03/10/2011 4:12PM

HandiGambling 224 (Santa Anita Turf)

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Today's HandiGambling 224 exercise is the fifth race at Santa Anita, a 'n2x' allowance with a $62,500 optional claiming tag at nine furlongs 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.

As of this writing, the turf is FIRM.

Let's scratch #2 MAKE MUSIC FOR ME and #3 HYADES.

The portable rail is scheduled to be out 24 FEET.

It's an interesting six-pack at Santa Anita for today's HandiGambling exercise.

Although #1 UNIVERSAL PEACE prefers minor awards to actually winning races (14 starts, seven seconds, two wins), I'm going to give him another chance this afternoon.  A gelded son of War Chant, Universal Peace has been racing in good form, cracking the exacta in his last four starts, including a win at this distance three back at Oak Tree. 
In his most recent start, Universal Peace didn't break well, and was forced to gear up four wide from the back of the pack turning for home.  He made up some late ground, but was no match for Big Shot Syd, a decent allowance sort on the grass. 
While Universal Peace's lack of early speed is disconcerting in a race without a ton of pace, he is capable at this distance, something that few in the heat can point to with confidence.  I'm expecting a solid late charge under Rafael Bejarano.

#6 ACE OF ACES looks like the one to catch after going gate-to-wire in a downhill turf sprint here on January 29, defeating next-out winner Sterling Outlook (93 Beyer in off-the-turf 'n1x' allowance).  Trained by Jeff Mullins, Ace of Aces figures to relax on the front end, but his ability at this distance is questionable.  Although a winner at a mile, he lost ground in the stretch in both of his starts at nine furlongs (including a third in the La Puente Stakes last April after setting moderate fractions).  Pace makes the race and Ace of Aces should be prominent when they swing into the stretch.  Let's see how he handles that final furlong.

#8 DUBAI YOU X Y Z may have the most upside of any runner in the field as he has only four starts under his girth.  A winner of three of those races (the only loss coming by a scant head two back), it should be noted that Dubai You X Y Z received an excellent ground-saving trip en route to his most recent victory over next-out winner Dahoud (90 Beyer in 'n1x turf allowance), and I usually don't like playing short-priced horses coming off good trips.
That being said, he has good tactical speed, and looks like one of the major contenders.

#7 BOGIE shouldn't be discounted.  He was the beaten favorite in the Grade 3 Will Rogers Handicap last year after breaking poorly, angling widest at the quarter-pole, and being late to change leads.  Although he didn't get up against the ill-fated Lieve in his most recent appearance, it has to be pointed out that the third-place finish was Bogie's first start in almost eight months, and could be treated as a prep for this longer event.  Bogie may be closer to the early pace this afternoon under Garrett Gomez, and he finished just behind Times Gone By on February 10 (that one returned to run fourth with a 96 Beyer in the Grade 1 Kilroe Mile).  He's dangerous.

As for the others:

#4 AVEROO was treated as a sprinter in Europe, but he was a rallying second in the Riot N Paris Stakes at one mile three starts back.  He hasn't shown much in his most recent appearances, however, and placed behind Bogie in that one's comeback.  Averoo may lay back and hope to make one run under Joel Rosario, but this distance is a question mark.

#5 WALTZING WITH BLUE was claimed by Mike Mitchell out of his most recent start, and that has long been a potent angle in Southern California.  He exits a race that produced next-out winner Celtic Newe Year (90 Beyer in $62,500 claimer), but his most recent win came for a $20,000 tag, and one must wonder if he is good enough to compete at this level. 

Here's how I'll play it:

$100 Win - UNIVERSAL PEACE - #1

Best of luck to all.

