07/27/2011 4:32PM

HandiGambling 244 (Wickerr Stakes)


Tonight's HandiGambling 244 exercise is the seventh race from Del Mar, the $85,000 Wickerr Stakes for 3-year-olds and up 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.

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.

The turf condition is FIRM.


Not only was #5 VICTORY PETE overmatched against the likes of Twirling Candy in the Grade 2 Californian two back, but he attempted to go gate-to-wire over a surface that may have favored closers on the day.  He'll now return to his preferred surface, turf, after a game pacesetting third-place performance in the Grade 3 Cornhusker Handicap on dirt at Prairie Meadows.  Victory Pete hasn't won since 2009, but this seems like a good spot for him to get back on the beam.  He doesn't need the lead to do his best running and I'm expecting Rafael Bejarano to find a good spot stalking the expected solid pace. 

#2 ACE OF ACES stole an 'n2x' optional claimer on the front end at this distance two back, but he failed to stay 1 1/16 miles in his most recent outing.  He should appreciate turning back in distance this afternoon, but he seems like a one-dimensional front-runner and may face some early pressure from #3 JOHN JOHNY JAK, #9 AMERICAN LION and #7 UNBRIDLED'S HEART.  Ace of Aces is sharp right now, but he'll need a breather at some point. 

#4 GALLANT SON, a Grade 3 winner on the grass, is also in good form.  He returned from a short layoff to win a listed race sprinting on the grass at Hollywood Park and would benefit from a lively pace up front.  He finished third in this race last year, but he ran in the 2010 Wickerr in his first try following a layoff line.  This time, he has a race under his belt.  I have a good amount of respect for this 5-year-old and he is expected to give another good performance.

I picked #9 AMERICAN LION to win the 2010 Kentucky Derby, but he spun his wheels in the slop and finished eleventh behind Super Saver.  The Illinois Derby winner was originally slated for stud duty, but he returned from a lengthy layoff to finish a solid fourth in his return, an entry-level allowance race over cushion track on July 10.  Expect American Lion to be sharper in his second start back and he could be a strong pace factor stretching out around two turns. 

#1 BLUE CHAGALL, the defending Wickerr champion, earned a 101 Beyer four back in the Grade 2 Arcadia, but he had a picture-perfect trip that afternoon only to fall short to the sharp Liberian Freighter.  I think Blue Chagall is more like his recent efforts (Beyers between 87-91) than the triple-digit race and he seems to run to the level of his competition (whether it be Courageous Cat and Liberian Freighter or Smokey Lonesome and Carry Gulch).  He fits beautifully in this spot and may work out a cozy pocket trip from the inside, but he figures to be fairly short on the toteboard.  I'll take a stand against him although I realize he certainly can win.

#8 BUENOS DIAS takes a drop in class after running up against the likes of Acclamation, Champ Pegasus and Bourbon Bay, but he seems more like a longer-distance turf performer than a miler.  I liked his race in the Grade 1 Hollywood Turf Cup four starts back, but he just hasn't come close to that effort in 2011 and didn't change leads in the Grade 2 San Luis Obispo on February 19.  He'll get pace to run at, but may need more ground to play with.

#3 JOHN JOHNY JAK was no match for Mambo Meister in the Mecke Stakes on June 25, but that one is in raging form, returning from the Mecke to win the Primal Stakes last week with a whopping 110 Beyer.  John Johny Jak makes first start for new ownership group and returns to his best surface (4-8, won last two on grass).  He has some early speed, but doesn't need the lead so his tactics may be dependant on what Ace of Aces (drawn directly to his inside) does from the gate.  Yet another sharp runner in an excellent renewal of the Wickerr, John Johny Jak wouldn't be a surprise, but he needs to step his game up just a bit more.

