08/13/2011 10:27AM

HandiGambling the Beverly D.


Today's HandiGambling 246 exercise is the ninth race from Arlington, the Grade 1 Beverly D. Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 3/16 miles on the turf.

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 names of the horses.
Past performances are available at the previous blog post.
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.


The turf course is listed as GOOD. 

The Beverly D. is usually a fun race filled with international flavor and this year's edition is no different.  The Beverly D. kicks off a 50-cent Pick 4 and is the second leg of the $1 Festival Pick 3 and I'll go three deep in those wagers with these top contenders.

BLOCK A:  "Multi-race plays"

#1 STACELITA has enjoyed a successful career in Europe, winning four Group 1 races between 10 and 12 furlongs in France.  She made her North American debut against males in the Grade 1 United Nations on July 2 and was certainly in the mix before fading to a close third in the late stages.  She adds Lasix and jockey Ramon Dominguez to her already strong arsenal and figures to save valuable ground from the inside post in her first start for high-percentage trainer Chad Brown.  Stacelita showed an inclination to track slow paces in several of her international tries and Dominguez may attempt to work out the old "pocket" trip.  Remember that she's back in with fillies and mares and her lifetime record against members of her own sex is 8-6-2-0. 

#6 RIVER JETEZ goes out for one of the top trainers in the world in Mike de Kock.  This outfit has sent some live horses to Arlington Park as Irridescence just missed by a head in this race in 2007 while Archipenko fell three-quarters shy in the 2008 Million. A confirmed world traveler, River Jetez is a Group 1 winner in South Africa, a Group 2 winner in Dubai and is Group 1-placed in Singapore.  River Jetez can perhaps be forgiven for her most recent defeat in England as The Racing Post reported that she was a late entrant to that race and "wasn't fully tuned up."  Although she's getting up in age, River Jetez has that race under her belt and adds Lasix for the first time here.  Her win in the Group 2 Balanchine Stakes against fillies and mares earlier this year in Dubai puts her in the equation.

I wonder if #8 PACHATTACK is slightly better on synthetic surfaces than she is on the grass, but there isn't a ton of speed in this race and Pachattack may attempt the gate-to-wire tactics she successfully employed in the Maple Leaf Stakes at Woodbine last year.  Pachattack was sixth in this race last year, but she completely missed the break so you can draw a line through that defeat.  Trained by Gerard Butler, Pachattack lacks the international credentials of Stacelita and River Jetez and she missed the local prep for the Beverly D. with a minor physical setback.  Still, she was in very good form prior to the layoff with a victory over two next-out winners in the Grade 2 Arlington Matron over polytrack and can offer some wagering value. 

BLOCK B:  "They can certainly win and I'm scared of them"

#7 CHEETAH, a lightly-raced 4-year-old filly, may have the most upside potential of any in this field.  A British import, Cheetah has won two of three starts in the United States and was probably compromised by a dawdling pace in her only stateside defeat, the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay at Belmont.  Last time out, in the Robert G. Dick Memorial at Delaware, Cheetah got a solid pace to run at and she blew the doors off her competition late.  She's taking a big step up in class here and probably won't get the same fractions she received last time, but Cheetah has shown ability.  With a forward move, she could pull off a mild surprise. 

#3 FANTASIA won the local prep here on July 9 and she may have been hindered by a speed-favoring turf course when second in the Grade 2 Just a Game Stakes two starts back.  She's a pretty consistent mare, but steps up in class and may be at the mercy of race and pace luck as she attempts to uncork her rally from the back of the pack. 

#9 ECLAIR DE LUNE is the defending Beverly D. champion, but she hasn't shown much zest since winning this race last year.  In fact, she's failed to crack the trifecta in five subsequent outings.  Eclair de Lune parlayed a good pace-tracking trip into victory here last year, but she's been prone to slow starts in 2011.  Something just doesn't seem right with Eclair de Lune.  She's a contender on her best day, but will need to find that best form in order to defeat this tough cast.

#11 NEVER RETREAT has quietly enjoyed a successful campaign, taking three graded races for trainer Chris Block.  She looked good winning the Dance Smartly at Woodbine last time out around one turn, but she's never gone this far and is hung out in the wide post position.  She may have to be used early by Shaun Bridgmohan to obtain a good forward spot and that could hinder her late kick.  She's a perfectly solid mare coming off a career Beyer top, but will have to do it again before I believe that she's truly Grade 1 quality. 

