01/13/2010 2:22PM

HG 168 (Gulfstream)

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This week's HandiGambling 168 exercise is the eighth race from Gulfstream Park, a $62,500 optional claimer with 'n2x' conditions at six furlongs for older horses. 

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.

As of this writing, the main track is fast.  Let's scratch Post Time (#1) and Desert Key (#3):

This was a fine choice for our HandiGambling race as it looks evenly-matched and contentious.  I'd have to go five deep in multi-race wagers with these contenders:

Starship Valor (#9) looks in steep from a class perspective as he exits five starter allowance races at Calder, but he's done some good work recently, and may offer some value in a wide-open race.  
Two starts back, he earned a triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure in a good-looking performance.  Although he pressed slow early fractions, the pace quickened up noticeably during the middle half of that 6 1/2 furlong event, and he stuck right to the leader.  Starship Valor professionally ran to the wire that afternoon, and although none of his four opponents came back to win next-out, two of them returned to finish second including in-form older horse Unbridled Heat (returned with 94 Beyer, then finished second in $40,000 claimer at Gulfstream on January 3).  The third-place finisher, and beaten favorite, Caixa Electronica, won this condition at Calder two tries after the October 31 heat. 

Last time out, Starship Valor received a questionable ride from Eibar Coa.  After sitting a great trip tracking dueling leaders, Starship Valor gradually began to wear down the pacesetters in midstretch.  Coa, thinking he had the race won, peeked over his right shoulder to see if anyone was charging to his outside.  Meanwhile, Possetothemax rallied up the rail, and Coa never saw him coming.  If Coa was more aggressive late, it's possible that Starship Valor wins that race, and brings a three-race streak to this dance.  In any event, Starship Valor finished ahead of a pair of next-out winners that day.

There is a good amount of speed for Starship Valor to track this afternoon and Coa may work out a sweet trip while clear of traffic.  The only two times Starship Valor finished off the board were on November 23, 2008 (on grass) and on May 31, 2009 (lost rider as the 11-10 favorite).

Formidable (#7)is simply a Gulfstream horse-for-course and, as such, he should be respected.  He won twice during last year's meeting, but is 0-9 everywhere else, and isn't the most reliable sort in the world.  He wasn't disgraced when two lengths behind Fatal Bullet over polytrack in the Grade 3 Phoenix on October 9 and he exits an ultra-key race at Aqueduct (The Fall Highweight produced four next-out winners, three in stakes races, and three with triple-digit Beyers). 

Allen Jerkens and Edgar Prado, two giants of the sport, are 0-14 as a team over the last five years, but Formidable's affinity for this track should come into play.  He fits nicely against these.

He's So Chic (#11)was favored in the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector over this track last season and may prove to be a nice claim for Terri Pompay.  He's won his last three races but rode a slow early pace to victory last time out at the Meadowlands (the horse he "battled" with early, Beacon Hill Road, finished second).  He's versatile, however, and seems just as effective from a bit off the pace.  He's too sharp to ignore.

Prince Omar (#13) has won his last two starts in sharp fashion since returning from an extended layoff.  He'll likely face greater pace pressure breaking from the far outside but may simply be this good.  The $400,000 juvenile purchase may finally be living up to his potential and it's possible we haven't seen his best race yet. 

Vicarian (#8)is attempting to repeat an intriguing pattern for the very sharp Ian Wilkes.  Let's go back to January 14, 2008 in an identical $62.5K/'N2X' optional claimer over this track and trip.  Vicarian's previous race was a win at Churchill Downs in November under Calvin Borel.  Off the layoff and rider switch, Vicarian rolled to victory as the 19-10 favorite. 

Today, Vicarian is returning from a November layoff after a winning effort at Churchill Downs under Calvin Borel.  He switches to Julien Leparoux and projects for a good stalking trip behind the expected hot pace.  He did benefit from a perfect trip last time out but his best race puts him right there.

As for the others:

Bidham (#6) won here in 2009, but he added front wraps in his most recent start at Calder, and blew a big late lead.  Turning back to six furlongs may be just what the doctor ordered, but he may end up too close to very fast splits.  Note that he's 4-6 over wet tracks and 0-10 over fast going.

Don't be concerned about the "trainer change" on San Valentino(#2).  Tom Albertrani is on suspension and his horses will run in the name of his assistant, Daniel Blacker.  San Valentino has the right running style for this race and he chased some salty foes when third in the slop last out at Belmont (Pashito the Che returned to win the Gallant Bob at Philly with a 108 Beyer and the Jack Dudley Sprint at Calder with a 101 while Ju Jitsu Jax returned to win an allowance at Charles Town with a 98 Beyer). 

The main concern with San Valentino is the plethora of layoffs on his page.  He didn't race at two and only managed five starts last year with three layoff lines.  He also doesn't show a published workout in the last 16 days.  He'll have to overcome the inside post as well.

Knights Cross (#10)may be the speed of the speed and he loves the turf-to-dirt move (2-2 with that angle in his career).  I thought his fourth behind Gayego at Saratoga was better than it looks on paper as it appeared he was on the deeper part of the racetrack that day.  He has winning experience on this track but needs to avoid a protracted speed duel in order to get his picture taken.

Haps Alphabet Soup (#12)finished six lengths behind Bidham over that one's preferred sloppy going three back at Calder.  He seems to really prefer fast dirt but may be in a bit tough here from a pace and race standpoint.

Keechi Bullet (#5)won here last season, but he's looked dull in his last three starts, and was rather disappointing most recently at Philly Park.  Very forgiving handicappers will note that in those three races, he ran on wet going twice and polytrack the other time.  Perhaps getting back to fast dirt will motivate him to a better finish.

