06/07/2013 2:11PM

HandiGambling the Belmont


The HandiGambling exercise for Saturday, May 8 is the eleventh race at Belmont, the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes for 3-year-olds at 1 1/2 miles.




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 DIRECTLY 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.


I don't have a very strong handle on this year's 3-year-old crop and don't have many powerful opinions for this year's Belmont.  For HandiGambling with funny money, I'll play three miles of special Daily Double action.

Friday's Brooklyn Handicap will be contested over an extremely wet track as there has been torrential rain in the New York area.  #5 PERCUSSION appreciates moisture in the track with two victories over "good" going including a game tally over FAST FALCON in the Albert the Great Stakes at Belmont on May 12.  Since being transferred to the Todd Pletcher barn, Percussion has won three of four with the only defeat coming against top handicap runners Game On Dude, Clubhouse Ride and Ron the Greek in the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic. In the Albert the Great, Percussion used his good speed to dictate terms.  He was confronted by Fast Falcon turning for home and was actually passed by that rival in midstretch only to battle back grimly along the inside for the score.  Percussion is in excellent form, has the speed to take advantage of a moderate pace, and likes a good fight.  The main issue is the 12-furlong distance.  He's never raced longer than 1 1/8 miles, but there is some stamina in his female family as his dam is a half-sister to 12-furlong, Grade 3 winner Symphony Sid. 

I'm against horses like #1 BIRDRUN, who won this race a couple of years ago in gate-to-wire fashion, but seems off form and will once again wear two bar shoes.  #4 CALIDOSCOPIO won the Breeders' Cup Marathon last year, but he took advantage of a hot pace to win that event and has battled foot problems ever since.  I'm not sure if he'll get enough pace to adequately setup his late flurry.  I like #6 FAST FALCON, but he only has one win and refused to seal the deal against Percussion last time out.  Perhaps the additional distance is right up his alley. 

Percussion will get most of my weight in the double, but I'll also use QUICK CASABLANCA, a Chilean-bred making his second start off a long layoff for Christophe Clement.  He took a ton of money for his first North American outing despite being away from the races for over a year. and can move forward with that start under his belt.  A Group 1 winner at 10 1/2 furlongs on dirt in Argentina, Quick Casablanca also owns a Group 1 win on turf at this distance.  He's an unknown over wet going, but I think he's going to love stretching his legs another two furlongs.

Admittedly, #2 KEEP ME INFORMED is a reach but he loves wet going (never off the board from seven tries over wet) and exits a career-best effort on May 5.  He took advantage of a wicked pace that afternoon, however.  Despite being by Belmont Stakes winner A.P. Indy, Keep Me Informed is also questionable at this distance.  Still, he'll be a big price and looks to be in improving form.

In the Belmont, I'm going to go back to #5 ORB.  If any runner deserves a mulligan, considering his prior consistency, it's the Derby winner.  Yes, he ran poorly in the Preakness but he was down inside for a good amount of the race and I don't think that was the best part of the track.  Orb should get some pace to attack and has the pedigree to last this 12-furlong trip.  He may not be as good as his Derby when he was aided by a quick pace and clean trip, but I don't think he's as bad as his Preakness.  His races prior to the Triple Crown this year were all good and he likes a wet track.

#7 OXBOW wouldn't be a surprise, but the Preakness winner may have to stalk and finish in the Belmont.  Note that all of his wins came in gate-to-wire fashion.  #2 FREEDOM CHILD looks like a strong new shooter and he romped over a wet Belmont track in the Peter Pan.  The darling of the clockers this week, he could be an overlay.  #9 REVOLUTIONARY is extremely talented and logical while GOLDEN SOUL may get the pace and track he appreciates. 

Here's how I'll HandiGamble:
$60 BROOKLYN/BELMONT DOUBLE:  Percussion/Orb (5/5)
$30 BROOKLYN/BELMONT DOUBLE:  Quick Casablanca/Orb (3/5)
$10 BROOKLYN/BELMONT DOUBLE:  Keep Me Informed/Orb (2/5)

Best of luck to all.


The graded stakes video analyses should be up on the website by this evening.


More importantly, who do you like this weekend?  I want to know.


You can follow me on Twitter at DRF_DanIllman.

