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HandiGambling 225 (Gulfstream Turf)
Today's HandiGambling 225 exercise is the seventh race at Gulfstream, a maiden special weight for 3-year-old fillies 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.
As of this writing, the turf is FIRM.
Let's scratch #13 LADY LINDY, #14, SILVER SCREAMER, #15 PASSIONATE GOLD, and #16 REFUGIO.
The portable rail is scheduled to be out 36 FEET.
Uncle Steve T. picked a wide-open maiden event. As I'm not too enamored with the runners with established turf form, I'm going to lean on some new faces. I will feel more comfortable playing this race from a multi-race perspective as I'll use my top four selections in the Pick 5 and Bet 3, but, alas, this is HandiGambling. Here goes nothing.
#9 SEX APPEAL's sire, Dynaformer (77-782, 10% with firsters; 98-702, 14% with first-time turf performers) has been in a bit of a slump with debut runners (2 for his last 40). Also, trainer Shug McGaughey is only 1 for his last 36 with first-time starters (that winner came last week in a turf route at Gulfstream with a runner out of an A.P. Indy mare).
Those numbers aren't very appealing, and the immediate female family (dam was 1-15, 0-1 on turf, and has yet to drop a turf winner from two previous grass starters) doesn't provide a ton of excitement as well. Add in the fact that Sex Appeal, a $120,000 RNA as a yearling, only shows one published workout since Valentine's Day, and I'm beginning to wonder why in the world I'm picking her on top.
The Dynaformers, historically, do well on grass, however, and the dam is a half-sister to American 1000 Guineas (turf route) winner Consequence (dam is a full sister to stakes-winning router Strategy). There is a good amount of class deep in the pedigree (second dam is Educated Risk, female family of Inside Information), and I'm not too worried about the distance. Plus, the price should be right in a race where I don't trust many of the horses that have previously raced on grass.
#3 CELESTINA may be the most intriguing runner in the field. A daughter of Ghostzapper (9-53, 17% with first-time turf runners), Celestina attempted to rally over a speed-favoring dirt track in her career debut. The dam won the Zadracarta Stakes going six furlongs on the grass, and has foaled 1 prior turf starter (2-0-0-1 on grass).
Celestina shows fascinating recent workouts. The February 27 and March 8 works match up with trainer Reade Baker's Sligovitz (Grade 2-placed older performer with 102 turf Beyer) while the March 12 drill matches Baker's older performer, Lord Justice (multiple stakes-winner ran 84 Beyer in only grass start).
Baker, a high-percentage conditioner based in Canada, does not show good stats at Gulfstream, however. He is 5-97 here over the past five years, and is only 1 for his last 23. I'm expecting Celestina to show improved speed on the stretchout, and she should be a nice price as well.
Of the horses that have raced on grass, it's possible that #2 CELESTIAL KITTEN is the best of the lot. A daughter of grass-loving Kitten's Joy, Celestial Kitten has hit the board in all three starts, but it must be noted that she has lost ground from the stretch call to the finish in each of those races. Last time out, she finished ahead of My Redbyrd, a filly that returned to graduate on grass at Tampa Bay Downs with an 80 Beyer. The layoff is somewhat of a concern, but trainer Chad Brown shows excellent numbers with similar layoff runners.
#12 RACE TO URGA must avoid a wide trip from the far outside post position, but she shows some solid workouts for trainer Christophe Clement, and need not be All Along to win this race. A daughter of Bernstein (30-300, 10% with firsters; 28-198, 14% with first-time turfers), Race to Urga is out of a dam that finished third in the French 1000 Guineas (she was a listed winner at one mile on grass in Ireland). She certainly has the pedigree and connections to win this.
As for the others:
#1 FRONTSIDE removes blinkers while stretching out in distance, and could work out a good ground-saving trip from close to the pace. She's improved drastically since being switched to turf and has been well-supported at the windows in each of her races. Last time out, she finished ahead of Silver Gem, who returned to score in a $35,000 maiden claimer going five furlongs on grass with a 67 Beyer. Frontside's dam was stakes-placed on turf at Ellis Park.
#4 PAMPERING is the first starter out of Hot Attraction, a mare that finished third in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes sprinting on the main track in Southern California (she was 0-1 on grass). Pampering raced wide in her first start of the year, and can do better with that race under her girth. I'm not completely sold on the quality of the field she faced last time out, but Pampering has some upside.
