05/13/2011 2:25PM

HandiGambling 233 (Arlington Maidens)


Today's HandiGambling 233 exercise is the ninth race at Arlington Park, a statebred maiden special weight for three-year-olds and upward at six furlongs on the polytrack.

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.

The first few weeks at Arlington are usually very interesting as we find out if the horses that ran well on dirt at Hawthorne can successfully transfer that form to the all-weather. 

Let's scratch #13 BOXEO and #14 TOP NOTCH BUDDY.

#10 COUGAR'S SHADOW ran faster than par for this class level (par is 68) when an even third at Hawthorne last month and tuned up for this with a bullet five furlongs over the polytrack eight days ago. 
He was bet hard in his career debut back in March, but didn't run very well against a solid field (the second- and third-place finishers both came back to win). 
Last time, he prompted a quick pace and dug in gamely for third money. 
He draws a good attack post position outside of the other speeds and should be prominent when the field swings into the stretch. 
If you believe in "synthetic" breeding, a half-sister, One Perfect Day, won over the Tapeta at Presque Isle Downs while another half-sister, Princess Ally Rose, won twice over the Arlington polytrack last season. 
Over the past five years, trainer Christine Janks is 3-7 (42%, $4.00 ROI) at Arlington with older statebred maiden sprinters going dirt to synthetic following a 31-60 day layoff. 
Another sign of intent may be the rider switch to Junior Alvarado.  Over the past two years, the Janks-Alvarado trainer-jockey combination is 4-8 (50%) with an $8.52 ROI.

#4 OFFICER NINO is a half-brother to Jaguar City, the winner of the Isaac Murphy Handicap going six furlongs over the old dirt course at Arlington back in 2005. 
The Officer homebred showed good speed when bet down to 5-1 for his career debut and could be the main pacesetter in his first start on synthetics. 

#2 PANAMA HAT has yet to hit the board from seven lifetime starts, but he put up consistent figures at Hawthorne over the winter and may improve with the switch to polytrack.  He came with a late run for fourth when finishing only a half-length behind Officer Nino on April 27 and could get some pace to attack here. 

#6 GRUDGE MATCH has some pedigree appeal as a half-brother to Striking Hight, a stakes-placed turf performer that won sprinting over the Arlington polytrack in 2009.  His dam, Highfalutin, was multiple Grade 3-placed going long, but did win three sprint races. 
The gelding was bet to favoritism in his career debut and showed good speed before faltering to second in the stretch at Hawthorne.  He wouldn't be a surprise from close to the pace for high-profile connections.

#1 ANY GIVEN TIME was virtually ignored at the windows for his career debut and didn't do much running over the sloppy track.  He'll have to really hustle breaking from the inside post.

#8 WILD COMMAND didn't fare very well over sloppy going in his debut after breaking poorly from the inside post.  It's probably too early to give up on him completely, but he's hard to confidently endorse.

#11 IN ALL DIRECTIONS has not finished ahead of another runner since February 27, 2010, and has simply been dull since returning from a long, long layoff.

#3 SUNSHINE EXPRESS is by Explicit, a Grade 2-winning sprinter that is 13-100 (13%) with debut runners.  The dam went 8-35 for $115,175 in earnings (2-7 in sprints) and has foaled a winner from three prior starters.  Trainer James DeVito is 7-15 (47%, $6.01 ROI) over the past year with debut runners and is 13-39 (33%, $6.12 ROI) over the past five years with debut runners at Arlington. 
He doesn't have to be the next Secretariat to win this so check the tote for early action to see if he's live.

#12 NAGYS PIGGY BANK is a son of Cherokee Rap, a stakes-placed earner of $186,240 that is 0-11 with debut runners.  The dam was multiple stakes-placed (4-19, $133,286, 3-14 in sprints) and has foaled three winners from three previous runners.  Trainer Scott Becker is 0-15 over the past five years with debut runners at Arlington.

#5 HEY NEIGHBOR has some bloodlines as his sire was a multiple Grade 2 sprint winner that is 23-344 (7%) with debut runners.  The dam was a multiple stakes-winning sprinter (11-41, $373,667, 11-40 in sprints) and has foaled three winners from three starters including stakes-winner Home's The Best (9-31, $392,265, 1-2 in sprints).  Trainer Brian Williamson is 1-55 (2%, $0.32 ROI) over the past five years with debut runners at Arlington.

