02/18/2011 5:10PM

HandiGambling 221 (Santa Anita Optional Claimer)


Today's HandiGambling 221 exercise is the seventh race at Santa Anita, a $62,500 optional claimer with a 'n2x' condition 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.

As of this writing, the track condition is FAST.

#4 CHURCH CAMP is 1 lb. overweight. 

I found it hard to separate my top contenders so I'll search for a price among them.  #7 PATRIOTIC VIVA won the Serena's Song Stakes going two turns on dirt at Monmouth last summer, and was only beaten a head when finishing ahead of next-out stakes-winner Don'tgetsuspicious at six furlongs in her last start back East. 
If you want to look for excuses for her last two races, let's mention that she raced on synthetics at Hollywood off a short layoff on November 26 before being completely overmatched in the Grade 1 La Brea last time out. 
It's heartening that high-percentage rider Rafael Bejarano accepts the mount and Patriotic Viva may work out a good trip stalking the speeds. 

Several of the main contenders exit a similar spot here on January 20.  While it wouldn't be surprising if any of the three win it, I just didn't love that race.  #4 CHURCH CAMP finished second that afternoon in her first start of the form cycle and the recent bullet workout allays fears of a bounce.  She has excellent tactical speed and shouldn't be too far away when the real running begins.

#2 CRISIS OF SPIRIT was the beaten favorite on January 20, her first start since October, and she didn't have a very good trip.  The winner of the Anoakia Stakes at six furlongs as a juvenile filly, Crisis of Spirit figures to run another bang-up race in her second start back. 

#5 SUPERMODEL rallied for fourth behind Church Camp and Supermodel, but the lightly-raced six-year-old mare has had some physical problems throughout her career, and she has a penchant for breaking poorly.  She may run late, but hasn't won a race since 2009. 

#9 LEA THE PUNISHER won her last start going two turns, but she was all-out to prevail, didn't gallop out all that well, and it could be argued that she wasn't best (third-place finisher Gumption had a horrible trip).  Although she's run some good races sprinting, she seems like a grinder, and it will be interesting to see if she has the turn of foot to stay with these going into the turn. 

#1 SARASOTA SUNSHINE finished 23rd when overmatched in a rich handicap in England on September 25.  It's probably better to rank her on her victory over good to firm turf two starts back.  Classwise, she fits at this level, and it's interesting to note that she is 3-4 in left-handed sprints (albeit over polytrack) overseas. 
Sarasota Sunshine sold for 85,000 guineas last October at Tattersalls and will add Lasix for the first-time for high-percentage trainer Mike Mitchell.  Some European runners are prone to slow starts, however, and it will be interesting to see how Sarasota Sunshine copes with the inside post coming out of the chute.

#6 STOCKINGS has won two of her last three starts, but she will take a substantial step up in class this afternoon.  Note that none of the five horses she beat on March 10 returned to crack the trifecta next-out, and she has been away for a long time. 

#3 SWEET SOPHIA  has faced good company on grass, but she has only raced once since June 23, and has never run on dirt.  While she worked a bullet five-eighths on February 6, her most recent drill matches up with Gary Mandella's three-year-old gelding Sea and Sail (15 Beyer Speed Figure in lone career start on dirt). 
Sweet Sophia has a nice pedigree as a half to Grade 3 route winner Fight for Ally and stakes-winner Colonial Glitter, but there are questions she has to answer.

Here's my HG play:


Best of luck to all.

