08/19/2011 4:31PM

HandiGambling Sandy Blue


Tonight's HandiGambling 247 exercise is the fifth race from Del Mar, the Sandy Blue Handicap for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on the 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 to the blog.
Please separate the play from the analysis and label the play "HG" with the program numbers instead of the names of the horses.
Past performances are available at the previous blog post.
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.


The turf course is listed as FIRM.


Today's Sandy Blue Handicap is the "Race of the Day" on drf.com (http://www.drf.com/#rod).

When Mike Beer and I originally handicapped this race, we were pre-scratches and it looks like the defections may help the morning line favorite, #2 MIZDIRECTION.  At first, the Sandy Blue looked to have a little bit of pace to keep Mizdirection company up front.  With So Belle and Skipton Creek out, however, the chalk may have the lead to herself (unless #8 DOS LUNAS goes back to her old pacesetting ways). 

Still, I'm going to stick with my original selection, #5 GREAT HOT.  Bred in Brazil, she won her first start in her native country before being sent to trainer A. C. Avila in Southern California.  She benefitted from a quick pace up front to win her Northern Hemisphere debut, but got sick after that optional claiming heat and missed some time.  Leading up to her most recent effort, her initial turf and route outing in the Grade 2 San Clemente Handicap on July 24, Great Hot reportedly outworked an older male stablemate, the accomplished turf runner Imponente Purse.  In the San Clemente, Great Hot chased Mizdirection from the outset, but may have felt the effects of her layoff when tiring in the stretch.  She could be sharper for her second start back and it just seems too early to give up on this promising filly off one loss.  It's quite possible that she's better sprinting on the main track, but Great Hot may be a square price and has the tactical speed to work out a stalking trip. 

As I mentioned in the video, I'm a big fan of #4 ELVIES LANE, but think she may be better at shorter distances on synthetic surfaces.  I really liked her runner-up performance to the sharp Logical Single to kick off her sophomore season and she ran okay in a virtual match race against the speedy Ellafitz two starts back on cushion track.  I picked her last time, in an 'n2x' optional claimer on polytrack, and she made a strong wide bid on the far turn before packing it in late.  I'll kick myself if she beats me today, but I may wait until she cuts back in trip.

#2 MIZDIRECTION is the filly to beat as she hasn't run a bad race in her career, is already Grade 2-placed, finished ahead of Great Hot last time out and could be the controlling speed nearest the rail.  She won her maiden very easily despite being late to switch leads and had trouble in her stakes debut two back in the Manhattan Beach.  The concern I have with Mizdirection is the distance.  I wonder if she's better sprinting and I'm not going to take a short price to find out.  Will I use her in multi-race wagers?  Of course, I’m not going to let, arguably, the best horse beat me.  But, for HandiGambling purposes, she seems like an underlay.

#7 BAUBLE QUEEN is an interesting alternative to the favorite as she has already won routing on the grass.  It looks like she's put it together in her last two races, but the chart-caller noted that she "returned to be unsaddled bleeding from the mouth" after her recent win at Del Mar.  She may be a tad hard to rate and will be taking a pretty big step up in class, but looks to have plenty of upside potential and wouldn't be a surprise in the slightest. 

I'm bearish on the other three.

#11 DYNAMO showed off a strong late kick to win her maiden two back at Hollywood Park, but her penchant for bad breaks cost her in her first try against winners at Del Mar on July 24.  Dynamo has some ability, but it will be hard for her to spot ground and still win against the likes of Mizdirection and company. 

#8 DOS LUNAS, a speedster earlier in her career, rated kindly en route to an entry-level allowance score on the Churchill Downs green on July 2.  That race was flattered somewhat when the runner-up returned to score at Ellis Park with a 79 Beyer.  I've never really been a big fan of Dos Lunas, but perhaps she's a bit better now that she's learned to settle in the early portion of the race. 

#10 FIFTH COMMANDMENT chased Mizdirection in vain in the San Clemente.  Perhaps she "bounced" in her second start in this country, but she's finished behind the chalk in both North American starts and must improve in order to upset this field.

Here's how I'll play HandiGambling:

$50 Win-Place - Great Hot (5)

Best of luck to all.

