06/17/2011 4:07PM

HandiGambling 238 (Churchill maidens)


Tonight's HandiGambling 238 exercise is the eleventh race at Churchill Downs, a maiden special weight scheduled for nine furlongs on the grass.
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.


As of this posting (4pm), the turf is firm, but there are thunderstorms in the area and the MAIN TRACK ONLY horse has yet to scratch.

Right now, let's scratch #10 BET THE BANK, #12 BLOWBACK, and #13 DYNAMIC KNIGHT.

The portable rail is out in Lane 3 (about 22 feet out from the hedge).

#2 TAPATIVITY, a $235,000 RNA as a weanling, must be a frustrating horse to own and train.  The gray son of Tapit is a half-brother to multiple Grade 3 winner Champali and multiple stakes-winner Drexel Monorail.  He has some ability, but refuses to leave the gate in a timely manner, leaving him with too much to do when the real running begins.  Plus, he burns a ton of money (beaten favorite three times) and that could make him a bit of a sucker horse. 
Still, I feel that nine furlongs is what he's looking for, his last race wasn't bad, and he could get some pace to attack.  Last month, he was stuck near the back of the pack before rallying mildly through some minor traffic in the stretch. 
He is very tough to depend on, however, and is almost impossible to single in multi-race wagers.  In HandiGambling, however, I'll key him on top of exactas and hope he breaks somewhat smoothly.

#9 LOOKIN AT TIGER attempted to steal his most recent start on the front end, quickening through moderate fractions to open up a good lead entering the far turn.  He faltered in the stretch, but still finished ahead of the top selection. 
Expect Lookin At Tiger to revert to stalking tactics this evening and he may get first jump on stretchout sprinter #6 ORDAINED going into the final turn.  He should be prominent when they turn for home and can't be ignored. 

#6 ORDAINED cost $250,000 as a yearling and his dam was a Grade 3 winner going long on the main track (she was 0-1 on turf).  A half-brother to Grade 2 sprint winner Carolyn's Cat, Ordained must stretch out a half-mile in this spot.  While he is fast enough to make the early lead, he hasn't gained ground from the stretch call to the wire in his last three races, all at shorter distances.  I can see him making the front, but he may fall prey to the closers in the final two furlongs. 

#8 SMOKIN STAR raced evenly in his turf debut when finishing a length behind Lookin At Tiger.  He switches to Julien Leparoux and that usually attracts a good amount of attention at Churchill Downs.  Smokin Star shows a quick half-mile breeze in the mud in preparation for this start and may work out a good trip stalking the early leaders while racing in the clear. 

As for the others:

#1 PHOSPHOR cost $300 as a juvenile and was beaten double-digits in both main track starts.  His sire was a swift miler on the grass, winning a pair of Grade 3 races on the lawn. 
Forgiving handicappers will note that he tried to close over a sloppy, speed-favoring track in his debut before facing a promising sophomore named Le Mans on May 21.  He'll have to improve with the surface switch.

#3 CRYPTO PETE's sire won on grass and he is a half-brother to stakes-winner Load a Chronic (44-7-8-9 on grass).  The lightly-raced five-year-old hasn't finished in front of a horse since his career debut last July, however, and seems overmatched in this maiden special weight.

#4 MOON tackled stakes-bound Bizzy Caroline in his career debut and then encountered some trouble in his most recent outing.  He doesn't have much speed and may have to outfinish Tapativity from well off the pace.

#5 FLEXIPLUS, a half-brother to stakes-winning turfer Joharmony, is out of multiple Group 3-placed grass performer Dynamia.  The $22,000 yearling RNA made his career debut on dirt against eventual Preakness winner Shackleford, and then was not disgraced in two starts on turf.  He faced a promising performer, Check Your Soul, at Keeneland two back before missing by less than a length at Indiana Downs (the runner-up from that race returned to graduate at Arlington Park with a 76 Beyer and had previously run second in the Grade 3 Illinois Derby on dirt).
Flexiplus is a logical contender in this spot, but I'll try to beat him at low odds as he attempts nine furlongs for the first time.

