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HandiGambling 217 (Gulfstream)
Today's HandiGambling 217 exercise is the eighth race at Gulfstream Park, an entry-level allowance for three-year-olds at one mile.
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.
Let's scratch #3 WILDCAT FORMATION.
The main track is listed as FAST.
A wide-open allowance race goes as today's feature at Gulfstream. I had trouble separating four strong contenders in this race. As such, the only "cash" I'll invest will be on the HandiGambling side of things.
#1 BLACK N BEAUTY, a $2,500 yearling, is out of a half-sister to Grade 3 turf winner Dynamite Lass (winner of The Very One Handicap at 1 7/16 miles). He is bred to handle extra distance and may work out a good pace-tracking, ground-saving trip under Kent Desormeaux. Two starts back, Black N Beauty finished a half-length behind Brethren, who returned to defeat #10 EL GRAYLING in an entry-level allowance race at Churchill Downs on November 27. In his most recent appearance, Black N Beauty defeated maidens at Churchill, and was flattered when the third-place finisher came back to graduate at Turfway Park with an 81 Beyer Speed Figure. It's nice to see a pair of recent five-furlong workouts leading up to this race.
#10 EL GRAYLING won his maiden at this distance over grass, and finished ahead of next-out winner Justin Phillip (76 Beyer in optional claimer at Fair Grounds) in his dirt debut last time out. In that race, El Grayling was four wide most of the way, but I didn't like that he flipped back to his wrong lead in midstretch. He draws a good attack post position, and should be close to the early leaders while racing in the clear. The $140,000 yearling is out of stakes-placed turf rouer Smokey Diplomacy.
After winning his debut at 5 1/2 furlongs at Monmouth, #4 PRINTING PRESS has failed to gain ground from the stretch call to the wire in three races against winners. Freshened since finishing third in the $70,000 Seton Hall University Stakes at Monmouth in October, Printing Press may appreciate cutting back to a one-turn mile. He has worked swiftly over this surface in recent weeks, and the barn has excellent numbers with runners returning from a 61-180 day layoff (5-14, 36%, $2.92 ROI over the past year). I did think that Printing Press raced on the better part (outside) of the Monmouth surface on October 23. A $17,000 yearling that went for $80,000 at two, Printing Press is out of a half-sister to Peter Pan winner Jamies First Punch.
#9 SHADOW WARRIOR has a beautiful pedigree as a son of A.P. Indy out of Test winner Victory Ride, and he's a half-brother to Grade 2-placed sprinter Magical Ride. A $290,000 buyback as a yearling, Shadow Warrior graduated at this distance last time out at Churchill Downs. Of the four horses to return from that race, three of them cracked the trifecta next-out. Shadow Warrior, like El Grayling, has good tactical speed, and a nice attack post. He wouldn't be a surprise in the slightest.
As for the rest:
#2 MADNESS N' MAYHEM is the only two-time winner in the field as he took a conditioned claiming race last time out around two turns at Calder. A homebred out of a half to Grade 2 winner Supah Blitz, Madness n' Mayhem gets the acid test stepping up in class. Of the five horses to return from that $32,000 'n2L' claimer at Calder on November 20, only one cracked the trifecta next-out.
#5 FIGHTINGFORFREEDOM moved forward with the addition of blinkers last time out, and could be a forward factor in his first start against winners. It's nice to see him back on fairly short notice, but the $17,000 juvenile ($3,700 RNA as yearling) takes a pretty hefty class hike. The fourth-place finisher on December 22 returned to run third in a $32,000 maiden claimer on New Year's Eve.
#6 VODE DEL LEONE did little wrong in two starts at two in the Mid-Atlantic region. A homebred out of multiple stakes-winner Hear Us Roar (Maryland Million Lassie, Selima Stakes), Voce Del Leone steps up off a maiden score at Delaware on November 6. The only horse to race back from that event, fifth-finisher Ruby Road, ran third in a maiden claimer at Tampa Bay on December 22.
