a $50,000 optional claimer on October 24. There are some angles here as she'll go two sprints to a route in the third start of the form cycle, and she's done well at this distance in the past. Her most recent win came when loose on the lead, however, and she may be just a notch below the top ones.
#7 EXCLUSIVE SCHEME has had a nice campaign in 2010 for Billy Badgett Jr., and she has won over this surface in the past. The New York-bred has good positional speed, and shouldn't be too far off the leaders when the field careens into the final turn. She wouldn't be a surprise under John Velazquez (1-1 aboard this filly).
#9 DARJEELING may not have appreciated "soft" ground at Belmont last time out, and she also may not have liked a the rating hold applied by Cornelio Velasquez that afternoon. She'll be reunited with Alan Garcia (4-2-2-0 on grass aboard Darjeeling) here and should be prominent from the opening bell. She may be the "speed of the speed," but early pressure may doom her to a minor award.
I'll play my top three selections in multi-race wagers. For HandiGambling, I'll go this way:
$100 Win - Quebrada Shiner (#8)
Best of luck to all:
This weekend, I like WHERE'S THE REMOTE in the Hollywood Turf Cup and FLY BY PHIL in the Carl Rose Classic at Calder.
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Have a great weekend.
BSB Nice to see somebody cash on those Crazy Bridge Jumpers!!!! When was the last time a horse paid $49 and change to show at the Big A??? Nice score. I might be going down to the Wonderful Island of Nantucket for the Holidays. You know that I have been invited to get up early and to go Scalloping!!!! Drag some hooks on the bottom of the sea floor and pick up whatever we can find. I just hope I don't find any bodies. LOL I will go out and try and catch some sea bass, blues, and whatever else is out in those beautiful waters of Nantucket Sound. The cooler will be stacked with ice cold beers. You can bet on that!!! Might play some races this week. Still hurting from a $10K loss on Breeders Cup Weekend. Missed the boat on a few, and to Mike A's point, I hit the panic button on a few. Had the lead turning for home with a few, only to be gobbled up at the end. I knew that I was in trouble when I had Borel. He would rather fight that keep his horse clear on the outside. I thought that his eyes were ready to pop out of his head!!! I thought that it was a bad Breeders Cup overall. I has a feeling that Zenyatta would get beat. I posted that well before Saturday. She is older and had raced 19 times. I always wondered why Smith never warms her up? When she broke, I was just shocked!! I thought that she was injured. To be 15-18 back under the wire for the first time was stunning. She did finally get moving and rolled to the outside. People said that she lost momentum at the top of the stretch. I still do not see that. It was just her moving outside. When she came at Blame, we all thought that she was going to get him. He was dead game and wouldn't let her get ahead of him. What a race. I didn't like the call from Trevor. I didn't even know who was winning the race in the first mile. It was all about Zenyatta. I think that the race was good for our sport, but with all of these Champion's retiring, what is left for us??? I see horses breaking down and being put to sleep. Champ's retiring at 3,4. What is the future of our sport?? Are we going to wait 5-6 months for the next great 2 year old?? What was the name of the horse that was going to win the Derby this year??? Eska what??? I hope that the players can hang around over the cold winter months. Tampa, Gulfstream, and others will be running. I hope that we can keep some sort of bankroll together. Keep on doing your homework and give it your best. Mike A has been hot along with Mickey, P. Ensign and Annie. If I missed a few, I'm sorry. Captain Dan, you are picking winner's and keeping this Blog going. You are doing a fantastic job. I want to thank you. I hope that thing's get better and with Zenyatta moving on to be a mama, I hope that the racing world doesn't fall off the map. P.S. Horse of the year will be ZENYATTA. They will make sure of that!!! Whackymacky Out!!!
Allow me to edit the remarks from Rudy Rodriguez on his two year-old, Verbosity, that is entered in a NY stakes this week. Edits in parentheses: “The last three weeks before that race, he started to improve(from all the growth hormone),” said Rodriguez, who won the Belmont title and is tied for second in the Aqueduct standings. “He’s got a nice, solid build(thanks to the steroid cycle we put him on), and I thought he was training very good, but there were a couple horses in there I didn’t think he could beat, so I was(n't) surprised he won like that(after we gave him the milkshake).”
