07/29/2009 12:14PM

HandiGambling at the Spa


Today's HandiGambling 143 exercise is the third race from Saratoga, The James Marvin Stakes for three-year-olds and upward going seven furlongs on the main track.

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.  In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference.  Past performances are available on the previous blog entry.

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 both LORD SNOWDON (#7) and HONOUR DEVIL (#8)

This race features the return of PYRO (#4), the much-hyped Triple Crown prospect from last year that never seemed to fulfill his potential.  After finishing sixth in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, he was privately purchased by Godolphin, and went on the shelf following surgery to remove a chip in his knee.  Pyro did win his debut going short, but he seems like the horse one jumps at the chance of betting against.  He is likely to take action based on his notoriety, and who knows what you'll get as he returns from the disabled list?

While it looks like RILEY TUCKER (#5) and FINALLYMADEIT (#6) could engage in a cut-throat speed duel that would compromise both of their chances, I think it's just as possible that they run one-two all the way around the track.  I've never really been a fan of Riley Tucker, but you have to admit that he's taken a big step up since blinkers were added to his arsenal.  Any of his last three Beyer Speed Figures are faster than the last race number put up by the rest of the field.

It's hard not to be a fan of FINALLYMADEIT.  It didn't look like he would survive as a foal due to paralysis in behind, but he not only lived to tell the tale, but he's made over a million bucks on the racetrack.  He's won at distances ranging from five furlongs to 1 3/16 miles, and was in front after nine furlongs in the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap on July 4.  Don't expect him to change leads in the stretch - he simply doesn't do it, but he doesn't have an ounce of quit in him. 

If those two do burn themselves out, perhaps GOLD TRIPPI (#9) will be the one to benefit.  He exits a key race going two turns at Monmouth, but all six of his lifetime wins have come around one turn, and he should benefit by turning back in distance.  It looked like he was on his way to a stalk-and-pounce score last time under a confident Jose Lezcano, but he was late to change leads, and failed to seal the deal.  Note that he ran a career-high speed figure over this track and trip last year when second to the talented, but ill-fated Wanderin Boy.

SILVER EDITION (#1) is a stakes-winning sprinter that may be more effective at shorter distances, but he figures to get a nice setup from just off the pace. 

BOLD START (#2) was the beaten favorite in the Iowa Sprint Handicap, a race that snapped a mini win-streak for the son of Jump Start.  His tactical speed makes him a logical entrant.

CASSOULET (#3) ran into a sharp closing sprinter in Kodiak Kowboy last time out, and can move forward off that effort, but he seems to be at his best when pressing the pace, and he may face a duel with Riley Tucker and/or Finallymadeit.

Here's how I'll play this competitive heat:

$4 Trifecta Box - Silver Edition, Riley Tucker, Finallymadeit, Gold Trippi (1,5,6,9) - $96

$4 Win - Riley Tucker (5) - $4

Best of luck to all.

Back next time with questions and comments.