#7 RIVENDELL, a $50,000 RNA as a weanling and a $42,000 RNA as a short yearling, is a first-time starter by Aragorn (5-46, 11% with FTS; 3-36, 8% with first-time turfers).  The dam only started twice, but she won her career debut on grass at one mile.  He's a half to two turf winners and the dam is a half-sister to Weekend Surprise, the dam of A.P. Indy.  There's certainly pedigree, but it's tough to successfully debut at nine furlongs and the workouts fail to entice.

My HandiGambling plays are as follows:

$50 Exacta:  Tapativity - Lookin At Tiger (2-9)
$30 Exacta:  Tapativity - Ordained (2-6)
$20 Exacta:  Tapativity - Smokin Star (2-8)

Best of luck to all.


For in-depth previews of some of the weekend's top stakes races, please click on the below link and scroll down:



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



SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
meathead01 Del Mar .. It would be great to meet up! I've got a list started & we'll talk more as the date gets closer! Thanks
Laura Lawduck More than 1 year ago
Hi Everyone - Sending a message out for Mike A who is having computer issues. Mike A has no internet access so if you've emailed him or are waiting for a phone call and you emailed him your number, he hasn't gotten it nor has he access to it. When he gets back online, Mike A will answer your email and or call. Sorry for any inconvenience. - Laura
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Bill G Your MKB FIRE WITH FIRE sure lit up the toteboard at Belmont today! Winner- Winner- Chicken- Dinner and paid 24.80 / 8.60 /4.80 ...ahhh, and he's a PGH :) Congratulations! http://www1.drf.com/drfNCWeeklyHorseDisplay.do?track=BEL&country=USA&raceDate=20110622&raceNo=2 'but ealloca'
stuckinarizona More than 1 year ago
Meathead 01: Glad to see there's another AZun on this blog. Do you know how to get an internet OTB account that overpowers AZ's restricting law against such things.
meathead01 More than 1 year ago
stuckinarizona never saw your post before this one if your new welcome to the best show on earth in regards to horse racing and the people that post their thoughts on that subject and their expert analysis from one side of the country to the other we have it covered be it the big apple or the california shores and much in between we have experts across the land to give their opinions and racing knowledge to any who asks and contributes to this blog. wow thats a mouthful any way welcome PS go to The Greek.com they will help you
Its a wacker More than 1 year ago
Annie, Sorry I was talking about Sidney Craig=Sidney's Candy
meathead01 More than 1 year ago
Hollywood Park 6-23-11 thursday R4 #3 Pat v takes the reins for mccarthy and look back three races where he just missed in $20000 claimer I see a front running effort and should stay the course today #8 Irish Coral two fine runs at the gate for moger and pedroza goes aboard for this nice bullet work in tow no trainer stats that stand out should show some speed early on #2 Jailbird Jimmy been on the shelf for 8 months where trainer is a scant 12% with returnees but this one has faced much better than these and did show speed two for three at this distance in exacta R5 #8 English Royal hollendorfer runner second turf after good second and dons blinkers first time trainer 28% with four solid works coming up to this sprint looks to have this filly ready for prime time #1 Miles Rules the one to beat after short rest trainer is 62% with this angle and 33% route to sprint and 54% J/T will be hard to beat if ready #4 Tenacious Tina usually has the lead in second call and this race looks no diferent with garcia riding for oneill three for five is hard to overlook with this filly would not surprise in the least R6 #9 Ribald hard hitting gelding who is four for five itm at this distance beat him for the money today must get position early in this for best results bullet work is encouraging #6 Afleet Deal third times the charme for rosario on this one after claim 22% will push Western Smoke for the lead and hang on for part today a must use on bottom of tickets #4 Western Smoke has the early speed to dictate the pace for this and being off since april may need this one for best effort to come R7 #1 Norvsky cuts back for this one where he is three for five in the exacta loses sutherland to rosario and think this ones late foot will get it done today #4 Logical Single sutherland takes this one over top horse and has been in exacta 10 of 12 last races for a beat me if you can message to the rest will show early foot and may last for win #3 Lucky Primo back after short rest and will return firing on all cylinders with baze up last time on turf a winning effort at a mile should be a part of the total picture today good luck all mh01
