01/06/2010 6:06PM

HG 167 (Delta)

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This week's HandiGambling 167 exercise is the fourth race from Delta Downs, an optional claimer (30k/n3x) for older horses at one mile 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.

In my multi-race wagers, I would probably go four deep using Steve Crist's "A,B,C,X" method.

Southern Image (#10) may be a bit of a "trap" horse as his last two wins came over wet tracks, this will be his first career route effort, and it didn't look like he beat much last time out (of the four horses to return from the Sam's Town Stakes on December 4, two finished fifth while the other pair finished seventh), but I'm going to fall for him anyway. 
He looked pretty good repulsing the other pace challengers that evening and any of his last three Beyer Speed Figures are faster than the last-out numbers of all of tonight's opposition.  He has tactical speed and should be forwardly-placed from his far outside post.  The distance may be a question as his pedigree screams sprinter, but he's won around two turns, and need only stretch out another furlong here. 

First Regent (#5) is 20-1 on the morning line as he steps way up in class, but he looked okay drawing off to win his local debut by 6 1/2 lengths.  His new trainer, Allen Milligan, is 14-78 (18%, $2.31 ROI) over the last five years off the claim, and First Regent has a hint of back class (stakes-placed at Oaklawn as a three-year-old).  There may be enough speed to setup this veteran's late kick and his speed figures aren't that far off the par for this race (87).

Ashe's Cat (#3) didn't have the easiest trip when third against 'n4L' optional claimers last time out and I'm guessing he's going to try and make the front tonight.  The horse that beat Ashe's Cat by 3 1/4 lengths on October 24, Angelonmyshoulder, returned to finish second in the B-Connected Stakes at Delta on November 6 before winning a $62,500 optional claimer at Fair Grounds on December 4 with a 96 Beyer.  Ashe's Cat was claimed out of his last race by a barn that boasts 26% wins (88-342, $1.99 ROI) off the claim over the past five years.  He shows a string of five-furlong workouts and can be a solid pace factor here.

Takin' the Bullet (#4) has been overmatched in his last three starts as he took on star Louisiana-breds Star Guitar and Desert Wheat while still a three-year-old.  He should really appreciate the class relief presented to him tonight and he should be in the thick of things when the real running begins. 

As for the others:

Valid Stripes (#1) goes second off a long layoff and he can improve after pressing very fast fractions in the $100,000 Star of Texas Stakes (three next-out winners) at Sam Houston on December 5.  He has enough speed to make life tough on the other frontrunners, but he hasn't gained ground from the stretch call to the wire in his last five outings.  The three-time stakes winner can certainly take this, but another fast pace could leave him vulnerable late.

Senor Gold (#7), on the other hand, would benefit from a fast pace.  A late-running gelding, he failed to hit the trifecta against weaker last time out, and may be in a touch steep.  He is making his third start of the form cycle, but has yet to race past seven furlongs.

Sligo Joe (#6) can contend here.  He gamely battled back to defeat a pair of next-out winners three back at Louisiana Downs and wasn't disgraced when third to the streaking Harlan Street (returned to win the Delta Mile on 12/4 with a 92 Beyer and the Christmas Stakes at Mountaineer on 12/26 with a 95 Beyer) and the aforementioned Angelonmyshoulder.  He prefers to race close up so his destiny may lie with the fractions.

Hawk's Tunnel (#9) utilized similar off-the-pace tactics as Senor Gold when finishing ahead of that one on December 18, but it looks like this gelding needs everything to fall his way from a pace and race standpoint. 

Settler's Hawk (#8) is only 1 for his last 23 and hasn't shown much pop since front bandages were added to the equation.  The 8-year-old benefits from a hot pace, but may not be this good.

Headstart (#2) deserves a second look as he goes out for the high-percentage Steve Asmussen barn and is 3-4 over this oval.  He may work out a nice trip from midpack, but I'm hoping he's going to need a race in his first start since April. 

For HandiGambling, I'll play it like this:

$40 Exacta - Southern Image over First Regent (10-5)
$40 Exacta - Southern Image over Ashe's Cat (10-3)
$20 Exacta - Southern Image over Takin' the Bullet (10-4)

Best of luck to all.

Back next time with questions, comments, pp requests and more.

