03/29/2013 1:49PM

HandiGambling Gulfstream Turf

Email

The HandiGambling exercise for Friday, March 29 is the sixth race from Gulfstream Park, a $25,000 claimer for fillies and mares going one mile on turf.

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

REMEMBER, IF YOU ARE DECLARED THE WINNER OF THE HANDIGAMBLING EXERCISE; PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM WITH YOUR DRF LOGIN AND PASSWORD IN ORDER TO ACCESS YOUR PRIZE PACKAGE.

IF THE WINNER WOULD LIKE TO SELECT THE NEXT WEEK'S RACE, PLEASE SEND YOUR RACE SELECTION NO LATER THAN TUESDAY EVENING.

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 GIVE YOUR NAME OR BLOG MONIKER AT THE END OF THE HG PLAY AND/OR ANALYSIS.
 
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 #8 STARSHIP SHAWTY.

The turf course is listed as FIRM and the rail is out 60 feet.

#9 HIGH ALPINE missed for $15,000 last time and will try $25,000 platers this afternoon, but she reached par for this level in that March 20 heat and looked pretty good doing it.  She bumped with a rival while splitting foes three wide entering the final turn and tried hard all the way down to the wire.  While no match for favored winner Blues and Silvers (now 5-8 lifetime), High Alpine gave a good effort in her initial start with blinkers and switches to Javier Castellano.  She wheels back on only nine days rest and may sit a bit closer to the pace today.

#5 ISLAND TIME's star has fallen since she was fourth in the Grade 3 Matchmaker last summer, but she was just taken by David Fawkes, a trainer that is 4-11 (36%, $2.89 ROI) over the past five years with newly-claimed runners.  Fawkes removes the blinkers and Island Time may attempt to sit just off the early lead this afternoon.  In her most recent start, Island Time battled with a 30-1 shot going into the first turn, put away another pace challenger on the backstretch and understandably got leg-weary in the final furlong.  She turns back in distance and should be prominent when the field swings into the stretch.

#4 SUPAH JALENE hasn't reached the winner's circle since August 14, 2011, but looks to be rounding back into form for Patricia Farro (also trains High Alpine).  She finished ahead of High Alpine on February 21 and has enough speed to stay within range of the early leaders.  Her stretch kick has been lacking somewhat in recent outings, but she can't be overlooked based on her recent form.

#1 EL BENDINAT hasn't won on grass since 2011 and the recent blinker experiment lasted just one race.  She doesn't have much speed and could be at the mercy of pace and trip luck after breaking from the inside post position.  El Bendinat seems to run better over the Calder turf course (8-0-0-1 at Gulfstream) and may be best played on the bottom of exotic wagers.

#3 VENTANIA is another mare that is winless since 2011 and she has yet to score from nine opportunities at Gulfstream Park.  This will be her first start following a five-month layoff and it's quite possible that she'll need the race.  She has some good back numbers, including a decent second behind La Reine Lionne here in 2011, but the worktab is spotty.  I'll take a wait and see approach for now.

#2 COUGAR AT HEART makes the third start of the form cycle for excellent, albeit cold, trainer, but her speed figures have been light ever since a tiring fourth-place finish behind odds-on Desert Sage here in 2011.  Yet another that hasn't won since 2011 and she finished well behind Island Time in her most recent start.  I wouldn't be surprised by some improvement, but I need to see more before I back her on top.

#7 JALAL cuts back to her favorite distance and should improve in her second start following an elongated layoff.  Still, she doesn't have much early speed and often is very rank in the early portion of her races.  She reunites with Jose Lezcano, who was aboard for her most recent win (surprise, it was in 2011), but may need a bit more pace to properly aid her stretch kick.

#6 SEAMLESS wasn't disgraced in her most recent start after breaking from post position 12 and she has the ability to lead or sit just off the pace.  She's a solid mare going out for the Calabrese outfit, but has finished behind a few of these in recent starts and projects to take her share of the wagering action.  She wouldn't be a surprise, but I wonder if she'll wind up an underlaid price.

Here's how I'll HandiGamble:

$60 WIN - HIGH ALPINE (9)
$15 EXACTA BOX - ISLAND TIME - HIGH ALPINE (5-9)
$10 EXACTA - SUPAH JALENE - HIGH ALPINE (4-9)

***

The weekend video handicapping analyses that Mike Beer and I produced for Dubai and Gulfstream can be found at the following links:

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

Check back for the four graded stakes analyses at Fair Grounds on Saturday.  They should be up on the homepage later Friday afternoon.

***

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

***

You can follow me on Twitter at DRF_DanIllman.