05/14/2010 10:44AM

HandiGambling the Preakness


Saturday's HandiGambling 185 exercise is the twelfth race from Pimlico, the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes for three-year-olds at 1 3/16 miles.

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.  Past performances are available on the home page.  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.

Trying to cram this in before Friday's "Blinkers Off" program on TVG, a radio spot, and a long drive down to Delaware Park for tomorrow's handicapping seminar (with my good friend and colleague, Mike Beer).  If anyone is heading to Delaware for Preakness Day, please say hello.  I'd love to meet any FormBloggers.

Several folks have asked my opinion of this year's 3-year-old crop.  Putting to good use the benefit of a strong Liberal Arts education, I have responded in all instances with this gem:


Still, the Preakness is not only the second jewel of racing's hallowed Triple Crown, but it is an American treasure.  I'm not enamored with the race, but I'd use the following four horses in my multi-race wagers:

#8 SUPER SAVER showed a new dimension when rating off the pace in the Kentucky Derby and it looks like he's peaked at the right time for Todd Pletcher.  I usually hate to play short-priced horses coming off of perfect trips (especially when the candy trip came over wet going), but I don't really like the alternatives, and Super Saver is handy enough to be placed wherever Calvin Borel wants to go.  I wouldn't be surprised if Borel puts Super Saver on the lead ala his Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes score of 2009, but he seems just as comfortable from close range as well.  Expect Super Saver to be prominent when they turn for home.  He's the horse to beat.

While Super Saver didn't have a straw in his path during the Derby run, several other horses had trouble.  #7 LOOKIN AT LUCKY had the sexy trouble that everyone saw, but #12 Dublin didn't exactly have a clean race either.  One must be wary of Dublin at this distance as he may be a miler in disguise, but he's run several races fast enough to win this, and would likely appreciate getting his tootsies back on dry footing.  I'm guessing Garrett Gomez will take him back in the hope of exploiting one burst of speed at the right time.  Dublin should be a price and is worth inclusion.

Admittedly, #5 YAWANNA TWIST is a stab.  A lightly-raced New York-bred by the sprint sire Yonaguska, Yawanna Twist may not want to go this far.  Still, I thought he ran well in the Gotham two back despite his inexperience.  Last time out, in the Illinois Derby, it looked like he was on his way to victory before crumpling in the stretch behind Kentucky Derby also-ran American Lion.  I didn't like the way Yawanna Twist was drifting during the Illinois Derby stretch run but he may have some upside potential, and I like his tactical speed.  Bombs away?

#10 PADDY O'PRADO looked like a very tired horse in the final 100 yards of the Kentucky Derby as he switched back to his wrong lead at that point.  That was a gallant effort from a colt that was still a maiden in early March.  I wonder if he's a bit over the top after three straight grueling races, and I'm not sure if he really wants to go longer than nine furlongs.  Still, he shouldn't be so far back in the Preakness, and isn't out of the picture with another good performance.

As for the others:

#1 AIKENITE made up late ground in the one-turn Derby Trial at Churchill Dwons three weeks ago, but I'm beginning to think that he may be more effective as a stretch-running sprinter or miler.  He'll make the third start of the form cycle for Team Pletcher, but is riding a seven-race losing streak.

#2 SCHOOLYARD DREAMS made premature moves in both the Sam F. Davis and Tampa Bay Derby, but failed to drop the hammer on his opponents on both occasions.  He finished ahead of Super Saver in the latter race, and reportedly was sick before his disappointing run in the Wood Memorial.  He shows some fast works leading up to this race and has the tactical speed to work out a good ground-saving, pace-tracking trip.  Note that he hasn't gained ground from the stretch call to the wire in his last three races.

#3 PLEASANT PRINCE was nosed by subsequent Kentucky Derby runner-up Ice Box in the Florida Derby, but a lack of graded earnings forced his connections to enter in both the Blue Grass and the Derby Trial in search of a spot in the Louisville starting gate.  He didn't run especially well in either race and the late-runner may be past his best form right now.  He'll need a strong pace up front to adequately setup his kick.