Rodney More than 1 year ago
oops my bad mistake....Whackymackey......... I type way too fast..........sorry about that....no offense ... genuine error on my part.
Rodney More than 1 year ago
Whackybackey... I'm also relying on Bernard to come up trumps.......no pressure there Bernard. 24 races is it? big fields, as competitive as you can get in horse racing......in the world. Take the pressure of this gentleman.....and be happy he posts on here. As Graham Cunningham from racing uk states, if you get 4 or 5 out of 24....you've had a good Royal Ascot.
Dick W More than 1 year ago
Okiesharpie Congrats again on your very nice HG score !!! I must admit that when I saw someone post that you had hit the super, I said to my 4 cats "No freakin' way !!!" That was because I had been looking over the PH contest selections and had noticed that your top 3 selections (Revolutionary, Orb and Freedom Child) did not include either the winner or the second place horse ! Since I now had my cat's attention, I said to them "how could someone not have the top two finishers among their top 3 selections and still hit the super !!!". My cats meowed in agreement. Then I went back and found your HG post and read your analysis and understood the logic in your wager construction. Very clever job of putting that wager together. I assured my cats that it was no scam and they went back to sleep. Keep up the good work ! Dick W
Rodney More than 1 year ago
Anyone wishing to read more about a legendary trainer, and a national institution in the uk...Sir H. telegragh.co.uk then click on Obituaries...good reading for those that like reading horse related articles. Might be of interest to some formbloggers.
Whackymacky More than 1 year ago
Happy Wednesday : OK, I must say to all, nice capping to those who cashed in the 3 year old running of the races that got us to the Belmont.....Okiesharp, WTG!!! To hit the Super with the Derby Winner and The Preakness Winner and get back $10K for $1, makes us all look stupid... Annie and others who put the MKB program together and had us following our 3 year olds, I thank you for a job well done. I just couldn't get anything going on the Belmont. Needed 4 to cash the B/B Double. I wish nothing but success to all as we head to the Spa and to The Breeders Cup. May they all be safe, horse and jockey. We also will say good bye to Hollywood Park...I am sure that some have some great stories to tell.....I will be going to Saratoga..cannot wait.....may the horse be with you..Harvey Pack would say..... Let's make some money, and Bernard, we need a little help from over the pond with some big racing coming our way this summer... Whackymacky Out!!!
Dick W More than 1 year ago
One additional point regarding the comparison of the 2010 and 2013 Belmonts. Drosselmeyer and Palace Malice had something in common...the little man sitting in the saddle. Dick W
DavidM9999 More than 1 year ago
Belmont (Slowmont) Stakes Let’s compare the Belmont of 2010 with the 2013 edition since a fellow Blogger pointed it out. Drosselmeyer won it in 2:31.57. Here are the splits in column one, Palice Malice in column two. 24.15 23.11 25.04 23.55 25.75 24.29 25.31 25.52 24.72 26.65 26.60 27.58 2010 the first 6F in 1:14.94 versus first 6F in 2013 in 1:10.95. Last 6F in 1:16.63 versus 1:19.75. What is surprising is in 2013 with the perfect setup for the closers (sub 1:11) no one fired. Orb moved moderately I suppose but the rest were running in quick sand. So yes, the overall time was within a second but it is how it was run is how I look at it. Race shape was fast early and SLOW late so where were the closer? My point is with the setup provided by Frac Daddy the time should have been quicker not slower than so many Belmont’s. That fact makes me downgrade the efforts of so many in here. The first two ran good races – on the hot pace and there late even though they were crawling at least they were standing. Keep in mind when comparing the 2013 edition to the whole history of the stakes that some were run over tracks not fast. By post time Saturday the track was labeled fast by the track crew. Annie - I agree with you it is risky to write off these animals in June. A few could have some upside and find their stride later. A number absolutely won’t paying the price of the grueling Triple Crown while fading into oblivion. Like most of you we make judgments and then back them at the windows. I just saw nothing out of this race that made me think this was even an average grade one. In the Derby many of the field were given passes for the off going, in the Preakness Andy Beyer proclaimed the strange pre-race winds were to blame for that stagger fest home. Now in the Belmont I am reading the early pace sucked the starch out of the whole field including those way off the pace. So it seems there are a lot of excuses being provided by experts for the 2013 Triple Crown. I suppose in the Haskell it may be the heat and the Travers it may be the humidity. But again it can be this group is simply not the best. Time will tell. Thanks everyone for the interesting dialogue. I will let the rest of the Blog have the last word.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SR Vegas (and Annie), Thanks for that "Futures" research. Interesting. I suppose what you are saying is that if Annie pulled her finger out and did her MKB work a month earlier, AND improved her analysis in those off losing years, AND you paid immediate attention to get those earlier, better odds, then my silly idea might work. Just kidding ladies. Please put me down for MKB 2013/14. I am still absorbing the news about Henry Cecil. The obvious part of me is, of course, terribly sad. British racing has lost its Champion. But I have what is probably a pretty odd outlook on life and I believe that sometimes life has a natural course. Once that has expired, once old age or illness has robbed the person of all the attributes we once knew and loved, then death can be a release. My Mum was a case in point. 85 happy and busy years, 5 years of misery at the end. I deliberately say CAN be a release because I am well aware that some old or infirm people still manage to enjoy many happy and fulfilling years. Although Henry Cecil suffered several years of very serious illness, he was lucky enough to have Frankel as a massive focus for his life, but he lost that focus in 2013 and he looked a different person. Shut up Mr Downes, too many daft theories. Best Regards - Bernard Downes P.S. By the way, nice words from the DRF. Thanks.
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
..if this duplicates , my apologies. Annie As "Mayhem" would say ...recalculating ! LOL! OMG! Thanks for the corrections with their MKB horses and their winning ways ( from the 2nd draw) Since my note responding to Bernard, I was going from the original 1st MKB draws over the years which likely would have the largest odds. And, I have missed or messed up in my notes. You and the Magic Genie have always continued the " Magic" .. so, My Bad. But it goes to show that the 'first draw' horses and the large odds that may be available, might not always pan out. Wynn 3/5/12 I'll Have Another 30-1 .... was at 200-1 prior . Wynn 2/15/11 Shackleford 100-1 .. was at 300-1 prior. Not sure what his futures odds were just prior to the Ky Derby, but he went off at 24-1 that day and finished 4th. But he did win The Preakness. Too bad there is not some US wager for a futures bet that would cover all three triple crown races. Then the MKB horses would certainly rule most of the payouts :) SR Vegas
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
TurnbacktheAlarm Oh yes.....and the copy and pasting continues :) SR Vegas