sherpa More than 1 year ago
Annie - I felt bad for posting my inane comment about DM in the previous thread, which showed up in the middle of HG221 wagers. THEN I went off and watched the Dan & Mike videos and almost had a heart attack when they both picked my horse in the Risen Star! The PRESSURE! LOL jim tully - I wouldn't call it 'sentimentality' ... it's someone giving you a rough rock and chipping away at it until you find the pure gold inside. I hadn't even noticed Decisive Moment until Annie picked #71 out of the Magic Kleenex Box and it's been a lot of fun watching replays of all his races, enjoying his progress and minutely dissecting his pedigree. It's been a challenge, and fun. Almost as good as breaking 70, you might say. ;-)
John N. More than 1 year ago
All, I'm usually a post-time decision maker, but I'll take a shot at the 11th at FG today. Thinking that #10 Grind, trained by Bret Calhoun, with blinks on and Napravnik up has the best shot at the win. ML is 4-1, and that might hold as there are others that will take money. Also, expecting #4 Dynamaker, ML 12-1, to crack the trifecta. Best of luck to all,
baltimore_brian More than 1 year ago
****HG 221 Results**** First Place: HG 221 goes to Steel. He had a $30 exacta for a total of $1,425. 2nd Place (tie): $100 WIN wagers were sent in by Ned Daly and mpm101. They both cashed for $570. Steel - congratulations on your winning score. You are responsible for choosing next week's HG race. Please choose a race on Wednesday (2/23) or Thursday (2/24). Otherwise, Dan would have to find another fill-in scorekeeper. He's already got enough on his plate, and doesn't need the additional hassle. To all - good luck at the races this weekend. b_b
mpm101 More than 1 year ago
Balt Brian I appreciate the extra money but believe I only had $50 to win and also a $25 ex box with the 2 mpm101
Steel More than 1 year ago
Thanks Brian, I appreciate you letting me know the results, I was happy to see it. Was worried the 4 wasn't going to hold on! As for the Handigambling's next race, I choose the 8th race at Gulfstream on Wednesday, looks like a good betting race on the turf. I guess this is a question for Dan, but regarding the free pp's which is great and I thank you in advance for offering that as a prize, do you need any info like my account username? thanks and good luck to everyone. -Steel
baltimore_brian More than 1 year ago
****HG 221 Results**** First Place: HG 221 goes to Steel. He had a $30 exacta for a total of $1,425. 2nd Place (tie): $100 WIN wagers were sent in by Ned Daly and mpm101. They both cashed for $570. Steel - congratulation on your winning score. You are responsible for choosing next week's HG race. Please choose a race on Wednesday (2/23) or Thursday (2/24). Otherwise, Dan would have to find another fill-in scorekeeper. He's already got enough on his plate, and doesn't need the additional hassle. To all - good luck at the races this weekend. b_b
Ron Zuercher More than 1 year ago
Ned Daly, So, walking around man, how does it feel to beat up on about 150 Handigamblers? Good pick, better bet than all but one. You too Steel, good job, but we'll chalk that one up to beginners ' luck! mpm101 included. Hope you all had a little on it other than virtual reality.
chicago gerry More than 1 year ago
Saturday February 19th GP Race 1 Cat Weasel Race 2 Dance Floor Maniac Race 3 Miss Kitten Race 4 Pray For Action Race 5 Sierra Alphie Race 6 Crushing Race 7 Rena Race 8 Straight Line Rcae 9 Awesome Maria Race 10 Simmard Race 11 Gold Trader FG Race 8 Mission Implazible Race 9 Working For Hops Race 10 Mucho Macho Man Hawthorne Race 7 Massecuite Race 8 Dan For Paco Race 9 City Rap Tampa Bay Race 8 Silver Timber
PGM More than 1 year ago