#4 NORTHERN GIANT ran admirably in the Risen Star on dirt and the Lane's End on polytrack, but he didn't do much against Super Saver in the Arkansas Derby.  He needs to run the fastest race of his career if he is to prove the spoiler for Mr. Lukas.

#6 JACKSON BEND is a courageous little fellow, but the distance may be a bit out of his scope.  He rarely runs a bad one and can be close to the pace under Mike Smith.  Still, I'm guessing he'll be better at distances up to 1 1/16 miles.

Lookin At Lucky was eliminated during the first quarter-mile of the Kentucky Derby.  That was one of the big stories following the race so expect Lookin At Lucky to be hammered by "wiseguy" trip handicappers.  He's simply a good horse as evidenced by his championship season at two and he obviously has plenty of excuses for his last two races.  I'm just not sure I want to take a trouble-prone colt at a short price.

#9 CARACORTADO is the plucky, rags-to-riches story of the group.  Offered for $40,000 in his career debut in a half-mile dash at Fairplex, he rolled off five in a row to begin his career including the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis over Santa Anita's Pro-Ride surface.  He did receive a perfect trip that day to beat inferior competition, and he failed to make an impact in his subsequent two races.  He's had some minor physical issues since the Santa Anita Derby so he gives me mostly mixed emotions.

#11 FIRST DUDE had tough trips in both the Florida Derby and Blue Grass, but he's lost ground in the stretch of his three races against winners.  His tactical speed should prove an asset in this spot, but he'll have to improve on his 90 Beyer top to take these down.

Here are my HG plays:

$50 Exacta - Super Saver over Dublin (8-12)
$25 Exacta - Super Saver over Yawanna Twist (8-5)
$25 Exacta - Super Saver over Paddy O'Prado (8-10)

Best of luck to all.

Will double up on the Beyers (last two weeks worth) in Monday's blog entry.

Enjoy the weekend.


