04/19/2013 12:05PM

HandiGambling the Doubledogdare

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The HandiGambling exercise for Friday, April 19 is the ninth race from Keeneland, the Grade 3 Doubledogdare Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on polytrack.

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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."
 
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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.

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Let's scratch #4 ALAURA MICHELE and #8 MINIKSHI

The polytrack is FAST.

I'm looking for some kind of price in today's Doubledogdare and will try to coax #7 LOTTA LOVIN home under Alan Garcia.  She loves the Turfway Park polytrack, exits a big race there on January 19, and goes out for top trainer Michael Maker. The key to her chances could lie in the lack of a true pace.  There isn't a ton of speed signed up for today's feature and LOTTA LOVIN can stay close to the expected moderate splits.  She is taking a huge class hike, however (the eighth-place finisher from her most recent start returned to win for a $40,000 tag at Turfway and was recently beaten for $25,000 at Keeneland), and her prior two starts against good horses at Keeneland produced disappointing results.  Still, at the odds, she may offer value and Lotta Lovin shows some quick workouts leading up to today's race. 

#3 INGLORIOUS made her name by defeating males in the prestigious Queen's Plate at Woodbine in 2011.  She hasn't won since, though, and one must wonder if she has the same zest for racing as a 5-year-old.  An analysis of her recent races makes me believe that she is rounding back into form for underrated trainer Josie Carroll.  She loomed boldly before faltering in the Dance Smartly at nine furlongs on July 8 and then wasn't disgraced when shipped to Betfair Hollywood Park off the layoff in the Bayakoa.  Most recently, in the Grade 3 Suwannee River on grass at Gulfstream, Inglorious came with a good late kick.  She is getting back to her very best surface today and the local clockers have been  impressed by her recent workouts.  According to the excellent "Keeneland Clocker Report" for April 5, Inglorious was "under no pressure, going very nicely at the finish."  Eight days later, she "was not asked for effort, is going well."  I'm expecting a good effort from this mare today.

#5 MYSTICAL STAR is simply a rock-solid performer.  A Grade 2 winner on turf, she finished second in the Grade 1 Spinster over this surface last fall and really runs well over the Keeneland polytrack.  She also has enough tactical speed to stay within range if the pace is overly slow.  The 8 1/2 furlong distance may be a tad short for Mystical Star, but I'm expecting her to handle it well enough and she should improve in her second start of the form cycle after chasing gate-to-wire winner Old Tune in a paceless turf heat at Tampa Bay (Mystical Star finished ahead of three next-out winners in that spot).  Mystical Star sheds six pounds and looks like a very logical contender.

Maker also sends out #1 ARTEMUS KITTEN, a mare that has done her best running on the grass. I wonder if she's going to be as effective on polytrack (winless from three previous outings on synthetic) and she didn't beat the strongest field in the world when taking the Jersey Lily Stakes at Sam Houston on March 2 (none of the six horses to return from that race could complete the trifecta next-out with a best Beyer of only 76).  Artemus Kitten draws a cozy inside post and should save valuable ground under Gary Stevens. 

#6 SISTERHOOD sheds blinkers (0-2 lifetime without the hood) and goes turf-to-synthetic for a high-percentage barn.  A winner over this surface last spring, Sisterhood is returning from a three-month layoff and her recent grass form hasn't been encouraging.  You'll get your price and she's run well in both starts over the Keeneland main track, but may need to improve somewhat in this graded heat.

#2 ICE CREAM SILENCE "was not asked for effort at any point," according to the "Keeneland Clocker Report" for April 5 and has some upside potential for Rusty Arnold.  Draw a line through her 2013 debut, the Grade 2 Inside Information Stakes at Gulfstream as she returned in a very tough spot over a speed-favoring dirt track.  She can improve with that race under her belt and Ice Cream Silence proved she could handle this surface with a good runner-up effort in her career debut. She's a stretchout sprinter that is capable at this distance and it wouldn't be surprising if Rosie Napravnik attempts to control the pace.  Her Beyers are light, but I don't think she's out of this.

Here's how I'll HandiGamble:

$100 WIN LOTTA LOVIN (#7)

Best of luck to all.

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All of the weekend video handicapping analyses that Mike Beer and I produced for should be up on the homepage later this afternoon.

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

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You can follow me on Twitter at DRF_DanIllman.