12/23/2011 1:21PM

HandiGambling 263 (Gulfstream turf maidens)


Friday's HandiGambling 263 exercise is the sixth race at Gulfstream Park, a maiden special weight for three-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles on 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.

As of this writing, the turf course is FIRM.

Let's scratch #11 VOLITION and #12 CORRECT RESPONSE.

The temporary rail is set at 96 feet.


The two morning line favorites look very tough in this maiden special weight. 

#1 WHITE HILL boasts an excellent pedigree, top-shelf connections and good form.  He is a half-brother to multiple stakes-winner Eventail (20-5-6-1, 300K, 2-10 on turf), multiple Grade 1 winner Take Charge Lady (22-11-7-0, $2,4M, unraced on turf) and stakes-winner Commendation (43-7-8-7, 315K, 4-29 on turf) and will go out for the red-hot Todd Pletcher barn. 
In his career debut on dirt, White Hill finished second to Blameshifter, who returned to win an entry-level optional claimer at Tampa Bay Downs with a 66 Beyer.  Switching to turf at Gulfstream on December 3, White Hill received a strong learning run.  He saved ground at the back of the back and had to angle widest turning for home.  By that time, the winner was long gone, but White Hill finished gamely for second (final quarter-mile in 23.63) despite drifting out slightly in the drive.
White Hill draws an advantageous inside post position (considering the rails are out 96 feet) and should save valuable ground going into the first turn. 

Conversely, #10 DREAM MAN drew the far outside post.  A homebred son of Unbridled's Song out of a sprint-winning full sister to multiple Grade 1 winner Finder's Fee, Dream Man suffered through a tough trip (still finished his final quarter in 23.44) in a solid maiden at Belmont on October 9.  The winner of that race returned to finish third (with an 85 Beyer) in an entry-level allowance while the fourth-finisher came back to graduate in a $50,000 maiden claimer with an 83 Beyer. 
Blessed with tactical speed, Dream Man may have enough early zip to avoid being hung out dreadfully wide going into the first turn. 

Those are the two horses I'll concentrate on in exotic wagers. 

As for the others:

I tried to make a very strong case for #2 WHERE'S THE BABY, a gelding that has cracked the trifecta in three-quarters of his lifetime appearances, but he is a rather frustrating horse to watch.  Where's the Baby had good chances to graduate in Chicago earlier in the year, but his penchant for flipping back to his left lead in the stretch run may have cost him better placings.  He boasts consistent Beyer Speed Figures and draws a cozy inside post, but may be best played on the bottom of exotic wagers.

#4 THOMASQUITO finished a neck behind even-money favorite Hold That Camera in the turf debut at Calder on November 12, but finished behind White Hill most recently in his first start over this strip.  Lightly-raced, this 4-year-old has some upside potential and shouldn't be completely discounted.

#6 PRINCIPATO is a gelding out of Pattiano, a multiple stakes-placed mare (35-5-6-6, 234K, 5-29 on turf).  Principato raced evenly at long odds when finishing behind both White Hill and Thomasquito on December 3.  He must improve.

Over the past two years, trainer Jonathan Sheppard is 6-16 (38%, $3.03 ROI) with runners receiving blinkers for the first time.  He'll try the angle again with #8 LOVE OF FLYING, a son of French Oaks winner Latice and a half-brother to Group 1-placed turf runner Fencing.  Love of Flying hasn't shown a strong stretch kick in his career and he squandered a pretty good trip when fourth at Saratoga on September 3.  Most recently, he finished behind next-out winner Big Town (79 Beyer in off-the-turf maiden special weight at Churchill Downs).  Expect some improvement from Love of Flying, but he may have have to move forward a good amount to upend the favorites.

Looking for the speed?  Perhaps it's #5 LIQUID LUCK, who has been within a head of the frontrunner at the pace call of his last three races.  Liquid Luck had to go pretty fast in the early portion of his most recent start at Calder (22.82) and still finished best of the pace runners that afternoon.  His last two turf races have not been bad, but one must wonder if we've already seen the best from this 11-time maiden. 

Don't be surprised by the name as #3 NICKY BOY is a filly tackling males.  She's been placed in some ridiculous spots in her career, including the $100,000 Borderland Derby against the boys in February of 2010.  Her owner even wanted to enter her in the 2010 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, but NYRA denied the entry.  Nicky Boy last raced on the fourth of July at Belmont, a maiden special weight in which she finished behind next-out winner Dreamingly (78 Beyer at Saratoga).  A $900 RNA as a yearling, Nicky Boy is in tough.