#7 C. C. BANJO is by Bowman's Band, a Grade 2 route winner that is 12-100 (12%) with debut runners.  This is the first starter from the sprint-winning dam (26-5-2-6, $82,280, 5-21 in sprints).  Trainer Percy Scherbenske is 3-17 (18%, $2.31 ROI) over the past five years with debut runners at Arlington. 

#9 LAKE POSSE, a $20,000 yearling buy, is by Grade 2 sprint winner Posse (23-252, 9% with debut runners).  This is the first starter from a route-winning mare (2-16, $50,591, 0-5 in sprints).  The trainer is 1-20 (5%, $3.22 ROI) over the past five years with debut runners at Arlington, scoring with 31-1 firster Adam N Tony last year. 

I'll hope that Cougar's Shadow can retain his form on synthetic. 

$100 Win - Cougar's Shadow (#10)

Best of luck to all.

Back next week as we gear up for the Preakness.

houdani More than 1 year ago
#2-@4-#7-@12 $5.00 per box=$60.00----------$1tri box=$24.00 $16.00 to win #7
Mike A More than 1 year ago
oops...last post.....I meant 77 Preakness.......Mike A
Mike A More than 1 year ago
Before I say what it is I'm going to say....To Dosselmeyer?? No offense, I'm saying this with 40+ years of watching horses run, of being able to share the same "air" with Kelso, Dr. Fager, Damascus, Ruffian, Ta Wee and Desert Vixen......Of seeing horses run 1 1/4's in 1:59-2:00 as a matter of course, of seeing Secretariat run 1 1/2 in 2:24 flat......turf races at 1 1/2 run in 2:23........and the special treat of seeing Dr. Fager set track records while carrying 132-139lbs......I said this last year before the Belmont and will repeat it again, Drosselmeyer is one of the slowest horses I've ever seen compete in the stakes ranks and should be the poster boy for the saying "Everyone can get he distance, it's whether they can do it in racehorse time that matters".......2:06+ ......GOOD GRIEF. Van Savant When Calvin and I started discussing Animal Kingdom last November he wasn't the stone closer you see today......he was a stalker, a close stalker. I wouldn't expect him to be too far back in the Preakness, he's shown that same tenacity running either way......As to the newcomers.......it's been my experience that while a few closers have faired well, it's the speed that will upset if at all. I'm with C......I'll wait and see what's what. Never being a fan of Dutrow's I was happy to see Flashpoint now being trained by Wesley Ward........ Usually I keep track of how Pimlico is playing (especially on an off track) the week leading up to the Derby........for my own handicapping......not because A. Beyer perpetuated the myth that Pimlico favors inside speed the first two weeks of the meet leading to the Preakness........It hasn't really been a factor ever since Seattle Slew cooked Cormorant in 78' from the outside......watch the replay......I swear I can still hear Beyer screaming from the press box...hahahahahaha!!!!!!!Mike A
Alanimal Kingdom More than 1 year ago
Tuesday's Preakness Musings From My Deck: Alanimal Kingdom = what was enticing at 20/1 gets less so at 5/2. Still the horse to beat and likely to get an even better pace scenario to close into, but 5/2? Include, but no single. Astrology = nice pedigree (ApIndy-Quiet American); Jerome performance somewhat flattered by Adios Charrlie's effort in the Peter Pan; Still not on top...perhaps under. Concealed Identity = Tesio winner; won last two at PIM, but not with lengthening leads. Off. Dance City = looks best as a one-turn miler; don't see lasting to remain on the board. Off. Dialed In = this may be his chance; potential for "wise guy" money, but if can stay 6-7/1, I'll include over and under. Flashpoint = looks best at 6-8f; new to Ward; another likely fading in the stretch. Off. Isn't He Perfect = broke his maiden in 5th attempt (and 3rd mc try!); 127/1 in the Gotham; 65/1 in the Wood; 39/1 in the Jerome. Off King Congie = somewhat interesting at 20/1; won at 9f but has drifted in stretch of his route wins. Under. Midnight Interlude = interesting rider switch (although I would have preferred Rosario) and longshot; think Louis Quatorze... On top and also under. Mr. Commons = another 3yo sired by a former turf stakes winner; mixed feelings, but wonder if distance in perhaps a furlong too long? Off or a little under. Mucho Macho Man = matches best 2yo Beyer in the Derby, which may be a sign of further improvement next-out; he's a gamer, but perhaps not a winner; Some on top, but definitely under. Norman Asbjornson = the CEO of AAON; Has little chance here against the others. Off. Shackleford = deserves more credit than I've given him in his races so far; still, suspect subpar performance this time...I never learn! Off or a little under. Sway Away = a repeat of the San Vincente puts him right in the mix, but is he a two-turn horse? A little under. Right now, I see it as: A = Alanimal Kingdom A/B = Dialed In, Midnight Interlude C = Mucho Macho Man Unders (3rds, 4ths) = Astrology, Mr Commons, Shackleford, Sway Away