C More than 1 year ago
Alan, Was Comma to the Top really impressive or were the other also-rans just not on their best game? I have to go with the latter because CttT looked exhausted... and had every right to be. BSB, "I agree with C that having a bet on the race clouds the judgement slightly." Wasn't me. VanGogh, "It's unconventional, but it's hard not to have confidence that Pletcher will give him his best shot at winning the Derby." For me, it's not so much about Pletcher. "What I meant by that is that we place an imaginary restriction on a horse's capability. Pedigree exists, obviously, and trends develop and data accumulates, but every racehorse should be evaluated on a case by case basis. Simply saying that a horse can't do something because of who his mommy and daddy are is ludicrous." There are shades of gray with most handicapping factors, which is why I avoid speaking in absolutes. You are correct that pedigree alone doesn't tell you what will certainly happen for every single offspring in every racing situation. There is no such handicapping factor. But pedigree can definitely tell you what is most likely to occur in certain situations. The data does not accumulate by accident. Which leads me to... Reinier, In Excess would not be considered a stout influence by any stretch of the imagination. There's really no other way to interpret his numbers. For comparison, see Theatrical or Sadler's Wells. Which leads me to... Me... Was I too harsh on Distorted Humor or not harsh enough on Maria's Mon? I'd say more the latter, but perhaps a little of both. They're both predominantly middle distance (in the American sense) influences but have both had a good share of classy distance winners in recent years. Perhaps there isn't as much separating them as I indicated earlier. It still doesn't change my thoughts on Brethren, however. I do not see him as one of the longer-winded Distorted Humors.
TejanoRun More than 1 year ago
Uncle Steve, your statistics are a beautiful thing. Greatly appreciated, this saves me an unbelievable amount of time not having to go through the meet day-by-day! Where do you find the time to keep such a bevy of statistics? Thank you again.
AnneM More than 1 year ago
Archarcharch had a bullet workout this morning - he is ready for the Rebel
blackstone More than 1 year ago
Jonah and GGF Many of you know that Jonah and I are meeting up at GGF this weekend. I can hardly wait. I mentioned a couple of months ago that I have never met a FormBlogger-I'm still curious as to whether or not he, and by extension all of you, is actually human. Not to worry. If he has a long tail, a couple of antlers, and maybe some furry feet, I'll just shoot him on sight. Of course, that I don't own a gun, and wouldn't know how to shoot one in any event ( I'm from SF remember) might be a problem. I suppose I could shoot him with my finger. That seems to work out for Spenser (for all you Robert B. Parker fans). About being human, some of you have posted pictures of yourselves on this Blog and perhaps the Web in general. Come on, anybody can post a picture of anyone and claim it to be a self-portrait. I mean the one single time I posted a picture of myself it was truly amazing how closely Brad Pitt resembled me. Jonah is bringing the food, and I'm renting the U-haul. U-haul? Of course, how else are we going to be able to carry all the loot out of there and transport it home? I mentioned last week that we intend to make a big score. Ah, what a life!
Mike A More than 1 year ago
Van Gogh Don't be confused......just giving some sage advice........Do you want to be your own man, or a stereotype? You see when I tell someone "there's nothing you can teach me" they take it personal.....as if I'm saying "I know it all" that is a mistake, but given the fact we are not speaking face to face or not knowing one another, understandable. What I am saying is with the work I put in, with what I've seen work and how I get every ounce of what a certain type of info has to give in it's relation to what it means to winning races I don't need the "heads up". I know with the wealth of info out there people get on to all sorts of angles. I've put the time in to see what is relevant and what isn't....TO MY WAY OF HANDICAPPING. I added that so I wouldn't have to call on one of Chicago Gerry's list of 22. So to not confuse you.....on breeding: the amount of importance I put on it is relative to the race in question....sometimes more, sometimes less, but it's never an end all to my handicapping. There are certain things I keep in mind till I see different, Indian Charlie's haven't cracked the 1 1/4 barrier in racehorse time, Tapit's will make you believe they are the second coming of Pegasus up to 1 1/16th....after.....not so much.....and nothing is an absolute, until someone does it. Candy Rides you would think could run up to 1 1/4m...but so far they're for the most part hitting the wall after a 1 1/8m. Also remember this is in "racehorse time"......any horse can run any distance, I just prefer the ones I bet on run it faster than I do......with a bad knee......at 56. I'm only confusing because there is rarely a "pat" answer......On the phone when asked a question I usually say "It depends". Also I have the uncanny ability to answer one question then talk about something different down the road. It is confusing, but you see I'm a wealth of info......once on a roll??? Like right now. In my last post I was trying to tell you to forget preconceived notions, look at every race as a fresh slate and then see the "why's" of it......you're young you have lots of time. I was a kid...I learned and am still tweaking today, but for the most part am totally comfortable with what I do.......Mike A
blackstone More than 1 year ago
Jonah Re my losing play on Pali Chief on sunday: I actually thought then and still think, that he was the best horse (although I didn't like the 2-1 actual odds) and perhaps had bad luck and/or a poor ride. He made a great middle move-then went three wide around the turn. At GGF a horse can't win going three wide unless it is much the best . Couton either goofed in timing the move, or the horse pulled his way to that spot. The two inside horses finished 1-2. A shame. But today is a new day, and next Saturday is a day for redemption.
