05/17/2013 1:38PM

HandiGambling the Preakness

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The HandiGambling exercise for Saturday, May 18 is the twelfth race from Pimlico, the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes at 1 3/16 miles for 3-year-olds.

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.

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Let's take a look at the past performances for 1979 Preakness winner, and all time great, SPECTACULAR BID.  They're at the bottom of this blog post.

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How to make money with ORB?  If you like him, it's not going to happen in the win pool as the Kentucky Derby winner is likely to fall in the 3-5 range at post time.  That's way too short for a very good colt that won the Derby with a clean trip over a wet track in a race dominated by closers.  I won't argue with anyone that plays against Orb in the win pools on Saturday, although all of his opponents have some sort of question mark hanging over their heads.  I believe that Orb is the best horse, however, and will key him in multi-race wagers like the guaranteed $1.5M Pick 4 on Saturday. 

For HandiGambling, I'll utilize the Pimlico Special/Preakness two-day Double that Penn National Rick mentioned as an acceptable wager. 

The Pimlico Special also looks very chalky, but perhaps combining the two races will provide a semi-acceptable payout.

In the Pimlico Special, LAST GUNFIGHTER (#7) simply looks like the best horse.   A lightly-raced 4-year-old, Last Gunfighter is perfect in five starts for trainer Chad Brown.  Most recently, he gave a breakout performance in the Grade 3 Excelsior Stakes at 1 1/8 miles.  After being bounced around early, Last Gunfighter settled in the pocket before being checked along the rail turning for home.  He eased to the outside in upper stretch, angled back inside when the pacesetter began to wander and drew away late under merely a hand ride. He acts like he'll run all day and has enough tactical speed to stay within range of the pacesetter.  If he improves just a bit, he'll be extremely tough to beat.

While I am tempted to play my entire HandiGambling bundle on a Last Gunfighter - Orb double, I do realize that EIGHTTOFASTTOCATCH is the controlling speed in the Pimlico Special. He's a hard-hitting veteran that is capable of hanging up triple-digit Beyers, especially when loose on the lead.  I'm a bit worried about the distance as 9 1/2 furlongs may be pushing it, but if the rest of the field leaves Eighttofasttocatch to his own devices, he could certainly make them pay.

As for the Derby, it's Orb for me.  You can watch the full video analysis from Mike Beer and myself on the homepage immediately following today's Black-Eyed Susan Stakes.

Here's how I'll HandiGamble:

$80 PIM SPECIAL/PREAKNESS DOUBLE - LAST GUNFIGHTER/ORB (7/1)
$20 PIM SPECIAL/PREAKNESS DOUBLE - EIGHTTOFASTTOCATCH/ORB (4/1)

Best of luck to all.


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The Saturday graded stakes video analyses that Mike Beer and I produced should be all up on the website by this evening.

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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.

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Spectacular Bid.pdf67.29 KB