10/05/2012 12:41PM

HandiGambling the Alcibiades!


This week's HandiGambling exercise is the ninth race at Keeneland, the Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades Stakes for juvenile fillies at 1 1/16 miles over polytrack



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 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.


Let's scratch the #15 DAAR ZAYED and #16 CLOUDY VOW.

It's a big, competitive field and handicappers should be shopping for some value.  I have no idea what odds #3 ROSE TO GOLD will be, but I'm hoping for at least 4-1 considering the low-profile connections.  Horses with good dirt form are often poor bets when they try synthetics for the first time, often because they are short prices.  If Rose to Gold is 4-1 or better, however, I am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.  A $1,400 short yearling that was bought back for $10,000 last October, Rose to Gold made her career debut in a stakes race around two turns at Calder.  She aired in the slop, running away and hiding by 13 lengths.  If you didn't believe that effort, Rose to Gold came back three weeks later and humbled stakes horses, this time over dry footing, by 13 1/2 lengths.  That race went faster than the male division at 1 mile and 70 yards at Calder that afternoon and stamped Rose to Gold as an intriguing filly in this division.  The synthetic surface is the major question mark and this will certainly be her sternest class test to date.  I'm looking for a stalking trip under Jesus Rios and praying that she'll handle the poly.

#13 MAGICAL MOON didn't do much in her debut on dirt at Churchill Downs, but she absolutely dominated seven others when graduating on turf at Saratoga on August 24 (the fourth-place finisher returned to graduate on grass at Delaware with a 61 Beyer).  We've often seen grass form translate nicely to the Keeneland polytrack, but Magical Moon must stretch out three furlongs while breaking from a tough outside post.  According to the "Keeneland Clocker Report" for October 1, Magical Moon gave a "very good effort, appeared to have energy in reserve." Her dam won at nine furlongs and I think Magical Moon will handle this distance.  I'm expecting a good effort.

#9 SPRING IN THE AIR will make her first start around two turns, but she handled Woodbine's polytrack just fine when taking her maiden by over ten lengths two starts back.  Most recently, she was a rallying second in the Grade 2 Natalma Stakes behind an extremely promising runner (Spring Venture).  Spring in the Air has shown good tactical speed during her short career and has improved with each and every outing.  She wouldn't be a surprise in the least.

#2 KITTEN'S DUMPLINGS looked good winning her debut around two turns on grass at Saratoga (beat two next-out winners including Oscar Party, who graduated in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies Stakes with a 67 Beyer) and wasn't disgraced over yielding ground when finishing behind Spring in the Air in the Natalma.  A good pace would work in her favor as well as stretching back out around two turns.  This will be her first try over synthetic, but her good turf form has me hoping that she'll handle it just fine.  Expect her to make a solid late rally.

#6 BROKEN SPELL has really picked up her game for Mr. Lukas since adding Lasix and distance.  She defeated a pair of next-out winners at Saratoga two back (runner-up Always Kitten came back to take the $100,000 Happy Ticket Stakes at Louisiana Downs with a 70 Beyer) and wheeled right back to just miss in the $100,000 P G Johnson Stakes.  Both of those starts were on grass and she'll have to prove her mettle on synthetic, but she has excellent tactical speed and loves this distance.  Don't count her out at what could be a good price.

#5 FULLY LIVING has faced some top juvenile fillies on dirt (So Many Ways, Kauai Katie, Dreaming of Julia) and may get a bit of class relief in the Darley Alcibiades.  This will be her first start on synthetic, however, as well as her first try around two turns.  Fully Living has good early speed and may be up close to the pace this afternoon.  If she handles polytrack, she's not without a good chance, but demand your price.

#10 TARA FROM THE CAPE won her debut at 4 1/2 furlongs over the Woodbine polytrack.  After that race, she was privately purchased and sent to Todd Pletcher.  She finished behind Broken Spell in the P. G. Johnson last time out, but may turn the tables on a synthetic surface and the feeling is that she has some upside potential.  Still, I'd demand a price and it will be interesting to see if we get it considering the connections involved (Pletcher and Ramon Dominguez).

