10/12/2012 2:45PM

HandiGambling Santa Anita


This week's HandiGambling exercise is the seventh race at Santa Anita, a $62,500 optional claimer for 3-year-olds and upward at nine furlongs 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.

Best of luck to all.


The turf course is currently listed as "GOOD."

The portable rail is out 15 feet.

One of our posters mentioned that #8 MASSONE is one of my favorites.  He's not.  He's one of Mike Beer's favorite runners, but I wonder if even Mike has grown tired of Massone's "close but no cigar" act.  Now 2-36 in his career and winless since an entry-level turf race at Del Mar in 2009, it's safe to say that Massone has burned a good amount of money in his life.

So, I do realize that I'm taking a gamble playing him in this spot. 

Massone has run some nice races in his career, finishing third in the Grade 1 Blue Grass in 2009 and a solid fourth in the 2010 Grade 2 Strub on the old Pro-Ride surface.  Heck, he finished third in this year's Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap over this course back in February.  I even liked his most recent race, a one-mile turf event at Del Mar.  Taken well off the pace, as usual, Massone flew home his last half-mile in 45.25 with a final quarter in 22.23.  He galloped out by the others, finds a race with plenty of pace and stretches out another eighth of a mile.  If it was any other horse than Massone, I'd feel pretty good about his chances. 

Since it is Massone, I'll pick him and pray.

#6 SEATTLE RULER hasn't won a race in almost two years.  That start, a $40,000 claimer at Hollywood on November 19, 2010, was also the last time that trainer Mike Harrington won a turf event (1-39 during that time period).  Seattle Ruler had a nice setup when finishing ahead of Massone in his most recent start, but couldn't seal the deal in the stretch.  He'll put blinkers back on and if he runs back to his runner-up effort with the hood two back, he has a chance at a solid price.  Seattle Ruler has enough tactical speed to take up a position behind the leaders and could gain first run on the final turn.

#3 SILENTIO is the proverbial "any kind" horse as he's won both of his starts nicely for trainer Richard Mandella.  He's shown versatility as well, rating and finishing in his debut before prompting moderate fractions in his first start against winners.  In his most recent race, he beat Quail Hill (returned to finish second, with an 89 Beyer, in the $100,000 Ralph M. Hinds Handicap at Fairplex) and Te Rapa (came back to just miss on grass with a career-best 89 Beyer). I do believe he'll face a quicker pace scenario than he's ever seen in this spot and may be forced to rally from farther back.  Still, he looks like the horse to beat as he has all of the upside in the world.

After losing as the favorite in four consecutive races, #1 GAB POWER finally reached the winner's circle in his most recent start.  He raced in some traffic that day, but received a wonderful pace setup.  The leaders (finished last and next-to-last) scorched the ground to the tune of a 45.07 half and the late-running Gab Power picked up the pieces.  While Gab Power should get pace to attack again, he'll be facing stronger competition this time around and he seems a bit low at 3-1 on the morning line. 

#2 CAUSEITHERTZ hasn't run a bad race since being gelded and transferred to trainer Bob Baffert and he may work out a candy pace-tracking, ground-saving trip under David Flores.  Causeithertz finished ahead of both Massone and Seattle Ruler at Del Mar and seems like a more consistent performer than both of those foes.  He's tactical, in the right hands, in good form and is a logical contender.  The price probably won't be there, however.

#4 OLIGARCH makes his first start in Southern California and returns to his favorite surface.  A very swift son of Congrats, Oligarch won the $73,000 Tropical Park Derby over wet turf last fall and should appreciate the give in today's ground.  He may be the speed of the speed, but one must wonder if others will be breathing down his neck in the early going.

#5 LUMBERYARD JACK can be given a pass for his most recent start, a tiring seventh in the $400,000 American St. Leger at a marathon distance.  He's won at nine furlongs in his career (albeit on polytrack) and may be taken back off the pace as he cuts back dramatically in distance.  He may be a notch below the top contenders, but his form is sufficiently dirtied up by the last running line that he may should go off a square price.

You don't have to be from Gallifrey to see that #7 TIME LORD is in excellent form, but he's a pace-pressing type that must deal with Oligarch in the opening portion of this race.  The lightly-raced colt sat a bit in his most recent start, but he was rating off glacial fractions.  This time, he may be chasing much-faster splits.  The 3-year-old steps back up against elders, but does have some upside as a lightly-raced colt.

#9 MAYBE TUESDAY, a stone-closer, may really appreciate a hot pace.  He's won five of his last six races in Northern California with the only defeat coming on dirt, a surface that he doesn't like at all.  Maybe Tuesday's numbers are a bit light when compared to some of the others, but he's razor-sharp, should offer some value and could get the right setup. 

1. Massone
2. Seattle Ruler
3. Silentio

Here's how I'll play HandiGambling:

$50 WIN:  MASSONE -  (#8)

Best of luck to all.


