05/30/2011 9:50AM

HandiGambling 235 (Metropolitan Handicap)

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Today's HandiGambling 235 exercise is the tenth race at Belmont, the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap at one mile on the main track. 

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.

Please separate the play from the analysis and label the play "HG" with the program numbers instead of the names of the horses.  

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.

***

I'm posting this pre-scratches and changes.

In the multi-race wagers, I will go four deep with heavy emphasis on my top selection.

As for HandiGambling the Met Mile:

#8 HAYNESFIELD is 5-7 at Belmont and his recent fourth-place finish in the local Met Mile prep, the Grade 3 Westchester Stakes on April 30, can be blamed on a tough trip. 
Haynesfield broke well and sought his usual spot on or near the front end in the Westchester, but was stymied from the outside by a hustling Christmas for Liam. 
Haynesfield's rider, Ramon Dominguez, attempted to rate his mount off the blossoming speed duel in order to maneuver to the outside, but he was locked on the rail by Christmas for Liam's stablemate, #5 CAIXA ELETRONICA.  Haynesfield has never been as effective when in behind horses and he just didn't seem very interested after being pocketed on the turn. 
He draws outside here for his second start of the year and should be close to the pace while racing in the clear.  Haynesfield ran well two back in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile (prompted solid fractions while inside, stayed game along the rail in the stretch, galloped out nicely) and should be prominent when the field swings into the stretch.

#10 TACKLEBERRY adds Lasix after a fourth-place finish going three turns, in the slop, under the lights at Charles Town.  A reliable competitor, Tackleberry has won eight of thirteen lifetime starts, at distances ranging from five furlongs to 1 1/8 miles. 
He, like Haynesfield, likes to race freely, and he could be prompting the top selection from the outside under Javier Santiago. 
Tackleberry has speed and natural ability, but perhaps his greatest attribute is his heart.  As he showed in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap two starts back, he doesn't like to let horses pass him when the money is on the line. 

Please keep an eye on #1 SOARING EMPIRE in the paddock, post parade and warmups as the 4-year-old has a history of acting up, especially behind the starting gate.  Soaring Empire looked good when beating the likes of eventual Grade 1 Carter Handicap winner Morning Line in the Grade 3 Hal's Hope at Gulfstream, but that race is sandwiched between a sixth in the Cigar Mile (reluctant to load into the gate) and second in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship at 4-5 odds (reared up gate, unseating rider). 
It will be interesting to see if the inside post has an adverse effect on Soaring Empire's already fragile psyche and he did miss the Westchester due to a foot problem.  On his best day, however, he's a pretty good miler and can contend here at a bit of a price.

#11 TIZWAY finally seems over the lingering foot issues that have plagued his career.  Making the third start of the form cycle this afternoon, Tizway returns to the scene of his Grade 2 Kelso win during the fall meeting.  Third in last year's Met Mile, Tizway draws outside and can stalk the early leaders from just off the pace.  He figures to gear up on the far turn and has run races fast enough to win this year's renewal.  He wouldn't be a surprise. 

As for the others:

#5 CAIXA ELETRONICA may have been aided by Haynesfield's misfortune in the Westchester, but he ran a corker that afternoon nonetheless.  After rushing up to lock Haynesfield in his inside box, he simply went about his business, passing his exhausted stablemate and going on to win by a solid three lengths.  Once claimed for $16,000 two years ago, Caixa Eletronica was taken by none other than Todd Pletcher for $62,500 two starts back. 
He's a hard-hitter with good tactical speed and may be ignored in the wagering once again. 

#9 KENSEI hasn't won since the 2009 Jim Dandy at Saratoga, a race from which he emerged with superficial cuts on his left hind hock.  Kensei had tough trips three and four back, but had his chances in both the Santana Mile at Santa Anita and the Carter, and couldn't punch it in either time. 

#6 YAWANNA TWIST ran a close fourth in last year's Preakness, a race that may have stretched his stamina to the limit.  He took a long time off after that race and may finally be reaching his peak with three starts under his girth this year.  I thought he ran pretty hard from start to finish in the Carter and he did better than his running line indicates.  Still, he has yet to earn a triple-digit Beyer in his career and will face some salty foes later this afternoon. 

#4 AIKENITE is coming into his own for Team Pletcher, but he may have been aided by a closer-friendly track when winning the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes on Derby afternoon. 
There is certainly the potential for a quick and contentious pace in today's Met Mile, however, and that could play right into Aikenite's hooves. 
Although he won his entry-level allowance condition over this track and trip, I'm not totally convinced he's a true miler.  It's possible the son of Yes It's True is a six- and seven-furlong horse at heart.