#1 PURE INDY may have been slightly aided by a closer-friendly polytrack when winning her debut at Del Mar on September 1, but she showed some guts and ability by rallying from dead-last to prevail.  She didn't run well on dirt in the Barretts Debutante on dirt, but getting back to polytrack may be just what the doctor ordered and Victor Espinoza may work out a nice trip from the cozy inside post.  She'll likely need some pace help as she steps up in class.

#14 DANCINGINTHECIRCLE hasn't done anything wrong for Larry Jones, but she drew a terrible post position for her first time around two turns.  A winner on dirt in her debut at Ellis Park, Dancinginthecircle ran pretty well in a slow running of the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Lassie on polytrack.  She should improve, but this seems like a tough spot from the far outside.

#7 GOLD EDGE has moved from maiden claiming winner on dirt at Churchill to Grade 3 winner on polytrack at Arlington in a matter of three starts.  She was very game in beating a couple of these in the Arlington-Washington Lassie, but that race came back slow and she'll have to go two turns here.  According to the "Keeneland Clocker Report" for September 30, she gave a "nice workout, was not extended."

#8 LA SONG "was traveling nicely at the finish," according to the "Keeneland Clocker Report" for September 30.  She set legitimate fractions in the Arlington-Washington Lassie only to falter in the stretch.  I'm guessing that this distance is a bit far, but she could be tough if allowed to relax on the backstretch.  I'm going to watch for now and look for a cutback in distance down the road.

#4 ALMOST AN ANGEL didn't have an easy trip against males in the Grade 2 With Anticipation at Saratoga on August 30 so you can easily draw a line through that race.  Her only polytrack effort can also be ignored as she had a tough journey in her debut during the Keeneland spring meet.  A sprint winner on grass, Almost an Angel has some distance questions to answer, but these connections are very dangerous with young horses.

#12 SPEEDINTHRUTHECITY chased one of the top juvenile fillies in the country, Executiveprivilege, in both the Landaluce Stakes and Grade 3 Sorrento Stakes and wasn't disgraced in either effort.  She just missed last time out in her first start around two turns and that grass race, although slow on the numbers, may prove to be a nice prep for the Alcibiades.  I'm not thrilled with her post and she's likely to take her share of money, but nobody should be shocked if she wins.

#11 SKYFALL adds blinkers and switches to synthetic for Pletcher after an even effort in the P. G. Johnson.  She won a very slow maiden race on dirt at Saratoga two back (the fifth-place finisher returned to graduate on grass with a 76 Beyer before being smoked in the Natalma) and needs to improve here.

1. Rose to Gold
2. Magical Moon
3. Spring in the Air

I'll play a very conservative HG wager in this competitive race.



The video handicapping previews for this weekend's stakes slate should be up on the site later this afternoon. 

Here's a preview of some of the action:

...The First Lady Stakes features a ton of speed and that may work in HUNGRY ISLAND's favor...Todd Pletcher has three entered in the Champagne and MICROMANAGE could offer the best value breaking from a good outside post.  GOLDENCENTS couldn't have been more impressive in winning his debut in Southern California and should give a good account...The Breeders' Futurity is a wide-open contest.  TIZRACER looms the horse to beat, but is trying synthetic for the first time and might be a short price.  POSITIVELY has been away, is stretching out in distance and is also racing on polytrack for the first time, but will offer more value...DULLAHAN will try to transfer his excellent synthetic form to grass in the Jamaica while the versatile WISE DAN looks to add to his gaudy credentials in the Shadwell Turf Mile...FED BIZ looks like the horse to beat for Bob Baffert in a competitive running of the Indiana Derby, but Steve Asmussen may have an interesting longshot in TRITAP...The Hawthorne Gold Cup came up a salty race.  CEASE and ALTERNATION should be tough, but I'd love to see NATES MINESHAFT run well off the layoff while free-wheeling on the lead.  The distance is a question mark so he may need to get loose...Thought BROWN ALMIGHTY ran a big one last time out at Louisiana Downs and may revert to rating tactics in Sunday's Bourbon...TIZ MIZ SUE hasn't run on polytrack since she was two, but she was pretty good on it back then.  She's been pretty good on dirt in her most recent races, too, and may have found a field she can handle in the Spinster...

Enjoy the weekend!