#7 DR. TOM G ran into a good two-year-old in To Honor and Serve in his first two starts of 2010 before being switched to the turf course for his maiden-breaker at Belmont on October 24. A colt with tactical speed, Dr. Tom G has worked swiftly at Gulfstream for the hot Zito barn and the distance won't be a problem. The question this $130,000 juvenile (up from $30,000 yearling) must answer is if he is as good on dirt as he appears to be on the grass. The dam is a half-sister to American Cash, a stakes-winning dirt router in Western Canada. Of the four horses to run back from Dr. Tom G's maiden score, one returned to crack the trifecta next-out.
#8 HAMMOCK BEACH was purchased privately and sent to Pletcher after a runaway debut win at Canterbury Park, but he was dismissed at long odds in his first start against winners at Churchill, and only finished an even sixth. The last-place finisher of that race, Winchell, returned to win at Churchill witha an 80 Beyer, and is entered in Saturday's Spectacular Bid Stakes at Gulfstream. A $10,000 yearling ($17,000 RNA as a short yearling, $35,000 RNA at two), Hammock Beach is out of Grade 2-placed sprinter Miss Maggie.
Here's how I'll play HandiGambling:
$40 Exacta: Black N Beauty - El Grayling (1-10)
$40 Exacta: Black N Beauty - Printing Pres (1-4)
$20 Excata: Black N Beauty - Shadow Warrior (1-9)
Best of luck to all.
C I happen to agree with most everything you said about Russell Baze. Really, I do. However, for factual background Baze has never, and I mean never, moved his tack to GP or anywhere east of the West Coast. Once in a while he will follow a horse east for a race or two (Lost In The Fog is one of many examples), but that's it. Perhaps you meant when he moved to So Cal for three or four years back in the mid to late eighties? Where he ranks among the all time greatest has nothing to do, of course, with whether or not to bet him, which is the real question that should be addressed.
Mike A (and anyone else) I have not looked at any of the races for tomorrow (Sat.), but there are a couple of interesting turf races at Gulfstream Park on Sunday - R8 the G3 Ft Lauderdale and R9 the G3 Marshua's River. I would be most interested in your thoughts if you happen to take a look at these which I figured you probably would. In the Ft Lauderdale I see your namesake, Little Mike, is taking a significant class jump after winning 4 of his first 5 turf races and finishing 2nd in the other. Looks like a speedy type. I'm sure Battle of Hastings and Get Stormy will be favored and will take a lot of action. Of the others, there are 2 I am looking at - one is #8 Souper Spectacular and the other is #5 Blues Street. All of S S's turf races have been decent and I think he still might have some upside. Don't know what happened to Blues Street in that last one, but if he runs back to the previous 5, he should be in the mix. They've given him some time off and he has run well fresh in the past. I haven't spent much time on the Marshua's River, but at first glance I am liking #2 Never Retreat. She has been very consistent and seems to be in good form. This looks to be a pretty evenly matched group, however. I actually like Quebrada Shiner as a long shot possibility, but this is quite a step up for her. What'cha think ??? Dick W
Rocinante , sorry no cigar . LOL. This ain't as old as the hills and you've never heard or read about it,but nice try keep looking. VQ, the 12% is how much you have to make minimum over any lengthy stretch. Its not gambling , its not handicapping. Its picking money off the ground or trees. Thats why most wouldn't like it . No risk . Most players have a bad case of RISK-LOVE. P.ensign , Yes the jock is hot . He rode a biggie yesterday. I didn't bet that race. I had it in my mind what you said to Blackstone when I saw that.
CurtV , I'm sorry I stayed up real late watching some craZy show called Alaska gold rush . I just got up its 8:30 here . I don't know if you'll get any from me today if you leave in 1/2 hour. I'll try to get something up if I can . Regardless go garden boy . LOL. P.Ensign , I knew you would
Annie, Don't keep talking about Beyer...Remember, he's an idiot ? LOL..Let's keep the best Beyer between me & you. Okay ? It'll be our little secret......
