07/29/2009 11:14AM

HandiGambling at the Spa

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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,

Dan