Take care,


alanh More than 1 year ago
Oh yeah, forgot about my two cents: I DO think Rosario moved too soon.
CHAAZZ More than 1 year ago
ROTD The Haskell Summer Bird & Papa Clem will both come and get her! CHAAZZ
Alan More than 1 year ago
Slew, Relax!! I'm wrong at least twice for every time I'm right...and we all go through streaks! Keep trying and keep writing! I for one always enjoy reading your comments!!
slewofdamascus More than 1 year ago
Nice going, Alan! If you're in the market for overbet, wise-guy horses, check out my selections, appearing daily on formblog. The ups and downs are killing me, I bet against a watch horse, expecting more value, but my "value" selection gets overbet, and my watch horse gets ignored. Guess who wins? The truth is, the horses I add to my watch based on visual data is FAR more valuable than any type of other information I can glean from whatever source. Of course, that should be a comfort, but it's also deflating that I can't seem to improve my general handicapping. Since coming to understand the edge I have in that regard, I have tried to improve my basic, comprehensive handicapping so that when my watch horses run I have a chance to parlay it into something worthwhile in the horizontal and/or vertical pools. To some degree, I have improved my general handicapping, but I can't ignore the chasm that exists between the two methods, particularly when it hits me over the head time and time again. Sometimes I think I must be stupid. Now it's time to focus on what works. I'll be back when I have something concrete to offer, something more than conjecture, more than mediocrity. Inspired to prove myself. O/U
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
TurnbacktheAlarm ...So you now have another Celebrity in Chicago? Let's see you have Oprah, & now Jillian & Ed coming to Chicago. (from The Bachelorette) and NOW you have RACHEL ALEXANDRA preening, ummm, schooling with the public watching..Who's next? Just make sure you get some photos! LOL! SR Vegas
cayman01 More than 1 year ago
Oh, yeah, I'm going to stick my neck out and take Get Funky tomorrow in the Wickerr. He adds blinkers and returns to his favorite turf course. Should be the first to the lead in the stretch, question is if he'll hang on or just hang...........
cayman01 More than 1 year ago
HG 144 Recap: SPARTAN TOM picks up the winner's share this week with a total of $990. He combined a W bet with the EXACTA to nose out tonykelso for top prize. Nobody hit the Super or Trifecta this week, as most of us noodled out the 6 and 9 and completely discounted Pyro. whoops! Annie, I'll probably chase Shediak again. You know the definition of crazy right? Actually I'm looking for him in a turf sprint. As for the discussion on longshots i have to say that lone speed types on turf have been my bread and butter. It just seems that bettors are conditioned to coser types in turf races and that leaves great odds opportunites on Early speed types. Also, a new angle. Looking at , ugh, maiden claimers a horse that has better works than any of his/her competitors in the race is very live. The works do not have to be great, just better than anybody he's running against. Had a 70-1 shot run second for me a couple weeks ago. It's easy to spot bullet works, this is much more work but can have a great payoff.
owenized More than 1 year ago
SAR Turf Handicapping angle from Dick Powell via Brisnet "One major handicapping angle that I have used successfully over the years is the differing profiles on the inner and Mellon turf courses. The inner turf course is seven furlongs long and has very tight turns. Inside trips are the way to go as horses that swing wide turning for home usually spin their wheels for a few strides before finding their best footing. With the tight turns of the inner turf course, prominently placed horses have the edge since they can get to the inside and save ground. It helps to have an athletic horse that can either hug the hedge around the turn or maintain their balance if they have to go wide. Previous talent on the inner turf course is a big plus and having one of New York's better turf riders helps as well. Historically, races on the inner turf course have a higher average win payoff and a lower win percentage of favorites than races run on the Mellon turf course. Thus, you might want to go deeper and spread thinner on a race on the inner turf course than one on the Mellon turf course. The tight turns can lead to bad trips which can lead to more favorites being beaten. The Mellon turf course is a one-mile turf course with wider, sweeping turns. Here, a horse can swing wide at the top of the stretch and maintain its momentum. It is much kinder to horses that have to stalk wide as the horse is only losing ground but not fighting to maintain its balance. Favorites tend to do better on the Mellon turf course and the average win payoff is lower than the inner turf course. If you like a favorite on the Mellon, you have less risk of getting a bad trip than on the inner so you might not need to spread out too much."
brutus4633 More than 1 year ago
Victsu, Read with interest your take on the haskell and the case you make for Duke Of M. I don't know the horse and haven't seen his PPs. Do you think he will stay close enough to the pace to be able to make a run? it seems to me that Mmouth can be one of those tracks were horses who get to the lead stay in front and its tough to make up ground. Will DOm leave himself too much to do or will he sit just off RA and Munnings?
Alan More than 1 year ago
alhattab, Thank you as well! I had already won almost $1000 between the DD and P3 wagers in the sequence so I didn't feel an overwhelming need to protect my P4. The WillPays for my 3 horses ranged from $1000-1500, a nice score but certianly not life changing! I felt the need to hedge in that leg because I wasn't very confident in my selections, particularly in view of the track conditions. That probably isn't a good reason...I imagine professional horseplayers hedge frequently (a la personal ensign's weighting) without regard to level of confidence in selection. For example, I know Crist talks about it when he is alive in the last leg of a P6. As I mentioned above, I've been burned before attempting to hedge by not spreading across the field. My PTSD associated with that episode had forced me to include 'All' in the few times I've hedged since then.