12/19/2009 1:16PM

HG 164 (FG)

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This week's HandiGambling 164 exercise is the twelfth race from Fair Grounds, the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint at six furlongs for three-year-olds and up that were bred in Louisiana.

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 #8 - Killing Me.

There are several strong contenders in this evenly-matched grouping of Louisiana-breds and it will be interesting to see if the extra week layoff affects them one way or the other. 

Foreign Production (#3) bombed as the favorite against several of these runners on November 14, but he may have signaled his poor performance with an ultra-slow workout (half-mile breeze in 54.2) three days prior to that run.  You'll note that five days before his career-best 94 Beyer Speed Figure on October 2, Foreign Production worked a bullet five furlongs at Louisiana Downs.  Since the dull effort last time, Foreign Production reeled off a pair of bullet workouts at five-eighths, and his overall consistent record (50% win, 80% ITM) makes me want to overlook his most recent flop.  He has good early speed, but doesn't necessarily need the lead.  I'm expecting him to bounce back with a solid performance.

Chief Jay (#12) may own the most natural talent of this group, but the plethora of layoff lines throughout his past performance page are very disconcerting, and he doesn't show a published workout in over a month.  He hasn't faced the starter since mid-July and this far outside post, with speed to his inside, may not work to his front-running style.  Still, he is capable of firing a big number when right, and is probably worth utilizing on multi-race tickets at a square price.

Captain Buddy (#5), like the top two picks, has a good amount of early speed, and he held pretty well for third last time out despite being involved in a race-long duel.  His recent Beyer Speed Figures have been slowly creeping up the ladder, and Captain Buddy should offer his backers a good mutuel.

Flashy Wise Cat (#6) seems like the horse to beat as he defeated several of these runners at the Fair Grounds in that November 14 race.  His running style seems to fit this race perfectly as his late kick should be aided by solid fractions up front.  It will be interesting to see if he regresses off that career-best effort, and he only shows one half-mile breeze in the mud since that performance.

Mr. Barracuda (#4) returns off a four-month freshening, but his best race puts him in the mix, and it's hard not to admire this 13-time winner.  He has good tactical speed, and can get a slice with a decent trip.

Tortuga Straits (#1) has won six 100K stakes races in his career, but one has to wonder if he's getting a bit long in the tooth at the tail-end of his five-year-old campaign.  He made a run in that November 14 race before flattening out in the end, and the backclasser isn't impossible with some pace and race luck.

Hear No Angel (#2) is a perfect 2-2 on the main track and may be a rare double-digit odds starter for trainer Steve Asmussen.  He hasn't been out since February, however, and may need a race.

Power Surge (#6) is an admirable five-year-old that seems to perform well on any surface.  Like Tortuga Straits, he flattened out in that November 14 prep race, but isn't out of the question considering the expected solid pace up front. 

Lee City Slew (#7) has won three of his last four starts, but those races were on the grass, and he seems to be a faster performer away from the main track.  Expect Pat Valenzuela to have this gelding close to the pace, but these may be a smidge too tough for him.

Mr. Porter (#9), a four-time winner at the Fair Grounds, enters this heat in good form after taking an optional claimer at Delta Downs on November 11.  You have to respect trainer Tom Amoss' win percentage, and Mr. Porter wouldn't be a shocker.

Silent Pipe (#11) can be forgiven for his recent poor performance as it was his first start since July 4, but I wonder how much he got out of that race, and whether it was enough for him to be able to compete against this crew.  He may be more effective at longer distances.

I'll play it this way:

$100 Win - Foreign Production (#3)

Best of luck to all.

***

Couple of quick and dirty picks for the weekend:

Hollywood Starlet - Blind Luck
Louisiana Classic - Star Production
Sugar Bowl - Vito Filitto

***

Dan,
Been following Lime Rickey, but haven't found so much as a blip since his last race. He had the Hall of Fame, then, an allowance @ Belmont, then, he vanishes. Disabled? Given a break? Here's hoping you've heard...
rick

From the Dogwood Stable website posted on December 18, 2009:

Here in Aiken some interesting horses had their first breezes Wednesday morning, and Dogwood President Cot Campbell reported the following: "Brother Bird, half-brother to the Derby winner, worked in company with an older stakes horses named Lime Rickey. They went an easy three-eighths in :38. Bricklayer, a nice stakes-caliber two-year-old, worked with Winged Hero and Lyrical Note - both maidens - and they went in :38.2. A lot of our better horses are either coming out of winter quarters soon or are in the last stages of training in Florida, and we would expect the 'first team' to be on the field by the first of February."
These horses are slated to ship to Florida on January 5.

You can best follow Lime Rickey, and the rest of the Dogwood runners, on the following website:

http://www.dogwoodstable.com

***

Can we have the pp's for Midway Road and Prospect Bay.  I've never even heard of Prospect Bay.
Captain Bodgit

Download Big Beyers

***

DAN:
Can you please ask the powers that be why Saturday's form, which I now pay seven dollars for, has the pp's for six tracks, but not Fair Grounds.  There are only nine stakes races tomorrow.  This continued pattern of omitting major tracks from the Saturday form, even at the increased price, is aggravating. 
I now you don't make these decisions.  I tried to post a similar comment about this on the Crist blog, but for some reason it never made it.  As the voice of the people can you please pass along my concerns.  Thanks. 
CM

I'm an internet guy, and don't have much input on the day-to-day processes of the print product, but will certainly pass your concerns to the Circulation Department. 

***

Dan,
This is not that important, but didn't Best Pal run a 123 Beyer in the 1992 Santa Anita Handicap?  I didn't see his name on your list.  Thanks,
GunBow

I figured I missed somebody...and no, it wasn't because of a "West Coast Bias."

Here's the updated (and complete) list of 123 Beyer performers and more since 1/1/92:

Ghostzapper - 128
Will's Way - 126
Formal Gold - 126
Gentlemen - 126
Skip Away - 125
Bertrando - 125
Formal Gold (2) - 125
Midnight Lute - 124
Artax - 124
Formal Gold (3) - 124
Ghostzapper (2) - 124
Artax (2) - 123
Elusive Quality - 123
Aptitude - 123
Kona Gold - 123
Saint Liam - 123
Commentator - 123
Best Pal - 123
Prospect Bay - 123
Artax (3) - 123
Tejano Run - 123
Midway Road - 123
Candy Ride - 123
Wild Rush - 123
Silver Charm - 123

***

Back Monday with the weekend recap and more.

Take care,

Dan