It's probably too early to give up on #9 DREAMALOT considering the pedigree of this $300,000 New York bred.  A half-brother to Breeders' Cup Distaff winner Spain, multiple Grade 2 winner Puerto Banus, Grade 3 turf winner Fantastic Spain and multiple stakes-winner Path of Thunder, Dreamalot finished directly ahead of next-out winner Sandyinthesun (71 Beyer in NY-bred maiden special weight at Aqueduct) when seventh on November 20.  He'll face open company for the first time today.

#7 ROYAL CREDIT, a $53,000 yearling that resold for $425,000 last year as a juvenile, makes his turf debut for Amy Tarrant, a trainer that has sent out some big-priced winners following a surface switch.  Still, Royal Credit's sire clicks with only 6% of his first-time grass performers and the placed dam was unraced on turf.  Royal Credit is a half-brother to Nos Bailout, a filly that won her turf debut.

As for HandiGambling, I'll play:

$60 Exacta:  White Hill - Dream Man (1-10)
$30 Exacta:  White Hill - Where's the Baby (1-2)
$10 Exacta:  White Hill - Thomasquito (1-4)

Best of luck to all and Happy Holidays!

Jonah More than 1 year ago
Keith L, Thank you for your amicable reply. I want to clarify first that my comment about your winning on the wire jobs was tongue-in-cheek humor, in the vein of the rest of my post. I know you do post well in advance and never redboard (not that I'd mind if you did), and while you are as likely as Mike or anyone to point out on occasion just what you got right and downplay the rest (no harm at all in that) it's clear you're a straight shooter. Please understand also that I am in no position and have no desire to diminish you, rather I was making fun of how you did that to Mike while claiming high ground. I just wish Formbloggers would focus less on the weaknesses and flaws they see in others and more on the flaws or merits of their opinions and arguments. I admit I was surprised at your harsh tone, all claims aside, having heard very good things about you from a couple Formblog friends here well before you came bac. In fact, you've been much more good-natured and diplomatic in your criticisms and teasing with anyone but Mike. I thought it was self-serving that in your comparisons of yourself to Mike you always came out looking better; that's neither a character nor a personality judgment (I'll trust your distinction there), but a description. I get what you were saying about your picks--they are clean and clear, while Mike leaves room for interpretation, and includes different exactas with his key depending on odds (this does reflect how he plays live and over the phone), but I sincerely think if you go back to the particular few posts of Mike's you were bothered by, you'll find you jumped the gun. In his analysis, he listed the likely winners, then his play against them, and after his likely winners came in in the order he listed, he claimed that he knew the winners were logical--he didn't, in fact claim to have bet them. Similarly, when he joked that he "took one for the team" because the horse he didn't expect his horse to take the lead, it was just a way of saying be careful about the bias, as one might say I got a parking ticket so that you don't have to. Of course you didn't think he was saying he did it on purpose, so what was wrong with a positive spin? I think there's a fundamental difference in how you two post your thoughts and picks, and you both make yourselves look good in different ways after the fact. I think it shouldn't be an issue. Look, Mike is a friend, so I'm definitely biased, but really, I don't think it matters if you're right about him or if you like him, because credentials or not, this is not an appropriate place to criticize people's personalities and give unrequested pro bono therapy. It's enough to be self-critical or to take criticism from family and friends, let alone to have to hear it publicly from strangers. Frankly, even personality compliments are cheap to me, and a part of American culture that irritates me. "You have such a nice personality" meets in my mind with "Who asked you, and am I getting a bill for this opinion?" Of course the right response is an equally shallow, "thank you." Personality differences may determine whether someone stays here or goes, but being a self-appointed arbiter, guard, or priest of a group forum, to correct those who wander, is at best rude and unnecessary, and at worst divisive and damaging. More optimistically, though, I'd like to conclude that I'm glad we can have this kind of conversation. Ah, vacation. I think it's time for a midday beer. Sincerely, Jonah
Keith L. More than 1 year ago