#10 ROMIN ROBIN is in career form after pairing up Beyer tops in her last two races.  A former $30,000 claimer earlier in her career, Romin Robin didn't have the easiest of trips when second to Fantasia in the Modesty.  She is a local horse-for-course, but this will be her toughest task to date. 

#5 DUBAWI HEIGHTS is an intriguing entrant shipping in from Southern California.  A filly that has overcome colic, a knee chip, and tibia problems, Dubawi Heights became a Grade 1 winner in the Gamely at Hollywood Park on May 30.  She has good tactical speed and can be close to the expected moderate pace this afternoon.  The distance is a slight concern, but she beat a pair of next-out winners in the Gamely and is entering the Beverly D. on a four-race win streak.  I wouldn't be surprised if she's in charge of this thing turning for home and she looms a good upset chance.

BLOCK C:  "Longshots"

#4 UPPERLINE, like Pachattack, may be slightly better on synthetic than on grass, but she earned a 102 Beyer Speed Figure earlier this year in taking the Bayou Handicap over Fair Grounds sod.  I'd like to see James Graham get aggressive with Upperline this afternoon as she does have enough speed to find herself on or near the lead.  A Grade 3 winner on polytrack, Upperline may be in a bit too steep here. 

#2 CHECK THE LABEL won four straight graded races last year including the Grade 1 Garden City at Belmont Park, but she hasn't seemed the same filly this year.  After just missing by a neck in her seasonal debut over polytrack, she disappointed greatly at 2-1 in the Grade 3 Mint Julep at Churchill Downs and threw a fit prior to the Penny Memorial at Parx on July 4.  Her Beyers pale in comparison to the top contenders and she'll have to really pick it up if she is to make a dent.

Here's how I'll play HG:

$50 Exacta:  Stacelita - River Jetez (1-6)
$50 Exacta:  Stacelita - Pachattack (1-8)

Best of luck to all.


Here are quick and dirty selections for some of this weekend's stakes races:

Secretariat:  Treasure Beach, Banned, Ziyarid
Monmouth Oaks:  Miss Valentine, Strike the Moon, Savvy Supreme
Sword Dancer:  Grassy, Boisterous, Al Khali
Arlington Millon:  Zack Hall, Wigmore Hall, Cape Blanco
La Jolla - Midnight Interlude, Burns, Surrey Star
John C. Mabee - Celtic Princess, Medaglia d'Amour, Cozi Rosie

If you have a chance, check out the stakes preview videos that Mike Beer and I worked on earlier in the week:




The great Harvey Pack was back in our studio to discuss Saturday's late Pick 4 at Saratoga.  You can find that link here:



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

Enjoy the weekend.