C. Warner More than 1 year ago
HG WOODBINE : Due to the scratch of # 2 , bets are changed ( using the # 1 in place) $20 EX : 10/1-4 $10 EX : 1-4/10 $2 TRIBX : 1-4-10 $4 TRIs : 10-4-1 , 10-1-4 $20 WIN : # 10 Total - $100
Keith L. More than 1 year ago
TBTA: Congrats on your MKB Looking At Lucky wearing the Preakness Crown! Redemption is a kick, isn't it now? Looking forward to seing your horse at Monmouth on Aug 1st? Baffert says he is planning to show up there! With ABC covering the Haskel this year, perhpas the Blue Thongs, all dressed up with fancy duds and hats, can draw the attention of the cameras for an appearance on national TV? Why wait 'til 'Toga for a get together when this one might be the best of the summer races in some time? SR Vegas: Congrats on Spicer getting the job done finally! And now, are you too looking forward to your half of Super Saver running in the Haskel this summer? Worth a trip East to get a face off with TBTA and Lucky, isn't it? Wow! That shoudl be a real good shoot out!
Whackymacky More than 1 year ago
Ned Daly Suffolk Downs They had 11,212 fans for opening day. On track wagering totalled $324,707. If you divide the people into the total, quess what the average is?? $28.96 per person wagered!!! They had free admission. People went for the sun and the old timers went for a day out from the home. They better get slots or they are finished!!! They don't want to cut into the BIG LOTTERY revenues here in Massachusetts. There will be no more Suffering Downs to worry about in the future. Whackymacky Out!!!
Whackymacky More than 1 year ago
Recap From Sunday... Spot Plays... Woodbine $200 Win / Place All Race 3 #9 Sargent Park Race 4 #3 Sugar Ray Race 5 #12 Snowmobile Race 6 #1 Proud Heiress Race 10 #8 No Explaining Good Luck!!! Chantal Sutherland Up / Soft Hands / Some Chalk / Some 12-1 shots. Whackymacky Out!!! Posted by: Whackymacky on May 16, 2010 at 01:39 PM Better late than never!! Chantal waited for the last race to bring home the 12-1 M/L winner that was bet down to 9/2. Wagered $2,000. into the Win / Place pools. Returned +$1,630 from the 1 winner on the day = -370 at Woodbine. I was called away to a Graduation Party that I totally forgot about. My Annie's cousin graduated from Boston University yesterday. Going off to Medical School. He did receive a new car for his efforts. Not to shabby. More to follow up on from this weekend of racing. Whackymacky Out!!!
Van Savant More than 1 year ago
Keith L; College Baseball? They use aluminum bats (ping!). I enjoy the game of baseball, but the "ping" of an aluminum bat is so far and away more egregious than plastic pellets in the infield. And while I prefer to wager on races run on dirt, I have improved my game in races run over grass. Synthetic surfaces too. I'm actually pretty flexible in this regard because I have learned to adapt and adjust as necessary. But back to college baseball and that annoying "ping", I find that unacceptable, and it has renedered college baseball un-watchable as far as I am concerned. I have no such problem with horse races run over grass or synthetic surfaces. Maybe because there is no "ping".
chicago gerry More than 1 year ago
John C, Enjoyed your last post about your Preakness experience, and good going on that Tri. cayman, Maybe the new shooters will lift all boats! Makes more work for you though! Thanks.
Keith L. More than 1 year ago
"keithl I just read jay's column, what kind of grease do they put on u? VQ" -Virgin Queen posted May 16, 2010 at 4:59pm Well, VQ, an earlier response maybe read more like a commercial with brand names and such, and caught the censor's eye. Will try again. You are obviusly too young to remembr "Spinal Tap" and also the 60s, but back in the day a popular corn oil product showed up at parties quite often. By the 80's, a spray on cooking aide had become the most popular product, although if cooking on a budget, the good 'ol standby "fat in a can" lard product served well. Of course, if it was a reclamation project, and one needed to get the rust out of the utensil, the old standby automotive sray or squirt lube generously applied would do, but could lead to burning sensations if one wasn't careful. I've never seen any of this stuff actually ignite, but I have experienced both the sight and smell of smoke, so use carefully! Keih
chicago gerry More than 1 year ago
Mc, Looks like you batted 50% on Sunday. You probably did not get the prices you were expecting, but I would take them any day. Van Savant, Don't you like it when you see your price drift up to a nice overlay! Good pick on Sunday at a great price! Thanks, Ned! --------------- Some thoughts about the Preakness. I really liked Pl etcher's comment on Super Saver. "You never really know, {how much the Derby has taken out of a runner- my brackets}, until they get to the the 1/8 pole".
Keith L. More than 1 year ago
vicstu: I just need to get your in depth analysis on Mike Smith's ride on Jackson Bend in all the rich vicstuvian detail. LOL! And you did get Hard Spun referenced in twice there, good job! It did strike me as peculiar that Smith argued that Borel shouldn't have kept a tiring Super Saver on the rail. Was the "go around" veteran jock actually planning to make his stretch run inside all along? That would have been something to see now, wouldn't it? Too bad he didn't get the chance. My comment on the stretch duel had more to do with the horses and jocks having their attention on each other, and not so much who might be closing ground. Smith was the last of the top four jockeys to get running late, and he looked like he had the best horse late because of it. I do agree on your assessment of First Dude as a front runner to be seiously considered gate to wire in the Bemnont Stkes. A look at the list of mentioned contenders has him as the only real speed horse so far, and he has the pedigree and heart for it, I think. He will have to take kindly to Big Sandy, of course! Several times this horse has shown a tndency to give when challenged, and then gets his game run back on. He did this facing Fly Down, and did it in the Blue Grass. Did it in the Prekness when first challenged by Lucky. Wonder if Romans might consider blinkers on for the Belmont Stakes? Oh, as to Donna Brothers being the only one who seemed to notice Super Saver having lost weight and looking drawn, well, that's a Blue Thong for 'ya. They are really weight concious 24-7, as you well know! LOL!
Molesap More than 1 year ago
HG for this week - 5th at WO on Wednesday May 19. Let's do something a bit different for the upcoming HG. How about the 5th at Woodbine on Wednesday? Full field of Maiden Claiming 50000 - 14 entered (with a Chantal mount for Wacky) going 6.5 furlongs. With the artifical stuff, weather is not as much of an issue. Here is link the Brisnet PP's if you want to get started early: http://www.brisnet.com/bris_link/pdfs/markcasse_193512.pdf Good luck!