03/16/2012 5:44PM

HandiGambling 274 (Santa Anita Turf)

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Friday's HandiGambling 274 exercise is the seventh race at Santa Anita, a $40,000 starter allowance for 3-year-olds at one mile on turf.

REMEMBER, IF YOU ARE DECLARED THE WINNER OF THE HANDIGAMBLING EXERCISE, PLEASE CONTACT CSERVICE2@DRF.COM WITH YOUR DRF LOGIN AND PASSWORD IN ORDER TO ACCESS YOUR PRIZE PACKAGE AND THEN POST THE NEXT WEEK'S RACE SELECTION DIRECTLY TO THE BLOG.

PAST PERFORMANCES ARE AVAILABLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG POST.
 
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.

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As of this writing, the turf condition is FIRM. 

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It's a competitive race and I would have to go five deep in multi-race wagers.  Instead, I'll merely watch with interest.

#7 QUALITY ELUSION adds blinkers for his second start of the year and didn't have an easy trip when fifth in his turf debut at Golden Gate on November 27.  That race was run over yielding ground and Quality Elusion broke a step slow from the gate.  He was three wide at the back of the pack going into the turn and was bumped repeatedly while racing on the far outside in the stretch.  He finished ahead of #4 DANGER RANGER twice on polytrack at Del Mar last year and may be a better price than that rival. Trainer Terry Knight scored with Cut Fastball, a colt wearing blinkers for the first time at 21-1 odds, at Santa Anita during the fall.  Quality Elusion is worth a small HandiGambling stab.  Knight has some interesting Formulator Stats (18-63, 29%, $1.90 ROI over the past five years going sprint to route and 5-40, 13%, $2.07 ROI with runners wearing blinkers for the first time).

#10 BABY BLAKE goes two turns this afternoon as he makes his second start following a three-month freshening.  In his most recent outing, a starter allowance on dirt at six furlongs, Baby Blake dueled several pace rivals into the ground, emerged with the lead in the stretch and faltered in the final furlong to the late-running favorite.  It was a good effort for Baby Blake, who may have things easier on the lead this time. Baby Blake handled grass just fine when a narrowly-beaten second two back and should be prominent when the field swings into the stretch.

#1 SHOWMETHEMONEYJIM whipped Cal-bred maiden claimers when allowed to coast on the lead in his two-turn debut, but he may have to go faster chasing Baby Blake early in this spot.  Both the second- and third-place finishers from that February 9 race returned to finish second on dirt and Showmethemoneyjim has some grass in his pedigree.  The sire, Ministers Wild Cat, is 6-37 (16%) with first-turf performers and the broodmare sire does well with grass horses.  Showmethemoneyjim figures to be on the chase from his inside post and a repeat of that 65 Beyer Speed Figure he earned on dirt last time would make him a contender here. 

#5 TRUETAP makes his third start of the form cycle while adding blinkers for high-percentage trainer Steve Asmussen.  The barn does very well with the equipment change and Truetap may get into the race a little quicker with the new blinkers.  Still, he figures to rate in midpack during the backstretch scrimmage and may need pace and race luck to adequately setup his late kick.  He acted like he wanted more distance when a rallying second going six furlongs over the Woodbine polytrack on September 17. 

#9 TIO VIC wasn't disgraced when second for a $40,000 tag over "good" going at Hollywood three starts back.  Most recently, over the Tapeta surface at Golden Gate, Tio Vic finished behind next-out winner Next Light, a gelding that earned a 76 Beyer in taking a $40,000 starter allowance on the main track at Golden Gate on March 11. Tio Vic goes out for the very dangerous trainer/jockey combination of Jerry Hollendorfer and Rafael Bejarano and could work out a good stalking trip while racing in the clear.  The gray colt shouldn't be taken lightly.

As for the others,

#2 GO TO THE PULPIT makes his turf debut for Mike Pupye, a trainer that is 15-75 (20%, $2.02 ROI) over the past five years with first-time grass performers.  Go to the Pulpit's sire is 2-10 (20%) with first-time turf runners and the dam has foaled one grass winner.  Go to the Pulpit is slowly improving for Puype and the route distance will not be a problem.  He finished ahead of two of today's runners when second in his first start against winners and wouldn't be a surprise.

#3 WAR POLITICS needed seven starts to break his maiden and he did so when entered for $28,000 sprinting on February 25.  He didn't do much running in his only prior turf start to date and will take a big step in class as he faces winners for the first time.  The runner-up behind War Politics on February 25 returned to finish a close third on grass with a 71 Beyer.

#4 DANGER RANGER showed improved speed on December 31, his first start as a gelding, before faltering in the stretch.  Claimed from that race by Bill Spawr (23-95, 24%, $2.55 ROI off 61-180 day layoffs), Danger Ranger will try grass (sire 4-45, 9% with first-turf runners) and two turns for the first time.  He's lost ground from the stretch call to the wire in all three starts versus winners, but is a half to a turf winner and could improve on the surface switch.  He shouldn't be too far off the early leaders under Joel Rosario.

#6 THE BIEN'S GIFT, is by Domestic Dispute (4-71, 6% with first-turf runners) from the female family of Houston.  He goes third off the bench for Paddy Gallahger, a trainer that shows good recent numbers with first-time grass performers.  The Bien's Gift has stamina in his pedigree and may attempt to come from out of it this time around.

#8 ELLO GUV has good turf form and we can excuse his most recent defeat over the Tapeta surface at Golden Gate.  He finished ahead of next-out Tapeta winner Red Danger (74 Beyer in $40,000 starter allowance) when second at this level two back at Golden Gate, but needs a slight Beyer boost to make his presence truly felt.

#11 TIZPAT rallied from well off the pace to defeat $30,000 maiden claimers on dirt (defeated War Politics) and now tries grass for trainer Jerry Fanning.  The sire is 2-12 (17%) with first-turf runners and the stakes-placed dam is from the female family of French Group 2 winner Soft Machine.  Tizpat could be outrun early and may be left with too much to do when the real racing begins.

Selections:
1. Quality Elusion
2. Baby Blake
3. Showmethemoneyjim

For HandiGambling purposes only, I'll play this ticket:

$50 Win/Place - #7 Quality Elusion

Best of luck to all.

Dan