blackseabass More than 1 year ago
C, I'm not advocating tossing all euros or tossing all locals. I'm on the same side of the fence as MIKE A. Each race has to be looked at individually. Take the BC turf for example . In recent years I've had Conduit the first time , Shirocco , High Chaperral twice & Fantastic Light. Does that sound like I'm anti-euro ? What I'm anti is phoney baloney BS about how they breed better horses somewhere other than in Kentucky on average because of their medication rules. Its a well known FACT that Dr . Derby Alex Harthill administered Northern Dancer Lasix before the Derby illegally by his own admission. You'll be hard pressed to find a foriegn bred horse that doesn't have ND in their pedigree as the best stallions they have are sons, grandsons & great grandsons of ND. BTW I pounded Prescious Passion WP vs Conduit the 2nd time. Off memory I think PP paid about $12 to place( maybe it was $8 I can't remember for sure ) & Conduit paid about $4 to win. Who got the better run for their money ? Waiting for the race I was watching the TV and listening to the talking heads say that PP would be lucky to finish better than last against the superiority of the Euros. LOL. I bet Courageous Cat vs Goldikova WP who got the better of it ? I bet Kip Deville (an Oklahoma bred) WP twice. Does it sound like I need to worry about the superiority of euros breaking me ? I pounded The Tin Man / Jambalaya exacta in the million a few years ago . I think that was something like 140 -1 ? I can pass $4 dollar winning euros in the million for a long time before I'm in the red just on that race alone . I've had plenty of other winners in the million over the years,some euro some American, I won't bore you by listing them. Don't you worry about me getting lost in the shuffle. I'm one of the few people you are ever going to correspond with thats ahead of this game lifetime. I'm ahead because I know ALL facets of this game inside out forward and backward. It's not my nature to sit back and read people that don't know what they are talking about make blanket statements about euro superiority without rebutting them with facts. Especially if to my knowledge I've never seen them post a helpful hint on formblog and they can't back their mouth with substance. Of C-horse I don't mean you. If you want to find out how many starters the euros have had in those races I would welcome the info. I won't bother myself with doing it because I don't need to. I supplied enough info to make my point. I think what you said about back class vs. recent efforts is generally correct under most conditions and I do respect your opinions and the cogent way you express them. I also appreciate our conversations as I like to talk to people that have a clue. MikeA , as I said I'm in general agreement with your take on the subject (race specific) I certainly don't want to start a new war, buttz... Gio Ponti is a Ky. bred. Blackstone , Smarty said thanks for your nice offer and encouragement but the T-shirt she wants is the PH variety. Of C-horse she would like to have the trophy as well. Whacky , catch a bunch and have a blast. Sharona & TBTA , have fun and don't forget a sweater or a light jacket. Good luck.
Keith L. More than 1 year ago
Annie: I see Annie's Melody, a 4 yo filly by Forestry from Patrick Kelly's barn goes today in the off the turf 8th Race at Saratoga. 30-1 ML looks mighty tasty, as this is on dirt at a mile now, and Chavez is in the saddle. My Saratoga bet of the day though is using the Trainer/Jockey Angle for a daily double wager (both entries by the trainer in the double using the same jock....concept is that they are looking for a payday at the windows). Entries are: 2nd Race (25K claimer) #8 Aftershock, a 5 yo by Elusive Quality-Lukas using C. Valesquez with; 3rd Race (MSW) #4 Sark by English Channel out of a Storm Cat mare-Lukas right back with C. Valesquez. Keith L.
PGM More than 1 year ago
Blackstone, Congrats on the bronze in the contest, and I hope you make it to the NHC. *** Blackseabass, C is on the mark: Since the Europeans made a clean sweep of the G1s at Arlington, there's always a discussion in the summer and fall of how the Euros did so well when in fact they were too big, too fast, too strong, too good. Back to our tete-a-tete. One reason I mainly went back only to 2000 was due to the two year hiatus when discussing Arlington Million (and by extension, Beverly D. and Secretariat) winners is the two year shutdown in the late 1990s. I mentioned there were seven Euro winners of the Million since 2000. While you've used breeding origin, A Euro shall be defined as a horse that won a race (regardless of breeding origin) outside of North America or is based with a European trainer at the time of the Million. Let's review all the runnings since then. 2000, Chester House. Bred in the US, started his career in the UK but moved to the US and was US-based. 2001, Silvano. Bred in Germany, won in Asia and 3rd in the Dubai Sheema, based in Germany. [EURO] 2002, Beat Hollow. Bred in the UK, won a listed stakes in the UK and a G1 in France at three, off at four, shipped to the US and changed trainers at five. Won the Million at five. [EURO] 2003, Sulanami. Bred in Ireland, won in France and Dubai before the Million and in the UK after. [EURO] 2004, Kicken Kris. Bred in the US, raced in the US, based in the US. 2005, Powerscourt. Bred in the UK, won a G1 in the UK, based in the UK. [EURO] 2006, The Tin Man. Bred in the US, raced in the US, based in S. California. 2007, Jambalaya. Bred in Canada, won on both sides of the US/Canada border, based in Canada. 