12/30/2010 1:56PM

HandiGambling 216 (FG Off the turf)

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Today's HandiGambling 216 exercise is the seventh race from Fair Grounds, a statebred entry-level allowance for three-year-olds and upward at 1 mile and 70 yards.  This race is OFF 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 main track is FAST.  The race is OFF THE TURF. 

Scratch #2 PERFECT JADE, #4 CAJUN DUST, and #9 OPENING SHOW.

#3 - HUD'S REBEL will be ridden by Corey Lanerie.

#1 ISHEAJET is 1 lb. overweight.

I like three contenders in multi-race wagers. 

The stats indicate that trainer Frank Leggio does better second off the layoff then with horses fresh off the bench.  Over the past year, according to FormulatorWeb numbers, Leggio is 4-34 (12%, $1.12 ROI) with horses making their first start following a 45-day or greater layoff.  Over the same time period, he is 6-27 (22%, $2.35 ROI) with runners going second off said layoff. 
Leggio will send out #12 BUTTER BROWN for his second start of the form cycle in today's HandiGambling event.  The gray gelding ran well in his first race since August as he was bumped ever so slightly after the break, saved ground throughout, and galloped out past the winner after falling short by a head in the six-furlong event. 
Of the six runners to return from that December 3 race at the Fair Grounds, four came back to crack the exacta including fifth-place finisher Teche, who won a $25,000 claimer on the grass with a 65 Beyer Speed Figure. 
Entered for Main Track Only, Butter Brown's lone career win came over a track with moisture in it, and he should get some speed to stalk from his outside post position. 
The major question is the distance.  Butter Brown's three previous route races weren't very good, and it's possible that he's a sprinter at heart.  Still, Butter Brown seems to be in career form, and his dam was a stakes-winner at 1 1/16 miles. 

#10 LEESTOWNS FINALE also will attempt to successfully stretch out in distance in the second start following a layoff line.  In his most recent effort, he pressed the favored winner's pace throughout, but that was a conditioned claimer, and he'll have to face winners of multiple races in this allowance.  Note that the fifth-place finisher from the December 16 race returned to place third with a 75 Beyer in a $10,000 'n2L' claimer.
Leestown Finale, stakes-placed at one mile on grass, has good numbers on the main track, and shouldn't be too far off the pace as the field straightens for the backstretch run.  Like the top pick, Leestown Finale is lightly-raced, and may have some upside.

#3 HUD'S REBEL was jockey Miguel Mena's second call behind MTO Ryno's Homerun so Corey Lanerie will accept the riding assignment.  A sprint winner of a maiden race at Louisiana Downs on August 22, Hud's Rebel has yet to gain ground from the stretch call to the wire in his three races against winners.  He'll go third off the layoff after making a premature midrace move on grass on December 2, and a repeat of his runner-up performance going a mile at Delta Downs two back would put him in the mix. 
Hud's Rebel has some tactical speed, and should save valuable ground going into the first turn. He should be prominent when the field swings into the stretch. 

As for the others,

#1 ISHEAJET may be better on the grass.  His only lifetime start on dirt came going short in his career debut, and he didn't do much running.  Solid and capable on grass, Isheajet is a one-run closer that will likely be at the mercy of race and pace luck this afternoon.

#5 GINORMOUS' only lifetime win came in a $5,000 statebred maiden claimer, but that race was around two turns on the main track, and he's been racing in good form on the grass.  He's yet another runner going second off the bench this afternoon, but he likes to come from off the pace, and will need things to fall his way if he's going to run them all down under hot-riding Rosie Napravnik.

#6 SCATINEASYCAT returns to his favorite surface (won twice around two turns here last meet, including an off-the-turf race), but he's only started once since mid-June.  He exits a good open allowance race at Delta Downs (five of the six runners hit the board next-out including 'n2L' winner Mauriceville, 79 Beyer), and may benefit by dropping back in with statebreds. 
Like Isheajet and Ginormous, Scatineasycat likes to rally from well off the pace, and will need strong fractions to help his cause.

#7 DIXIE DOT RUN steps up following a maiden victory at Delta Downs, but doesn't show a published move in the last 42 days.  Only one of the six runners from that race returned to hit the board next-out, and that horse, ninth-place finisher Garcia's Letter, needed $12,500 maiden claimers to graduate.  This barn has sent out some live runners at the meet, however, and Dixie Dot Run has the tactical speed to be close to the pace.

#8 CONNER CAN overcame a less-than-ideal trip to run down conditioned claimers at this distance 25 days ago.  Half of the six runners to return from that race came back to crack the board next-out including third-place finisher Regal Soul (won $7,500 claimer by seven lengths with a 75 Beyer).  Another late-runner, Conner Can is in form.

#11 RYNO'S HOMERUN gets in from the Main Track Only list, is Miguel Mena's first call, and is the most prolific winner in the field.  He just handled $5,000 statebred claimers on December 2, but there's an interesting negative stat concerning trainer Wesley Hawley.  Hawley, a 21% trainer in 2010, is 0 for his last 41 with horses coming off a win. 
Nonetheless, Ryno's Homerun should be in a nice stalking spot going into the first turn, and we know he handles the distance.

An interesting race. 

I'll use the top three in multis.

For HandiGambling, I'll play it like this:

$50 Exacta:  Butter Brown - Leestown Finale (12-10)
$50 Exacta:  Butter Brown - Hud's Rebel (12-3)

Best of luck to all.