It’s All Good… At least that’s what I am telling myself after repeatedly telling my son the same thing following their brutal and shocking 13-7 loss in the Championship Game on Sunday. To hold a desperate lead and lose on the 2nd to last play of the game is something I never experienced. Tough beats in horse racing are one thing, but 12 year-old boys playing football is too far removed from my world to relate to. But the look on those kid’s faces said much. Had it not been my son and his 17 other teammates whom I have grown to love over the last three years, I suppose I would have wandered off by myself to my car and had a little pity-party for myself. It’s good that I couldn’t, because being with him and his boys was something I will never forget. All of the post game wisdom was espoused by coaches and parents and there was much talk about how learning to lose was important, and how the lessons of tough losses will make you better and stronger. I suppose it’s all true, and although I was leading the way with those words of wisdom, the hole in my heart was still there. Perspective can be hard to find sometimes, unfortunately. Afterall, it is only a game, no? At the pizza parlour after the game, watching those boys an hour later, you would swear that it was all forgotten. A speed bump and nothing more. I walked over to Coach and offered to get him a beer. He declined. I observed Coach carefully as the kids ate pizza and drank soda pop, all-the-while cheering the Bears/Viking game on the TV. Coach just stared, and never smiled. I only smiled because I could see the irony of it all, and also because I knew that I was a superior actor. Kids are amazing. They are resilient. I watched my son closely this morning before school, and I even made a special trip to pick him up from school today. He was like he always is. Even tonight, through dinner and afterwards, he went about his business. He showed me his runner-up Super Bowl Trophy which he had carelessly stashed in his equipment bag. We looked it over, and put it on the mantle next to his 2008 Championship Trophy, and we both decided it looked pretty good there. He went to bed an hour ago, and I have been thinking about how well he has been handling this and all. I wondered if he was thinking the same thing about me, and that almost made me cry. It’s hard to know what you think you know, but I do know that it is all good…
A long time ago when I first started following this blog, I asked Laura what she thought of one of my favorite horses, Badge of Silver, as a potential sire. At 10k I thought he would be a bargain as he was a freak at 2 (i think he got a 108 Beyer in his second start), could carry his speed 9 furlongs and ran a nice third in the BC mile in, if I remember correctly, his first try on turf and off a long layoff. I forget exactly what her answer was but I remember it was lukewarm and something about problems with quarter cracks. The first Badge of Silver I ever came across was in a MSW at Saratoga on 8/28. I made a small WP bet because there was some Pletcher horse also entered that was all the buzz named Uncle Mo or something like that. His second time out, my Badge of Silver colt got bet down some and ran a credible fourth. I passed that time, playing the wait-and-see game. Last Saturday I pulled the trigger WPS with the move to a route turf race in his third race. I didn't think much of any of the other runners and thought he came out of the two best races by far, albeit on dirt. Bingo. King Congie paid $88.00 to win, rewarding my faith in his daddy as a possible sire. So, Dan, can you please post the PPs of Badge of Silver.
Virgin Queen I tried to post this from last Wednesday through Friday, but was unable to due to the "posting Issues" at DRF. I was then gone all weekend. Anyway, welcome back! I'm sure glad it seems like you are in full swing. Thank you for passing on Tinky's comments (maybe wisdom?)-we all miss him. I was somewhat upset though at you-last week, as you know, they showed the Final Table at the World Series of Poker. You weren't there. Why not? I thought for sure all that time off from the Blog was meant to give you time to sharpen your game. Hmm. Maybe not. Next year perhaps? Hope you keep the comments coming. TBTA-this also got lost in the non-posting era. My favorite horse name--Izzahorzacorz. It was just a claiming horz, but it was great fun to hear Larry Colmus bark out his name during a race, which he did often, and with great feeling.
p ensign, There is no easy answer. If you ask 8 successful contest players, you'll get...I think you get the point! There is a DRF book on contest play that includes strategies of past NHC winners if you are interested. First of all, you need to adjust your choice of contest as well as your wager selections to the rules of that contest and to your horseplaying strengths. I'm most successful in the WP contests - I'm best at picking single winners. On the other hand, despite entering almost every week since its inception I've only once won HandiGambling - different rules, different results. For WP contests (the standard NHC format), I mostly look for 5/1-15/1 winners. Sometimes my initial selections don't end up meeting that criteria. For example, this past weekend several choices had post-time odds
Blackstone and Mike A, Thanks for your good thoughts. It really helps to know that people I'm not actually acquainted with, care. Although I do feel I 'sort of' know you.
Van Savant , What happened in the kids championship game ? Did I miss the post ?
Mike A , as a first degree blabbermouth I've done it many times. It never happens when I'm by myself but I like to have company sometimes. Like you've said before you just have to shake it off and move on. Maybe we'll get the chance to attend together before one or more of us croaks. I'd be honored if we can ever swing it. I'm sure you have many great stories of your days with your Great Uncle that formblog will never hear. He sounds like a heckuva character and a great horseplayer. I've been taking a break since the BC but Smarty Jones was on a tear this past weekend 12/30 . She's been keeping her eye out for horses on the outside at the Big A that she might want to play. I think she had one or two. She scored pretty good with a Wacky play against Mother Russia. I was watching College Gameday early Saturday morning and Chris Fowler said something like people are enamored with great speed and acceleration, from a cheetah to Zenyatta and then it showed Z swooping past horses on the outside. I don't think I've ever seen a racehorse on a college football show before. LOL.
CurtV , enjoyed your recap of a day at the races with Mike & Mickey. Wish I could have been there. I could probably use some new glasses myself . I used to have the eyes of an eagle and the memory of an elephant. Nowadays its more like the memory of an eagle and the eyes of an elephant. LOL. Shaved the ZZ Top beard in case I run into your goat. I'm sporting a 12" Yosemite Sam womb broom at the moment. Living on a mountain you gotta look the part. Probably be back to a Santa Claus in time for Christmas though. Whackymacky, my sister Smarty Jones cashed in on the Mother Russia Bridgejumpers. When I came in from wetting a line in my local pond (not a trout in sight, crazy Stanford lawyers and their damn mythical red-legged frogs) she told me about it and I told her about how you make a habit of finding those kind. Happy holidays to you and the family. Rev. Al , hope you do well in the championship. All of us Formbloggers will be rooting for you.