2008, Spirit One. Bred in France, raced in France, based in France [EURO] 2009, Gio Ponti. Bred in the US, raced in the US, based in the US. 2010, Debussy. Bred in Ireland, raced in the UK, based in the UK. [EURO] 2011, Cape Bianco. Bred in Ireland, raced in Ireland, based in the UK. [EURO] Even if you use your definition of breeding origins, the totals are as such: Canada -1 US - 4 Europe - 7 Now, let's use the definition I proposed: A Euro shall be defined as a horse that won a race (regardless of breeding origin) outside of North America or is based with a European trainer at the time of the Million. Canada -1 US - 4 Europe - 7 The six Euros are Silvano, Sulanami, Powerscourt, Spirit One, Debussy, Cape Bianco. Beat Hollow was trained in Europe pre-injury, trained in the US post-injury while maintaining common ownership. I admit this one could be debated, but he was bred and campaigned in Europe (and a G1 winner in France) and stands at stud over there. Close enough. So using the breeding origin definition or the campaign/stabling definition, it's still seven winners in twelve runnings of the Arlington Million since 2010. And of course, if you take out Beat Hollow, we still have fifty percent of recent Millions won by the Europeans. This, while leaving pre-1997 renditions unresearched. Yes, I've decided that it was time here and now to jump into the fray. Yes, I used the word dolt and directed it at you and I don't have a single regret over it. I don't regret using the word on someone that is called out and has been called out by other posters, on someone that has made recommendations intersecting at outrageous, crude, and laughable, on someone that creates questionable images and embarassing situations of posters. There's nothing wrong with humor and nothing wrong with sarcasm (Chuck The Label, Giant Choke). However there's a line of taste and decorum that must be acknowledged. As an example, as much as I dislike Twirling Candy, I know there's a flag-waving fan of TC and thus I have to be restrained in what I think of this horse. In summary, I only hope that your future posts show more restraint and logic.
blackstone More than 1 year ago
Alan-A P.S. I forgot to thank you also for reminding me of the DRF Handicapping Contest Handbook. I had bought it when it first came out, but had not thought about it for years. I spent an hour or so looking for it last night. But alas, the dynamics of finding an old book in my house are not much different than playing in one of these contests: the numbers are kind of overwhelming. So I just ordered a couple of copies. Thanks again.
Mike A More than 1 year ago
BSB.............look at that....agreeing and the world didn't come to an end.....I did post in my second go round that I had a few inaccuracies, while I admitted it, I wasn't going to list them....lol!! Gio Ponti was one, thanks for pointing that out......hahahaha....... Bernard Downs ......Does sound like a racetrack...no? I will definitely post my thoughts on JCGC day. Whether we meet or not.......perhaps Dan can be there anyway?? SR Vegas........I wish I could have made the trip out there to Del Mar.......I could have hung with you and Cathy again.......you've always been very kind to me and I will never forget it......Your most humble and obedient servant...............Mike A
vicstu More than 1 year ago
Sorry for the hit and run. I am reading all the posts. Just very busy and the wife is out of town to boot. Saw several races at the Spa last weekend and watched the Secretariat and Arl Million as well. I respect BSB a lot, but I am siding with C on this on. To me, it is obvious. Now, I am going to say something that will probably irk C a bit. He will say jockeys and trainers blow smoke all the time about this stuff, but there is something in how Castellano talks about the horse that makes me take note: Keep an eye on 2 year old Union Rags, who just won a stake race at the Spa. Here is what his jockey said: "I got a phone call last week from my agent; he wanted me to work some horses on Tuesday,” Castellano said. “Jockeys usually take off on Tuesdays since we race six days a week, but I’m so glad he did that to me. When I showed up and worked the horse (Union Rags) in the morning, it was unbelievable. I’ve never worked a horse like that and I’ve been very fortunate to ride horses like Ghostzapper and Bernardini . I’ve been a very lucky, fortunate guy, but this horse is unbelievable and special.” Read more: http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/64552/union-rags-romps-in-sloppy-saratoga-special#ixzz1VHIlaorR Over the top? Maybe. But those are two over the rainbow horses GZ and Bernardini. Its too early to hope for a 3 year old season, but Catellano feels the horse can run all day. And, he has a good trainer, Mike Matz. Matz is high on the horse as well. He says this horse could be very, very special. I remember when Kent D and a certain trainer were going on and on about a certain horse being the best they had ever ridden or trained and was a freak. That horse turned out to be Big Brown. Whatever you thought of Dutrow, considering his bad wheels, BB was a freakishly talented horse. I just hope this horse stays healthy. He won very impressively and greenly. He could be something very special.
blackseabass More than 1 year ago