#6 LADY ASPEN is by Grand Reward (7-55, 13% with first-turf runners) out of Candace in Aspen (1-5 on grass). From the family of Preakness winner Timber Country, Lady Aspen has a wonderful pedigree, and adds Lasix for her second start after being bet down to 7-2 at Keeneland last fall. Although trainer Ken McPeek does very well with first-time Lasix runners, it's interesting to note that none of the nine runners that returned from the October 17 race came back to crack the trifecta next-out.
#5 STRIKE IT GREEN didn't have an easy trip when finishing behind Celestial Kitten, and she'll add blinkers for a barn that is having a nice meet. The dam was a multiple stakes-winner on grass, and Strike It Green is a full-sister to stakes-winning turf performer Noble Strike. She has as many layoff lines as she does races, however, somewhat calling her fitness into question.
#8 EXCHANGING SMILES broke poorly in her career debut, but passed some tired horses to hit the board going five furlongs. She is a full sister to a turf winner and the dam's only career win came on grass. Exchanging Smiles finished ahead of My Donna Jean on February 3, and that filly returned to score on dirt in a $50,000 maiden claimer with a 68 Beyer.
#7 OVERRATED has a strong turf pedigree. The dam was a multiple Grade 2 winner on grass, and has already foaled stakes-winners Love Kiss and Love Sting (both added-money winners on turf). Overrated can be forgiven her debut going a one-turn mile at Woodbine in a race that featured a pair of next-out winners (Smart Sting made it 2-2 in her career with an entry-level allowance win on grass at Gulfstream with a 76 Beyer).
#10 GHARBIAH hasn't done much running to date, but it's possible that the addition of blinkers will wake this filly up. She's kin to Grade 3 winner Cuando Puede, multiple stakes-winner Cuando (4-13 on grass), Grade 3-placed Cuanto Es (3-10 on turf), and multiple Grade 1 turf winner Honey Ryder. She certainly has the bloodlines, and didn't have a great trip in her turf debut. It's probably too early to give up on her.
#11 SUSANS STRONG HOPE adds blinkers and stretches out in distance so I won't be too surprised if she shows improved early speed with the five-pound apprentice named. The sire is 4-57 (7%) with first-time turf runners, and the multiple stakes-winning dam went 6-0-0-2 on grass. Susans Strong Hope is a half-sister to multiple stakes-winning sprinter Im a Dixie Girl, and stakes-winning turfer First Ascent.
It's a really fun race for pedigree buffs as well as followers of trainer patterns. Again, I'll go four deep in the multis and take a HandiGambling swing with this wager:
$50 Win-Place - Sex Appeal (#9)
Best of luck to all.
I appreciate you guys dealing with the matter reasonably. I meant no harm by making a $16.65 play. The website I use allows me to make such wagers and I do it routinely. In the future with respect to HandiGambling, I will stick to standard denominations. Again, I'm new to the sport. And this is one of them issues I don't like. Kind of like fifths of seconds. If more precise data is available i.e., fractional times in hundredths - why not include it in the PPs? But there are many things in this world I don't understand. Oh well. Good luck to all with their wagers, M. Cook
blaclstone here's hoping u and jonah have a great time 2 morrow. i know u guy's have been pumping each other up and i don't expect u 2 have a let down. But, strange thing's can happen..just in case thing's don't go the way u guy's expect them 2 go i have taken the liberty 2 have a medical emergency team stationed just outside the mens room by the organ grinder with the monkey on his shoulder. if u and jonah have any trouble coming up with winner's don't b afraid 2 ask 4 a tip, no, not the organ grinder, the monkey. gl 2 morrow ok... i'm on my way 2 suffering downs 2 play some races at GP. 4 those of u playing SA. the 5th, turf downhill. BSB's favorite angle . a couple turnbacks from a mile to 6 and half furlongs. though i think "#5regally ready" is going smoke'em all as the chalk. VQ
Uncle Steve, I know I just sent most of this to you via email, but figured I'd put it here as well... My idea was to look at horses who led into the stretch (for the most part, they were likely at/near the lead for the entire race, but they had to be leading at the stretch call), yet they continued to extended their lead even further to the finish. You might even call these horses "Front Running Stayers"! Although the horses on your list all won their races, some did not lead (they were 2nd) at the stretch call. I don't know about Johannesburg, or for that matter any other foreign horse. As for steeplechase horses?? :-) BOLD FORBES - yes FOOLISH PLEASURE - 2nd (just by a head...oh so close) in stretch in 3rd start HOIST THE FLAG - 2nd in stretch in 3rd start SEATTLE SLEW - yes RUFFIAN - yes BEFORE DAWN - yes DAVE’S FRIEND - yes DEPUTY MINISTER - yes GENUINE RISK - 2nd in stretch in 1st and 4th start GULCH - yes LANDALUCE - yes PERSONAL ENSIGN - yes PRINCESS ROONEY - yes TIFFANY LASS - 2nd in stretch of 1st and 4th start CHILUKKI - yes FLANDERS - yes HOLLYWOOD WILDCAT - 2nd in stretch of 4th start SARATOGA DEW - yes SKY BEAUTY - 2nd in stretch of 4th start WARM SPELL - STEEPLECHASE HORSE! DECLAN’S MOON - 2nd in stretch of 2nd start JOHANNESBURG - ? since he raced in UK, I don't know I'm sure there are many others (aka precocious "flame outs" who looked great in their 1st 4 starts but then hit a wall when they faced better competition), but still it is an interesting list. It does give some hope to the Uncle Mo supporters that despite his pedigree, he has a chance in the Derby. I'll still play against him in the Derby in a big way, especially if Uncle Mo runs away with the Wood. Fool me once, fool me twice, fool me thrice, fool me......
