03/31/2011 12:30PM

HandiGambling 227 (Gulfstream Turf)

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Today's HandiGambling 227 exercise is the fifth race at Gulfstream Park, a $50,000 starter allowance for three-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 course is listed as FIRM.

Let's scratch #9 NEAT LIGHTNING.

The portable rail is scheduled to be set at 24 feet.

This race starts a Bet-3 and a Pick 5, but I'm not sure if I'll be investing heavily, if at all, as I believe half of the field could win this opening leg.

Trainer Phil Gleaves is only 1 for his last 25 with stretchouts, but I'm going to give #2 MISS MAGGIE GIRL a chance as she goes two sprints to a route in the third start of the form cycle.  She is a half-sister to Show the Way J, a turf winner over 1 1/16 miles at Gulfstream last year. 
Dismissed at 77-1 odds in her turf debut on March 3, Miss Maggie Girl finished ahead of a pair of next-out winners (Rosa Salvaje earned an 80 Beyer winning an entry-level allowance while Just Say Goodbye took a $50,000 claimer on dirt with a 73).  Also, the runner-up of that race, Snow Trial came back to finish third in the $100,000 OBS Championship at Ocala with a 76 Beyer. 
Miss Maggie Girl should show tactical speed as she lengthens in distance, and may work out a good ground-saving journey under Manny Cruz.  I wouldn't be surprised if she's fast enough to grab the lead, but it looks like she can rate a bit as well.

#5 SOVEREIGN CRISIS makes her first start against winners for the dangerous Chad Brown barn.  A $140,000 juvenile, she needed $35,000 maiden claiming company to graduate, but did so over this track and trip in her first start at three.  The third-finisher that day returned to score with a 58 Beyer, and Sovereign Crisis may finally be figuring this game out.  Expect her to be farther behind in the early portion of this race, but she can't be counted out.

#3 ZANIAH is one of only two multi-winners in this field.  She whipped $16,000 platers at Calder two back, but failed to parlay an easy lead and soft pace to victory last time out over this strip.  Zaniah finished ahead of two of the runners she'll face today, but may have to go drastically faster in the early stages as Gilded Charm, Miss Maggie Girl, Blue Angel Express, and Sovereign Crisis all have solid early, or positional, speed. 

The other two-time winner is #6 FLOATING ALONE, a stakes-placed performer on dirt that would likely benefit from quick early fractions.  Floating Alone finished behind Zaniah when compromised by the early pace on January 27, but she came right back to score for a $50,000 tag over Take Me to Zuber (second in the OBS Sprint at Ocala with a 55 Beyer next-out).  Floating Alone has been in racing in good form for Bob Hess Jr., shows a recent bullet workout, and should be running late.

As for the others:

#1 GILDED CHARM won her maiden in gate-to-wire fashion at Tampa Bay Downs last time out, but she rode an easy early pace (50 2/5, 1:16 1/5), and still almost got caught on the line.  Although three of the five horses to return from that race came back to crack the trifecta next-out, Gilded Charm may not have such an easy time of it on the lead in this tougher spot.

#8 SARAFINA is lightly-raced with a good amount of upside potential, and she didn't have the easiest trip in the world when seventh in her first start against winners (beaten only two lengths).  Her trainer, George Weaver, is extremely underrated with grass performers, and Sarafina could be the right longshot to benefit from quick fractions up front.  She's an upset possibility.

#7 SUCH A SWEET GIRL is a one-run closer that may finally get the right pace flow, but she'll need to work out a traffic-free trip from the back of the pack.  Her trainer is extremely overdue at this meet and Such a Sweet Girl has been nibbling at minor awards in her last few races.  She's very consistent, but have we already seen the best from this 12-time runner?

#4 BLUE ANGEL EXPRESS has been placed in some tough spots by her connections.  The gray filly ran third against males on October 24, finished sixth as a maiden in the $100,000 John Franks Juvenile Turf at Calder, and finished last after setting the pace in the Tropical Park Oaks on New Year's Day.  She looked okay winning her maiden two back at Calder although she was late to make her final lead switch.  She has a puncher's chance if able to rate in this weaker company.

This is a good, competitive race.