Jonah: I think we settled this matter on e-mail. Let me aquaint you with the past problem Mike caused himself on the blog when he cited a wager that had a key horse under 6 others in an eight horse race, and he cited he was betting $200 on each key exacta. Needless to say his key selection won the race (did not place), and the horse that he excluded, Hold Me Back, did place, at very health odds. Well, don't you know that Mike came right back and claimed to much incredulity by many formbloggers that he decided he liked his key selection SO MUCH he wound up doubling his total wager, and then some, by betting his former 6 exacta keys as 6 boxed exactas, and added a boxed exacta on the excluded horse, for a total wager of $2,600! And, of course, wound up with the rather lucrative winning exacta 100x for a nice profit over his outlay. I somewhat came to his rescue by posting that "Mike doesn't know what he thinks until he see's what he says", (rather toungue in cheek), and Mike seized on that as his lifeline, and has quoted that many times to cover his last minute changes of heart. However, to make matters worse, when he originally posted his wagers on the six key exactas, he had also posted that he had made his bets, and was leaving to spend time with family at a neighborhood block party which was just about to begin. Somehow, sometime in the next hour, he found time (as he claimed later he was only 10 minutes from home) to leave his family and the blockparty and return home to rewager his bets, getting the new wagers in just before postime. Unbelievable! Make of it what you will. I don't have the time to go back a couple of years to find that post for you, but the incident was so striking it stuck in my memory prettty good! And, I think that might be the kind of thing Curt V refers to when he says he, like some of us on formblog, know Mike a little bit better than you might! We've had three years of him now, and, hope to have some more. But, he will be taken to task if he repeats such past efforts at self aggrandizement, at credulity's expense. Curt was a little harsh with you, but I appreciate your willingness to learn. But you have to get through the student/teacher admiration thing, and become a bit more discerning as to the worth of the give and take on the blog. BTW, thanks for not calling me out on my butchered mispellings of the French "excelance" instead of excellence and the Italian "beneisemo" instead of benissimo, as I know you could have. When I taught English (briefly), I always used my grammar and spelling mistakes as occasions for class participation in "correcting the teacher" as a learning excercise, but then justified my spelling errors as caused by a reliance on phonetics, a dangerous thing when dealing with the romane languages, hmm? LOL! Keith L.
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Blackseabass Thank You ! I see what you are getting at with Grindstone and Spend a Buck and Barbaro as your examples , I can see those mares and how it travels back. Thanks for the comparisions, and just like any theory how it needs to be applied carefully. Using the '1' as a barometer, but also that the higher '#'s can not be discounted or overlooked. It is much appreciated. BTW, Now that I know 'how' to extrapolate this information , I don't need to look up 30+ mares :)
Steve T More than 1 year ago
Meathead, Not much you can do, there was absolutely nothing in the PP's worth a look. This was one of those races where you shrug your shoulders, get a beer and yell NEXT! I can tell you that when I capped the race and looked at him I thought "a no-hoper Unusual Heat ridden by Delgadillo... Watch them jam this right up my Stronach". In fact I looked a couple more times and just couldn't do it. Thank you Sir, can I have another!
meathead01 More than 1 year ago
Steve T yea I know what you thought of him I read your in-depth analysis but what about the bet down to 7-1 after he had run last in the previous race and he brought him back in 6 days and he dropped 127-1 is that something that should have been a red flag?is this trainer honest steve? I dont know him. MH01
Curt V. More than 1 year ago
meathead01, I don't think Kessabtsi could have been played, other than a # or a name.....I quit after the 3rd race anyway....Uh oh! A me bad........R7 was a Slewster Exacta....Ah!! I should have hung around.. $314 for a deuce........I see you said you only bet 1 race Saturday...Beautiful my man..That's 100% profit in any language.......That gives new meaning to taking it to the bank... Capicola & Genoa Salami w/Oil......That's Gobba-ghoul, Bernard....Not Cappy-Colo....LoL...Spelling & pronounciation are 2 separate things..........one heck of a San-queech...as not in Sand-witch..
Steve T More than 1 year ago
Ron, In both cases I think we had the same problem, our picks weren't good enough... There was no way that Ultimate Eagle could have beaten Mr. Commons, when Smith yanked him through that knot hole he just exploded and that was that. I think Pedroza moved him a little soon for fear that Comma to the Top was not going to slow down, but I don't think it really made a difference. I will say this about Mr. Commons - it is becoming really apparent that these Artie Schiller's are all getting really good as they approach four. Mr. Commons could very well be one of the best turfers in the country for 2012. The runner up in the Sir Beaufort, Irish Art? Another Artie Schiller. Blingo, who just ran in the Cash Call Futurity is another. They are deadly on turf and pretty hopeless on dirt. In regards to Hoorayforhollywood, I think the jock had him perfectly positioned, he was in the rocking chair and had the rail open at the top of the stretch but the freak wasn't going to slow down, no way no how and Hoorayforhollywood (and everyone else) just couldn't keep up. He ran the first six furlongs in 1:07.92 and then finished that last furlong in under 12:00... I think you would have to go historic to find someone who could have taken him down yesterday. Now you can fully expect him to show up at his next race at 1/9 and he'll spit the bit... I have learned my lesson and won't be betting any race he is in (the Sidney's/Twirling Candy defense).