And now, Point and Laugh Productions presents some picks and ponderings from PGM, along with his deranged alter ego, Dr. Dangerously. We at Point and Laugh Productions apologize to Uncle Steve, the creator of the format, as we adapt it to pick among a card at Fair Grounds. We would have played Hawthorne, but the medicine cabinet is empty. (A shout out to Dylbert, attending this card live. Use or discard any of these as you see fit.) Fair Grounds - - Saturday February 19 - - “Risen Star Day” Race 5, (Listed) Pan Zareta S. WILD ABOUT MARIE, BEAUTICIAN, SIMPLIFY DrD: EAGLE PUTT Race 7, Grade 3 Rachel Alexandra S. KATHMANBLU is a deserving favorite in this spot, winning a listed stakes on grass to start her year and further validating her third in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf. She's won a G2 on dirt, too. Trainer McPeek is 20% when turning two in a row. INGLORIOUS ships in from Canada, winning both at 6 ½ furlongs and at 1 1/16 miles in a pair of Ontario-bred stakes. Lures Chantal Sutherland from Southern California for the mount, and gets first time dirt. Has worked smartly over the local strip. BOUQUET BOOTH won the “prep”, the G3 Silverbulletday on this same course last out. Trainer Margolis is having a super meet (33% winners) and the J/T team is hitting at a flammable 55% rate. KATHMANBLU (6/5) INGLORIOUS (5/1) BOUQUET BOOTH (7/2) Dr. Dangerously: No amount of Mardi Gras beads can lure me to pick something here. Race 8, Grade 3 Mineshaft H. After getting thrown to the wolves in the Clark Handicap, APART returned last month in the Louisiana Handicap, losing to Recapturetheglory. I won't hold the loss against his head as the winner is a decent router who was well within his level of minor stakes and upper level allowances around two turns on dirt. So why endorse APART in a Grade Three? He's getting second off the layoff, Stall is 23% at the meet, and the projected pace may be warm enough to set him up. DEMARCATION spent most of last year chasing bigger and better horses (Redding Colliery, Blame, General Quarters) on a barnstorming tour. Now at FG, he'll benefit if the pace, on paper, is as warm as advertised. Trainer is 22% off short layoffs. MISSION IMPAZIBLE returns to the scene of his last and biggest win in the G2 Louisiana Derby. Came back in his first start in a two-other-allowance, finishing second to Caixa Electronica, who recently was third in a G2 at Gulfstream. APART (2/1) DEMARCATION (7/2) MISSION IMPAZIBLE (3/1) Dr. Dangerously: COUNTRY FLAVOR (6/1) is, on paper, the only horse in the race not at the mercy of the pace. While on paper this race smells like a cookout, he can steal it on the front end should the pace duel not materialize. Note that he won two back, coming from off the pace, against fellow entrant Z Humor and Dubious Miss, who goes a race later in the FG H. (Note this is a coupled entry special, with FAST ALEX along for the ride.) Should be a square price. Race 9, Grade 3 Fair Grounds H. I mentioned WORKIN FOR HOPS before as a more deserving candidate for Illinois Horse of the Year, as he danced most of the spring/summer 3 y/o turf dances, earned $400K, and was in the same zip code as Paddy O' Prado. I think the Kent Stakes last fall took the starch out of him, and he returns—he has won fresh before—also with an upgrade to Napravnik. GRAN ESTRENO continues to mimic Cher on the freighter, minus the lingerie: turning back time. And winning. The other half of an uncoupled Stidham entry hasn't had a bad race since a boneheaded M. Baze ride at Keeneland last fall and won the prep for this event last month. DUBIOUS MISS retains the hot Lanerie in the irons, and was wide when turning for home in this race's prep, the G3 Col. Bradley. He does have a win, in G3 company, at this distance. Should get first crack at the leaders and has two seconds in both tries on this course. WORKIN FOR HOPS (9/2) GRAN ESTRENO (5/1) DUBIOUS MISS (8/1) Dr. Dangerously: Suppose Workin For Hops needs one. And Gran Estreno's G3 wins have been cream puffs. Dubious Miss? Yes, if this were on the kitty litter. Try SLEEPLESS KNIGHT (8/1) for Breen and Bravo. Goes second off the layoff and beat a decent field in an N3X allowance at Gulfstream. Like the work pattern as well. Race 10, Grade 2 Risen Star S. Time for the feature of the day for the sophomores. ROGUE ROMANCE's third in the BC Juvenile is the best moment of the career, but Uncle Mo and Boys at Toscanova were the best two that day. What woos me more is his effort two back at Keeneland, where he closed well to take a G3 on the grass. Given the projected pace he seems like a good bet, but it's possible he could need one and possible that he won't be fully cranked. MACHEN has yet to lose in his two career starts, the latter coming around two turns. Today's 1 1/16 mile