#10 QUINDICI MAN is a stakes-winner on grass over a mile at Turf Paradise and he wasn't disgraced going longer in the Grade 2 San Juan Capistrano Handicap on closing day at Santa Anita.  Quindici Man likes to rally from off the pace and he could get the fractions he needs to properly set up his late kick.  He must avoid a wide trip from his outside post, however.

#7 UNBRIDLED'S HEART went gate to wire against weaker at Lone Star last time out.  It doesn't look like he's quick enough to make the front today, but he's shown that he can rate and finish in a pinch (note turf debut three starts back).  The runner-up from the most recent start returned to finish eighth in a 12-furlong starter allowance.  Unbridled's Heart will get a severe class test here.

#5 CALIMONCO missed the break in his first start for John Sadler so you may want to draw a line through that 4 Beyer.  A solid runner with more seconds and thirds than victories, Calimonco will be closer to the pace, given an alert break.  He's not his sisters, Life Is Sweet and Sweet Catomine, but his form is dirtied up enough that he'll be playable odds for a high-percentage barn.

It's a really good race for HandiGambling, but I'm going to keep it simple.

$100 Win - Victory Pete (#5)

Best of luck to all.


I'd like to mention that I'll be down at Penn National this Friday and Saturday for Governor's Cup weekend.  There are several juicy stakes races on the card and I'm pleased to be doing some handicapping work for the track in conjunction with DRF.  Three of the first four races on Friday evening are $100,000 stakes events and there will be a special Breast Cancer Awareness promotion that night as well. 

On Saturday night is the Governor's Cup, a turf sprint won last year by Chamberlain Bridge on his way to a victory in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint.

I'd love to meet any blogger that happens to be at the track this weekend.

