02/23/2011 2:53PM

HandiGambling 222 (Gulfstream Turf)


Today's HandiGambling 222 exercise is the eighth race at Gulfstream, an entry-level allowance 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 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 turf is FIRM and the Rail is out at 84 feet.

There is a jockey change for #6 MINER'S TUNE.  Make the jockey Edgar Prado.

There is a little of everything in this race, but I'm not sure if there is a ton of quality.  When I handicapped it, one word kept coming to mind.


But, I'm game if you are so let's get 'cappin.

#2 COSSET looks like a money-burner, but I'm inclined to give the Juddmonte filly one final chance as she makes the third start of the form cycle.  She won her maiden at Belmont when she rallied into quick fractions, and a similar scenario may present itself again this afternoon with CLASSICAL FASHION, KELLY'S PIC, MINER'S TUNE, and DAD'S CRAZY as possible frontrunners.  I like her inside post and Kent Desormeaux may work out a good pace-tracking, ground-saving trip going into the first turn.  Cosset doesn't seem like the gamest animal in the world so things are going to have to fall into place for her to win this.  Then again, the same may be said for most of these.

#9 SUROOF is a fascinating case.  A $325,000 yearling purchase by Shadwell Stable, she won her maiden in her most recent start, but was put through the auction ring in January as a "Racing or Broodmare Prospect," and only fetched $85,000.  Suroof seems to have good tactical speed and Marty Wolfson is a high-percentage trainer, but this filly only shows a pair of workouts since the auction.  Only one of the seven horses to run back from her maiden win were able to crack the trifecta next-out (sixth-finisher Trail Magic graduated on dirt at Laurel with a 72 Beyer).  Suroof is one of the keys to this race because we're not sure what we're going to get with her.  If she runs back to her maiden win, she has a big chance.  If she's a short horse off the layoff, she may be an underlay.  I love this game.

#3 KELLY'S PIC blew a clear lead last time out going slightly longer and may appreciate turning back to this mile distance.  She won here last year and is one of only three multiple winners in the field.  It would be nice if there weren't other speeds to keep her company, but Kelly's Pic is pretty fast.  She could be tough if the others allow her to relax on the front end, but she hasn't gained ground from the stretch call to the wire in her last five races.  Note that none of the seven horses to return from that January 20 race at Gulfstream came back to hit the board next-out.

#1 CLASSICAL FASHION, like Kelly's Pic, is a multiple winner with speed, but she was listed as a vet scratch at Tampa Bay Downs on February 8.  A two-time winner over this course last year, she figures to be contesting the early pace, but has only run once since May, and her fitness level is somewhat of a concern.  Only one of the six horses that she ran against on January 14 returned to hit the board (sixth-finisher No Acronyms won a $16,000 claimer on turf at Tampa Bay with a 74 Beyer).  Classical Fashion blew a clear lead that day, and may have to go faster in the early stages this afternoon. 

#7 STORM SHOWERS has pedigree and potential, but hasn't been out since a tough-trip fourth in her first start against winners at Saratoga (the runner-up in that race returned to place third in the $70,000 Riskaverse Stakes).  By Storm Cat out of a Grade 3-winning half-sister to A.P. Indy and Summer Squall, Storm Showers should benefit from the expected hot pace.  She's been working steadily since January 6 for Shug McGaughey, a trainer that is 5-26 (19%, $2.53 ROI) with horses returning from similar layoffs on turf.  McGaughey runners tend to improve with maturity so this one wouldn't be a surprise.

#5 BA BA'S BUNCH has won two of her last three starts since returning from a long, long layoff.  She got away with an easy lead en route to a conditioned claiming victory last time out, but is proven from off the pace, and will likely attempt rating tactics today.  The eighth-place finisher on January 30 returned to win a $30,000 'N2L' claimer with a 72 Beyer.  Ba Ba's Bunch is improving, but will get a class test here.

#10 OH SO NICE was away from July 8, 2009 to October 15, 2010, raced twice thereafter, and was listed as a vet scratch at Gulfstream on January 27.  She doesn't show a published workout in the last 30 days, and is 0-3 on turf.  She exits a key race in which she finished ahead of Ba Ba's Bunch, but there are some fitness worries she needs to address.

#8 GOLDEN GALLEON, a $250,000 daughter of Medaglia d'Oro, hasn't raced since March, and was listed as a vet scratch on January 27.  Four days later, she worked on turf for Todd Pletcher in the same time as the barn's four-year-old colt Estimate, who returned to finish sixth in an entry-level allowance here on February 17 with a 75 Beyer.  This will be her first start on turf and the dam was a Grade 3 winner on both dirt and grass.  She faced good company here on dirt last year, but the long layoff is a concern.

#11 BLUE ANGEL, like Suroof, is one of the keys to this race.  If she runs back to most of her starts in Europe, she'll probably win this, but she is 0-12 on grass, has lost 12 straight races, breaks from a tough outside post, and has never raced around a left-handed course.  She sold for 70,000 Irish guineas on October 27, 2010, and you can toss her most recent start against Group 2 competition.  Two starts back she finished second in a listed stake to Rainfall, who returned to run third in a Group 1.  Trainer Christophe Clement is 14-57 (25%, $2.49 ROI) over the past five years with foreign shippers adding Lasix for the first time on turf.  Blue Angel is the horse to beat.  There are questions, however, and she may not offer a great amount of value.

#4 LADY JADANA got up to win by a nose against maidens here on January 14 for high-percentage trainer Wayne Catalano, and the nicely-bred filly has some upside potential.  Only two horses have come back from that race and one of them, 10th-finisher Grammy's Queen, returned to graduate in an $8,000 maiden claimer on dirt at Tampa Bay with a 51 Beyer.  Lady Jadana should get a nice pace setup.  The question is whether she's this good right now.

#12 DAD'S CRAZY won the off-the-turf Miss Grillo Stakes a a maiden in 2009, then went on the shelf for a year.  She has good early speed, but hasn't shown the same spark that she did when beating Tapitsfly as a juvenile filly.  She breaks from the far outside, and could be forced wide going into the initial turn with other speeds entered to her inside. 

#6 MINER'S TUNE could also be part of the pace picture as she stretches out following a five-furlong prep run on January 30.  She won over this course and trip here last year, but hasn't made much of an impression since. 

Here goes nothing:

$50 Win-Place - #2 - COSSET

By the way, did I happen to say "Yuck?"

Best of luck to all.