01/12/2011 2:54PM

HandiGambling 218 (Gulfstream Turf)

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Today's HandiGambling 218 exercise is the eighth race at Gulfstream Park, an $80,000 optional claimer with a 'n3x' condition at one mile 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.

Let's scratch #12 MS VANENZZA. 

The Temporary Rail on the turf course will be out at 84 feet.

The turf is FIRM.

A perplexing race that has me completely flummoxed.  If you watch the drf.com Race of the Day video, my colleague, Mike Beer, seems equally baffled. 

http://www.drf.com/#rod

My goal, as stated in the video, is to try and beat the two morning line favorites.  #6 TAPITSFLY has not raced since winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in 2009.  She got sick after that race, and then had to have an ankle chip surgically removed.  She obviously fits from a class perspective, but I don't want to take a short price on a horse returing from a long, injury-induced layoff.  I'll let Tapitsfly beat me.

#8 MISS WORLD hasn't won a race since she took the Grade 1 Garden City Stakes over soft going in 2009.  She beat some good horses that afternoon (Shared Account, Keertana), but I didn't like that she was late to change leads in that spot, and have never really been her biggest fan.  Two starts back, she raced in the perfect pocket position, but was outfinished by the even-money favorite, Strike the Bell. 
She should get a good pace scenario and classes up well in this optional claiming condition, but she has a habit of finding one better at the wire.

Usually, when I have negative opinions on the favorites, I feel that I've found an excellent betting opportunity.  Unfortunately, I don't love any of the other horses. 

Here are four "price" runners that may make an impact this afternoon:

I don't think the #2 TRIX IN THE CITY is as good as the 90 Beyer she earned two starts back at Saratoga.  That race was over a speed-favoring course and Trix in the City was able to make the lead in a race of questionable quality (only one of the six horses to come back from that race cracked the trifecta next-out). 
But, I don't think that Trix in the City is as bad as her last race, a heat in which she was lambasted by almost 26 lengths.  That day, she broke through the gate prior to the start, and then left awkwardly when the race did begin.  The Belmont turf course was very soft that afternoon and Trix in the City may not have cared for it. 
She has some tactical speed and may be able to save some ground going into the first turn. 

#4 TREMENDAMENTE LOCA is a stretchout sprinter that may find herself on the front end as she makes her two-turn debut.  Her sire, Offlee Wild, won the Suburban at 10 furlongs, and the dam is a half-sister to Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos.  With that pedigree, it wouldn't be surprising at all if Tremendamente Loca lasts this mile distance.  Although winless from two starts on grass, she did run a solid third in the Grade 2 Raven Run over polytrack two back.  Last time out, on turf, she finished ahead of Dee's Rose, a multiple stakes-winner that returned to win a $50,000 claimer sprinting on the grass at Gulfstream on January 8. 
If they leave Tremendamente Loca alone on the lead, she might make them pay.

#5 GO FOR JAN also makes her two-turn debut.  She's by Distorted Humor, a four-time graded winner between 7 furlongs and one mile.  The unraced dam has already foaled Glint, a Sharp Humor colt that went 2-2 last year at two, including a win in the Fitz Dixon Jr. Memorial going 6 1/2 furlongs at Presque Isle Downs. 
Go For Jan was a rallying third going short at Churchill Downs last time out, but I didn't like the way she flipped back to her wrong lead in late stretch.  The distance is a question.

#1 BARRACKS ROAD may be the horse to beat.  A multiple stakes-winner going a mile on turf (around one turn at Woodbine), Barracks Road just missed in each of her last two appearances on the polytrack.  She ran well in both of those races, but just didn't punch it in when it mattered, and was outfinished by a 40-1 shot when the beaten favorite in the Jammed Lovely Stakes.  She may work out a pocket trip under Javier Castellano, and should appreciate getting back to the grass.  I think she has a big, big chance.

As for the rest. 

#7 PROFITEROLES ran her last quarter-mile in 23.57 when third in the Memories of Silver Stakes at Aqueduct on November 14.  She finished ahead of next-out winner In Perpetuity (80 Beyer in a 'n2x' optional claimer on dirt at Gulfstream) that day, and a quick pace would play right into her hooves.  She's yet another possibility in a wide, wide, wide-open race.

#11 ROMIN ROBIN must avoid a wide trip from the far outside post.  She won two races at this 'n3x' condition over the Arlington turf course, but I didn't love the way she finished when winning on September 12.  She drops out of the hot Cardinal Handicap, a race that produced a pair of next-out stakes-winners (four of the five horses to return from that race came back to crack the trifecta next-out). 

#3 ME LOVE was probably in too steep in the Grade 3 Long Island Handicap, and that 12 furlong distance was likely a bit too far.  Her previous run on grass resulted in a victory at Monmouth, but only one of the six horses to return from that race were able to crack the trifecta next-time out. 

#10 SWEET THERESA, a Group 3 winner at this distance in her native South Africa, was eased two starts back at Kentucky Downs.  She came back to run an even fifth at Churchill Downs, but none of the four horses to return from that race were able to crack the trifecta next-out.  If she runs back to some of the races she put up last Spring/Summer, she has a chance.

#9 MADDIE'S ODYSSEY won four in a row at one point last year, but was handled by Romin Robin in August.  She finished ahead of next-out winner Dancing Rage (74 Beyer in a $16,000 starter allowance on grass at Calder) in her most recent start. 

I have absolutely no idea how I'm going to play this...even for HandiGambling. 

Here's a stab:

$40 Win-Place - Trix in the City (#2)
$20 Win - Barracks Road (#1)

Best of luck to all.