03/29/2013 1:49PM

HandiGambling Gulfstream Turf


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.




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 #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:



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


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.

DavidM9999 More than 1 year ago
Bob C - Thanks for that information. I am beginning my handicapping and video study for Friday (assuming it won't be hit Wed/Thus). I hope the total pool is indeed massive. Good luck to you also if you play.
DavidM9999 More than 1 year ago
Bernard: Good points. I do suppose a jockey could cause some havoc in a major race and pay a post race fine but without a DQ things could get crazy. No real solution to the stewards being too intrusive I suppose. You have to hope they exercise good and consistent judgement. I suppose these things even out in the long run but since September 2012 I am down over $3,000 net in DQ's. I hope the long run is not too long.
Gerty Golittle More than 1 year ago
Annie, Many congratulations on winning (officially, now :)) the HG. I think you're a very skilled player! And I hope since you were so fortunate (and so astute!) as to win the pps, that you will share your handicapping insights in the next 4 or so preps, and of course, the Derby itself! knm
Penguin ymous More than 1 year ago
Wow!! Just watched the 3rd race from Gulfstream. How can you make a $12,500 maiden claimer who has shown nothing but quit, 2/5? Well, she quit and was claimed on top of that. Friday pick 6 If this was a 2 million carryover at SA, the pool just might attract another 2.5 to 3 million. My guess for GP is there will only be about a million because of the ten cent minimum. Uncharted territory. Bernard, "And you certainly cannot have different rules just for the top races. " Unfortunately, in the US of A you can most certainly have different rules for the top races. If a jockey is given days and is serving those days, the jockey can still ride in at least a Grade one race if not all Graded races. Now that is real punishment. While watching the Dubai races, I heard an announcer state the regular rider of so and so would not be riding because he was serving days. The way it should be. I can hardly wait for truly international racing and the potential huge pools and the intelligent commentary. Thanks for your explanation of the terms the announcers were using. It gives a different perspective on how a race is run. RonZ
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OK, it's finally official. Thank you, Dan, for the PPs. Awesome time of the year to have free PPs, all the major Derby preps and the Derby, itself. :) I think I will be very busy this month. I would prefer the next HG to be one of Sat.'s prep races. If a Saturday would be bad for you, Dan, then you can pick something more convenient. I see the Wood will have ten entrants. I imagine the SA race won't have that many, entries aren't up yet. Thanks, VQ! PNR, Auntie? :) Annie
bobc More than 1 year ago
DavidM9999 Rainbow 6 It will be the last six races on Friday's card. Races 8 thru 13. It may be a pie in the sky estimate, but I read that it's possible the pool may reach 8 Million dollars if no one hits it today or on Thursday. Even a small piece of "that pie" could keep you from getting hungry for a long time!!! All the best to you in your efforts to hit it. Bobc
Penguin ymous More than 1 year ago
Calvin Carter Thanks for the reply, your work, and the link: http://www.reines-de-course.com/family_numbers.htm It starts to clear up some of the mystery. For others interested in breeding, these quotes are taken from the article and is suggested reading. "...about the family being stronger than the individual. This is the key that many researchers use when examining pedigrees today. But where does family influence leave off and inbreeding take over? But in addition to inbreeding and tail-female line, the horse's own individuality must be examined So direct female descent may well play the largest part in how a horse races, but his overall pedigree contribution and inbreeding - not to mention which part of his pedigree he most closely resembles - determine how he will breed They cannot always pass on their racing ability; at stud, they have only their genetic composition to bequeath. all horses tracing to that family may not be closely related, but enough of them may be so that a pattern is formed." RonZ
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DavidM9999, Re your DQ question, can I offer a different point of view. If you don't penalize the jockey AND disqualify the horse, there is no real disincentive to prevent dangerous, reckless or plain unfair race riding. If you merely penalize the jockey there is still an incentive, sometimes massive (Derby, BC and World Cup for example) to win at all costs. And you certainly cannot have different rules just for the top races. Best Regards - Bernard Downes
violet johnson More than 1 year ago
Annie WTG in the HandiGambling VQ
Dick W More than 1 year ago
Curtis V Slewster LOL...Since it is my opinion that ROFLMAO is good for the soul, then I must conclude that if my post induced such behavior, it was time well spent :-) You didn't think that I actually thought you would change your ways did you ? Good luck with Lucky ! Professor Dick W