Hollywood1 More than 1 year ago
Dan, could you tell me if Wesley, the big grey turf horse and Promise Me A Cat-filly will race this year? thanks for all your work and insight
KYL Syndicate More than 1 year ago
Wagers are on the chalky side... Wednesday June 22 Belmont Race 1: SONG FOR PUPCAKE (turf only) Off a 8 month layoff, SONG FOR PUPCAKE ran in a 6F Turf Sprint, a distance much too short for her especially when she drew the rail as you need to have speed or risk being shuffled back which is what happened to her. Nevertheless she ran well late and the move to a 1 mile distance is suited for her especially in a race that came up light with speed. Expect Castellano to have her on or near the lead and with the prep race, her second lifetime win. New week at Belmont starts off on the chalky side as this looks like a 2 horse race but let's take the profit. Wagers: 30 Triple 4/2/1-6 ; 10 Triple 4/1-6/2 ; 25 Exacta Box 4-2 ; 25 Exacta 4/1-2-6 Race 3: DARK THUNDER Small but contentious field of 5 and I was hoping the 3 Safety Check would be the favorite but the morning line shows the selection DARK THUNDER at 7/5 and Safety Check at 2-1. Safety Check won impressively two back and was ambitiously entered in a stakes race on Preakness Day but did not run well and adds blinkers today. I like DARK THUNDER as he won first out for Pletcher dueling for the better part of the race before kicking clear in the stretch and holding on for the win. DARK THUNDER has the beneficial outside draw as he can either stalk Safety Check or assume the lead from the start, either way I look for DARK THUNDER to take over in the stretch while Safety Check fades a bit allowing My Golden Opinion to round out the exacta. Wagers: 100 Exacta 5-2 Race 8: ALL IN NO OUTS Luzzi has ridden well for Levine this year and during the weekends, is usually found in Monmouth riding I believe first call for Levine. ALL IN NO OUTS two back ran in a 6F race which is too short for him but was a good tightener as he then stretched back to a mile distance, prompted the pace and drew off for the win. ALL IN NO OUTS is now moved into this allowance race at Belmont and finds a field lacking early speed so expect Luzzi to be on the lead from the start. I am hoping Dominguez riding for Dutrow on the 1 is made the favorite in here as I feel he is vulnerable as he won last out against a weak field (...as I wrote this on Saturday Night, the 1 actually ran on Sunday and not sure if he will be entered today). Wagers: 3 Triple 2/1-3-4-7 ; 10 Triple 2/7/1-3-4 ; 5 Triple 2/1-3-4/7 ; 5 Triple 2/3-4-7 Thursday June 23 Belmont Race 1: BEBINN Filly broke her maiden in her career debut going 6F in a race more impressive than the margin shows. BEBINN was off a tad slow and was hustled by Cornelio to be on the lead but as there were two other speed horses also intent on the lead, Cornelio had to rein BEBIIN in a bit and was forced to run three wide, putting one runner away on the turn and the other pace maker in the stretch before holding on for the win. Steps up to this allowance race going a mile facing elders and although Cody Samora has early speed, I envision Cornelio will send early and attempt to take this field wire to wire. Wagers: 2 Triple 5/1-2-3-6-7 ; 3 Triple 5/2-3/ALL ; 25 Double 5/2-4 ; 25 Double 5/4 Race 6: THE PRINCE A good third last out losing only by 1.5 length and any of the two that beat him would be 4/5 in this spot. Switches jockeys to Javier which is always a plus and should sit a perfect trip right off the early lead established by the 5 with pace pressure expected early from the 1 and 4. Wagers: 25 Triple 3/6/2-5 ; 10 Triple 3/2-5/6 ; 20 Exacta 3/2-5-6 ; 20 Exacta Box 3/6 Race 8: HIGHER COURT Was visually one of the more impressive first out winners at Keeneland and goes from synthetics to the grass and am curious to see what her morning