For HandiGambling, I'll play:

$50 Win-Place:  MISS MAGGIE GIRL (#2)

Best of luck to all.

scianc22 More than 1 year ago
BSB, Get back on the medication. You had been doing so well lately. I said your rules were obvious. That every horseplayer with any experience should know those specific angles that I called you out on. Dont ever remember saying they were worthless. But sonce you like research so much maybe you can go back and find my posts to you. By the way, the zoloft seemed to be working so well, what happened. Oh well everything comes to an end sometime. Now I will go back to my little hole of know-nothingness and let the pros like you run the board. Good Luck.
Mike A More than 1 year ago
Vicstu brought up a very good point yesterday about how being a good handicapper on a weekly basis doesn't equate itself to picking the Derby winner. To my way of thinking the two biggest factors are the distance and breeding. I've seen too many horses brilliant up to 1 1/8m fail the "gut" check in the final 1/8th of the Derby. Though if there is one caveat to breeding it's "no horse can get the distance on breeding alone.......that is until they do it" Just ask Seattle Slew.....So while I always keep breeding in the forefront of maiden races and "new" distance races, that is a distance the entrants are trying for then first time, I also rely heavily on the visual aspect. There are certain things that make me "stand up and take notice". Even if you are new to the game and haven't yet refined your visual skills (and trust me, there isn't a handicapper out there worth their salt that isn't good at it) you still can use certain parameters when deciding if a horse who is considered bred "marginally" for the distance can actually "get it". Remember......it's the one who gets there "fastest", the winner may not be a true Derby horse.......but the 19 behind him aren't either. Just ask Super Saver.....when he catches his breath. Calvin and I talked about one of our parameters last year.......it was the ability to run a sub 1:36 mile as a 2 year old. It was one of the reasons In liked Eskendereya early in his career. Now as that time shrinks.....get's to the sub 1:35 range you really have something. Uncle Mo ran a 1:34:2 winning the Champagne last year on his way to a monster race in the BC. Off the top of my head I can remember 3 others who did that as a two year old. Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Spectacular Bid.......not bad company and remember too, Seattle Slew wasn't supposed to get the distance either. Am I saying Uncle Mo will win at this juncture? yes and no, I like him, but I want to see the Wood before I commit. This much I do know at this juncture.....folks make the mistake of judging horses against the past. I did that very thing last year, picking Ice Box over Super Saver because I felt SS was a clunker as compared to the winners of Derby's past. Instead of judging him by the competition that day. Calvin was spot on in his evaluation, I was not, regardless of how close the finish was. There are two races I consider where "race dynamics" and "jockeys decisions" more important than any other....they are the Derby and the Belmont. Both distances horse will negotiate for the first time. Pace dynamics plays a big role in the Derby as does PP to a slightly lesser extent, again ask Lookin At Lucky. The ability for a horse to relax even on the front end is paramount. The Factors last race while visually impressive but didn't answer the most pertinent question.....what will he do when hooked. I was a bit concerned about that question, and will await his next race to see of anyone can do it. If not and Flashpoint gets into the Derby off of a good run Sunday I'll be left having to answer that question leading up to the Derby. My early feelings are that Flashpoint is every bit as good as The Factor up to 7f......so I will prepare accordingly. However that may be moot if Flashpoint doesn't run well Sunday......but my gut tells me he will. The thing about Flashpoint is his last race against a good group produced a slow come home of 13:1. However if you look at the speed of the track that day along with the fact Flashpoint was three wide throughout was well within himself and left the field spread out for an 1/8th of a mile you have to see it for what it was, a very good performance. Perhaps watching what "Travelin Man" does in the third race on Sunday will give folks a better line on how good/bad the race really was. I know I'll be watching. I liked Megalith on turf early in the meet, like him better on dirt at 7f.....interesting. There is more racing left......I personally do not get "crazy" before the results are in....then I'll put the puzzle together. Every race has a meaning when deciphering the "whole". Races by themselves cannot have either too little or too much importance when looking at the first Saturday in May. I would never have put Bluegrass Cat second in the exacta with Barbaro if that were the case......his two before the Derby were clunkers. Sometimes a horse only need show signs to hit the exacta......Like Calebs Posse in the Rebel. Great racing this weekend....enjoy and take notes. Mike A
