05/31/2013 2:45PM

HandiGambling BHP Turf Sprint

Email

The HandiGambling exercise for Friday, May 31 is the fifth race from Betfair Hollywood Park, an entry-level allowance for statebreds at six furlongs on turf.

PAST PERFORMANCES ARE AVAILABLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PREVIOUS BLOG POST.

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.

IF THE WINNER WOULD LIKE TO SELECT THE NEXT WEEK'S RACE, PLEASE SEND YOUR RACE SELECTION NO LATER THAN TUESDAY EVENING.

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 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.

***

The turf course is FIRM.

Let's scratch #11 EXOTIC SLEW.

#7 DOOR'S OPEN is perfect from two starts on dirt and has a good turf pedigree.  His sire, Aragorn, was a multiple Grade 1 winner on the grass (9-89, 10% with first-turf runners) and the dam (0-2 on turf) is a half-sister to multiple stakes-placed Elaine's Angel (9-1-0-2 on grass) and stakes-winner Stage Player (12-7-1-1 on turf).  Door's Open owns good early speed and should be placed forwardly.  He faces other pace rivals here, but drew a good attack post.  Expect Mario Gutierrez to leave the gate running.  If someone to the inside wants to go, Gutierrez may opt to prompt while in the clear.  If not, he can make the front.  He beat a couple of these foes on dirt last time out and was flattered when the third-finisher returned to Beyer 91 in taking a $40,000 starter allowance on the cushion track. 

If the pace is hot, perhaps #8 MR. ORNERY can pick up the pieces.  He ran well sprinting over this course last year and may have found the mile distance a bit too demanding in his last two starts at Santa Anita.  Mr. Ornery was up with the lead in both of those races and figures to be taken back this afternoon.  When last seen, he was a 3-year-old tackling some solid older statebreds.  He has run well fresh in the past, winning his debut here, and trainer Marty Jones has good numbers with similar layoff runners.  Expect Mr. Ornery to be charging in the stretch at good odds.

#6 BOB CONSULTATION bombed against Door's Open on dirt, but was a solid winner two back at Santa Anita, and has a little bit of turf in his pedigree.  The veteran stallion connects with 12% of his first-turf performers and the dam won on the green.  He'll be a big price, may be more comfortable at this slightly-longer distance and figures to be handled aggressively by Martin Pedroza.

#5 RUN'N ON RESIDUALS has won three of his last four races for trainer Caesar Dominguez and also tries turf for the first time.  He's been away since November, but has been working quickly for his return and should be among the front-runners in this spot.  The pace could be hotter than anything he's ever seen, however, but Run'n On Residuals is a full brother to a seven-time turf winner and should be comfortable on the surface.  Dominguez is 3-14 (21%, $3.64 ROI) over the past five years with horses returning from similar layoffs.

#9 RED MAN RUN pulled off a 16-1 upset in dominating front-running fashion going down the hill at Santa Anita, but has lost ground from the stretch call to the wire in three starts against winners and may be taken off the pace this afternoon.  He removes blinkers, returns quickly, and turns back in distance so there are some angles for a horse that has run close to the Beyer par of 86 in the past.  Trainer Roger Stein is 2-61 over the past five years with horses coming back within seven days.  Only 1-16 in his career, Red Man Run must prove that he can rate and finish.

#1 U'NARACK broke his maiden as a first-time gelding in his turf debut and showed the ability to rate off soft fractions that afternoon.  Expect the pace to be more ambitious this time around and I'm not sure if I love the inside post for this inexperienced 3-year-old.  He has a good amount of upside potential, though, and goes out for top connections.  The fourth-place finisher from his most recent start returned to graduate with only a 57 Beyer in a $20,000 maiden claimer on the cushion track.  If Julien Leparoux hustles out of there, he could get stuck in a pace battle.  If he sits, he may be outsprinted behind horses.

#3 TOLEDO EDDIE has won half of his ten starts on the main track and there is some turf in his female family.  Claimed from his last two races, he now resides in the Craig Dollase barn (2-9 over the past five years with newly-claimed runners) and has excellent early speed.  He didn't have an easy trip in his most recent start as he broke slowly and rushed up to contest a good pace.  He should be a forward presence here, but could get involved in hot and contested fractions.

#4 DIXIELAND BLUES is a 5-year-old with only nine starts to his name so there have likely been some physical issues.  He ran very well going down the hill at Santa Anita two starts back as he rated off a quick pace and rallied powerfully between rivals.  I wonder if he wants a slightly longer trip, but Dixieland Blues figures to benefit from swift splits up front.  He switches to Garrett Gomez and can't be counted out.

#2 BOOZER showed improved early speed in his first start off a long layoff, but he's taking on tough older foes in this spot and may have to deal with a quicker race flow.  He's been working fast for new ownership, but I don't love the inside post coupled with the possibility of an early duel.  He does have some ability, however, and isn't the worst longshot if you believe he can stalk and pounce in the early portion of the race.

#10 CRIMSON GIANT should get a hot pace to attack, but he's 1-28 lifetime and hasn't won in almost two years.  It looks as if he needs some class relief.

Here's how I'll HandiGamble:

$80 WIN - DOOR'S OPEN (#7)
$10 EXACTA - MR. ORNERY/DOOR'S OPEN (8-7)
$5 EXACTA - BOB CONSULTATION/DOOR'S OPEN (2-7)
$5 EXACTA - RUNN'N ON RESIDUALS/DOOR'S OPEN (5-7)

Best of luck to all.

***

The graded stakes video analyses for the upcoming three-day weekend 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.