Top Echelon (#4)figures to benefit from a quick early pace, but he hasn't won since September 27, 2008 (13 in a row), and those defeats at Indiana Downs, Hoosier, and Hawthorne fail to excite.

I'll play it this way for the HandiGambling:

$55 Win - Starship Valor (9)
$20 Exacta - Formidable - Starship Valor (7-9)
$10 Exacta - He's So Chic - Starship Valor (11-9)
$10 Exacta - Prince Omar - Starship Valor (13-9)
$5 Exacta - Vicarian - Starship Valor (8-9)

Best of luck to all.

Back next time with questions, comments, pp requests, and updates on some favorite horses.

Cheers,

Dan

ilovemesomeme More than 1 year ago
Annie, Congrats to your purple people eaters, I have a houseload of sad family here from Odessa, (Coors Lights are disappearing at an alarming rate) but just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the butt kicking I took this weekend at SA and by the Vikings. Good for Chantal and her followers, enjoy it while you have it! I'll dust myself off and try again.
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Annie WHO knows what will become of Twirling Candy & Spicer.. ...Maybe Starbucks will name a new coffe drink: THE Valentines 'Spicer Latte' with a Sweet 'Twirling Candy' swizzle stick....he-he-he Or maybe they WILL end up in Valparaiso, Chile, or South America. ______________________________ Dick W ...it's my pleasure to help out. SR Vegas
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
1/15/10 MKB Workouts Santa Anita (all weather/fast) Setsuko - 6F 1:14.40 Handily - Midwest Ed Kettle River - 4F 0:48.20 Handily - tencentcielo Palm Meadows (dirt/fast) Pistecilli - 5F 1:01.30 Handily - Mickey Payson Park (dirt/fast) Drosselmeyer (aka : Stinky) 1:01.40 Breezing others of interest: HOLD ME BACK..is he looking as Handsome as before, Laura? 4F 0:49.60 Breezing on a fast track at Payson Park. (one of my MKB of past) ...oh, someone I've been watching ALFARABI a 3 yo PGH... 3F 0:34.60 Santa Anita..Handily...Hmmmm?
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Annie ...you are tooo fun..Valparaiso, Chile or not! Thanks for keeping an eye on my lonesome baby.. (SPICER) will show up....umm, some where... You have enough on your hands to keep count of! SR Vegas
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Okay...some more MKB workouts: 1/15/20.... Santa Anita ( all weather/fast) Setsuko - 6F 1:14.40 Handily - Midwest Ed Kettle River - 0:48.20 handily - tencentcielo Payson Park (dirt/fast) Drosselmeyer ( aka: Stinky) 5F 1:01.40 Breezing - Laura Palm Meadows (dirt /fast) Piscitelli 5F 1:01.30 Handily
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Hi Annie Regarding the nominees for the Triple Crown, announced on 1/16. IF my Spicer SHOULD NOT appear on the list...of course, surprises do happen.. I don't know if it would be okay to accept another horse. Since I DID join Laura's IMS and have a few others in the stable as partners. Last count were: Drosselmeyer - Laura Make Music for Me- Keith L Piscitelli - Mickey Spicer - SR Vegas Peppi Knows - blackstone Lookin at Lucky - TurnbacktheAlarm Oak Motte - Jeanne Toboggan Slide - Annem Positive Split - memphawg ??Roman Invasion - Emily ?? ...Laura, PLEASE chime in here...who is the latest in the IMS? But if the MKB rules allow it, & if you are uncertain as to your re-assignment guidelines, I would humbly ask the MKB genie for LAUS DEO...as my alternate pick. I know, I know, he's not a PGH , but I'll take him & treat him so very well. SR Vegas
chicago gerry More than 1 year ago
Dan, A two year old who reached a 100 Beyers used to be one characteristic of the the Kentucky Derby winners profile. Of course his characteristic has changed over the past few years as the KD winners are coming into the race differently now, in terms of things like the number of prep races prior to the Derby. The winning Kentucky Derby trainer probably still needs to get his charge ready to run a 110 Beyer by the 1st Saturday in May. It's all about the trainer that is capable of doing this with the talent he has. I suppose some trainers are better at this than others. I am thinking there has only been very few that have run a 100 Beyer as a two year old among this years 3 year old crop. I could be wrong about that but I don't think it is very many. In any event, it will be interesting to see how those 3 year olds who break a 100 Beyers early on in 2010, say in January or February, do when it comes to the Derby. I wonder if it will make much of a difference over time and come to part of a new KD profile.
Annie More than 1 year ago
OK, here's the basics for VICSTU'S Eightyfiveinafifty: He is a bay colt by Forest Camp, a son of Deputy Minister out of Lifeinthefastlane (oh, cute!) by Unbridleds Song. He was born on 4/8. Your trainer is Gary Contessa. He has had two starts, with one win and one show. Vicstu and Dan have already outlined his accomplishments (er accomplishment), so I won't go into that again. Good luck with your horse! Annie
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
blackstone Moi'? ..need a larger memory chip ?..what's that? from a non computer techie like me? (that's what my RAH is for, LOL!) I use the DRF 'TOOLS' link to build my Horse Watch list. (see at the top of this page) THEY must have a gaz-zillion-billion memory chip capacity for all who may use this tool.It's a great resource, and it's free! If you (or others) have not used it...click on the tab, & check it out. BTW...besides all the MKB horses I watch, personal list of Derby horses, and favorite Formblogger owned horses, I also have a large list of PGH who I follow...uh, imagine that. SR Vegas
Calvin L. Carter More than 1 year ago
vicstu, Via Verde, a half brother to Musket Man, is running in the San Rafael at Santa Anita Saturday.