Whacky Good post-I enjoyed it greatly. But, booking bets against The Factor? That might be the way you turn your good year (so far) into a bad one. I think Yogi's got it right. On the other hand, there are lots of options in the race. Sway Away (obviously), Archarcharch, Alternation, JP's Gusto, and the bomber of them all-J W Blue on the dead outside for Tony Dutrow (30-1 on a T. Dutrow horse, who is also coupled with another, can lead the way to a small fortune, IMO). May be too good to pass up. Although Jonah and I have not talked specifically about a strategy for the race, we certainly will. And for one of the few times since I've "known" you I will surely be rooting against your stand. Either way, good luck.
Okay Alan, I'll play. Here is who I have found: BOLD FORBES FOOLISH PLEASURE HOIST THE FLAG SEATTLE SLEW RUFFIAN BEFORE DAWN DAVE’S FRIEND DEPUTY MINISTER GENUINE RISK GULCH LANDALUCE PERSONAL ENSIGN PRINCESS ROONEY TIFFANY LASS CHILUKKI FLANDERS HOLLYWOOD WILDCAT SARATOGA DEW SKY BEAUTY WARM SPELL DECLAN’S MOON JOHANNESBURG
Longshot Potential on Friday at OP Disclaimer: Before you read any further, remember that I’m the guy that posted that Nick Canani could have a big day at GP yesterday. His horses finished seventh at even money, first for an $11 mutual, third at 2-1, fifth at 9-5 and second at 2-1. His four favorites all failed to win and he ended with a negative ROI for day. Not really the performances I was expecting, so take the following analysis with a grain of salt (and maybe even two). Entered in Race 8 on Friday at OP is an interesting horse with a morning line of 20-1. While I would be surprised if you got the morning line of 20-1 at post time, you still may end up with the least half of those odds based on the connections and the fact that there is a horse entered that is likely to be even money or less. Here are the major contenders in my opinion: 2 – Classic Cascade (20-1). Coming off an eight month layoff to make his four year old debut for S. Roberts with I. Diego up, the big morning line makes sense if you just look at his connections. They are a combined 1 for 99 at the meet so far. However, on further review, the ML of 20-1 seems out of line. First off Classic Cascade won three times last year with two seconds out of six races. He banked $100K for his efforts and won a restricted stakes at EvD. He has decent early speed to get position early and has shown the ability to finish. He has five works going into this with each one progressively faster ending with a bullet at 5 f in 1:00.6 B on March 12. Diego has ridden him four times in the past having two firsts and a second. So while cold, the jockey does not seem to as big as detriment as it first seems. While there was an obvious problem that led to the extended layoff, he has likely matured some in that time as he was last seen on the track during the middle of his 3YO season. All in all, it seems more like he should be around 4-1, so I’m hoping for a nice overlay at odds of 10-1 at least. 1 – Delong Road (7-2). Draws the rail and has a hot jockey/trainer combination as they are winning a 25% clip. Has good speed and has been battling on the lead the last two showing decent stick as well. He has had two works since his last race and is certainly a pace factor. He has finished in front of a few of these last time while finishing second. 3 – Mesa Sunrise (6/5). The obvious favorite returns from his disappointing King Cotton stakes run at 9-5 where he came up empty after being steadied. That was his first start in two months since a decent showing in a G3 sprint at AQU. He has top connections with Dutrow and Rose who have won 3/9 together with finishing in the money 7/9 times. His last race was a bit disconcerting though, perhaps he was discouraged after being steadied. He has returned, from relatively poor efforts in the past to run pretty big, but that makes him inconsistent. He has had excuses for his last two losses and if he puts everything together today, he is likely the best horse, however, his inconsistency and the every couple of months layoff lines are cause enough for concern to not take the expected short price.