event is the acid test. The Beyer Figures regressed sharply but the SR/TV figures and BRIS figures showed less deviation. MUCHO MACHO MAN has battled with top sophomores Dialed In, To Honor and Serve, and Gourmet Dinner in recent starts. Neither of those three are here in New Orleans. With a better break and going back to two turns he has a good chance. However, please note that Rajiv Maragh replaces Eibar Coa in the irons tomorrow on him. ROGUE ROMANCE (3/1) MACHEN (6/1) MUCHO MACHO MAN (4/1) Dr. Dangerously: Where did the dunderhead learn to handicap, Waffle House? Take a look at ACTION READY (12/1). Brought to you by the Calhoun/Napravnik team, who are 8-10 ITM at Fair Grounds. And this runner got an awful trip in the Lecomte. He's also a wire-to-winner on the front speed-sucking turf course. Lastly, he ran a bullet work on the 12th of February. Lock and load.
Alan More than 1 year ago
PGM, Thanks! I guess slots is evening out the playing field nationwide. On the other hand, the lack of slots has for the most part destroyed Maryland racing and breeding. I'll be interested to see how successful Alaazo is as a sire...particularly if he gets bred to any semi-decent mares. How good can horses with great genes/pedigree (debatable for Alaazo, but that's not my point) yet disappointing careers, particularly due to an injury, be as sires? I wonder how successful $16mil The Green Monkey will be as a sire? http://www.hartleyderenzo.com/stallions/the-green-monkey.html I had a just awful ~$250 attempt at the GP P5 yesterday... Once again, life trumps horseplaying. I've been looking forward to watching the Risen Star ever since Machen/Maachen showed up at the Fairgrounds. Guess who's instead gonna be at a friend's party this afternoon/evening? Grrrr........
Laura More than 1 year ago
I'm headed to the Tiki Hut at Gulfstream Park tomorrow! I expect to be there around noon with some friends. If anybody will be at GP, let me know and we can meet up. Email me at lross@ironmaidensthoroughbreds.com. If you get there early (noon), we can head over to the backstretch and meet some PGH and other horsies! Bring mints! **** Kudos to Association of Racing Commissioners International President Ed Martin for requesting Rick Dutrow's training license to be reviewed and revoked. It's time to get tough on the cheaters in the industry. Biacone should never have been allowed to regain his license. Out in CA, Mitchell should be next, and there are a few in FL that need to be gone too. All racing jurisdictions should have a rule on the books that if a trainer has "X" suspensions and/or fines for drugging his horses, than that trainer will have his/her license revoked. Not only woud it clean up the sport to some extent, but make racing safer for the horses and jocks. Ok, I'll wake up now. But it was a nice dream. Laura
-Keelerman More than 1 year ago
Annie; Thanks for your reply! I shall try my luck at next week's contest. -Keelerman
Annie More than 1 year ago
Swede, I don't know why BROCK is just working and not racing. Maybe when you pay $2,300,000 for a horse, you're afraid to put them on the track in a race for fear he might get hurt. LOL Actually, he has been working steadily, and being that the last two workouts were at 6F, he may be ready soon to actually race. :) He is a May foal and perhaps needed more time to develop. They apparently erred last year when they paid $2.3 Mill for him in Feb. and raced him in Aug. at the age of two when he obviously wasn't ready yet. His one race was not very good, although he was well-bet. Probably because of that gigantic price. Anyway, they probably wisely took it slower after that. But with two 6F works after all those shorter works, I would think he would race soon. Good luck! Annie
Turnbackthealarm More than 1 year ago
Sometimes the consequences for getting fired from your job are pretty drastic: http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/61367/high-fly-pensioned-then-gelded Seriously, Mrs. Weber has done right by this horse. He earned over $900,000 and will have a happy carefree life. In a sport where too many people do not take responsibility for the animals they breed or race, this is a good example of responsible ownership. Those who do right should be applauded and recognized.