line odds. HIGHER COURT showed sharp speed from the gate, was pressed by the odds on favorite who ranged up as they approached the stretch, but after she was asked by getting a couple of cracks of the whip, she straightened out and leveled out for an impressive win. If she is listed as the favorite, then will likely void the wager as taking a 3 year old filly facing elders and also on a new surface is not worth the risk. If her entry mate also runs, then void wager altogether as I don't bet entries in NY. Wagers: 5 Triple 1/ALL/4 ; 50 Exacta 1-4 : Update...No wager will be made as the morning line odds of 6/5 does not justify the gamble. Nevertheless, interesting to see how good HIGHER COURT is or perhaps just a synthetic freak. Friday June 24 Belmont Race 1: BRAMPTON (turf only) Inside post sprinting on the turf is a negative for horses who do not have exceptional gate speed as the usual large fields means the horse will likely be shuffled back early and then encounter traffic trouble when making their run. This is what happened to BRAMPTON last out, as she broke first from the gate but as she likes to run from slightly off the pace, she had to track on the rail and when the field turned for home, she had to run in traffic and closed strongly in a race where with any racing luck she would have won. Lands the dreaded rail again but there isn't much speed lined up in here and more importantly with Ramon back again, I expect Ramon will ask her more from the gate to not risk being shuffled back, secure a good position and win in comfortably. Wagers: 15 Triple 1/3-6 : 25 Exacta 1/3-6 ; 10 Triple 1/6/2-4-5 ; 20 Exacta Box 1-6 ; 25 Triple 1/6/3
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Meathead01 " cant wait for Del Mar to open up usually go there to get away from the extreme heat here love the track where turf meets the surf" Well.... when do you want to go to Del Mar? For YOU and any West Coast Formblogger, who MAY just be in the area..FYI My RAH will be off for the annual 'guys trip'. This year to Kohler, WI for a golf outing and George Thorogood Concert in August.... Whee! & that happens to leave me a few days on my own with the REAL Thoroughgoods, umm I mean Thoroughbreds :) Which will be at Del Mar the weekend of 8/19 - 8/21.. What's at the track? Sat 8/20 Del Mar Oaks GI Sun 8/21 Rancho Bernardo HCP GRIII , and Solana Bch Hdcp Besides a few of of my west coast friends...is Anyone interested? I know it's a couple months off, but keep in touch! hmmmm, A Blue Boxer/Thong get together at Del Mar? PRICELESS! PS...Meathead01, then WE can discuss what will become of our Uncle Sam :)
meathead01 More than 1 year ago
SRVegas sounds very interesting about the Del Mar get together in august count me in for one. O by the way our Uncle Sam worked on the 18th 5f in 100.8 must be getting ready for another run mh01
Virgin Queen More than 1 year ago
" after all, we are not only horse players, but people above all else" thats good 2 know...i guess VS.. i didn't use pool play on any of my tickets even though i'm well aware of the angle. i keyed crown of thorns on my horzintal tickets and keyed him ( win, wheeled on my exctas ) in the stephen forster. his 1 dirt try was after a 6 month layoff at 6 and a half furlongs in which he ran up the track. even with that dismal showing 2 me he was still head and shoulders over pool play. i was getting 5-1 on a horse who on the west coast was running some big races in grade 1 company. i was willing 2 throw out the 1 dirt try and load up on him b/c of the poly angle and b/c the rest of the field look suspect.otoh b4 i went 2 the window i looked at pool play again knowing the angle your talking about but crown of thorns fit that same angle ( he never won at 6 and a half on poly ) this was his 2nd try on dirt and this time at a mile and an eight which i thought might b in his wheel house. looking back i should have put a couple of dollars on PP b/c of the angle but i thought i did that with crown of thorns. glad 2 c your back from that hick state safe and sound. though i will admit it is beautiful country. must b a long drive from 1 liquer store 2 another. peace VQ
Steve T. More than 1 year ago
Dan, Have you heard anything about what is going on with Conveyance? He doesn't show any recent works and I didn't see him on your DL.