Happy Post St. Patrick's Day... For everyone that think's Uncle Mo is the next coming of Man O War, I would be careful. Yes he looks great, can run, and has a nice resume. I do worry about getting the distance and remember, we are still weeks away from the Derby. Oh, and by the way, injuries do happen. These are big animal's with very thin legs and ankles. Nice job to all of the winner's this week. Some nice winners over the past couple of days. Congrats to u all. I will be heading to Foxwoods for some big poker playing starting on the 19th of March. Big action. I have been playing over the past week during the graveyard shift. Going down at 8pm and playing to 6am. Easy money at that time of the day in my mind. Tired players with money to burn... I hope that you had fun on you Vacation Annie. You deserve it. The MKB Horses with be in the thick of it for the rest of the way. I still am outside looking in..... Anyone that wants to play The Factor at Oaklawn, I will book all of your action. His speed will NOT carry him to the finish. Do you think that those mid-west trainers are going to let that smug Bob Baffert come into their backyard and leave with the money??? No way.... Mike A Looks like your still hot to trot on the Turf!!!! You would be doing fantastic with that Pink Flamingo Tip Sheet at GP!!!!!! Pay $3 bucks and get 2-3 winner's a day!!!! You are missing the boat!!! Keep it up. Use that 40+ years and your Uncles teaching's to you as a young lad. Gettteeerrr duuunnn.... Good Luck All!!! Make some $$$ and play the Pick 4 and Pick 5 at GP. Big numbers baby!! Go Pitt!!!! I have you to win it all!!! Sorry Lville fans, now you can bet on the Horse's. Ricky let you all down. Good thing is that you got bounced in Game 1. It's like getting a flu shot. It is a little pinch, then its over. LOL Whackymacky Out!!!
I'm sorry if I missed your guesses (this was written as of comments made by 10:27pm last night), but here is my List: CONSECUTIVE STRETCH LEAD EXTENDING WINS TO START A CAREER Ruffian (1974-75) - 9 Princess Rooney (1982-83) - 9 (tied 7th race) Bold Forbes (1975) - 6 (tied 2nd race) Deputy Minister (1981) - 6 (tied 1st race) Dave's Friend (1978) - 5 Before Dawn (1981) - 5 (tied 4th race) Revidere (1976) - 4 Seattle Slew (1976-77) - 4 (tied 1st race) Gold Beauty (1982) - 4 (tied 3rd race) Landaluce (1982) - 4 Gulch (1986) - 4 Personal Ensign (1986-87) - 4 (tied 2nd race) Saratoga Dew (1992) - 4 Flanders (1994) - 4 Chilukki (1999) - 4 Hard Spun (2006-07) - 4 Big Brown (2007-08) - 4 Uncle Mo (2010-11) - 4, and still going!
Our Grand Adventure Jonah's and my decision to postpone our magical trip to GGF until ttomorrow has turned out, so far, to be a good one. To be sure, there are a couple of unplayable races at GGF (the 6th-the combined record of the entrants is 8-133, for example), but there are also at least three races with great betting opportunities-good fields, strong ROI's, connections, and/or angles. The highlight of the day, though, will no doubt be the Rebel where Jonah's The Factor will attempt to prove that he belongs in the group of the best of this generation. It looks like a race full of opportunities. We did have to amend part of our plan. Since the required Dress Code where we're sitting with our free passes is Black Tie, we thought it might be , uh, unclassy to pull up to Valet Parking in a U-Haul. So we are chewing on other options. Maybe Clint Eastwood's vehicle from the Gauntlet: at least it is battle-tested. Or maybe we'll just rent Brinks for the afternoon. As an aside, I have a life-long friend who worked for Brinks for a while: it wasn't my fault, though, (this is a true story) that he decided to steal a few bags and ended up spending serious time in the Pokey. In any event, we do intend to bring a boatload full of cash home-at least enough to fund this year's FormBlog Convention for all of you (more on that later-think Saratoga). I have always firmly believed that half of the fun of a big event-you know, a vacation, a big ballgame, a concert, or in this case, going to the track, is in the anticipation of it happening. So Jonah and I have been busy over the last ten days or so pumping each other up. Will a letdown occur? Not a chance. After all, what in this life could be better than spending a day at the races with a good friend?
Thank you, James Mc. I wasn't even going to play it in my personal account. But at the last minute, I said "what the hell?" Not for too much.......I had $1.60 on the play. I'd paid nicely though. M. Cook