Curt V. More than 1 year ago
Now Mr. Bernard D., Now that you have obliterated the pronounciation of Sausage(s)..I, praytell, am just dying to hear from those culianary experts from across the pond, who have given us such stalwarts as Fish n' Chips......How about giving it a whirl on Lasagne, Ravioli, Cannoli or Gnocchi's.....The 1st 40 attempts don't count..........Heeheehee...... Broccoli Rabe to the rescue.......
Calvin L. Carter More than 1 year ago
Bernard Downes, The Racing Post website is one of the most comprehensive I've seen with information pertaining to horse racing and their bloodstock page is outstanding. Thanks for the tip on cards and the entries for all of the big races.
Blackseabass More than 1 year ago
SR Vegas, thats the way it works. FF lines go forever . If you track any of those mares all the way back you get to Tregonwells Natural Barb. Mucho sounds loaded. He wouldn't be impossible to get 10f , buttZ... he's on the edge. Grindstone & Spend a Buck had 14- 1s in their 5 gen ped. Barbaro had 13 -4s. If past is prologue the BSBFFF 1s will add up to about 5 derbies every 10 years.
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Bernard Downes Soss-ige ...LOL ! Sounds more like the way I say it...must be my west coast bias :) But seriously, at a local diner the 'standard English breakfast ' of soss-ige, eggs, bacon, tomatoes et al were the best breakfast & value to get us started each day while in London. And the Fish and Chips were a terrific Lunch staple anywhere in the area... add a beer, Cheers!
Jonah More than 1 year ago
Curt V, I read that you miss Mike A on Formblog. I'm with you completely. You, like I, must have really loved reading his analysis, his funny narratives, his avuncular advice, and over-the-top proclamations and provocations. While some were insulted by his insinuations that he knows better and hardly loses, I'm sure you were bothered that some chose to focus on finding fault with him at every opportunity, highlighting phrases here and there of his justifications and hindsight, rather than looking at the enormous volume of what he wrote: full write-ups before races, horses to watch, track and post dynamics, detailed legwork comparing times and fractions between races and tracks, and his strong convictions about what's important and what isn't. You must also miss the long shots he posted regularly until a few months ago, most of which won or hit the board. How you must have hated the juvenile insults he endured. Some guy even said he and I were conspiring offline to lie to Formblog about winnings (that's hardly something I Can't Refuse). I'm sure you cringed when someone preemptively ridiculed his or his "inside gang's" (could he have meant me?) anticipated response to Virgin Queen's proudly crass character assassin-alysis, so that to reply at all it would have been necessary to stoop down. Knowing him personally, you could plainly see even with some challenging personality traits, it just didn't stack up to what he's all about, boasting or not. You must have been right there when Keith L made self-serving and chivalrous comparisons between himself and a disparaging and distorted caricature of Mike, or when C doubted and Keith L mocked Mike's prediction in the first days of the Aqueduct Fall Meet that speed wasn't holding on the Aqueduct turf, even when it became obvious when, by the third week, wire jobs comprised 1/43 races (I bet you Keith had that favorite and disproved Mike's fantasy; with the 3/14 in the last week, he must have made a killing). Even though I know you've been cashing by keeping that angle to yourself, I'm sure it bothered you that nobody gave him credit for seeing something and telling everyone, and that instead he was effectively silenced on that or any other topic, unless he wanted further abuse. Last, it had to disturb you as much as it did me that the fact that he was a frequent subject of controversy was itself used as circular evidence that he deserved it. Well, you can't blame the guy, but at least you did your part. Alright, Curt, I'm done busting your boxers. Obviously, that's been on my chest, and maybe you don't deserve all of it, but it struck me as a bit much for you to ask if anyone misses Mike. I imagine you'll understand where I'm coming from, without whining about what a pretentious jerk I am (leave that to Ron, who makes it sound so endearing). You know Mike wasn't the only one to take a break or slow down after feeling it isn't worth it for the umpteenth time. But I didn't want to miss Annie's MKB game which really taught me a lot last year, and with Steve T posting book quality material, BSB being such a friendly showoff, and Van Savant's touching post last week, I don't want to miss out on this great community and let a couple bad weeks and immature postings ruin it for me, even though I feel uncomfortable and unwelcome because of how my friend Mike was treated. There's a difference between teasing barbs, the kind I threw at you and Keith L that are meant for you--not to defame you--and gone in a minute, and an unrelenting campaign against someone you don't like. Sincerely, Jonah