Laura More than 1 year ago
Dad's back in the hospital for a minor procedure, so I haven't had time to catch up on the Thong/Boxer goings on. Don't forget tonight's Handicapping chat! Las week Van Savant, BobC, Alan (maybe a few others, if I forgot you, sorry) all liked Nehro to hit the board at 36-1. Can they give us this week's longshots? We'll cover all the stakes action for the weekend. Same bat time and channel. (9:30 PM EST) at the Iron Maidens Thoroughbreds website: http://www.ironmaidensthoroughbreds.com/ The extravagant lighting fixture is reserved for SR Vegas, lol. Annie, now that you're back from vacation, I hope you can join us! Laura
meathead01 More than 1 year ago
Laura good luck with your father Im sure he will be fine. MH01
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
MKB Workouts 3/30/11 -Calder - dirt/fast Ribo Bobo - 3F 0:38.00 Breezing - Dave K -Payson Park - dirt/fast Fire With Fire - 4F 0:49.80 Breezing - Bill G -Hollywood park - all weather/fast Comma to the Top - 4F 0:49.40 Handily - Kelley Belles -Santa Anita - dirt/fast Awesome Patriot - 5F 1:00.00 Handily - Annie --------------------- Workouts 3/31/11 -Oaklawn Park - dirt/fast J P's Gusto - 5F - 0:58.60 Breezing - dylbert ...Glad you had a goodtime at the FG !! Sway Away - 5F - 0:59.60 Breezing - Longwaytomay Yankee Passion - 3F 0:37.80 Breezing - John C --------------------------- and Annie mentioned - MKB Entries: $1 Million FL Derby 1 1/8M at GP 4/3 Soldat - Jason in Thailand To Honor and Serve - Pippen Arch Traveler - BigEasyBigChok Shackleford - Lil Chok Stay Thirsty - Molesap Dialed In - TurnbacktheAlarm http://www1.drf.com/static/entries/03/eGP03.html#10 Fire With Fire - Bill G 60K 1M mdn spl wt at GP 4/3 http://www1.drf.com/static/entries/03/eGP03.html#4 150K 7F Swale Stakes at GP 4/3 Razmataz - SR Vegas Travelin Man - Bob C http://www1.drf.com/static/entries/03/eGP03.html#3 Uncle Sam - Meathead01 & SR Vegas at SA 4/3 80K 1M allow opt clm at SA 4/3 http://www1.drf.com/static/entries/03/eSA03.html#7 Break Up the Game - Knm 45K 1 M allow at AQU 4/3 http://www1.drf.com/static/entries/03/eAQU03.html#3 & don't forget ! Leave of Absence - Tmonty The 62K 1M turf Alligator Alley stakes at GP 4/2 http://www1.drf.com/static/entries/02/eGP02.html#7 Good luck MKB owners! ------------------------ a bit frivolous... And I cry UNCLE! Stop it, stop it! I've noticed alot of 'Uncles' lately ...so for your 2008 consideration :) Uncle Mo Uncle Sam Uncle Joe Uncle Lloyd Uncle Kitchy Uncle Jim's the Best UncleDennygotlucky Uncle Carm Uncle Bubba Uncle Brent Uncle Braw Uncle Bob's Viper Uncle Mike A Uncle Steve ..well maybe the last two are a bit older than a 3 year old ....he-he-he Just wait until the 2009 'Uncle' foals arrive ! LOL! AND NO CAPTCHA!!
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Ray Manley Yes doing great! and BTW I am really enjoying Travers Blog. Hope you and your lovely family are doing well, too. LOVE your Animal Kingdom :) 'eemensti group' ...another IEAH ?
Yogi More than 1 year ago
If you like WIDE open, full field races, take a look at race 5 @ Oaklawn today.
gil More than 1 year ago
Dan over the years gone by the one constant about horse racing was the possibility of getting in on a "boat race". Can say i never came close to that situation. Picking my own winners always had that satisfying accomplishment. A couple of weeks ago somebody told me of a good thing running at Gulf. Okay i still bite when it comes from certain sourses. Trainers, and guys that paid the bills. Well i bet "Tr xie Minor" every which way you could think of. I dropped my program at the start of the race, bend down picked it up only to see Trixie trailing the field. She never picked up a hoof that day, last. Upon further review after all my mumblings (replays). Trixie stumble badly. Today she turns up at 5f on turf. I"m giving her a token bet back as her odds will be huge. #7 will use Prado on #9. good luck all.
blackseabass More than 1 year ago