PH Races I have no shot in the current Contest due to missing too many races. But I haven't made a wager of any kind for three weeks so am taking the whole plunge today : GP 5th-#1-Royal Straight-Long-time fan of Jerkens. Race sets up for him with tons of early speed. Hoping the horse improves one more time. #11-Liston might be ready to rock off the layoff-won at first asking, but his last two races were terrible-will take a wait and see approach. GP 7th-#3-Grande Shores-Stakes placed runner only needs to improve a little-always right there. Strong ROI on “Won Last Start” at $3.77 (41% wins). Worried about the Gangster-seen Ward wire these kind of fields a million times. Box them. GP 8th-#6-Jimmy Simms-Looks like lone speed. If so, maybe long gone. Like Rogue Victory some, too. Is he related to my MKB horse (Rogue Romance)? GP 10th-Here you go BSB-N3L. Strict ROI play on #4-Rainbows Arch. Route/Sprint-31% and $4.53. Too good to pass up. The strongest play, to me, is Jimmy Simms at 8-1. Lone speed and 5-7 at the distance. Love this kind of play. Good luck to all of you today.
GGF 3rd Race I've mentioned before that certain sprints at GGF have enough entrants who have all run the same distance many times: so much so that you can ignore everything else and just concentrate on the old fashioned speed ratings and find some value. Here are some of the speed ratings: #1-Can't Topper (4-1) 90-80 #2-Flying Gwen (2-1) 86-86-83 #3 -Whispering Dixie (10-1) 87-88 #4-Wavy Lass (5-2) 82-85-86-88 #5-Victorious Love (9-2) 82-86-88 #6-Lit de Bet (6-1) 82-81 The play, for value reasons, must be Whispering Dixie at 10-1. Best of all, I think the odds will hold up due to the apparently weak connections. I absolutely love these kind of races. I will bet Whispering large (ATB) with the full understanding that she could finish first or last, and that the race will probably end up with a blanket finish between any number of these.
Annie, Liebchen, Re your query as to my ID. Tho I am not your Dr. D, I am indeed a doctor, albeit no longer in the field..... called it quits after that unfortunate incident in the early 90's.....If you've been to the Left Coast you may have heard of me...???....West Hollywood??..... Circa 1980 ??....Dr. Leo Tard...Proctologist To The Stars??....Remember now? Cruelly, to many jealous colleagues and ungrateful patients I became known as Dr. Turd. Aufwiedersen
More On Baze and Couton There is some live action at GGF today that may spur the discussion p ensign, blackseabass, and I have been having on the relative merits of betting on Baze or Julien Couton. Today's 6th race at GGF-an otherwise lousy $4,000N2L (I know you sometimes like these, BSB) at 1 and 1/16th miles. Baze is on #6-Director's Cut at 5-1, while Couton is on #12-Mo Steam at 6-1. A couple of quick points-the 5-1 on Baze will never hold (IMO), while the 6-1 on Couton will hold. The horses have eight and nine, respectively, lifetime starts, so they are not necessairly lifetime losers. While neither horse looks best on paper, both have a real chance. Baze is riding for Tony Diaz (an underrated trainer, especially in routes), for whom he is five for seven. Couton is riding for Sherrie Monroe. The #12 post should not hurt Mo Steam much-Couton will tuck him in behind everyone else at the beginning and try to make one furious run at the end. I will actually be at the OTB when the race goes off, so I will get to see the odds on both. At the moment, I will play Mo Steam ATB, and box him to Baze (in unequal amounts). If the odds on Baze stay anywhere near the M/L, then I may play both horses in addition to the exacta. Ok BSB and p ensign, what say you?
C I don't mean to beat it to death, but you are wrong about Baze going to GP for the winter. Why would he, given both the weather in Nor Cal and his dominance here. He's perfectly happy making $500,000 per year or so where he is. I do understand, though, and completely agree with you, your central point about his success being a direct result of where he rides-GGF and Bay Meadows, and even most of the fairs in the summer. Adding to that: the Isaac Murphy award has been around for sixteen years. It is given to the jockey with the highest winning percentage each year throughout the country: Baze just won it for the fifteenth time. Here is my wish for Russell: that he gets a live mount or two in any of the Triple Crown or Breeders Cup races. I'm quite certain that his biggest regret in staying in Nor Cal is that he never gets a true shot at any of those (Lost In The Fog being the one exception, and he ran poorly, of course) races.