Patrick S More than 1 year ago
Alfredo, Thanks for the PH info. Wasn't sure who all on here played PH or not. My username is "Pick Em Right", and hopefully I can keep it in the "positive" territory for the remainder.
Calvin L. Carter More than 1 year ago
Laura, Thanks, I thought he might have been a Coolmore colt. Look forward to the email update on his debut. SR Vegas, That was a shame to hear about Canford Cliffs.
Dick W More than 1 year ago
Matt B Thanks for your understanding with regard to the HG comments. As it turns out, the Whitney is shaping up to be a terrific race with a full field. So it is not the race itself but the other considerations that folks were concerned about. Also, welcome to the PH contest. I think you will really enjoy it. Here is a valuable angle you can use to eliminate horses. Simply look up my picks and consider them to be automatic tosses. I am not kidding. My results speak for themselves. By the way, my tag is Dick_W (with an underscore between the Dick and the W). As bad as my results have been, I continue to enjoy the process, and look forward each week's new challenges. Good luck to you. Dick W
Matt B More than 1 year ago
Alfredo I'll be playing as mbernier7389...look forward to keeping track of everyone and hopefully we can all pick some winners. Matt B
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Calvin Oh bummer... Canford Cliffs is being retired due to a leg injury after The G1 Sussex Stakes last week. http://www.thoroughbreddailynews.com/intraday_single.cfm?type=news&alertID=1394&CFID=50376041&CFTOKEN=51067121
meathead01 More than 1 year ago
Del Mar 8-4-11 thursday R1 #3 Flame Trees (GR) had far outside in last had no position so dropped back for another day stra takes over today and like her odds to get better early position and prove the best of these trainer 33% second start and turf to synth 42% #4 Miss Mystic two bullets in holster for kitchingman who is 25% FIRST START AND 25% DEBUT MCLM pedroza sees fit to take the mount a play for sure #5 So Tempted last more like it took a drop and responded look for a similar effort today back in 13 days for this one R2 #5 Kingsville this looks like a repeat of last race only should hold for the win here sheds 4 lbs for this one so think that will be enough to get this gelding home on top #3 Pico Pico going longer today where he is two for three itm quinonez stays and think the stretch makes the diference today back in 13 days a plus #4 Low Gear Power fine rally to get the show last and today gets more ground to work with garcia has the groove with this one will play a role in the outcome here R3 #1 Mia Isabel gets the nod here taking the biggest drop in racing and delgadillo knows her well look for a fast finish to get the money #5 Wild Truffles with gomez staying a plus he must have seen something in this filly in last race broke good dropprd back and came on late stretch takes the big drop to claimers here watch for good effort #7 Bursquel FTS with bullet in last work HG 59.1 is very good work trainer 18% with these like the speed jock taking the mount R4 #14 Lordgivemealift gotta love last effort with talamo up and takes another drop here will get the front today and wire this bunch for sure you can bet on it #1 Don Elias M. (MEX) missed break last one so will be more alert today john k returns for this run has missed the break before and always rebounded next race #3 Chiefs Lake gets the blinkers back although they didnt help that much before did keep him focused on the race so thats good this gelding always gives a good effort in his races must use on lower half of ticket R5 #4 Sky Flying Eileen tight in last slowed her down think she has a strong finish today to get up in the lane maybe moved to soon last race so quinoz has no excuses today #7 Heidi Maria stretching out with rosario in the saddle second time has some tactical speed so will use that today for best finish has never ran a bad one always in the picture so today is no different #1 Its Candy Time tried turf last and faltored there back to dirt where she has run better will get the lead today and run as far as she can on the cutback to a mile beat her if you can R6 #5 Courtside will lead from start and get the money in a hard fought battle with Bertran Hill #10 Magnificient Blend back after rest of two months has always given a good accounting of himself being 29 of 32 starts itm what more to say #4 Bertran Hill another who gives a good accounting of himself will faltor in drive after expending himself early on in the race R7 #5 Awesomemundo going for hat trick and see nothing in her way today only wins races the easy way stay close and pull away at the wire a good formula for sure #6 Elvies Lane chased elfafitz home last race and gets rosario who should bring this filly from off the pace here cutting back to mile been working good at delmar for this one #2 Downhill Diva was closing ground in last at 7 panels so the longer race should benifit this one here is always closing ground late a must use on lower spots on ticket R8 #2 Red Dwarf good effort last and cutsback to six panels today should do the trick talamo stays should lay just off the pace of timely note and outfinish that one down the lane #12 Melo Laser will stalk the speed all the way and pounce in the lane for a solid placing in this last very good after trouble early held on to place must use this one in lower spots #13 Blind Magic maldonato had him in contention down the lane and failed to get a placing stretches out here and will be a factor late seems to run better the longer the race good luck all mh01
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Uncle Steve Underneath the plaid shirts you favor, would you have a T-shirt emblazoned with a Red 'S' on a Gold Shield? Hmmmm? ...Superman. Tu es en fuego !! 'guidance ssigin' ...yes, a sign to guide us!
Alfredo More than 1 year ago
Matt B Glad to see the Whitney field come together. It all works out except for 10¢'s scoring concerns. There are several Formbloggers that play in Public Handicapper. Many use the same name they post under here on Dan's Blog and others have another PH name. These are the ones I can remember: Alfredo= Ouzo Tower blackseabass= Mr Boots Dick W tencentcielo meathead01 I know this is not everybody so if you are a PHer please remind me. Matt, what name will you be playing under?
Ned Daly More than 1 year ago
Alfredo I play PH as Double Espresso.
Ron Zuercher More than 1 year ago
Alfredo My PH nom de plume is Melindy. I haven't played much lately, but maybe I'll start up again. I could use the practice. cyzcicenus edithens Glad that's not my PH name
Caseyjeaux More than 1 year ago
Big Drama Alert!!!!!! 7/31.......3f in 36³. Very Triewort. Harry Potter's summer home.
Laura More than 1 year ago
Steve T's updated Del Mar Stats are available on the IMT website & the Sorrento Stakes analysis and picks are there too. http://www.ironmaidensthoroughbreds.com/ Laura
Alan More than 1 year ago
Why do I love horse racing so much? Watch a replay of SAR7, just run a few minutes ago....