03/01/2012 1:31PM

HandiGambling 272 (Gulfstream Turf)


Thursday's HandiGambling 272 exercise is the seventh race at Gulfstream Park, a $40,000 claimer for older fillies and mares 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 GIVE YOUR NAME OR BLOG MONIKER AT THE END OF THE HG PLAY AND/OR ANALYSIS.
Please separate the play from the analysis and label the play "HG" with the program numbers (instead of the horse's name) for easier scoring.

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.

Best of luck to all.


As of this writing, the turf course is listed as FIRM.

The temporary rail is out 36 feet.

Let's scratch #11 SANSANNAH.


This looks like a fun race with several strong contenders. 

#5 THE WEST RIM drops in class for her second start of the form cycle and may work out a good pace-tracking trip under Rajiv Maragh (jockey was aboard The West Rim's most recent victory at Calder on December 1).  Last time out, she bobbled a bit at the start and prompted the pace from the outside before faltering in the lane.  The runner-up from that race, Safe Crossing, returned to win (80 Beyer Speed Figure in an 'n2x' optional claimer) while the winner, Louvakhova, had previously taken the Frances Genter Stakes at Calder for Marty Wolfson. 
Two starts ago, The West Rim finished ahead of Doilookfatnthese, a mare that returned to win two straight for Wayne Catalano.  The winner of that race, La Reine Lionne, was 2-5 for the score and came back to finish a nose shy in the Grade 3 Marshua's River on January 7.
The West Rim should appreciate today's class relief and may get the jump on some of the other contenders.

#1 SHE'S A KETCH hasn't been out since late July, but she returns to her preferred surface and her form is dirty due to two poor performances on dirt.  I'm going to discard those races and instead focus on her win three back at even-money at Calder. 
The lightly-raced mare has faced some tough company in her career (Romacaca, Trip for A.J., Marquet Madness) and she's won off long layoffs in the past (over a year away when coming back to win maiden at Saratoga in 2010). 
She should offer value due to the layoff and poor recent running lines on dirt and may work out a ground-saving, pace-tracking trip underneath the underrated Juan Leyva.

#3 WRITE WHEN READY is a dangerous foe.  She was very impressive visually when defeating $25,000 claimers here on December 8.  That afternoon, she was buried down inside while far back, swung out on the far turn and wore down the leader despite that one getting a good jump on her. 
Most recently, Write When Ready was troubled when facing the aforementioned Doilookfatnthese and Knockinelder (returned to win a turf sprint for $25,000 with a 76 Beyer). 
Write When Ready only needs pace to adequately setup her late kick and shouldn't be discounted.

If The West Rim doesn't want the lead, then #10 BRAMPTON may take up the running for Joe Bravo and Allen Jerkens. 
Brampton steps up in class after defeating $32,000 claimers on January 21 and she received a perfect trip that afternoon, rating in the pocket before attacking three wide on the far turn.  This is a tougher spot.

#7 MICHELLE'S TRIP finished behind Brampton last out and it's not like she had a terrible journey that day.  She saved ground behind Brampton, made a four wide bid on the far turn and finished evenly behind the winner.  She's been behind several of these opponents in the past and needs improvement in order to crack the top spot.

#4 DANCING RAGE is 0-10 over the local turf course and hasn't won a race since December 23, 2010.  She doesn't have much early speed and is at the mercy of race and pace luck. 

#8 STARSHIP JODI couldn't be sharper for trainer Steve Dwoskin as she's won her last three races (two at this meet over this turf course).  Despite her fine recent performances, she may be overlooked in the betting as she steps up in class once again (she was 20-1 on December 22 and 13-1 on January 11).  This is a much-tougher spot, however, as only one of the nine  performers from the January 11 heat returned to crack the trifecta next-out.

#9 DEPUTY DARLING had a three-race win streak snapped by Doilookfatnthese on January 12, but wouldn't be a surprise for the potent trainer-jockey combination of Michael Maker and Julien Leparoux.  Consistent on the Beyer scale of late (but still shy of today's 83 par), Deputy Darling usually gives a good account of herself, but I wonder if she'll be bet into underlay status based on her connections. 

#6 STAGED AFFAIR, a stakes-placed performer on dirt, returns to grass after being well beaten for a $62,500 price tag.  She does have winning experience on the grass, but her most recent win came in 2010 and she hasn't gained ground from the stretch call to the wire in her last three outings.

#2 MUD HONEY makes her turf debut.  She is by multiple stakes-winner Concorde's Tune (3-8 on turf, first-turf winner, 23-241, 10%, with first-turf runners) out of a route-winning dam (0-1 on turf) that is 1-1 with her foals on grass.  The dam is a half-sister to Ocean Crest, who won the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby on the lawn with a 100 Beyer.  These connections have tried to get Mud Honey on the grass in the past only to be washed off so they may believe she'll relish the switch.  Perhaps, she can be a forward factor.

1. The West Rim
2. She's a Ketch
3. Write When Ready

For HG entertainment purposes, I'll play it like this:

$50 WIN-PLACE - The West Rim (#5)

Best of luck to all.