03/22/2013 1:54PM

HandiGambling the Gold Coast Stakes

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The HandiGambling exercise for Friday, March 22 is the eighth race at Delta Downs, the $70,000 Gold Coast Stakes at one mile for fillies and mares that have started at Delta Downs since October 18, 2012. 

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

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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."
 
Anyone going over the $100 limit will be disqualified.
 
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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.

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Let's scratch #3 SNUGGS AND KISSES.

There are two big guns in this race, AMAZING SAINT and LITTLE MS PROTOCOL, but I will take a stab with #6 MINESAVE, a lightly-raced filly that was thrown to the wolves in her last two at Oaklawn Park.  She faced quality runners such as Don't Tell Sophia and Tiz Miz Sue in those outings and simply isn't in their league.  She gets some class relief this evening and has the tactical speed to be close to what could be a moderate early pace. Minesave goes out for the high-percentage Bret Calhoun barn and is proven around two turns at this distance.  She ran well in her lone outing over the course and gets weight from the two main rivals (nine lbs. from Little Ms Protocol).

#7 LITTLE MS PROTOCOL has won five of six at Delta Downs and would have run over the top of the leaders late on the backstretch of her most recent start if given the opportunity.  Instead, she waited before angling four wide entering the stretch and lost valuable momentum.  She showed her class by running down the leader and any of her last three Beyer Speed Figures are faster than the last race number put up by all of her opponents.  She's very dangerous, but will pick up nine pounds off her recent start and will give significant weight at 125 lbs.

#1 KAMINARI isn't the worst longshot in the world.  She looked good winning over the track two back (her lone start around two turns) and a couple of horses returned from that race to win (the fourth-finisher put up an 81 Beyer in an 'n1x' at Oaklawn while the sixth-finisher earned a 66 when dropping into a $5,000, 'n4L' claimer for statebreds).  In her most recent start, sprinting at Fair Grounds, she was overmatched against some solid 'n2x' runners (the winner of that heat, Same Cross, is perfect from three starts on dirt).  Kaminari can be close to the pace, drew an advantageous inside post position and can improve in her second start following the short freshening.

#9 ESTHER CARL doesn't win very often, but she owns a potent late kick and was getting to Little Ms Protocol in the waning stages of the Premier Distaff on February 2.  She's been beaten by several of these already, however, and there may not be enough pace to properly setup her stretch run.  She should offer value in this spot and can certainly spruce up the exotics at a nice price. 

#5 AMAZING SAINT could be the horse to beat.  She's unbeaten from eight tries at Delta Downs, has good positional speed and was recently claimed by Karl Broberg (7-25, 28%, $2.77 ROI over the past five years with newly-claimed horses going sprint to route on dirt).  She's 11 for 15 lifetime on dirt, shows a recent bullet drill and gets a good weight spread from Little Ms Protocol.  It's possible that will make all the difference here. 

#8 LIVE EVERY DAY won twice sprinting around two turns to close out her 3-year-old campaign, but was no match for Amazing Saint on February 20 and will attempt a route of ground for the first time tonight.  She has every right to improve in her second start back, and is a solid enough filly, but has never run back to that 84 Beyer she earned in her career debut at Calder in 2011.

#4 A RUNNING POP, a consistent Louisiana-bred with a good stretch kick, makes her first start of the year and might be at the mercy of race and pace luck in this spot.  She generally runs Beyers in the low 70's and likely have to go faster to win this event.  On paper, she's somewhat similar to Esther Carl as a solid late-runner, but may be a better price than that one.

#10 FORGOTTEN PEOPLE is stuck way outside for this two-turn test, but she's always shown an affinity for this track and got a nice prep in a tough turf race at Sam Houston on March 2.  She fits very well at this class level, won second off the bench here on December 1 and shouldn't be discounted at good odds.  I am concerned about the possibility of a wide trip.

#2 PRETTY NOT picked up some late pieces to finish fourth in a fast renewal of the Treasure Chest Stakes here on November 12 and she occasionally pops at big prices (note the 21-1 upset in the Louisiana Cup Distaff on grass last year).  A one-run closer, she has been chasing Little Ms Protocol to no avail in her last three races.

Here's how I'll HandiGamble:

$60 WIN - (6) MINESAVE
$15 EXACTA BOX - (6-7) MINESAVE - LITTLE MS PROTOCOL
$10 EXACTA - (1-6) KAMINARI - MINESAVE

Best of luck to all.

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The video analyses for Satuday's graded stakes races are at the below link.  Check back on the homepage for Sunday's analysis of the big 3-year-old races at Sunland as well as the Santa Ana from Santa Anita.

http://www.drf.com/events/weekend-stakes-previews-picks-analysis-more

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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.