03/25/2011 2:13PM

HandiGambling 226 (Tampa Bay Turf), Some Weekend Picks


Today's HandiGambling 226 exercise is the eighth race at Tampa Bay Downs, a $32,000 'N2L' claimer 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.

Let's scratch #2 MONSLEWN.

The portable rail will be set at 22 feet.

Trainer Tom Proctor has excellent numbers with first-time tag starters (17-69, 25%, $2.10 ROI over the past five years, 4-12, 33%, $2.15 ROI over the last season), and #4 LILIES SO FAIR seems well-spotted making the third start of the form cycle.  A $310,000 yearling by Giant's Causeway that just hasn't panned out, Lilies So Fair won her maiden going this distance at Arlington before going on the shelf.  She hasn't done much running since returning to the races and had a weird trip last time out.  She split horses from stalking range down the backstretch while having some trouble with her lead changes, then dropped back badly entering the final turn.  Far behind in the stretch, she finished evenly and galloped out with some interest.  The fifth-place finisher that day returned to win an entry-level allowance on grass at Tampa with a 78 Beyer. 
Lilies So Fair shows a bullet three-furlong blowout in preparation for this start and may be more forwardly-placed in the early stages switching from a five-pound apprentice rider to Leandro Goncalves (19% at meet).

#3 CAT BE NIMBLE makes her first start for new ownership after finishing fifth in a conditioned claiming race to close out her season at Aqueduct on November 11.  She seems like a one-run closer that will be at the mercy of race and pace luck, and there may not be a ton of speed to set things up for her.  She also was listed as a vet scratch on March 9 so there is some concern about fitness off the layoff.  Still, her maiden win two back was fast enough to win this and she won't face a stellar group this afternoon.

#6 GIMMEARIDE failed to parlay an excellent pace-tracking, ground-saving trip into victory two back against allowance horses, and now drops in for a tag after being listed as a vet scratch on February 23.  She finished ahead of next-out winner No Acronyms (74 Beyer in $16,000 claimer on turf) in her most recent start, and her good tactical speed should have her in the hunt down the backstretch.  Winless on turf, and racing off a layoff, she poses some questions at what could be a short price.

#5 STARK'S A SMARTY won her maiden over course and trip here last year, but has been the beaten favorite in two of her last three races, and has lost ground from the stretch call to the wire in each of her last three starts.  She's tactical enough to work out a good trip from close to the pace, however, and figures to be prominent when the field swings into the stretch.  One must wonder, however, if we have already seen the best from this 16-time starter.

#11 DOWER gets in from the also-eligible list and she has some angles going for her, dropping from the allowance ranks and wheeling back in 13 days for her second start of the year.  Like Lilies So Fair, she won her maiden at Arlington, but she needed maiden claiming competition to achieve that feat.  Dower doesn't have much early speed so she's going to have to get a trip, and some pace, in order to mow these down in the lane.

#7 WINSOMEFORME cracked the exacta at this level two back before being overmatched against allowance foes on March 12 (finishing directly behind Dower).  Her lone win came in a dirt sprint, however, and she has already had several chances to break out of this level.

One must question the fitness level of #1 DIXIE KID.  She was a vet scratch on at least two occasions last year, added front wraps for her most recent race, and was listed as a vet scratch on March 3.  She's won over the course and distance and is capable of saving valuable ground going into the first turn this afternoon, but she needs to improve.

#10 SNOW FAIR won her maiden in gate-to-wire fashion on dirt two back before being overeager in the early portion of her initial start against winners.  She hasn't shown a ton of staying power on grass, but could loom the main speed in this spot.  It is imperative for her rider to get her to relax as she has a tendency to run off.

#9 SPARKLES GOLD BAND's lone win came going seven furlongs on the slop, and she blew a clear lead in a weak $15,000 maiden claimer on turf at River Downs last year.  She goes out for solid connections, but must move forward off her prior two turf efforts.

#8 CALLALOO is 0-12 on turf, and just hasn't done much running since moving into this barn.  She doesn't have much early speed, and it looks like this 5-year-old mare has seen better days.