TBTA More than 1 year ago
Vicstu, I can think of 5.5 million reasons to run Dialed In................. Gerry from Miami, MKB stands for Magic Kleenex Box horses. Annie is kind enough to identify many two year olds who may make a run at the KY Derby. Any blogger interested is "given" a horse to "own, train and love" on the road to the Derby. It gives us a rooting interest and some measure of what it may really feel like to be an OWNER. If you stick around the blog for awhile (welcome by the way), you will be eligible to play along with us. It is fun and we have been doing this for at least three years.......I know someone will correct me if I am wrong!!!
Mike A More than 1 year ago
vicstu More than 1 year ago
Curt V wrote: "I guessem' you'll love the comment from the trainer of King Congie...He really worked FAST the other day.....duh ? hehn ? >>104.60.>>>>>>>phew !! Blow me down.....heeheehee........That blistering speed might put him in the lead on Saturday........roflmao......" (to vicstu) Curt: Yes. That is rich stuff, is it not? I remember when Billy Turner used to work The Slew 1:02 for 6 and everyone would say, C'mon Billy, you are just training Slew too slow. Who do you think you are sandbagging? The thing was, 1:02 was slow for Slew, but Turner knew come race day Slew would be kicking down the barn and raring to go. He bent for that lead and pity the horse that goes with him. And now we are told Congie worked really fast at 1:04.60. Fast indeed! The clockers would not even have caught that as a breeze in the 1970s or 80s, Curt V. You know it, and I know it...we have come a long way! Kind of like Adios Charlie's trainer saying they were going pretty fast in the Peter Pan the other day. Say what? That was the slowest PP since 2000. And I like the winner and runner up in that race a good deal. They simply worked with what they were given. BSB, I understand. And I pretty much agree. BTW, anyone who was in on that moon landing stage is okay in my book! TBTA, Thanks. I am watching the comments of the speed closely. How can this not be an angle? Glad it makes sense to you as well.
Calvin L. Carter More than 1 year ago
vicstu, Here's what Tinky thinks about Animal Kingdom: http://fmitchell07.wordpress.com/2011/05/16/pace-in-the-kentucky-derby/#comments
Ron B More than 1 year ago
The Preakness As bad as I am in the Stakes field I believe that I am going to stick with the horse I thought would win the derby if he had gotten in and that is "Sway Away" I will wait for the official draw before settling on my actual wager both live and on HG if Dan ok's that choice for the HG this week Ron B
Alanimal Kingdom More than 1 year ago
Annie, Copy and paste??? My 2007 blog findings suggest that my namesake will have a hard time repeating his Derby win in the Preakness. Over the past 20 years, whereas frontrunning Derby winners (those close to the lead or on the lead 4f into the race) were likely to repeat their victory in the Preakness, Derby closers (such as Giacomo, Street Sense, MTB) didn't. Now don't throw them out of your exotics completely as they are almost always in the money, but just not on top. It can be done (Alysheba, Pleasant Colony and Canonero II come to mind) and although AK was in the back half of the field at 4f (12th/19) in the Derby, he was only 6.25L out of the lead. However, since the Derby winner is often the Preakness favorite, beware of singling him in your multi-race wagers or singling him on top of your exotics. On the other hand, Derby losing closers such as Dialed In should not be ignored. You need to only look to last year's Preakness winner Lookin at Lucky, 18th (out of 20) at 4f in last year's Derby. More Preakness thoughts hopefully later today or tomorrow. BTW, it is wet here...and likely to stay wet here thru Saturday...