TBTA, other than Fupeg,Grindstone & Big Brown I don't think there is a derby winner with less than 5 1/4 miles. I wouldn't really call it an etched in stone cut-off but less than 5 miles is a negative regardless of what anyone else has to say on the subject. Its not IMPOSSIBLE for a horse to overcome that but it is unlikely. Many of this years lower odds horses will be on the cusp or below 5 miles. Facts are stubborn things. No amount of detraction can change them. If a horse with less than 5 miles wins the Derby this year it will still be very very very rare. Regardless of what anybody says, the results show no demonstrated trend that suggest otherwise. Not many if any horses have won the Derby after finishing worse than 4th in their final prep. Won the Derby ! Not ran 2nd. Plenty of training wiZards have tried it. When I speak of female families its important to remember that I'm not talking about the TAIL female line. I'm talking about the overall mix of mares in a horses 5 generation pedigree. Anywhere else you see something about female families they're talking about tail female family. Laura said that there are more 4's than any other female family, 4-r, 4-m etc . Don't quote me on this number but I think Calvin said that 17 Derby winners (or was it TC race winners ? ) trace in tail female to family 4. When I reworked their numbers using the 5 generation pedigree my way (I did it my waaaay) about half of them flipped that number to another number. In the past 40 years 1 is the number to have in the Derby. (1 is not the lonliest number) All the other numbers are sucking hind tit far behind 1. The numbers represent the flesh and blood ! So spare everybody the "its a flesh & blood sport that can't be reduced to useless numbers & stats " malarkey Mike . I remember a big talker that wasn't going to prove my numbers regarding exactas & trifectas were wrong, HE was going to prove them worthless. He couldn't do it. I'm still waiting for you to prove them worthless Scianc22. Those were stats that nobody around here knew and that they weren't going to find in a book. They are not worthless, they are golden. They are constant .They do not fluctuate. It works like that everyday. I said yesterday that I wasn't biting. That was yesterday . LOL. (yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away ) Today I'm hungrier and the moon and tide are right. Fish are like that. Some days they bite and others they don't . LOL.
Yogi More than 1 year ago
Annie, Smiling Jalapeno Warped Habanero Twisted Vanity
Turnbackthealarm More than 1 year ago
Derby Fever........one of our favorite illnesses. I'm just starting to catch it. While thinking about how much fun this blog has been this time of year for the last four years of my life, I recalled that someone once wrote an entire post of exactly what he looks for when handicapping the Derby. I know I saved it at one point, but have had a couple of hard drives blow up.......I am wondering was it James Mc, Dick W or bobc perhaps? In case I'm wrong or no one remembers, why don't we start another document like the one Blackstone compiled? Blackseabass has thrown out some intriguing theories about female families, with No. 1's and 4's dominating. The dosage break off while arbitrary, can also be considered. The mileage cut off is interesting too. BSB, I think I have lost some posts, what is your final say on how many miles would be the cut off to separate your contenders? I believe Annie has a rule about what position the Ky Derby had to come in in his last prep. My ultimate angle is visual assessment of workouts for my top choices. Overall, I look for how the horse handles the track, especially if it seems to float. Next, looking at fine details, if the colt cuts the corner neat and straight, and then change leads smoothly and with an almost imperceptable rider cue while continuing straight as a string down the lane, the horse moves way up my list. If I can get a look at the horses coat, whether or not they are dappled and shiny, how muscled out they are, that can be the final clue. Steve Haskin is a great source for that information if you can't see the horse standing or walking in sunlight. I'm never keen on a horse that does not have a timed workout over the CD strip. Bonus points are awarded for colts who have a winning race or a good placing at CD, even if it occurred when he was 2. That was the difference for me in picking Street Sense over Hard Spun. I was at Churchill when SS won the BC Juvenile and he looked wonderful that day. He also fit one of my other favorite angles, Sentiment. Although I don't recommend "Sentiment" as a winning angle, I enjoy it personally. I had Street Sense in the Juvenile because of my mom and I's favorite Breeder's Cup bet. A buck each for a $2 WPS on a longshot for every race......... Mike A-Even non-Rhodes Scholars may post. :) If people start making posts, I promise to compile them and post them right before the Derby.