derbyfritz More than 1 year ago
HG play as follows... $8 tri key #2 over 7,8,10,11/ 7,8,10,11 =$96 $4 win #2 4 good luck to all this wekend........
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
MSD re your post of 8/24/11 That is a really sorry situation to hear. One would hope that there was a reason the connections 'thought' that filly should run again, and then to see she was vanned off is so sad. I can only hope that they did not break her, or her spirit, and some time off will get her back. I know you work and walk these fine animals, and to see this is, well ...unexplainable to us who look in from afar. ( ie: me) Thank you for your candid thoughts. I hope we will hear more, and some positive things that the trainers you are involved with are doing. Besides, I'm looking forward to your weekend Del Mar picks. If my memory is correct, you had a few nice winners the weekend we met, eh? Please say you have seen or are meeting up with Calibob, and Jonah and all of you are comparing notes ...hahaha!
Curt V. More than 1 year ago
Off topic picture & story, This is a picture & a story about a fallen USA soldier & his best friend..a Black Lab Dog...... If this doesn't fill up your eyes & tell a story about Man & his best friend, the Dog, nothing will... It all about choked me up.......Big Time...Bring a box of Kleenex........I've never seen anything quite like it......of course I have a Yellow Lab......Who says dogs don't know ? Scary....... *********************************************************************** http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/44271018/ns/today-today_pets_and_animals/?GT1=43001
Keith L. More than 1 year ago
More Travers Talk: I'm not so happy about Stay Thirsty's (best bred for the distance) drawing next to the outside post, 9 of 10 going. Castellano will have to do some kind of job to get this stalker type into position, and fight against getting caught wide in the 1st turn. He may have to gun it along with Coil and Shackleford to get where he will want to be, and then take back. Still, Stay Thirsty is a tractable sort, experienced enough, and may survive that draw. His Jim Dandy and placing in the Belmont were sterling efforts, and he didn't leave it all on the work tabs, as some might have here. I wouldn't be surprized to see Coil go off as the overlaid fav...this one is definitely going for the lead, what with that extra sharp work coming in. May give Shackleford a boost, as he has certainly shown the ability to sit behind the pace, and move when necessary...Castanon will be sure to work that trip out, and may just rate his speed 'til the stretch. A few newcomers in here, and I kind of like Raison d'Tat on 10 furlong breeding and improving speed figs coming in, and the connections. Those are my top four here, but if the track comes up wet, it's all Stay Thirsty, Shackleford, and Roman Ruler in that order, I believe, with that lightly raced colt by Tapit out of a Cherokee Run mare factoring also. So who do you like early, and why? Keith L. Who are you likeing, and why?
Dick W More than 1 year ago
First an earthquake, now a hurricane is on the way ! It's beautiful out here on the left coast ! Good luck to all this coming weekend with both ponies and weather. Dick W
Mike A More than 1 year ago
Light rain in Saratoga.......possible thunderstorms later......I looked at the radar, doesn't look promising, but then again neither does the card. Looked at the 4th....have to pass. 7 horses and the longest shot is 8-1. I refuse to take 7-2 on Targee pass, Perhaps Darley's washout Bakhoor can get them some of their 1,200,000.00 back. I won't pay to find out. It must have killed those folks to geld that horse......I can tell they don't care anymore......for one Godolphin hasn't scooped him up and two...they're trying him on the turf course.......they're desperate. The 6th..........good grief, they're trying to make a liar out of me. This field is closer to 16,000 mdns than 35,000. Perhaps there is something there......I'll wait on the weather before I look in earnest......Mike A
blackstone More than 1 year ago
Odd Situation For a variety of reasons I will not be playing the horses this weekend. But there is an odd situation, even perhaps an even interesting situation, in Saturday's 1st race at GGF. William E. Morey, along with Steve Sherman and King Jerry, is clearly one of the top three trainers in No Cal. Primairly a claiming trainer, he does have a few allowance horses and one or two stakes horses (Positive Response). By the end of this year he will have somewhere around 300 starters, a win rate of at least 25%, and gross earnings, I'm guessing, of about $1 million(all big numbers by No Cal standards). He is a great claiming trainer, especially first off a claim (45% since the start of 2010). But here is the odd (to me) situation: 1st race-#1 Swift Winds-an eight year old gelding and past classer in So Cal who is now running at the bottom level. Morey just claimed him for $3,200, and has bumped him up to a $4,000 claiming race. My point is this: why is Morey, at this point in his life, fooling around with this horse? He doesn't need the money to pay the bills-at this level the gross purses are only $7-8,000. And he didn't claim him for a low-budget owner-he claimed him for himself. I can only think of two reasons why Morey jumped in: 1st-He thinks the horse is ready to take off and may win three or four races for him before someone claims him off his hands, or 2. He is a claiming trainer by nature, and just loves the action. With Baze up on Saturday the horse is likely to go off at even money, or less. A bad bet, and one I wouldn't make even with Dan's money (fat chance). There are a couple who could easily beat him, including a lone speed play horse named Don't Answer. I just think it may be fun to follow Swift Winds for a few races and see what develops. If he runs off three or four in a row, and I think there is an excellent chance that will happen, Morey will probably try to get him claimed at $12-16,000. For me. at least, an odd but fascinating situation. Pippen0707-You bet. Have Mitchell on my Watch List, and am always tempted to play everything he throws out there, including the 4th today at Del Mar ( I like him in an exacta with the Pederson horse on the rail-have no Form, just a blind bet). Good luck to all of you on this exciting weekend.
