09/22/2011 1:35PM

HandiGambling 251: New York Breds at Belmont


Thursday's HandiGambling 251 exercise is the eighth race from Belmont, a $25,000/N2X optional claimer for New York-breds at six furlongs on the dirt. 

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.


Let's scratch #5 A SMART JUDGE and #7 MISSISSIPPI TOO.


#1 LADY VI is one pound overweight.


I must admit that I'm not going to get too clever in this race.  I like the three morning line favorites and will use them in multi-wagers while sprinkling in a mild upsetter.

I usually dislike one-run closers because they are always at the mercy of race and pace luck, but #11 LADY ON THE RUN seems like she's in excellent form for trainer John Morrison.  A perfect 2-2 at Belmont, Lady On the Run will attempt the same turf-to-dirt move that resulted in her 'n1x' allowance victory here on June 23.  That afternoon, she was bumped a bit at the start and was completely outsprinted in the early going.  She made a strong advance on the far turn, split rivals in upper stretch, eased out and won with a minimum of fuss over #10 SHE'S GOT RULES. 
In her most recent outing, Morrison placed Lady On the Run against males and the filly wasn't disgraced when passing tired horses to finish fourth.  With a quicker pace in that spot, she may have done better. 
Lady On the Run needs early to adequately setup her late kick, but her last few dirt races have been rock-solid and she should be charging hard in the lane.

#4 PAGE BY PAGE, a lightly-raced daughter of Read the Footnotes, has turned the corner since returning from a short layoff on July 7.  She's won two of her last three races including a good 'n1x' win at Saratoga on August 26.  I don't think she beat the best field in the world that afternoon, but she fits on Beyers, has good tactical speed and the recent bullet workout allays fears of a bounce performance.

#9 MYRTLE'S GRAY is in sharp form.  The gray filly has won her last two races, but one of those victories came on turf and the other occurred over a muddy surface.  Like Page by Page, she has good tactical speed and shouldn't be too far off the lead when the real running begins.  I was disappointed that she failed to change leads last time, however.  Note that the seventh-place finisher from that race returned to win on grass at Saratoga with a 77 Beyer Speed Figure.  Again, as with Page by Page, she shows fast recent workouts.

#2 ENNISKILLEN, like the top selection, is a late-running sort that needs some pace help, but she seems like an intriguing price play.  She never could make a dent at Saratoga, but now returns to her favorite surface (2-3 at Belmont, 1-15 elsewhere) and switches to the red-hot Javier Castellano.  Enniskillen earned a competitive Beyer two starts back.  While not the most consistent sort in the world, she merits 'C' consideration on my Pick 4 tickets and can be used on the bottom of exotic wagers. 

As for the others:

#1 LADY VI was no match for runaway winner Risky Rachel in her first start following a short layoff at Saratoga and is certainly capable of moving forward with that race under her belt.  The only horse to return from that Risky Rachel race thus far was sixth-place finisher Freud's Notebook, a next-out 77 Beyer winner in a $10,000 beaten event at Belmont on September 15.  Lady Vi, a juvenile stakes-winner, must break from an intimidating inside post position.  Note that the last time she drew the rail sprinting at Belmont, she broke very badly.

#3 BAILZEE was no match for Lovely Lil in her last two races, but that New York-bred is jumping up into graded competition in this weekend's Gallant Bloom.  Two back, Bailzee may have been up against the grain of a speed-favoring track and she was wide in her most recent appearance.  She hasn't won since March 7, 2010, but is eligible to be a bit closer to the pace under her new rider, the hustling C C Lopez. 

#6 TURNED TO GOLD is the most prolific winner of the group as she's reeled off five straight victories at Finger Lakes.  Trained by the high-percentage horseman, Charlton Baker, Turned to Gold is a versatile sort that seems equally comfortable on or off the pace.  The par for this level is 80 and Turned to Gold has only cracked 70 once in her life.  This race provides a good class test for Turned to Gold.

I'm guessing that #8 SALTAMONTES is the controlling speed, but she hasn't gained ground from the stretch call to the wire since her stakes win at Belmont on September 23, 2010 and she has a bad habit of drifting throughout her races.  While it's quite possible that Saltamontes was a precocious juvenile that has not improved off her fine 2-year-old form, forgiving handicappers may give her excuses for all of her races this year (off layoff in Park Avenue Stakes on May 8, 2011; may not have liked turf on June 5; caught sloppy going on July 7; chased Lovely Lil over speed-favoring track on July 27; no match for razor-sharp Risky Rachel last time).  Expect Saltamontes to be on the engine for high-percentage barn, but she has to improve off her recent races.