The weekend handicapping videos should be up on the site by this evening.  Here's a quick preview of the action:

...The Hawthorne Derby looks like a rather competitive event, but lightly-raced LEA looked very impressive in his most recent outing at Saratoga...Keeneland's QE II features quality sophomore fillies such as STEPHANIE'S KITTEN and CENTRE COURT, but the lack of pace could work to DAYATTHESPA's favor...The European runners, as usual, should be tough in all three Grade 1 races at Woodbine with IMPERIAL MONARCH headlining the Pattison Canadian International...DEALBATA and RUTHENIA tangle at Belmont, but LAUGHING may benefit most if the pace is slow...

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

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Van Savant, I admire your determination re football / soccer, but you are betting on the loser. I hope we can agree that the US likes to plough a lone furrow with regard to sport (for example, raceday medication, and less darkly, a grandly named baseball WORLD SERIES competed for only in North America), but I feel there is a real danger that the US are on the verge of joining the massive football community, big time. Some of your MLS teams are drawing good crowds. And your fans travel to the World Cup in big numbers. If the US could discover a couple of David Beckhams of your own (some talent plus loads of charisma), I can see football becoming your premier sport within the next 25 years. Come on Van, get yourself onside on this one. Best Regards - Bernard Downes
Okiesharp More than 1 year ago
Annie, Please count me in for another MKB go round....Better save Keith a spot or two too ! ......Just in case this winter is cold and the nights are long........ Okiesharp
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Laura I would like to be part of your IMS Syndicate again this year. ..Of course, sight unseen, as to who I may bring to the stable ....Annie pull me a nice baby ! SR Vegas
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Annie I would love to have another MKB. Has it been 5 years already ? My goodness !! Please sign me up, and let me know what I may do to help you as your 'wing man :) SR Vegas
VanSavant More than 1 year ago
Bernard; I, for one, am not "still sore about all of that colonial stuff", as you put it. I do, however, wish that you would stop calling "soccer" football...cuz' it ain't. Football is football, and soccer is, well, soccer. Thanks, my friend. vs
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Curt V, Thank you for the Geography / Travel info. Its one of my pet subjects. Thank you also for making my point perfectly. Your grass horses are happy to ship from New York and Kentucky to California, and back the other way, because they have a realistic chance of winning. However, with very few exceptions, they have always been reluctant to travel to Europe. Why? Your post tells us that air miles aren't a problem. No, the answer is because nearly all of them would have NO chance of winning over here. Believe me, I would have loved to have seen Secretariat, your Slewster and other great US horses over here. The racing would have been exceptional and who knows, one or two of the US horses may have made the frame. Best Regards - Bernard Downes P.S. I should probably congratulate Wesley Ward for being one of those exceptions. That man won me a small fortune at Royal Ascot a couple of years ago.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Curtis, Now behave. And don't be calling Bernard a Spinster. It was a personal choice. :) Annie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OK, five more to add to the MKB list: 7. KNM 8. DAVID M 9. NED DALY 10. LAURA 11. CURTIS V SLEWSTER Keep track of your number, as that is the order in which your horse will be drawn. The draw, of course, will take place in December after the running of the CashCall Futurity (formerly Hollywood Futurity). And LAURA has graciously offered her Chatroom again so all can participate live in the actual draw. That is, of course, if there are enough sign-ups. :) Keep 'em coming. Annie
Curtis V Slewster More than 1 year ago
Bernard, My good friend, the Spinster. Since when it is further to travel from England to France vs. shipping from California to New York & New York to California ? Of course we do this all the time. BUTTS: you & the Euros get a pass for "Traveling". Give me a break. Go Twist a melon......BTW:That was my favorite or is favourite....Rita's Water Ice flavor. I mean flavour......... Annie, PleasZZZZZZZZZZZZZZe give me my own personal Slewster......................... Pretty PleaZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZe......... Curtis V Slewster
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DavidM9999, If Mr Beyer had compared the US with with Europe as a whole (rather than England); and if he had made it clear he was comparing horses racing on the grass, his article would have been greatly improved. The truth is that in 2011, and Frankel apart, England has seen some great racing, but few if any stars. You said you enjoyed the comments he got back. I am surprised, unless you wanted a great laugh. - Which authority decreed that 10 and 12 furlong champions are to be lauded, while specialist milers are to be derided? - Frankel is rubbished for twice not travelling to Paris for the Arc. At the same time the non travelling US superstars get a free pass from the same criticism. - Some plonker even criticised Frankel for running his races over straight tracks, rather than around a turn. Not only is the charge incorrect, but what relevance would it have? - And, of course, we have Curt V providing his usual fair minded comments totally dismissive of grass racing in general, and Arc winners in particular. In fairness I should say I provided a comment of my own, but it was done in anger at all the anti Frankel words. Are you guys still sore about all that Colonial stuff? Best Regards - Bernard Downes