Here's how I'm going to play the HG:

$100 Win - Lilies So Fair - #4

Best of luck to all.


Here are some quick-and-dirty selections for some of this weekend's races:

New Orleans Handicap:  Giant Oak, Mission Impazible, El Caballo
Fair Grounds Oaks:  Daisy Devine, Grandacious, Inglorious
Mervin Muniz Handicap:  Moryba, Battle of Hastings, Sleepless Knight
Louisiana Derby:  Wilkinson, Mucho Macho Man, Machen
Tokyo City Cup:  Honour the Deputy, Spurrier, Arcodoro
Pan American Stakes:  Prince Will I Am, Rahy's Attorney, Eldaafer
Dubai World Cup:  Victoire Pisa, Twice Over, Poet's Voice
Bourbonette Oaks:  Harlan's Ruby, Summer Soiree, Touch Screen
Vinery Racing Spiral:  Positive Response, Decisive Moment, Rescind the Trade
Sunland Derby:  Sinai, Supreme Ruler, Fusa Code

For more in-depth analysis, please click on the link below for video analysis with myself and drf.com Handicapper Mike Beer (videos should be available Friday evening):



More importantly, who do you like this weekend?  I want to know.

C More than 1 year ago
Curt, The reason I called attention to your initial comment is because I thought you were misrepresenting the situation, intentionally or not, in a way that might've been misleading to a novice reading this space. You made it sound as if Uncle Mo had 2 distinct stamina influences when, in reality, it's just 1 influence.
vicstu More than 1 year ago
"Most stunningly, the chart makes no mention whatsoever that the winner, Twice the Appeal, totally blew the first turn!!! Hello... how does a chart-caller miss that?" Probably because he is the chart call guy stuck in NM at Sunland Park?!! And no, that is not east coast bias. Its the Peter Principle. The guy was probably a great Scales Clerk or something for years who saw an opening when someone died and is now promoted to his level of incompetence. No offense, I think New Mexico is great. The purse recently jumped big time at that track for the Sunland Derby and they have attracted some talented horses -- but that does not mean the chart call guy jumped in talent as well. Seriously, though...I am with C. The charts are fine if you understand what a limited capsule they are. Give me the race videos any day of the week. And that is what I will be watching for about 2 weeks straight prior to the Derby. The video tells you so much more than the chart. It is an invaluable tool. I have complained about nearsighted chart calls for a few years here now. C nailed it. Do not trust the chart call, watch the race yourself if you can. Otherwise, aside from publishing the splits, fractions and placement, the actual call of the chart is one dude (or gal) telling you what happened according to what he or she saw. And they are limited in what the can say. Rely on it as gospel at your own risk.
C More than 1 year ago
Curt, I'm not sure if it's the first time Indian Charlie has been crossed with that line. However, do you know what Bwana Charlie, Indian Express, and My Pal Charlie have in common? Halo was their damsire and, to the best of my knowledge, none of them came close to winning at 10f. Halo won't be confused with Phone Trick any time soon. Past the Point has AP Indy as a damsire. He's a miler at best. The point is not to cherry pick; the point is that Indian Charlie has been at stud for several years now and has been crossed with stamina influences before. His overall stallion stats are not an accident or the result of him being exclusively bred to sprint influences. Sure, horses have 2 parents. But, in this case, the sire stats can be taken at face value because there is no bias on the damsire side. Should Uncle Mo win at 1 1/4, he would be considered an aberration on Indian Charlie's statsheet. Actually, wouldn't he be Indian Charlie's first success beyond 9f?
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