#10 SHE'S GOT RULES took down 'n1x' allowance competition at Belmont on July 17, but she missed the Saratoga meet and there are a few gaps in her work tab.  None of the five horses to return from that July 17 race were able to crack the trifecta next-out and She's Got Rules must improve on her 68 Beyer top to upset these.

For HandiGambling, I'll play it like this:

$40 Exacta:  Lady On the Run - Page by Page (11-4)
$40 Exacta:  Lady On the Run - Myrtle's Gray (11-9)
$20 Exacta:  Lady On the Run - Enniskillen (11-2)

Best of luck to all.

Jonah More than 1 year ago
Ron Zuercher and C, I was just thinking that something missing from your discussion about the interdependence of value, strike rate, and profit, is that the strike rate varies with the value range. I realized that if I hit a 30/1 shot every 25 tries, it may be "value," but I'll go bust before I get there. I get better value from odds in the 5-15/1 range. Ron is making his fortunes (and those of his drug dealer) with lower odds and a higher strike rate. I think all C is saying is that whatever odds you're betting, it should be more than what you think the likelihood of winning is, to make money in the long run. He just has a habit of talking in absolutes. It's not true that you ALWAYS get the last word, C, but you do cast a wide net. I think the same could be said about your opinion of race review. You have a specific and important point, but you often generalize it, which may detract, or at least distract, from your meaning. -- I wish everyone a great Sunday. A close friend is taking me to Mahler's Third and throwing a party at my place for his own birthday, what a fun guy. Best, Jonah
PGM More than 1 year ago
Arlington's card for the final Saturday of the meet is a nice preview of racing at Hawthorne. The Sunday card looks better, especially with leading trainer races and leading jockey races possibly up for grabs. I'll wait until tonight to look more at it.
PGM More than 1 year ago
Blackstone, Yes, it is DiVito. But the rider of your horse is Jozbin Santana, who's contending for the leading rider title at Arlington. He'll certainly be riding with vigor. C and TurnBack, Thanks for the words on Aqueduct.
C More than 1 year ago
"In my post, I stated I was disciplined. What I neglected to impart to you was that EACH AND EVERY one of those 2-1 horses I wagered on, I had made them 2-1 on my personal line, and I only wager on 2-1 horses that are 2-1 on my "value" line and that 2-1 personal line and 2-1 odds board is good enough for me.... So, none of those 2-1 shots represented tremendous value to me at all. They were 2-1 to me. Period. Why would my hit rate increase? I already stated in my post, that my hit rate increased because of the valuable knowledge imparted to me by the blog and integrated by me into my handicapping process." So you won 50% of the time betting horses that you (and the public) only gave a 33% chance of winning to? If it's true that 2-1 shots win roughly 1/3 of the time, I'd call this rather remarkable, among other things. Once your handicapping improved, 2-1 shots started winning more often just for you... incredible. Your improved handicapping actually outperformed your own opinions! We should all be so lucky... WOW. "We both know the equation of: hit rate X average pay off = ROI." Yes, obviously, if you only bet horses in a certain odds range, the more you hit, the more you'll win. That says nothing about value though because, as I said earlier, value is not tied to a specific odds range. So value doesn't matter... ok, would you bet: - A horse at 10-1 who you think has a 90% chance of winning? Why/why not? - A horse at 10-1 who you think has a 2% chance of winning? Why/why not? - A favorite at 2-1 who you think is a "false favorite" and has only a 20% of winning? Why/why not? - A horse at 2-1 who you think is a total lock and has a 100% chance of winning? Why/why not?
Mike A More than 1 year ago
Jonah............ Good Luck today........we'll speak later I'm sure, but you better get up early.......however I will address one thing you said......redboarding. I'm so deathly sick of the word. In my case I use previous races, races that I've both won and lost to analyse and write about....to show folks the whys of it. I do not nor ever have just gotten on the blog and said "I won blah blah blah"...I've never mentioned money won or lost...that is no ones business. Using races I didn't play doesn't get the point across as well....I have intimate knowledge of races I play, it's easier for me to recreate the scenario. If all someone gets out of my write ups is "he's redboarding" I can't help that......but I know enough to know the types of folks who do. It doesn't bother me and as such it shouldn't bother you.......I know you spoke for yourself, but