09/02/2011 4:16PM

HandiGambling the El Cajon


Tonight's HandiGambling 249 exercise is the sixth race from Del Mar, the El Cajon Stakes at 1 mile for 3-year-olds over 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 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.


Let's scratch #1 MOMENT OF WEAKNESS and #2 AIN'T NO OTHER

#6 SHRUG will race with BLINKERS OFF.

When I originally handicapped this race with Mike Beer for the drf.com "Race of the Day," we expected Ain't No Other to set fast fractions, compromise the other speeds and set things up for the closers.  With Ain't No Other out, the entire dynamic changes...and my selections will change as well.

#5 UNCLE SAM may assume the role of pacesetter and his very best races have come when he's allowed to flaunt his speed on the front.  Last time out, in the Grade 2 Swaps Stakes, Uncle Sam attempted to chase the pace and could only finish evenly behind Dreamy Kid and stablemate Coil (who returned to win the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth).  Uncle Sam shows a pair of quick recent workouts in preparation for his first start since early July and can be very dangerous if allowed to relax on the front end.

#3 SAHARA SKY, my original selection, has yet to win around two turns and the scratch of Ain't No Other gives him less pace to run at.  Last time out, in an entry-level optional claimer going six furlongs, Sahara Sky worked out a nice inside-out rallying trip under Joel Rosario to just lose by a neck.  By Pleasant Tap, he should handle a mile and he's tackled solid competiton this season (Smash, Sway Away, etc.).  Sahara Sky should be charging in the stretch and is a dangerous contender.

#6 SHRUG rode a speed-favoring track to victory in an entry-level optional claimer two back at Hollywood, but failed to parlay pacesetting tactics into a win in his return to Del Mar (he won his maiden here in 2010).  Trainer Carla Gaines removes blinkers and adds Garrett Gomez and Shrug may attempt to track Uncle Sam from close range in the early going.  Lightly-raced with some upside potential, Shrug can't be counted out.

#7 NIJINSKY'S SONG ran into some tough juveniles in his career debut here in 2010 (Clubhouse Ride returned to win the Barretts Juvenile at Fairplex and finished third in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity; Riveting Reason has placed in three graded races; Jakesam ran second in the El Camino Real Derby) then was away for almost a year before overcoming an awkward break to defeat maidens on August 13.  It's good to see him back in the entries without another layoff line and this horse may have the most scope for improvement of any in the field.

#9 PRIDE OF SILVER finished behind Uncle Sam in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes on January 15, but he fractured his shin after that race and had to go on the shelf.  He gave a good account of himself in his first start back, rallying off strong fractions to finish second behind the older Achak.  The recent bullet workout at five furlongs allays fears of a bounce and Pride of Silver is yet another contender in a wide open El Cajon.

#10 GREAT WARRIOR wisely scratched out of the Pacific Classic to await this spot, but he is winless in North America and may be a bit more effective on grass.  Draw a line through his most recent effort as his saddle slipped early and he ran away with his rider.  Expect Great Warrior to be taken back in the early stages today under Omar Berrio in the hope of making a powerful late run.

#8 MACHO DORADO has won half of his eight synthetic races, but he couldn't get it done against $50,000 claimers last time out and these should be tougher.  Macho Dorado has tactical speed and shouldn't be too far away from the expected moderate early splits, but he'll need to move forward to upset these.

#4 CELESTIC NIGHT can't be dismissed simply because he's a runner making the first start following a Mike Mitchell claim.  Mitchell took the horse for $80,000 back in March and will return him to a surface that Celestic Night likes (won his maiden here last year).  Distance may be a bit of a question mark for this one, however.

An interesting race, to be sure.

For HG, I'll play it like this:

$60 Exacta:  Uncle Sam - Sahara Sky (5-3)
$40 Exacta:  Uncle Sam - Shrug (5-6)

Best of luck to all.

