01/18/2013 3:46PM

HandiGambling (Gulfstream Turf)

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This week's HandiGambling exercise is the ninth race at Gulfstream, a conditioned claimer for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf.

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."
 
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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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As of this writing, the turf course is listed as FIRM.

Let's scratch #4 KARIDA, #14 ARRESTEDFORPASSION and #15 SWEET DREAMIN. 

#6 STARSHIP FREEDOM will be ridden by Luis Saez.

This is a very tough race and I'll take a shot with #7 WAQUOIT'S DANCE, who didn't have an easy trip in her most recent start against similar on December 29.  The gray mare was shuffled late on the backstretch and was in behind runners on the final turn.  Once clear, she came with a strong run along the inside through minor traffic to finish fourth.  Her barn is having a wonderful meet at Gulfstream and trainer Marcus Vitali will make a rider switch from David Cohen to Orlando Bocachica (over the past five years, Vitali and Bocachica have gone 17-95, 18%, $2.43 ROI at Gulfstream).  Waquoit's Dance has obviously had her share of issues as she's a 6-year-old with only nine prior starts on her form, but she goes third off the long layoff with improving Beyers on display and may appreciate the extra sixteenth of a mile to work with in this spot.

#10 MONEY MONEY improved in her first start with blinkers after being reclaimed by the underrated Giuseppe Iadsernia, but it must be noted that she received a perfect trip that afternoon.  Jockey Irwin Rosendo saved every inch of ground with Money Money in that 'n2L' heat before easing to the outside on the final turn.  Once Money Money made the front, she hopped back to her left lead while drawing clear.  The form of that race has worked out well thus far as fifth-place finisher Demi Tasse returned to win a $20,000, 'N2L' claimer on dirt with a career-best 76 Beyer.  Money Money is lightly-raced with some upside, but she'll probably have to work a bit harder against this tougher competition.

#1 WILL TO SHINE has done well in both prior starts at the meet and she was a pumped-up winner against 'n2L' claimers here twelve days ago.  Headstrong in the early stages under Jermaine Bridgmohan, Will to Shine pulled her way to contest a slow pace before holding firm in the stretch.  There isn't a ton of speed in this spot and Will to Shine could work out a good pace-tracking, ground-saving trip from her inside post position.  She may need to relax a bit more if she's to rate in behind runners, but she is sharp and must be considered a strong contender despite the class hike.

#9 MEMORIES MADE finished ahead of Waquoit's Dance in that December 29 race and she showed her affinity for this course with a starter allowance win here in 2012.  Ralph Nicks-trained runners usually do well in their second start following a 45-plus day layoff (22-140, 16%, $2.00 ROI over the past five years, 3-6, 50%, $5.00 ROI with that move at Gulfstream) and the 4-year-old has run races that are certainly fast enough to win this.

#3 CORINZIA was a game winner of a $20,000 'beaten' claimer over yielding ground at Aqueduct on November 2 and finished evenly in her first start of the Gulfstream meeting at this level nine days ago.  A late-runner, Corinzia may be at the mercy of pace and race luck, but she has some upside potential and figures to be sharper for her second start off the short layoff.  If she goes off near her morning line of 10-1, she is certainly worth including.

#5 PARASOL goes out for high-percentage connections and she enters this race in sharp form.  Last month, she scored in her first appearance over the local sod and was flattered when the runner-up returned to take a $30,000, 'n2L' claimer with a 65 Beyer.  Parasol has enough tactical speed to stay within range of the early leaders and is extremely logical considering the trainer's gaudy numbers.

#2 LILY HANNAH won her maiden over this course and distance last year, but her recent good races have been on dirt at Churchill Downs.  You may want to forgive her recent grass form, however, as she ran against Stephanie's Kitten in the Edgewood Stakes and was probably overmatched against entry-level allowance horses in her subsequent two races.  She seems like an excellent fit from a class perspective, but only shows one workout since mid-December.

#8 EZPZ LEMON SQUEEZE rallied from off the pace to beat a weak group of $16,000 'beaten' claimers at Aqueduct (only one of the seven next-out runners from that race returned to crack the trifecta) and hasn't been out since mid-November.  She doesn't show a published workout in almost three weeks and may need one off the layoff.

#12 SHEZMYTEN was 75-1 in a similar spot last month and never got out of first gear.  She puts the blinkers back on, but will need a significant reversal of form in order to pull off the upset.

#13 FLORIDA STRAITS is only 2-44 lifetime and hasn't reached the winner's circle since December 8, 2008.  She has a decent amount of early speed so don't be surprised if she is among the frontrunners on the backstretch.  Still, it's very hard to envision her around at the wire.

#6 STARSHIP FREEDOM can be dangerous if allowed an easy early lead as she took a $25,000, 'n2L' claimer over this course and distance last year at 44-1 odds.  She will make her second start following a solid layoff and could end up the main speed under Luis Saez.  She must improve off some of her recent races, but I won't argue with anyone that wants to use her on the bottom of exotic wagers.

#11 MASS INVASION's best races have come on dirt and her Beyer Speed Figures pale in comparison to those of the top contenders.

Here's how I'll HandiGamble:

$60 WIN:  WAQUOIT'S DANCE (7)
$10 EXACTA BOX:  WAQUOIT'S DANCE - MONEY MONEY (7-10)
$10 EXACTA BOX:  WILL TO SHINE - WAQUOIT'S DANCE (1-7)

Best of luck to all.

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The handicapping videos for this weekend's major stakes races should be up on the site late this afternoon.  Here's a very quick preview:

...The LeComte looks like a very nice race.  AVIE'S QUALITY will make his dirt debut, but a couple of his siblings have run well on the main track at Fair Grounds in the past and Avie's Quality was extremely professional over the polytrack in Canada...The Sunshine Millions Classic may not offer much value as the 1-2 finishers from last year's race, MUCHO MACHO MAN and RON THE GREEK are back for more...DRILL is making his second start following an injury-induced layoff and was making up some ground despite a wide trip in the Malibu last time out.  He'll get pace to attack in Saturday's Palos Verdes with COMMA TO THE TOP and PRIVATE ZONE entered...CHARMING KITTEN isn't the next coming of John Henry, but he had to go four wide at a crucial juncture of his last race while the eventual winner slipped through along the rail.  Demand some semblance of value on him in Sunday's Kitten's Joy at Gulfstream...LADY OF FIFTY and BOOK REVIEW are the horses to beat in the La Canada at Santa Anita on Sunday, but OPEN WATER is in decent form and should offer solid odds...
...

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