12/16/2011 1:44PM

HandiGambling 262 (Gulfstream)

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Thursday's HandiGambling 261 exercise is the ninth race at Gulfstream Park, a $62,500 optional claimer with a 'n2x' condition 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.

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As of this writing, the main track at Gulfstream is FAST.

Let's scratch #2 OUR DARK KNIGHT, #3 MAGOO, #8 THANK U PHILIPPE and #13 ZIMMER.

The favorites look strong.  #10 ADIOS CHARLIE, never out of the exacta in five lifetime races, won the Grade 2 Jerome around a similar one-turn mile at Aqueduct on April 23.  AFter a pair of runner-up finishes in graded competition, Adios Charlie went to the sidelines with an injury to his left hind leg.  It's quite possible that this race is merely a prep for the Sunshine Millions Classic, but Adios Charlie's good tactical speed should have him parked just off the leader.  I usually do not like to play horses returning from injury-induced layoffs, especially at short prices, but I do believe that Adios Charlie is the best horse.  He's the kind of runner that I would never bet to win, but I can't let him knock me out of multi-race wagers.  If he runs his 'A' race, he looms the most likely winner. 

#6 UPTOWNCHARLYBROWN makes the third start of the form cycle after going down to injury following the 2010 Belmont Stakes.  I thought he ran very well in his first race back, a seven-furlong optional claimer at Belmont on October 8.  He prompted the pace while three wide and in between horses, went after the leader on the turn and kept on well to be second-best behind the stakes-quality runner Tapizar (while finishing ahead of graded winner Boys At Toscanova).  In his most recent effort, around two turns at Parx, Uptowncharlybrown was hung wide every step of the way and still hung in gamely despite being a bit late to make his final lead change.  The winner of that Parx race, Indian Jones, returned to finish third in a $75,000 stakes race at Penn National with an 89 Beyer. Uptowncharlybrown has the recency edge on Adios Charlie, boasts a good amount of back class and seems like the horse that the favorite should fear most.

#1 MEGALITH is not without a chance stretching out from 6 1/2 furlongs.  It's possible that the son of Trippi may find this distance a bit far, but he's been racing in good form at Calder.  In his most recent start, he tackled Quick Whiz, who returned to win in allowance company at Tampa Bay Downs with an 87 Beyer Speed Figure.  Megalith was forced four wide on November 20, but he received a good pace setup for the most part.  He'll need to step it up, but is worth a price play if the favorites falter. 

#4 ANDERSONSTATE may be the one to benefit the most from the early scratch of speedy Magoo.  Both of Andersonstate's career victories came in gate-to-wire fashion and he may be allowed to control the pace as he makes his first start since October.  He might not necessarily class up with some of the main contenders, but he could prove dangerous if able to set a moderate to slow tempo up front.  At 20-1 on the morning line, the $1,000 yearling purchase looks interesting from an exotics perspective.

As for the others:

#9 CLEAN SHOT steps up in good form for trainer Dubis Chaparro, a trainer that is connecting with over 20% of his starters in 2011.  Although Clean Shot is very comfortable over this track and trip (he won a conditioned claimer here in 2010 for then-trainer Allen Jerkens), the class hike may be just a bit too steep.

#7 PRAETEREO received a 91 Beyer Speed Figure when beating entry-level allowance runners at Belmont on October 2, but that race came over muddy going and Praetereo received a wonderful setup stalking a quick pace.  He can be forgiven for his most recent defeat in which he took on the graded stakes winner Mucho Macho Man in that one's return to the races.  Praetereo seems ideally-spotted for underrated trainer Carl Domino and he has winning experience over this surface.  He's an intriguing longshot.

#11 POWER RULES may be a bit more effective in two-turn routes at Calder.  All five of his career victories have come around multiple bends and he is 0-11 around one turn.  Claimed for $16,000 back in August, he might be in a bit tough.

#12 GUNS AND RELIGION has some speed and he may attempt to grab the front under his seven-pound bug rider.  Unraced since July, Guns and Religion doesn't show a published workout in over three weeks.  He'll have to avoid a pace skirmish if he is to upset these foes off the bench.

#5 PRIMARY WITNESS has won three times at Gulfstream and exits a key race at Monmouth on October 9 (the winner returned to take another $65,000 optional claimer on October 30 with an 88 Beyer while runner-up Afleet Again returned to pull off a huge upset in the Grade 2 Breeders' Cup Marathon).  He's only raced once since July, however, and catches a salty group for his return from a short layoff.

For entertainment purposes only, I'll play:

$50 Exacta:  Adios Charlie - Uptowncharlybrown (10-6)
$30 Exacta:  Adios Charlie - Megaltith (10-1)
$20 Exacta:  Adios Charlie - Andersonstate (10-4)

Best of luck to all.