06/29/2012 12:03PM

HandiGambling 287 (Belmont Park)

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This week's HandiGambling 287 exercise is Friday's eighth race at Belmont Park, an entry-level optional claimer for fillies and mares at 6 1/2 furlongs. 

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PAST PERFORMANCES ARE AVAILABLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PREVIOUS 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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The approximate post time for today's race is 6:36 PM ET.

As of this writing, the main track is FAST and there are no changes to report.

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Eight of the nine entrants are returning from layoff lines and there appears to be a good amount of speed in the race. 

#6 FAMOUS ROSE gives weight to all, but the sharp 4-year-old filly, trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., is facing mostly younger rivals this afternoon.  While she may not have the potential of her sophomore opponents, she is a proven performer with five wins and 11 exacta placings from 18 lifetime starts.  In her most recent appearance, a $50,000 starter allowance on May 11, Famous Rose worked hard every step of the way.  Hustled from the gate by noted speed rider C C Lopez, Famous Rose tried to set the pace on the inside, but was outsprinted for the lead by 2-1 second choice Fiona Storm.  Undaunted, Famous Rose, rated back off that foe and commenced to chase from the outside.  She put her head in front turning for home and stayed on gamely to win by two while Fiona Storm faded to fourth in the field of six.  That wasn't the strongest field in the world, but she looked professional in winning.  Edgar Prado takes the mount today and Famous Rose may attempt to stalk a pace that is likely to be contested by EVASIVE CAT, SPARE CHANGE and KALEIDOSCOPE.  Famous Rose shouldn't be too far away when the real running begins and we'll see if she stacks up at this level.  Her morning line odds of 5-1 seem fair.

#1 EVASIVE CAT, away from the races since a maiden win over the Aqueduct inner track on January 11, shows several gaps in her recent work tab, and she may be forced to contest a quick pace after breaking from the intimidating inside post position.  Maiden graduates often have a tough time in their first try versus winners, not necessarily because of the class hike, but because the pace is often hotter than what they are accustomed to facing.  Evasive Cat earned a good Beyer Speed Figure in graduating, but I didn't like the way she drifted out during the stretch drive.  The layoff and potential for pace warfare are also concerning.  If she runs back to her winning figure, she can strongly contend, but 3-1 seems a bit of an underlay.  Please note that Kiaran McLaughlin has excellent numbers with maiden winners returning from 61-180 day layoffs (6-15, 40%, $2.84 ROI over the past five years, according to DRF Formulator).

#7 SPARE CHANGE is a beautifully-bred daughter of Bernardini and Grade 1 winner Finder's Fee.  She won her maiden by open lengths in the slop at Saratoga and you could probably forgive her most recent effort, a quickly-run edition of the Grade 1 Frizette.  In that race, Spare Change chased next-out Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies heroine My Miss Aurelia from the get-go only to understandably tire in the stretch.  Spare Change draws a nice attack post and she earned solid Moss Pace Figures at two.  She should be close to the pace, but hasn't raced since the Frizette and will have to compete against older rivals off the long freshening.  She can certainly win, but I want more than the 5-2 morning line.

#9 BORN BULLISH has yet to run back to her career debut, a nine-length thrashing of juvenile filly maiden special weights over this surface.  She turns back in distance here and could work out a good stalking to midpack trip while following quick splits.  The Flashy Bull filly also may be a bit tighter as she makes her second start of the form cycle.  She must improve off her recent performances, but there are enough angles to recommend her for an exotics position at long odds.

#2 EXPRESSION, away since a winning performance on February 17, boasts a running style that may help her greatly in this speed-laden affair.  The daughter of Invasor likes to rally from off the pace and she should get quick fractions to attack.  She has been working swiftly for her return for red-hot trainer Charlton Baker, but will be making her first start against older opponents today.  Expression should be running late, but I wonder if she'll need a race off the bench.

#3 E Z PASSER is a 5-year-old that has never finished out of the exacta from five tries over "Big Sandy."  It's promising that the great Ramon Dominguez takes the call, but E Z Passer hasn't been out since January 7 and she was nibbling at minor awards before the freshening (0-7 at this level after winning a $50,000 starter allowance here last June).  Dominguez figures to have E Z Passer relaxing near the tail end of the field and a fast pace could work in their favor.  Still, she must improve off her recent numbers and doesn't show a published workout in nearly three weeks.

#4 NATALIE VICTORIA can be forgiven for the most recent race, a 33 3/4-length defeat on grass as she simply seems like a better runner on dirt.  In her only start on the main track for trainer David Jacobson, Natalie Victoria was hardly disgraced.  She passed some tired horses for third over a speed-favoring track.  She is another that could take advantage of a pace meltdown, but note that both of her wins have come in routes.  It's possible that 6 1/2 furlongs is a bit short for her. 

#5 KALEIDOSCOPE could be the proverbial "any kind" for trainer Mark Hennig.  After finishing ahead of Evasive Cat in her career debut, she worked hard to graduate at Gulfstream in her 3-year-old debut.  Facing winners for the first time in an entry-level optional claimer around a one-turn mile, Kaleidoscope was headstrong early while racing on a deep and tiring rail.  She also faced top-notch competition in that race.  The winner, Zo Impressive, won the Mother Goose last week at Belmont while the runner-up, In Lingerie, won the Bourbonette Oaks at Turfway and the Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico.  A $260,000 yearling, Kaleidoscope fits well at this level, but she may be compromised by other speeds and hasn't raced since late February.  I also believe that she'll be bet down from her 6-1 morning line considering the company she kept at Gulfstream.

#8 MIZZEN DONALD, claimed for $40,000 out of a downhill turf sprint at Santa Anita on March 30, tired badly when going a route of ground here on May 13.  Freshened after that race, she turns back to a more appropriate distance, but she's on a bit of a losing streak and both of her wins came on synthetic tracks.  Expect her to rate a bit more today, but she'll have to put up her best performance to take these down.

For HandiGambling purposes, I'll stab this way:

$100 Win - FAMOUS ROSE (6)

Best of luck to all.

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For detailed video analysis of this weekend's graded stakes races, please check back later today/early tomorrow on the special event pages as well as the video page.

Enjoy the weekend.