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HandiGambling the Alcibiades!
By Dan Illman
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, IF YOU ARE DECLARED THE WINNER OF THE HANDIGAMBLING EXERCISE; PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM WITH YOUR DRF LOGIN AND PASSWORD IN ORDER TO ACCESS YOUR PRIZE PACKAGE.
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.
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.
$50 WIN/PLACE - #3 ROSE TO GOLD.
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!
Hello all I have been sitting back watching the action...My girl Rosie has been doing well..my first love Chantal has been riding up at Woodbine..wait, she just got busted for drunk driving on a horse..she will need to muck out a few stalls for 5 days as punishment...What the hell is wrong with her??? Waiting for the Breeders Cup to get back into action...Nice to see some people winning..Congrat's to the HG winners and it is great to have Dan back... Good Luck to All..Watch out for those Bridge Jumpers!!!! Whackymacky Out!!!
Bernard, I'm thru too..Except for one thing. Camelot is a GB bred. Cheers, my man...... CVS.........
Wo chantel busted in canada what are we to do wackey? this is terrible didnt know she liked the poison. Shake it off chantel lifr goes on MH01
Annie Our money is their money as far as they are concerned MH01
Fortunately in my state they do allow wagering on SA, SAR, BEL, GP, CD, etc. BUT THEY WON'T LET ME BET ON A RACE IN MY STATE!!!!!!!!!!!! Go figure. Politicians, sheesh!! Penguinymous
Curt V, I have no wish to get into one of those silly playground disputes (my Dad is bigger than yours, etc), but you are a cantankerous so and so. I never mentioned anything remotely pro GB breeding. Where did that come from in your mind? I simply suggested that for my purposes, when I am next studying form involving SOLEMIA, I will regard her as a French winner, not Irish. For purists like yourself, and for all those involved in the breeding industry, you can score it as an Irish victory, no serious argument from me. However, I doubt that the thousands of French citizens cheering SOLEMIA at Longchamp, held back on those cheers because the horse was born in Ireland. And I know for certain that after the race, in the bars around Longchamp, there were very few Irish fans consolling themselves for the defeat of Camelot and St Nicholas Abbey, by claiming SOLEMIA as one of their own. I have nothing more to to say on this one. The floor is all yours. Best Regards - Bernard Downes
Bernard, You are correct Sir. It is a duck. & SOLEMIA quacked her way out in IRELAND. That's why they keep those stats. Do you want me to post the %'s again of which country's have the highest pecentages of winning Acr'ers ? You are right twice. We have been down this road before. I thought you learned that GB is not a player in the Arc. Here we go......Spin Doctor, Downes............... Curt V.
Turnbackthealarm, Glad you enjoyed the racing from Longchamp. I had a nice 12/1 winner that just about paid for several losers on the card. Without wishing to sound like a paid up employee of the French Tourist Board, if you ever make it to Paris you will never regret it. Paris will never match London for energy and excitement, but it IS more beautiful, and the food is unbeatable. Ditto for the drink, if wine is your favourite tipple. But do take all your credit cards - Paris is expensive. You are totally correct about the variability of the ground making timing non essential. The other major variable is the different topography of each course. Bad time management meant I actually missed the marathon race. The report I read this morning made it sound both hard work on the heavy ground, and a great finish. I have mentioned this before, but we have a marathon of our own on Saturday - the Cesarewich Handicap run at Newmarket over 18 furlongs, There are two oddities about the race. It starts in one County (Cambridgeshire) and finishes in another (Suffolk). And it nearly always attracts a maximum field of 34. Try handicapping that lot. Best Regards - Bernard Downes
Meathead, Yes, aren't we lucky that our government officials save us from ourselves. You would think that they have a lot more important things to worry about than how we spend OUR money. Annie
Bernard, LOL! That's telling him. :) She probably understands French just fine. Annie
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