sherpa LOL! I guess we will have to let BL know we want to be there :) ..'ready for your close up?' Caseyjeaux & Kelley Belles Glad you had a good time in Sin City :) Annie I have Caseyjeaux's new horse as Nehro ...check. Good luck Caseyjeaux! ------------------------------------------ MKB workouts 3/27/11 -Payson Park - dirt/fast To Honor and Serve - 4F 0:49.00 Breezing - Pippen Striding Ahead - 4F 0:51.00 Breezing - Calvin Carter & Sherpa ...3/28/11 -Palm Meadows - dirt/fast Razmataz - 4F 0:48.40 Breezing - SR Vegas Travelin Man - 0:48.40 Breezing - Bob C Arch Traveler - 5F 1:01.30 Breezing - BigEasyBigChok -Belmont Park - dirt training/fast Rift - 5F 1:02.12 Breezing - Kyri -Santa Anita - dirt/fast Maclean's Music - 4F 0:50.00 Handily - Whackymacky -Oaklawn park - dirt/fast Changing the Rules - 4F 0:53.00 Breezing -Lil Chok -Hollywood Park - all weather/fast Boxeur des Rues - 4F 0:48.20 Handily - Blue Horseshoe Anthony's Cross - 6F 1:12.20 Handily....a Bullet! - Katieattherail ..currently in France :) * Uncle Sam - 5F 0:59.00 Handily - a Bullet! -Meathead01 & SR Vegas* * looks like these MKB horses are ready to go!! -------------------- a side note: To those who have inquired.. Today my surgeon gave me a green light for a Gym/home excersice program...and PT just weekly to monitor me for a few weeks. He say's I'm a 'Rock Star' with the progress I made post surgery. I still have some work to do, but Thank You all for the positive input, comments, & encouragements :) I'll be chasing that lil' white ball around before I know it! 'talked aftwormi'
meathead01 More than 1 year ago
SR Vegas thats great news about your injury and being able to workout. and also thats good news about our Uncle Sam working a bullet well BB does work them fast before a race so Ill be looking for him to show up soon. MH01
Dick W More than 1 year ago
Blackseabass Funny stuff on the Civil War documentary ! So you are now a handicapper/movie star. LOL. I also had Nehro as my PH pick. I'm fairly new to PH, but I see how dramatically a capper like that can move one up in the standings. In my case, it would have moved me from near the bottom up into the top 100 or 150. I did have him win/place, so got the place $, but sure would have been nice had he got up for the win. Dick W
p ensign More than 1 year ago
"aside from publishing the splits, fractions and placement, the actual call of the chart is one dude (or gal) telling you what happened according to what he or she saw. And they are limited in what the can say. Rely on it as gospel at your own risk. " NY guy Danny Kay, who I've been praising for months, rarely misses ANYTHING that occurs during a race- (but you are 100% that the NM guy is there because it is NM...) eratitec LITTLE,
meathead01 More than 1 year ago
p ensign regarding chart callers I was a caller for the dog races for several years and I can tell you that sometimes you have to guess at what happened to some of the dogs at a perticular place in the race. of course it is an educated guess and most times you dont see the replay at all because they want the chart of each race sent down to the office immediately after the race. I dont know how they make the calls at the horses or if they have the replay at hand to assist them. MH01
y More than 1 year ago
HG Time to get serious about this thing again. You don't realize how much you use the Formulators until you have to pay for them!!! HG #5 Sovereign Crisis 5/2: The favorite in this looks like a prime candidate for a huge bounce, so I won't be playing her at all. #2 Miss Maggie Girl 6/1: I think they finally got this one on the right surface last out, now they get her to the right distance. She is showing a very nice BSF progression, and her daddy excels in every one of the categories pertaining to this outing. #7 Such a Sweet Girl 5/1: This one is a horrible starter, but she makes a nice move around the turn and comes home pretty well. I don't like her on top, but she manages to get up for slices of the purse. #100 Exacta 2/7 Yogidoggy has spoken. Let it be written; Let it be done.
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
MKB Workouts 3/29/11 Santa Anita - dirt/fast Smash - 5F 0:59.20 Handily - Mike O (3/28/11) Brock - 4F 0:51.00 Breezing - Swede Silver Medallion - 7F 1:23.60 Handily - Tencentcielo Dynamize - 5F 1:01.00 Handily - Hairy City Cool - 5F 1:00.80 Handily - Calvin Carter Oaklawn park - dirt/fast Archarcharch - 5F 1:00.80 Breezing - AnneM Turf Paradise - dirt/fast Arcadian - 4F 0:49.60 Handily - Uncle Steve (pseudo pick) --------------------------------------------- Saw an email that The 2012 NHC will be held at The Treasure Island, LV. aka TI (a 2 year contract) An estimated $2 million purse, and 500 contestants expected. That's going to be a big party :) Thanks Meathead01, and I'll also be curious to see where Uncle Sam shows up!