Mike A More than 1 year ago
Keith.............The mystery is in the surface, the Albany was one the main track, the tenth was on the turf.....which is a little faster.........No wonder you liked that maiden in the Albany!! LOL!!.Mike A
Curt V. More than 1 year ago
Keith L., Raison d'Etat you asked ? You certainly don't see Seattle Slew much if hardly on the sire side, one removed, on the DRF. You are absolutely correct to say he is bred for the distance. I'm not so sure though this race is for him. It'll be a Herculean task on the class rise. Moonshine Mullin handled him easily in May, this year. However, he might be just good enough, on breeding alone to make the exacta in the 10F race. There are 5+{I think} Slewsters in the Travers...A nice problem to have.... In the Belmont, while I was enjoying dinner, when I hit the big exacta{$928}on Stay Thirsty & Ruler on Ice, I used back & forth wheel of all w/ST. When I met up w/Dan Illman on July 30 & 31st @Penn National, I mentioned to him, I was contemplating doing the same w/ST in the Jim Dandy, on top & all for the 2nd{only 7 horses}. Butts: I tried to pick it cold. Big mistake. The longest shot{Moonshine Mullin} ran 2nd & the exacta paid $163 for $2..I'm still kicking myself & I had to tell Dan, I didn't pull the trigger. I wasn't going to take 5-2 to win. So here we go again..I'm not taking 5-2 for the win spot..Here I think you are spot on..I believe Stay Thirsty validated his Belmont w/the follow up win in the Jim Dandy. Ruler on Ice didn't win his. However, I love Belmont high placers in the Travers. I'll be using them both as my bigger bet. The weather looks good & Track should be fast. I give ST the edge. Right now, I'm dismissing Shack & Coil for the exacta, as I believe neither wants any parts of 10 Furlongs{important}. I'm leaning to Stay Thirsty & ROI, & putting ST w/all the longies. Hey, hopefully Raison runs 2nd & you get to make some money. & of course myself too. & of course you are also correct when you said you are as good, or better, a handicapper as anyone else. I've been watching. Your picks are clear to see & unambiguous, unlike some others. We need more of that around here ???????????. Great job........Bill Mott is hard to ignore, & the horse has impeccable breeding........Listen to yourself & not the touters.....They don't know anymore than you do. If Raison goes off more than 10-1, as I suppose, I will throw down a "Sticker"........ Annie, BTW: just a note>>Stay Thirsty has the highest Beyer Fig....I believe in you, even if some others don't...
Mike A More than 1 year ago
Speaking of Raison d'etat.......I'm not quite sure what everyone is fussing about. Great breeding....check.....good looking horse....check......one win, only 4 starts and never showed an over the top performance.......check. Yesterday I said it's amazing what we humans can convince ourselves of........Thinking that horse will win the Travers is exactly what I'm talking about, You want a long shot? Take a flyer on Bowman's Causeway.......he's growing up. Almost every big three year old race this year has been won by a different horse at a huge price....why should the Travers be different. Reality......Coil beats Shackleford in his first race back......Coil?? what exactly was Coils claim to fame, he's trained by baffert?? he works fast? So am I to believe Coil is the next coming because he beat Shackleford.....whose been competitive with the rest? The blue Thongs may love everything out of CA....Hollywood and all, but he has to show me. Reality....there is a reason why they keep beating each other......and as a hint, it's not because they are the resurrected class of 57. The most impressive performance coming in was run by Stay Thirsty.....hands down. BUT....as Mike Beer said, no one showed up that day, except the horse I liked Moonshine Mullins. When I picked MM laura asked if I'd been drinking....I don't imbibe much anymore, but I didn't see what everyone else saw.....He got second at what??? 38-1. So how good was that race overall? It seems the only horse ST was running against was himself.
Keith L. More than 1 year ago
Curt V.: You are too kind, sir! Mike A. I took a look at Bowman's Causeway, and liked a little of what I saw. Horse has turned it around after his spring flop. One thing both "the Causeway" and Raison d'Etat have in common is the three race form that shows rising speed figs. However, of the two, the last race Beyer top goes to the latter. Raaison d'Etat looks quicker from the gate. Not at all convinced "the Causeway" will fare well from his post. Obviously, in the works department, the Mott horse has him hands down. Finally, ask yourself, which horse appears to have the most upside? Watchmaker's reservations aside, I'll have Bowman's Causeway as one value candidate to finish the tri and super wagers, but for a value exacta play, I'll have Raison d'Etat underneath Stay Thirsty, along with Shackleford. The later colt has, of course, danced every dance very respectably, which is something no other can say in this 3 yr old season, and deserves a opportunity for blacktype, rsI believe. As to the difference between the turf and dirt times, I would have thought come home times between maiden claimers and graded stakes colts would have been at least similar, no matter the surface. Too, race time overall shouldn't go in favor of the maiden claimers on a tighter turn 8f Turf oval to the graded stakes Main Track at 9 furlongs. It was the failure of the jocks to adjust pace to the race in the Albany that caused the discrepancy, imo. But this is America, and you are surely entitled to your opinion Mike, as am I. LOL! Looking forward to see who you settle on for the Travers! Keith L.