#3 RODMAN is a nice story as he returned from colic that sidelined him for over a year to post a stakes victory in his second start back.  He walked the dog on the lead that day, however, and figures to face more pace heat up front in this much-tougher spot.

Pletcher's third entrant, #7 IBBOYEE, was the New York-bred champion juvenile of 2009 and has held his own against open company the past two seasons.  He made up a good deal of late ground in his last two races and should benefit from a hot pace today.  Still, one wonders if his most recent effort was helped by the closer-friendly nature of that Churchill Downs main track.  Expect a good late run from an underrated performer.

#2 STORMY'S MAJESTY, has won two of his last three races, but I felt he raced with the grain of speed-favoring surfaces in both of those victories.  While capable from off the pace and perfect at this distance, he may be farther behind than usual down the backstretch and will need a speed figure boost to take these down.

Here's how I'll play it.

$100 Win - Haynesfield - #8

Best of luck to all. 

blackseabass More than 1 year ago
Jonah, I'm no mathematician but I think you need to bet them all. No actually I wasn't joking . LOL. No its not an election. LOL. The brown nose was a little extreme. Nothing severe considering the context . Why I cared was because it was coupled with the idea that someone else was jealous if they questioned a point of view. Me & Meathead 01 got over it the next day. If we worked in the same meat locker and we were having the same conversation it probably would have mirrored the posts pretty closely. No big deal. It was a symptom of a climate of expected C- riticism ! LOL . It was also a symptom of being sick ,tired & weak . LOL. Yogi, C & myself were in a discussion about BC grass horses that I didn't have the energy for so I played a little defense. I read the rest of your post. I see you've recognized that the most probable winners are not always necessarilly the most probable placers and vice versa. Thats an important nuance to recogniZe if you want to hit the big exactas and tris. There are quite a few trifecta trainers that catch the place and show with bombs to make a buck as their specialty. Personal Ensign vs Winning Colors & Goodbye Halo in the BC distaff was a great race. Spend a Buck vs (Creme Fraiche ?) in the (Jersey Derby ?)for the 2 mil bonus. Ferdinand & Alysheba BC classic. Safely Kept vs the craZy jumper (shiek albahdou ?) in the BC sprint. When you watch that one I want you to understand that I had those jumps factored in when I bet Safely Kept ! Ask me about my can't lose handy dandy shadow jumping time form conversion method sometime. LOL.
blackseabass More than 1 year ago
James Mc , good idea. I forgot about betfair. SR Vegas , Yep the first guy won his bet butts... the question is did he lock up a profit or did he gamble ? If each formblogger had the choice which route would they take ? The big plunge or the prudent & automatic profit ? Or maybe a combination of both ? If we answer ourselves that question honestly it might tell us something about ourselves as players. Would you prefer the automatic free money or would you rather let it ride ? " Would you say goodbye or would you let it ride " Calvin , thanks for that heads up on the tail female 1s at Epsom . Some will flip but some of the others will flip to 1s as well. Thats a pretty impressive list, is it from your book on Euro Classics ? I'm going to put up some BSB numbers for the Belmont soon. It looks like Bruce Lowe had an idea of which were the best families to me and he numbered them accordingly. He may have got 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 slightly out of whack but he probably got 1 & 2 in the right spot. IMO. CurtV , If I was a hybrid like Kegasus butts... instead of a beer keg & a goat one of Ed Mc Mahon & SR Vegas. "Mc ValiVegasus" and you were Johny Carson, I would say to you, "You are correct,sir, to the max "
blackseabass More than 1 year ago
James Mc , good idea. I forgot about betfair. SR Vegas , Yep the first guy won his bet butts... the question is did he lock up a profit or did he gamble ? If each formblogger had the choice which route would they take ? The big plunge or the prudent & automatic profit ? Or maybe a combination of both ? If we answer ourselves that question honestly it might tell us something about ourselves as players. Would you prefer the automatic free money or would you rather let it ride ? " Would you say goodbye or would you let it ride " Calvin , thanks for that heads up on the tail female 1s at Epsom . Some will flip but some of the others will flip to 1s as well. Thats a pretty impressive list, is it from your book on Euro Classics ? I'm going to put up some BSB numbers for the Belmont soon. It looks like Bruce Lowe had an idea of which were the best families to me and he numbered them accordingly. He may have got 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 slightly out of whack but he probably got 1 & 2 in the right spot. IMO. CurtV , If I was a hybrid like Kegasus butts... instead of a beer keg & a goat one of Ed Mc Mahon & SR Vegas. "Mc ValiVegasus" and you were Johny Carson, I would say to you, "You are correct,sir, to the max "
Whackymacky More than 1 year ago