others will think otherwise and I don't want that. I can't get into the psychological pathways folks take, after 7 years dating a psychiatrist, I've had enough of..... well......psychology. I give advice freely....experience passed along, some folks don't like it, they take it as criticism. I don't criticize....i pass along advice, maybe in some convoluted way I think I've earned it, but once the response is negative...i.e. Kelley Belles, I don't give it anymore. There is no way for me to know someone's reaction and as I said, I'm too old to analyse the why's of it......I move on. On the one hand I have folks telling me to "keep it up, your like an uncle" and on the other hand I have folks casting aspersions.... I get it, but like anything else I take it from where it comes. When BSB and I were going back and forth, I never minded the handicapping stuff.......only when it got a bit personal did I mind. The reason? BSB knows horses, I may break his chops and say his sister is the handicapper, but the guy is sharp. It was inevitable that we would stop the BS. People can say what they want....but the results are in black and white. You may disagree with me, but you can't refute the numbers. Everyone is successful in their own way. Trying to cut someone down to build yourself up is pretty superficial and can be seen by anyone who cares to open their eyes. When I played baseball and then played on tournament teams in softball (where alot of guys go when they just don't cut it on the baseball diamond anymore) I always batted 3-4-5...the power positions. Where I bat depended on how good others on the team were. We were playing in a tournament in Cedar Rapids NC......Our shortstop Jimmy was the lead off hitter. Excellent bat control.....he always batted 700+ (in softball that's good, it ain't baseball) but was a spray hitter, singles, doubles mostly. Well in both games of the doubleheader he hits one over the fence........I had one homer between both games and one other extra basehit, otherwise all singles. After the game he started to give me some pointers......I had played organized ball for over 20 years and he was giving me pointers.......I smiled and said nothing. Which is what I chose to do here. Everyone handicaps differently.....everyone has their own method. I give pointers and analyse races for those who don't know or are starting out. If you've got it down, don't read what I write. If your winners are far and few between and you watch everything I do or say to take the focus off the fact that you rarely post horses or winners or don't analyse, all I can say is you may fool some of the folks here, but you're not fooling me.........I have been guilty of snide remarks myself......Off hand comments......I'm sorry for that......I've stopped doing it. What others chose to do is their business. Jonah is learning about the horses from me....I am learning some life's lessons from him.......it's working out well so far...........Mike A
Annie More than 1 year ago
C, I do have to take issue with your telling "newbies" it is fruitless to look back at the winning horse's PPs. How else are they supposed to learn what factors are important to look for when trying to find a winner? I think it is most important to do that when a person is new to the game. When I first started playing the horses, I didn't have anyone to teach me the game. I started from scratch, studying the PPs of hundreds of winning horses and gradually picked up on the things I should be looking for. When certain factors are present over and over when looking at a winning horse, you get the idea that these just might be indicators of a horse ready to win its race. :) Captcha: 1810 ftfter - the car Blackstone used to drive back then? Annie
C More than 1 year ago
Ron, "... Saltamontes was adding blinkers and that is the ONLY reason I can find why she possibly won this race..." Exactly, the blinkers are the only factor YOU could find to explain the result. Others might immediately point to Rudy and assume something else was going on. Or maybe the horse just felt great that day for whatever reason. How do you know you're right? I have no doubt the blinkers might've swayed some players, but that wasn't the point (I tried to make that as clear as possible). Even if you knew about the blinkers and cashed in, you couldn't be any more sure that the blinkers were THE reason. Maybe Saltamontes would've won without them anyway. "Then what methods do YOU use to improve your handicapping skills?" A player can only become so good at reading the DRF. It's a game of information and much of it is not in the DRF. For me, the most important "skills" are data mining and race watching. Generally, the more I can dig up about the runners, the better I do.
blackstone More than 1 year ago