PGM, I would have no squawk with your list of horses since 2000. The numbers of C-horse are dependent on the qualifying criteria. Cape Blanco won in N. A. prior to the million . Your criteria flipped on end would make him American. Ditto Goldikova , Ouija Board, Powerscourt etc. By that definition than Silver Charm , Roses in May , Well Armed, Curlin , Captain Steve, Cigar, etc. would be classified euros based on their Dubai wins. Where a horse is bred doesn't leave as much wiggle room to adjust the numbers to fit a particular opinion. No worries on the dolt comment. I really did laugh out loud. Of C-horse I also would never deny that I've been known to make provacative statements from time to time. I'm certainly not ashamed of that. In fact I'm proud of it ! Vicstu, you , C & everybody else are entitled to have an opinion at least until the S&B change that here in America. Our Boy Big Drama is back on the charts. I have some worries about him though being away this long. Maybe your sources can find out something about his health for us ?
Sean Callanan More than 1 year ago
Dan- Where would I look to find the average odds payouts for the old $5 exactas compared to today's $1 payouts? I maintain that today's $1 payouts are not 1/5 of the old $5 payouts but considerably less because now anyone with a $10 bill (with our short fields here in So Cal a $5 bill) can wheel to the favorite meaning many more winning tickets and hence lower payouts. If you can help me find the answer, I would be very appreciative.
C More than 1 year ago
BSB, Like PGM, when I say "Euro", I'm usually not talking about breeding. I don't like to spend a lot of time dwelling on who should be considered a Euro and who shouldn't... to me, a European horse is one who has been trained and raced primarily in Europe. I agree with MikeA on the point that the biggest difference between Euros and Americans is in the training philosophy. There are some differences in the breeding too, but I'm almost always referring to their training and racing when I talk about them as a group.
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Uncle Mike A I have enjoyed seeing your posts regarding turf, European training / racing ( Which I have attempted to follow more) and your obsevations of late. you posted in part: "what is our gauge for really good performances? With me I go back to yesteryear.......DR. Fager, Secretariat, Kelso, Ft Marcy, Bald Eagle, Beau Purple.......I know what a superior performance is, especially when it's run in track record time, against the best there was, carrying 130+" Man, what I wouldn't give to SEE Benchmarks like that. And I know some mature handicappers who are right there with you. So I picked out a bit more of what you posted in the present, and what I see others also say. "PICK" your spots and be comfortable with what you select, wager, handicap or (for me) see in a paddock. I like that, and it is a goal for me. Del Mar this weekend will be a test of that. It's obvious to those who follow Dan's blog regularly, that your criteria is the 'horse' and his potential against his race peers in that particular race. You prefer Turf, and in your own backyard. and have alot of experiance to draw from. ( I LOVE the 'copy and paste' function) because you give out great nuggets of information. I won't be wagering on all the races this weekend. I'm more interested in the 2 yo races, maybe a 3 yo maiden race. But will probably handicap all of them to test myself, and my abilities. Physical handicapping, may send me running to the windows, aka Arcodoro at Saratoga last year ...hahaha! Or maybe TBTA and I will split a TRI, or a Pick 3 ...of course there is the .50c pick 5 to consider...but we shall see. ----------------------------------------------- Van Savant ...Thank you for your Friday's Del Mar run down. Enjoy the rest of the summer and the Bar B Que ( you said pulled pork ?) this weekend. ..yes, you will be missed. Meathead01... ditto on you, too. Happy Anniversary. We will have to compare notes after your Laughlin stay, and see who you liked or won on!! But I will bet the steak dinner and champagne will win, hands down ! Blackstone...Wish we could have you at Del Mar this weekend. 'Tu es en Fuego mi amigo' with your PH results this week. But, that's ok, I'll expect to see you at the NHC in January :) Thank you to anyone who posts their thoughts about Del Mar this weekend. TBTA and I will be watching. :) ---------------------------------------------------------- C & Bernard & Mike A , David M, BSB ...maybe a couple I forgot (?) Some nice discussions re European and American racing, training and class. I have totally enjoyed all your thoughts and comments regarding European horses, trainers and workout conditions. (It is what I have thought in the back of my mind ) that It's DIFFERENT geographically over the Pond...anywhere over there. Hills, rises, soft -moisture- Turf ..etc...can in my opinion beef up a horses muscle and stamina, no matter the class. Kinda' Apples and Oranges with some American training standards ( Not all trainers, mind you) but in general terms ...you all had some excellent points. and I enjoyed reading them all. -------------------------------------------- Keith L "Have I got that right, ladies?" My, my, my dear. Spending time with you before you got a computer upgrade and you could start posting on formblog again... Well, yes sir! You know me VERY well. I'll make sure to copy & paste your notes ...hahahaha! BTW , how did you know I was looking at Mizdirection? (well, and Dynamo, as an AE) Both have been in my HW list, and I was chomping at the bit when I saw Swede's pick for this weeks HG excersise ! LOL! ...scary, very scary ! -------------------------------------- PS to Alan I'm taking Chalky on a Zip line run OVER Fremont Street tomorrow...she says Wheeee! Bring it on! TBTA, well...we shall see, I Double Dare you girfriend :)
meathead01 More than 1 year ago
SRVegas Prime Rib and Vin Rose wine are the best bet for monday night dinner in williams az. good luck again on your trip hope you have a great time at the track will post my thoughts tomorrow friday for the weekend today is shopping day for the trip on saturday . good luck all mh01