blackseabass More than 1 year ago
My son got asked to be in a low budget Civil War documentary Sunday by a friend of his . He told me about it so I decided to go check it out for the fun of it . When I was standing around watching them get outfitted the director walked by and said get a Confederate uniform on that guy.LOL. Looking like Robert E Lee got me typecast as a Rebel. LOL. They even gave me a line and a close up (no name though) . It was a perfect line for my disposition . I didn't even have to get into character. I just had to play myself, scowl and yell, " YOU'LL EAT YOUR DINNER IN HELL " I've been telling that to trainers ,jockeys, track executives & politicians for years. I was telling that to Umpires when I was in Little League.LOL. I had that line already in my repetoire. LOL. I'm thinking Oscar for best supporting extra in an anonymous roll in obscure Civil War documentary. They do have a trophy for that don't they ? My boy was a young Major(with a name & some lines ) He got one of the "hero shots" leading his guys on a suicide charge with a sabre and pistol. He got shot between the eyes and all his guys chickened out and ran for it. Turned out a lot of the "cast" LOL were guys that go around doing Civil War reenactments all the time & or muZZle loading gun enthusiasts . It was fun to do it once to say you've done it but I won't be pawning my fishing rods and canceling my wagering account anytime soon.
Annie More than 1 year ago
Blackseabass, So now we have an actor on the blog, in addition to all the fine writers. WTG! Annie
blackseabass More than 1 year ago
Dick W, I'm not doing too good on PH right now either. I can't really complain about a $31 placer ,but it would have been good for my PH number if he won as well. Getting shuffled coming out of the turn probably cost him at least as much as he lost by. His Mdn breaker was a tip off that he was quite a bit better than Elite Alex and possibly everyone of the horses that EA ran against that same day same distance in a stakes. As a closer he can't be faulted for the final time of the Mdn race. Winning in the way he did in the Mdn breaker at that track & distance is fairly impressive. Z doesn't let the horses get away when she runs at Oaklawn !! She takes over on the turn . She gets in front for the straight . I'm not saying Nehro is going to win the derby. He does have mostly family 1 though. I glanced at it and didn't write it down (I think 9/31) Speaking of female families in the general sense I posted that Animal Kingdom was tied 1 & 11 females . That was WRONG. Animal Kingdom is mostly 1s (10 of 31) 1h, 1b, 1m . He's got sneaky Derby Breeding. Premier Pegasus has 8 of 31- 1s . His DI 3.62 & CD .93 are a tad on the high side but his female 1's might cover that for him. Brethren has 9 of 31 - 1s . His last one didn't look so hot. Lets see if he can hit the board in the next one. Dialed In has 5 of 31 -1s & 37s. None of the 16 winners in the last 31 yrs that were 1s had less than 6- 1s . If Dialed In runs good in Fla. and gets in the gate I'll still put a little dough on him. Could be the next Ice Box. Jaycito has 9 of 31 - 1s . He might like the derby. If he makes it. Comma to the Top . His 9 of 31 - 1s say he might be Mine that Bird. On a related subject me and Calvin were noticing that a lot of the very best horses were "loaded up " with one or another general female family (number only ). Uncle MO 12 of 31 - 4s Astrology 10 of 31 - 16s that doesn't look that good for the derby, but he has 6- 1s backing it up. Stay Thirsty is 14 of 31 - 4s To Honor and Serve 9 of 31 - 4s Decisive Moment 12 of 31 - 2s - 2s are good for the preakness. Pants on Fire has (5 - 17s ) ( 4 - 8s, 13s, 16s) (3 - 3s,14s) (2- 2s,5s,9s ) . He's all spread out . High numbers are not good for the Derby unless its 23 and that ain't that great.