Saturday Quickies Between Krigger and Cedillo both serving days, and spending time rooting for Jonah, I’m only playing a couple today: Arlington 8th-#9-Luke of York. A debut horse for guess who? Yep. Mr. DiVito. I am going to keep riding this guy until he proves that I should not. GGF 3rd-Democatic Sweep-the chalk for Wm Morey, Jr, but he looks best. Should wire them. GGF 6th-News Beat-Debut horse for Bud Klokstad with Baze up. Klokstad isn’t great with the firsters, but he’s good enough. M/L of 8-1 is a dream, but I’ll take what I can get. I like Valerie Rhoden a lot-always underrated. So I’ll have a win saver on Ol’ Steely Blue(15-1). GGF 9th-#4-Soldiers Point-Many of these horses ran on Sept. 3rd, including this one. He looks best to me as he ran the fastest race that day. I like him at 4-1 even though this is only his second lifetime start. Jockey upgrade should help too. Good luck to all of you today: including, of course, Mr. Jonah.
Whackymacky More than 1 year ago
Saturday notes.... Local hadicapper Steve T picked a record 11 winners in a row!!! What do these numbers mean?? 4.40/5.20/3.00/4.00/4.40/11.40/6.00/5.00/7.20/6.00/3.20 WTG Uncle Steve!! When your Hot your Hot!!! Imagine, in HG this week, no winning ticket?? If you go over the $100 bucks, your out!! Rules are rules! Sorry to the winner, but if we all broke the rules, what kind of world would we live in??? OK, today on the board, 2 soccer games, 3 yard sales, dance class, birthday party, football games all day long, possible rain here in the east, horse racing, and a visit to the doctor for a flu shot.... I think that these flu shots might be over rates for an adult that is 45 years old?? Kids yes.... Good Luck to me and all others today... Hope that I can get on the board today..Belmont may have lots and lots of scratch's today..lots of them... Whackymacky Out!!!
Ned Daly More than 1 year ago
C, Ron Z and the rest What I was trying to say was that if looking at the charts, or anything else, isn't making you better, then try to find something that will. I read the charts all the time and think they have made me better. I think it would have been clearer if I had said data are not knowledge, instead of data are not information. Horse racing is full of data points, we live in an information-rich age. I think you need a lot more than just data to make good decisions about investing.
Molesap More than 1 year ago
Jonah, Best of luck on Saturday. I looked at a few of the races and this is what I came up with. Obviously you have the right “corner men” but here are a few that I think have a shot in the contest races on Saturday. Turfway #6. Seems to be a good bit of speed here, so perhaps someone from a bit off the pace takes it. Heated Debate is cheap but may be the bomber as she closed a ton late in her debut, plus she won from the rail which is great for a firster. The maiden, Charming Vixen also looks like she’s got a chance at a bit of a price picking up Borel, but stretching out is one of Amoss’ worst categories in terms of trainer stats. Woodbine #7. No opinion Turfway #7. No opinion Woodbine #8. Bowman’s Causeway seems to have a decent chance and should be 5-1 or so. Consider. Belmont #8. Tar Heel Mom broke slow last time and still beat the rest of field after Hilda’s Passion drew off. She is better than this field, but also will be in the 7-5 range. Tough contest race in my opinion as you can’t really use her at that price, but she is going to be tough to beat. Buckleupbuttercup may be the best closer in the field and may have a useful price at post time. Turfway #8. Big Albert returned a bit short off the layoff and bore out when he was beat first up just over a week ago. Perhaps fitter today and the quickest one early, he may get the jump on the field and take them all the way at a huge price. Plus he has home court advantage. Free Entry needed his last and has likely matured some – he is the medium priced pick. Chilled looked great winning his maiden race at Hoosier, but then again, it was a maiden race at Hoosier. Philadelphia #10. Poseidon’s Warrior should get a great stalking trip and on his best day, he is one of the better 3YO sprinters in the country. However, I do not expect the 4-1 morning line to hold up, so the price may be too low for a bet. It looks like He’s Speightful is going to get the lead like usual –perhaps he forgets to stop at a nice price. He has run some competitive races. Belmont #9. Itcouldbesunshine is 20-1 in the morning line and will likely drift higher. She has not raced since the beginning of her 3YO season, so she has likely matured. She gets a good post and has excellent connections. Philadelphia #11. Rattlesnake Bridge may be shorter than the 4-1 morning line, but he seems the best horse at any price. Turfway #10. No opinion