Steve T. More than 1 year ago
STREET SENSE FOALS Here is where we are to date (09-11-11): Record: 18-6-4-5 Win: 33% ITM: 83% ROI: $5.17
Dr. MoJo More than 1 year ago
HG Respite Is it just me , or is the blog a better place without the weekly HG? Just an idea, but I believe if it were held, say, once a month, it would be more of a special event, something to look forward to, and would open the blog up to much more interesting discussion and exchange of ideas as we have seen in the past week or so.
blackstone More than 1 year ago
More on Debuts and DiVito I know I beat things to death, but sometimes I can't help myself. Here is a summary of DiVito's debut record for the last five years(starts, wins, and ROI): 2007 11-4-$9.18 2008 15-3-$3.64 2009 14-2-$1.41 2010 13-6-$6.42 2011 14-8-$3.84 Total 67-23-$4.66 The consistency, save 2009 ( I wonder what happened that year?), and overall performance is nothing short of remarkable. For the last twenty months the numbers are almost other-worldly (27-14-$5.08). Once again, when I found him last year I was only looking for trainers that I can bet through the Cali OTB System. Because of a personal lack of discipline I do not have an online accocount (went from years of losses when I had an account to being profitable in four of the five years since I closed the account). The thing is, though, I am certain there are a number of trainers at tracks that I never reviewed that may be every bit as good as DiVito.So this is what I am thinking of doing: I am going to go through all the trainers in the DRF database and create a spreadsheet of the ones with excellent records with debut horses, regardless of what track they use. If the results are as juicy as I think they might be, I will then consider opening an online account to be used exclusively for the debut horses that this new group runs (oh man, I will have to be really disciplined). I'll fund the account with a few hundred dollars and then see what happens. Some initial barriers: first, I need ten to fifteen hours to do the database search. I have time every night from about 10:00 pm top 4:00 am, but I kind of hate to abuse the requisite sleep. Secondly, I'm kind of an old dog, so learning new tricks is not exactly my faorite thing to do. And finally, if I blow the discipline part-that is by using the online account for races other than the debut horses-then the whole thing would be worthless. I know many of you would frown on such a mechanical sysytem (not bsb, though-I'm guessing), but geez, I think there is an opportunity there that might be hard to pass up. And it's not entirely mechanical-I'd have to be constantly monitoring the the performance of the trainers ( I am guessing that there will be fifteen or twenty trainers in the group) to see if they should stay in the magic group, or get booted out. And finally, I would need to be constantly looking for new people to add to the group. Something for me to think about on an otherwise quiet Monday. I hope all of you have a great day.
meathead01 More than 1 year ago
Blackstone I for one like your idea and will look with anticipation when you post it include B Hone on your list I have found him to send them out to win at TUP good luck with your endevor MH01
Annie More than 1 year ago
Blackstone, My my, do you think horseplayers are somewhat obsessed? :) Annie
blackseabass More than 1 year ago
C , 2+2 = 4 . No argument here.
blackseabass More than 1 year ago
Annie , the top 3 will win about 68% . Top 5 about 85% . My method for determining real probabilities is not a handicapping method. Its market forces analysis.It is as static as racing info gets. The effects of what the players do is the least considered info in the game while simultaneously its the most reliable. Blackstone, I approve of any methodology that removes some of the emotion from the task at hand. When my eyes went kaput 7 years ago I could no longer 'cap 3 or 4 tracks a day without getting headaches. I had a trainer list of about 25 guys that made money for themselves that I coattailed to narrow my daily search. Devito was on that list. Miyadi , Jordon , Hushion, Ness, OrdoneZ were some others. You will as you say have to keep updating and eliminating or adding trainers as their individual performances wax & wane. I suspect you will be successful with that approach. If you stick to the plan. Like MikeA has often said, some trainers use certain meets to ready their stock for another meet when they get serious and get their wins. Profiling trainer habits can be very productive.
Annie More than 1 year ago
BSB, Well, there you go. No wonder it works. :) Annie
blackseabass More than 1 year ago
Estimated probabilities are guesses . Real probabilities are grounded in real statistical data . For instance if I say a favorite has a 20% chance of winning in a particular instance or a 44% chance in another I don't base that on what I think of that particular favorite. That would be a guess. Its based on what All favorites in that situation WILL do over time collectively. Its not a guess. It is factual. The results can be proven and reproduced . The results won't fluctuate wildly depending upon if you or I are in a Zone or not. It doesn't matter what my or anybody elses individual opinion on the race is. Those favorites are 20% to win. Cut and dried. No debate. Take it to the bank. Count on it. No emotion. No opinion. Just what is is. Just pulling numbers out of our @$$ and assigning probability percentages to horses based on our opinion has very little validity if any. That will not tell you if you are getting real value . It only tells you if you are getting your percieved value. Perception is not reality no matter how the saying goes. Thats not a slap at anyone on the