04/19/2013 1:05PM

HandiGambling the Doubledogdare


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.




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.


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:


Best of luck to all.


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


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


You can follow me on Twitter at DRF_DanIllman.

SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Bernard I saw this earlier today from TDN. I'm sure that there will be more. I'll just copy and paste it, but the link is also attached. --------------- Sheikh Mohammed: "I was appalled and angered." Posted: 10:58 AM "I was appalled and angered to learn that one of our stables in Newmarket has violated Godolphin's ethical standards and the rules of British racing. I have been involved in British horse racing for 30 years and have deep respect for its traditions and rules. I built my country based on the same solid principles. There can be no excuse for any deliberate violation. Godolphin is fully cooperating with the British Horseracing Authority to get to the bottom of this matter and take any appropriate disciplinary action. I have ordered the Godolphin management to undertake an immediate review of our internal procedures and controls to ensure to prevent any reoccurrence of this type of activity in any stables of mine. We will be locking down the Moulton Paddocks stables with immediate effect, and I have instructed that I want a full round of blood samples, and dope testing done on every single horse on that premises. I can assure the racing public that no horse will run from that yard this season until I have been absolutely assured by my team that the entire yard is completely clean. I have worked hard to ensure that Godolphin deserves its reputation for integrity and sportsmanship, and I have reiterated to all Godolphin employees that I will not tolerate this type of behaviour." -His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum http://www.thoroughbreddailynews.com/intraday_single.cfm?type=news&alertID=2817&CFID=79688167&CFTOKEN=34857515 --------- Marcus Hirsch had an article in the DRF International section later today. http://www.drf.com/news/godolphin-puts-al-zarooni-trained-horses-lockdown SR Vegas
Jeanne More than 1 year ago
Turnbackthealarm, Surely, someone you trust would place bets for you that lives out of state??? Jeanne
Turnbackthealarm More than 1 year ago
Bernard, I didn't think you were preachy. You had a different opinion and questions that I couldn't answer, that's all. I can only imagine the fan disappointment in your neck of the woods. Sheikh Mo races so much of his top stock in Europe, so he probably has LOTS of loyal fans. Often, I detect an undercurrent of dislike for him in the USA. Perhaps because he has the wherewithal to buy so many of the best pedigrees on offer.............and then races overseas. As Annie said earlier and what I say all the time, I am always impressed when we bloggers can have polite exchanges of different opinions. Look at how nicely the Maker wins at Keeneland discussion went.......and DavidM even wrapped up the pros and cons, nicely, with a bow. :)
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Sad OLA TBTA... But, I do believe your MKB Departing with his 20 points and his earnings in the Illinois Derby would have had him ahead of the other '20 ' pointers. He would be # 19. His connections intentions was never to wheel him back in two weeks for the Ky Derby , instead point him to the Preakness. http://www.drf.com/news/preakness-could-be-target-departing-after-illinois-derby-win Now regarding the Departing of your ADW , that's a total Bummer ! SR Vegas
rvraynmary More than 1 year ago
Annie, I was thrilled to see my MKB (Draw 2) Demonic is to run in the Derby Trial. However, he doesn't show up on the entries, nor does Treasury Bill. Titletown, however, is listed as #9. Hope there is a late change and my horse is healthy. A DRF story on the race says former Green Bay Packer star Paul Hornung is part owner of Titletown Five. No mention that he is an MKB hopeful though. stuckinarizona
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Turnbackthealarm, Thank you for your response. I think you were entirely moderate because on re-reading my own post, I came across as a little preachy (if that's a word). That was not my intention. It was just that I do not see those Dubai wins as being as surprising as Tinky suggests. I share your concerns for the wider racing scene. In Britain we have a pretty loyal fan base, but the Godolphin story has shaken and hugely disappointed a lot of people. We need a thorough investigation and, if appropriate, harsh penalties handed out. Best Regards - Bernard Downes
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TBTA, So sorry to hear that you will be unable to participate in the Kentucky Derby and Oaks because of the idiocy rampant in some of the states. If a state has a racetrack, the people have already spoken.....betting on horses is OK. We should be allowed to wager with whatever means are available in this new age of technology. It's ridiculous! If I did not live close to Canterbury Park, I would be hopping mad! Annie
Turnbackthealarm More than 1 year ago
Sad OLA to my MKB It is sad that common sense has departed ways in the minds of the powers that be when CDI declined to make the Illinois Derby a points race for entrance to the KY Derby. Sadder still is the departure of common sense from the minds of the IL horsemen, AP and politicians of our fine state that has caused the closing of our ADW accounts since January 1, 2013. As a result, there will be no de- parting of my money from my wallet on Oaks and Derby Days and I will have to hope that DEPARTING, my MKB runs in the Preakness, since the departure of the rule of graded earnings determining starting gate berths has eliminated my (gelded) boy from the KY Derby. On the bright side, DEPARTING is a gelding and will hopefully not depart from the racing scene prematurely.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SR Vegas, LOL! Well, just make sure he has his morning JAVA. :) Annie
Turnbackthealarm More than 1 year ago
Bernard, I can't answer your questions, and they are good ones. I just don't have the knowledge. I wish Tinky was here to address them. My only comment is this and it is more about human nature. Al Zarooni works for one of the most prestigious race horse owners in the world who owns some of the best bred stock. The pressure to perform well must be tremendous. Who knows what a man will do to keep his job? As for the Sheik. We know he doesn't need the money. But, pride and ego are funny things. They can drive people to do great things, but taken too far, they drive people to take an edge, sometimes illegal. I don't have any insight as to how far Sheik Mohammad would go to win. It would take an insider with an axe to grind to get to the bottom of this story, in my opinion. And if it were me, I'd want to go into a witness protection program if what I had to say was incendiary for the Sheik. Look how Pletcher has never had to answer for Life at Ten. The Sheik is WAY more important to racing than Todd Pletcher. Probably the saddest part of this story is that so many racing fans are getting disgusted with the cheating and doping aspect of the sport, that having the Sheik, who is held in high esteem being accused is just another straw added to the camel's back. Between Pletcher, the Baffert deaths, Dutrow, Cibelli and all the others, I'm sure I'm not the only one who wonders if m money is being thrown into an unfair cesspool. And then there is the welfare of the magnificent animals...........knowing the condition that many are in when their racing days are over is another turn off. Don't mind me, I'm just a bit sad, disgruntled and cranky about losing my ADW during Derby season and thinking about cheating and what chemicals are going into these athletes systems.