Alan More than 1 year ago
C, I agree that Comma to the Top was exhausted, but he kept going to the wire and just was edged out for 3rd. I was impressed by the effort - the other two front-runners (who are not bad horses...just perhaps "too much, too soon" for them) threw in the towel. Not that I ever was a fan of Comma to the Top, but he impressed me more Saturday than he had in any prior start, including the CashCall Futurity victory. Unfortunately, I wouldn't be surprised if the race took a lot out of him. I'd give ,ttTop some time off and would not run him in the SA Derby next month. If the connections still want to try him in a Triple Crown race, perhaps they should aim for coming to my neck of the woods for the 2nd leg? More importantly, I wouldn't go overboard in praising the closers in the San Felipe, especially the 2nd and 3rd place finishers Jaycito and Bench Points. Jaycito is a "bet against" for me if he enters the SA Derby - I think he'll get a lot of play as a 2nd-off layoff horse from the BC Juvie, but he won't get any of my money. Machen = 5f @ FG in 0:59.60 (1/23) earlier today. Getting ready for a week from Saturday...
Van Savant More than 1 year ago
IT’S DOWNHILL TURF MADNESS!!! 3/17/11 - Santa Anita, Race #6 – 6.5F Downhill Turf Well, last Thursday’s 7th race turned out to be profitable for a few of us, so let’s take a look at another one for this Thursday. Hopefully BSB, Alan, Uncle Steve, Meathead and others will chime in if they see something here. Let’s look at this… GLORY PRIDE (#8) has a definite class edge, right? I think she does. She is the only entrant in here to have run this course this year in under 1:14, which she did on January 9th. Also, her last two races over this course were okay, but she was attempting to close into paces that were put down and held by much classier fillies and mares. SHE’SFITFORAKING (#6) performed creditably two starts back on this course, and exists a one mile race last time out. Granted, these races have been against Cal-breds, but let’s face it, this really isn’t much of a change in class. She did make a decent mid-race move in her last and she has a pretty good chance in here. FAIRWAY ROAD (#1) breaks from the disadvantageous post #1, but will get a bit of class relief from his previous two efforts down this course. Jockey Rosario can be a bit shaky here at times, but should put her into position to get a piece here. MILLIONDOLLARBILL (#4) may actually be the speed in here, and Jockey Espinoza can navigate this course with the best of them. I am interested. These are my top four right now. Curious to see what others think…
Calvin L. Carter More than 1 year ago
SR Vegas, Here's a list of probables for the Rebel from the Downey Profile: http://www.thedowneyprofile.com/More_Racing_News/2011/03/15/overflow-field-possible-for-rebel.171087
Ron Zuercher More than 1 year ago
Dan My performance of the week has to go to Don Shear, the 90 year old paddock guard who jumped in front of a loose horse to protect a young girl. I know all on this blog wish him a speedy recovery.
Curt V. More than 1 year ago
BSB, That was a true story, when I said I opened up the DRF, & lo & behold it was a "Downhiller". The 1st & only thing I did was identify & quantify that they're were only {3} turnbacks{ the button when off from you}. That in turn was right up my alley{3 horse exacta box or key 1-2 exacta box}. Knowing SA has notoriously low ex. prices, I opted to 1-2 key box. Of course I had to find that horse...You can't give me everything..LOL....So, I keyed the entry{12-1 odds}. I still think it was low{$72}, butt:what the heck, I feel like I found Gold, looking for zinc..$72 @SA ??? I'll take it... Now, Uncle Mo{DI 2.20 & CD .50} ? Is that the same Kris S, I find on the mommy's side, as is in the Big Girl ??? ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ................Oh! well Fisherman, I think you done know that........& if you by chance you didn't, well consider this a wake-up call.. The only thing I can say about Uncle Mo is: If physical looking means anything{apart from the racing}..I took deep notice..He is all front-end loaded & built like a "Brick Sheet House" {Commodores}..The uncanny physical looking resemblance, other than he's not black EE, & he doesn't do the "War Prance", but he did do 1 tick off the world record for a 2yr old in the Champagne.....both answers are SEATTLE SLEW.........I bow my head........& genuflect when I say that name.....LOL>.......
Mike A More than 1 year ago
MH01 Not to worry they'll be more......family always comes first.....Mike A
Ron Zuercher More than 1 year ago
Blackstone/Jonah With the enthusiasm and the winning attitudes both of you have expressed in your posts, I think you should rent the large U-Haul this weekend! I don't see how you can lose between beginners' luck and old man wisdom. Have fun! RonZ Van Gogh Don't worry about information overload. Read as much as you have time for, watch as many races, assimilate and dissect what the trainers and jockeys, even the owners, say and it will all sort itself out, like a child learning two or three languages while growing up. I think you will be better off in the long run. There is always some nuance to pick up on or some advice or formblog suggestion to have you look in a different direction. If you are into horse racing for just the gambling, then I say you will not have the patience to succeed in this sometimes hair pulling pastime/avocation. Having said this, I will now say this. You CAN overanalyze a race. You CAN breakdown facts, statistics and time down to where it just becomes minutiae and doesn't point you to the winner. Ah, parents, wives, girlfriends, best friends. If they are not a horseplayer they do not understand and probably never will. If you can find one that tolerates what you do and allows you to be you, you have a head start. Having a positive ROI definitely helps. Too bad the races are not run Monday through Friday from 9-5. That would make us more compatible with the "real" world. Crist, Beyers and others (me) also started when they were in college. Probably when we were allowed to make decisions on our own, especially regarding what to do with our free time. So, good learning and good luck, but don't give up the studies. RonZ