blog ,but rather a heads up to everybody of the difference between real probability and guessing. As far as strike rates go, C is right that strike rate is only part of it. Of C-horse if you needed him to tell you that then this isn't your game. LOL. For instance those 44% favorites will make about 1% over time and plus or minus a couple % for any given meet in the win hole. Not really worth messing with it. Those same favorites played in a (rigid) 3 horse ex part wheel will have a lower strike rate ,but maximiZe the profit and make it worthwhile to play. The trifectas will do better than the win hole as well, buttZ ... the exacta is the top producer over forever. In each wagering scenario those 44% favorites have some real value. Exacta is where the most real value is for them over time. Real value is a rare and reclusive endangered species just like the California Condor or Black Seabass.You have to track it diligently to catch it,but it does exist. Percieved value based on an individuals opinion on the other hand is running amok everywhere just like Space Aliens,Sasquatches , Chupacabras & Sea Monsters on TV. Good luck catching it or having it hold a tight pattern for any lengthy period of time (years) based strictly on individual handicapping skills.
Annie More than 1 year ago
BSB and Ron Zuercher, Makes sense to me. This is precisely why my Pick method works so well. The A horses are almost always the favorite, 2nd favorite and 3rd favorite in a race. That group wins a huge percent of all races. I don't know exactly what the percentage is, but I would guesstimate that it is in the 60% range. Couple that with the B horses, 9-2 - 6-1, often the 4th and 5th favorites, and you have those two groups winning a vast majority of the races. It's just the way it is. They weren't born with those odds. They earned them, as did the 20-1 and 30-1 horses. The important thing to remember about playing the Pick races is that any of those horses represent "value" if they win. Even the 1-5 if you can confidently single him or her. LOL Z was always a free space for me in those days. :) This, of course, is different than if you are just looking for a horse for a W/P bet. But, the point I'm trying to make is that in the Pick races you can't just load your ticket with all those long-shot gems you found, while ignoring those A horses. You simply will not win. Take some of them sure, big payoffs come that way, but in this case, "value" really is only if they win. :) Annie Annie
Virgin Queen More than 1 year ago
" add to those angles the fact she is a pgh, and my first (50'S) girlfriend was named patti." Sid Ceasar, micky mouse club, gunsmoke, i love lucy, groucho marx, yankees win another world series, ike is president. i probably just took half the blog down memory lane. let the good times roll folks VQ
mpm101 More than 1 year ago
HG 250 - Week 0f 9/12 The track choices seem to have narrowed with the end of summer. There are two carryovers though in P6's on each coast. Being a New Yorker though, and preferring to nominate a race which will be over before I leave work, i would submit for approval the 8th Race at Belmont on Wednesday. It is a $20,000 N2L claimer on turf with a full field and no seeming clear cut favorite. Mike A will likely have a leg up on us in this one if he plays mpm101
PGM More than 1 year ago
Annie et Al, I heard about Fairplex's meet from a new radio show/podcast I started listening to. They have ads for Fairplex (featuring track announcer Trevor Denman mixing in calls of a race while enjoying the fair cuisine) during their commercials. I also thought of tackling Fairplex to try to tune up for Hawthorne. I have optimism, and a full liquor cabinet. After the A-W Lassie, I think we're tuned. :) C, AP's 50-cent base Pick 5 does pay out 4/5 consolations. Del Mar's does not.
Mike A More than 1 year ago
My goodness the turf races today leave a bit to be desired......2 at Monmouth look interesting, though I'll wait on scratches and track conditions........you'd think after 3 good days of sun the courses would be firm. The only turf race at Monmouth was washed off yesterday.......would have liked to see how the track is playing after the rain. I will check the charts from Belmont though, without looking I'm guessing yesterday the outside was the place to be, I'll guess it will be the same today. Keith L I saw that Trade was scratched yesterday for the 7f race today......interesting maiden races, both of them. I'm surprised to see Trade back at 7f 's though.....Mike A
Keith L. More than 1 year ago
Mike A: Question on Trade in the 9th MSW at Belmont today is did his trainer scratch yesterday out of the 6f looking for 7f or looking for firmer turf than what was in the offering yesterday? I think, maybe the former...and, of course, today has to be a better "good", so lets see. Also, Amy Tarranat didn't want any part of the outside post, and maybe the still "good" for for her AE Channel Quest, so that simplifies the field for me. I'll be back later with the two MSW race analysis and wagers, but first up is the 5th, a nice NY bred AOC at 1&1/16ths on the Inner turf for 3&ups. #5 Rocky F by Rock Hard Ten is the deserved favorite here from the Bond barn with Dominguiz up off his past winning ways last several races, but I'm taking a liking to the chances of the #7 Bishop of Nola by Devil His Due from the B.Brown barnin for 25K, with Solis up for a Win/Place wager at 5-1 ML, and I'll box him with two here for an Exacta try; #2 Sky Blue Pink by Sky Classic(Clement/Lezcano) and #5 Rocky F. My Tri Key looks like this: #2,#5/#7/#1 Zip Quick by City Zip(Biancone/R.Curatalo),#2,#5,#6 Runaway Jim by Freud(Hills/Maragh). 10c Super Box here; #1,#2,#5#6,#7 Good luck players. Keith L.