Ned Daly More than 1 year ago
Formbloggers Anybody willing to help educate me? I have been paying attention to Gulfstream in anticipation of a trip to FL at the end of the month. Paper handicapping as many as I have time for and reviewing all the charts. Today (Sunday 1/10) I looked at the 6th and the 9th. Felt OK about how I saw the 6th. The 9th confused me. I could not and still cannot see Duke of Mischief winning. I had my top three finish 2,3,4. D of M dropped from 20/1 ML to 6/1 post time. What were the others seeing that I missed? Thanks in advance. If I can help anybody when I go (Jan 30/31 with a possible trip to Palm Meadows one of those mornings), just let me know.
Mickey More than 1 year ago
Whacky: I think using Sutherland as a "spot" jockey is smart change instead of EVERY play. I like her a lot and use her when the situations warrant it, I guess like any top jockey I use, But the reality is she isn't going to get the same top chances she had at Woodbine. In regards to Zenyatta...I guess their is a good amount of speculation on (another bloggers)..angle about if she does not win horse of the year...she could still race a time or two..beat RA..and then go to the breeding shed as I think those type of mares aren't bred until April/May anyway.
blackstone More than 1 year ago
Annie Is there a prize for an MKB horse winning a race in January? If not, Tencent, what's the big deal? Just kidding, young man. Great start-wish I could say the same about Peppi. Apparently his real owners don't have deep pockets. They should have returned my calls.
p ensign More than 1 year ago
c gerry if there are oatmeal, eggs, cheese, potatoes, noodles, beans, ice cream, cookies, coffee and gatorade, (the staples of my life), in there, well then, yes I could happily dine from Zenny's bucket...
blackstone More than 1 year ago
Whacky Geez! You're asking me to pick an angle from the spreadsheet? There are 37 of them. I will tell you the three prime bets I'm making-part of them result from angles, but part also is that I think they're the best horses without the angles. All tomorrow: GP 5th-Westover Wildcat-two angles-Trainer/Jock hitting @ 42% (99 mounts-a legitimate sample size), and the horse is an improving 3 yr old. M/L of 6-1 probably not correct, but I'll take 7-2. SA 6th-St Trinians-again Trainer/Jock @ 28%-horse looks like a Syn. monster. Haven't seen the odds yet, so I may dump this one if 2-1 or less. GG 3rd-Control Seeker-Stra/Mason, and the horse looks dominant. IMO Stra is really good on turf. Problem with this one is that the odds will be 3-5. I'm going to bet it anyway, and I'll spread it a bit in doubles to the 4th.
peter lane More than 1 year ago
combination of Beyers, running styles, works and DD records. $25 Ex PW 10/2,6, $25 Ex PW 2,6/10
berdie More than 1 year ago
Laura Thank you berdie
Annie More than 1 year ago
Knm, Charly is starting out at 250-1. It will be interesting to see if people start betting him. After all, he is "drop dead gorgeous" and has "an enormous stride". :) Annie
Whackymacky More than 1 year ago
Good Morning All... Where the heck is my Derby hopeful??? Heart Butte Listed at 125-1 at Lucky's Last workout in November. Let's get him into a race!!! Results from yesterday. 7th @ TB #8 Ready to Mambo w/ Homeister up $19.40 $6.60 Played pick 3 8-8-w/5 of 10 horses. Missed the 3rd leg. SA $20 Late DD Gomez / Gomez Angle!!!! = $58.40 8th SA Wilma Rules $150 Win / Place = $15.20 $7.20 $5 Pick 3 All / Gomez / Gomez = $204.40 for a $1 He was on some live mounts in my eyes. Took a shot with the Jockey angle and it paid off. Baffert / O'Neill isn't bad either!!! Chantal is getting nothing to work with at SA. I think that I made my money on her last week and will need to pick my spots. Rosemary can ride at TB. Watch for her in the big field grass races. Big fields bring back big returns!!! Not playing Aqueduct. Ramon is getting the pick of the litter. Cold and windy will be the forecast over the next 3 days. Speed is the play on the inner track. Blackstone What is the angle to play on your spreadsheet? IMO, I think that RA has already been named HOY!!! This is why Zenyatta is working out so much. She will be coming back, and coming back real soon. She should be breeding to the best, not working out. What do you thing people??? Good luck to all today!!!! Whackymacky Out!!!
Annie More than 1 year ago
P Ensign, They try to avoid feeding horses beans, for obvious reasons. :) Annie