Thursday notes... Hello all... Look out for the Bridge Jumpers Today at Belmont Park!!! Race #2 #5 Jupiter Trio Dominguez riding for Hushion. Morning line is 3/5!!! Congrat's to Tencent and all of the winners of the past weekend. Some nice winner's along with some tough DQ's. Side bar: Tough weather here in Massachusetts. Never though that we would see Tornado's here!!! Hope that the people will be OK and that everyone will be able to rebuild and move forward from this disaster. Hard to believe.... Good luck to all this weekend. Whackymacky Out!!!
p ensign More than 1 year ago
"We were told before the race that CM "Did not need the lead." HUGE RED FLAG! I did not listen." Vic - first, good luck with the studying, the bar is something one would rather do once in a lifetime and no more, believe me. the only comment I have, as we tend to agree on the speed issue, is that connections might not necessarily give you the straight dope on what their tactics might be. If I was instructing a jockey as to how he/she might like to ride a race, I'm not sure that I would tell anyone else exactly what I would have said to the jockey... I reckon some trainers will be up front, others not so much.
GunBow More than 1 year ago
Just watched the video this site has provided for the stretch run of the LA Cap'. It totally confirmed my conclusion at the track. There was a wide hole created when M One Rifle, under left handed urging from Chantal, bore out into Camp Victory. It was as M One was bearing out, and the hole at least two horses wide was created, that Mike Smith started pushing Amazombie to get to the hole. Amazombie got his head and even his shoulders in the hole right before M One, after Chantal pulled his reigns left, came back to the left, shrinking the hole. At that point Mike could have either slammed the breaks, allowed himself to get squashed, or he could have continued pushing Amazombie through the hole. He chose the latter and he had every right to do so given Amazombie had established himself(his head and shoulders) in that space. In bringing the horse's body completely through the hole, yes Mike Smith did help create some bumping. But here's the key point to all of this; it didn't cost a horse a placing.
ole bob bowers More than 1 year ago
Jonah, Big Red's Belmont Affirmed - Alydars' TC races My boy John Henry's Arlington Millions.....just to name a few....
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
tencentcielo ...Darn, a Bridesmaid again :) ...Congratulations!
SamG More than 1 year ago
Victory Gallop sat back and made one run to beat Real Quiet in spite of reports that he looked like a tired horse and his coat looked awful.I think they said he was developing a rash.So while deep closers should probably not be prefered in the Belmont,it can happen.
Steve T. More than 1 year ago
Jonah, Here are the races I consider the greatest I have seen: 1973 Belmont – Secretariat was like a machine, running faster and faster through each fraction, completely annihilating the field. You can watch that race 500 times and each time all you can say is “Damn, are you kidding me?” 1989 Preakness – Sunday Silence and Easy Goer hooked up and just kept running. Brilliant ride by Pat Valenzuela pinning Easy Goer to the rail. 1989 Breeders Cup Classic – Sunday Silence and Easy Goer part deux. Game, set and match Sunday Silence. 1976 Marlboro Cup – how Forego got up I still can’t figure out. He was carrying a ton of weight and in the lane it looked like no way could Forego make it… but he did. 1981 Arlington Million – the ancient warrior John Henry dug in and caught The Bart at the last second. 1980 Strub Stakes – all the stars aligned and with Relaunch leading the way, Spectacular Bid let it all hang out, hitting the wire in 1:57/4, ain’t nobody been within a zip code since. 2000 Breeders Cup Classic – the original overachiever, Tiznow, a three year old, led them wire to wire and just wouldn’t let Giant’s Causeway by, a brilliant ride by Chris McCarron. Pure unadulterated guts. 2001 Breeders Cup Classic – different year, different Euro (Arc winner Sahkee), same result; this time from a pressing position. Tiznow ground the Arc winner to dust down the lane; and there were serious questions as to whether Tiznow would even run in the race he was so off form. Like Forego and all of the rest of the greats, you better have had your Wheaties if you were going to take this colt on. 2007 Belmont – Rags to Riches stumbled out of the gate and then bided her time until the final turn when she and Curlin went by a tiring Hard Spun and hooked up all the way down the lane. She refused to let Curlin by and became the first filly in 100 years to win the Belmont. 2008 Breeders Cup Sprint – Midnight Lute had only one race since his win in the 2007 BC Sprint at Monmouth, but Baffert worked him into shape (running a new track record in a fricking work at Del Mar) and made them all look like little boys late. 2009 Breeders Cup Classic – the death mare walks out of the gate, comes from out of the clouds, splits horses and goes by them all becoming the first female to win the Classic. 1978 Triple Crown – if you didn’t like watching Affirmed and Alydar battling every step of all three races, you don’t like horse racing. In the Belmont they hooked up at the half mile mark in a 12F race, Alydar took the lead mid-stretch but Affirmed just gutted it out and refused to lose.