01/20/2010 3:37PM

HG 169 (GP)


This week's HandiGambling 169 exercise is the ninth race from Gulfstream Park, a maiden special weight for three-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on turf.

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 turf course at Gulfstream is listed as "good." 

Let's scratch Don Cavallo (1A), My Kingdom Come (13), El Kingdom (14) and Vanishing Buck (15).

Note these rider changes:

Bigshot (9) will be ridden by Rajiv Maragh. 
Dixie Summer's (12) will be ridden by Javier Castellano

Thought there were four runners in here that I'd use in the final leg of my Pick 4 (utilizing the Steve Crist Ticketmaker method):

Lentenor (2) looks very logical on paper.  As a full brother to Kentucky Derby hero Barbaro, he's almost guaranteed to take money in every start, and he'll probably go off favored here for Michael Matz. 
Last time out, in his turf debut, Lentenor didn't have the easiest trip.  He was off awkwardly and had to be lightly steadied along the inside going into the first turn.  Sensing the moderate pace up front, his rider, Jose Lezcano, decided to hustle Lentenor up along the inside on the backstretch in order to grab a better position.  Lentenor angled four wide at the quarter-pole and finished evenly while a bit late to change leads. 
The winner of that race, On Vacation, returned to finish fifth (beaten 2 1/4 lengths) in an entry-level allowance race here on January 13 (81 Beyer).  Lentenor has to deal with a small layoff but should work out a nice ground-saving, pace-tracking trip under Lezcano.

Bill Mott (0-21 entering today's action) and Kent Desormeaux (now 2-41 after a win in today's second) have both struggled thus far at the Gulfstream meet but you have to think a turnaround is right around the corner.  Rock America (5), a $75,000 weanling purchase, makes his debut with some interesting workouts on display.  The December 20 workout matches up with Mott runners Adriano (won Grade 2 Lane's End Stakes on polytrack last year) and Sheikh's Serenade (entry-level allowance winner on dirt last year), and two of his next three works resulted in bullets.  Rock America's sire, Rock Hard Ten, is only 1-27 with first-time starters, but is 3-12 (25%) with first-time turf runners, and the dam is a half-sister to the solid New York-bred turf runner Whitmore's Conn (won Grade 1 Sword Dancer).  Mott's firsters usually don't fire their best first-out, but this colt may be able to sneak into the exotics at a decent mutuel.

I wrote the following when giving out One Sky (6) as a "Spa Baby" selection on August 16, 2009:

ONE SKY should be legged up with eight straight five-furlong workouts on display, and he shows an interesting turf drill at Aqueduct for high-percentage connections.  He should go off a solid price in a contentious field, and Richard Dutrow Jr. sent out juvenile first-turf winner Jung Man Scott earlier in the meet.

If One Sky won that day, my Saratoga meet would have been an easier pill to swallow, but he finished three-quarters of a length shy at 18 to 1 odds.  He didn't resurface after that race until the end of November when he faltered to finish behind Lentenor after pressing the pace.  After that race, he went to the sidelines again, and he doesn't show a published workout in the last 23 days.  He has some tactical speed.  I can't leave him out of my multi-race wagers.

Bigshot (9) always seems to get in some trouble.  He was forced widest at the quarter-pole when only beaten a neck at Saratoga in his turf debut and was "forced into the hedge in midstretch" when finishing ahead of two next-out winners at Churchill Downs on November 28.  He doesn't have to be too far out of it and trainer Ken McPeek has continued his hot stretch at the meet.

As for the rest:

Quando Quando (1) is a half-brother to Perfect Sting, a multiple Grade 1 winner on turf that earned over $2M on the lawn.  Two of the workouts in early December match up with Apple Charlotte, a promising Graham Motion-trained runner that just won her maiden at Tampa Bay Downs with a 79 Beyer.  Quando Quando is bred to the nines but it's never easy to successfully debut going two turns.  I'll be watching him with interest.  

Parthian (3), a $300,000 juvenile purchase by leading sire Giant's Causeway, was bet to even-money for his only other grass run, and he finished evenly for third at Delaware Park.  That race didn't produce anyone of note, however, and Parthian hasn't shown much of a stretch kick in his career.  He is quick enough to be part of the early pace, but hasn't run since October, and may need one off the bench.

Alcomatch (10), a $125,000 RNA as a yearling, is the first foal from unraced Vilia, a half-sister to Grade 2 sprint winner C'est L'Amour.  The second dam (by Blushing Groom) was a multiple stakes-winner on turf in France.  The December 21 and January 7 workouts match up with Christophe Clement's promising three-year-old Nordic Truce, a colt that won the Dania Beach at Gulfstream last week.  As with the case of Quando Quando, we see a well-bred firster with strong connections and decent workouts.

Rascallion (11) has enough speed to be right up on the lead this afternoon, but he hasn't raced since October, and has done his best work to date in turf sprints.  This seems like a tall order.

Dixie Summer's (12) hasn't done much in three lifetime starts and the bargain juvenile purchase may need weaker competition.  The outside post doesn't do him any favors, either.

Sarkar (7) trailed throughout after an awkward start in his career debut at Calder and now must stretch out three and one-half furlongs with no published works in the last 20 days.

Christopher'simage (4) is stakes-placed going two turns on the main track and he faced some of the better juvenile prospects in South Florida (Thank U Phillippe, Fly by Phil, Jackson Bend, Bim Bam) last year.  He goes second off the layoff and is a full brother to stakes-placed dirt router Charming Image (151K, 0-1 on turf).  The second dam was a Grade 2-placed sprinter on the main track.  This colt may have a little ability, but it's questionable whether the turf will be right for him.

Person of Interest (8) didn't do much when dismissed at 24-1 when debuting on New Year's Day, but there is some turf pedigree on display.  He's a half-brother to three turf winners including Savage Beauty (first-turf winner, stakes-placed on grass).  He can do a bit better today.

Four deep for me in the final leg of the Pick 4.  For HandiGambling, I'll play it this way:

$40 Exacta:  Lentenor - Rock America (2-5)
$40 Exacta:  Lentenor - One Sky (2-6)
$20 Exacta:  Lentenor - Bigshot (2-9)

Best of luck to all! 

Bradley More than 1 year ago
From a post on the bloodhorse......All of these comments regarding Thorn Song are ridiculous and show an amazing lack of knowledge about equine insurance. Such coverage is dictated by terms of a comprehensive contract that must meet guidelines set out by state regulators. There are absolutely instances where mortality claims are paid without a horse dying. In fact, most insurance companies will force an owner to exhaust all plausible measures of veterinary care - at the owners' expense - before they pay a claim. Those factors seem to be at work here, according to the trainer and a spokesperson for the underwriter. So, while all you conspiracy theorists salivate over the thought of someone's misfeasance, the truth is that it would have been nearly impossible for someone to fake a horse's death and get it by an underwriter. There are just too many checks and balances. Given the tight-fisted distribution habits of most insurance companies, do you really think this one would pay such a sizable claim without hard evidence or proof? Sure. Shame on all of you who have indicated Zayat on 'insurance fraud' without knowing of what you speak.
MAT More than 1 year ago
Beyer for the Holy Bull was 91. Considering WH hadn't run in two months, wasn't fully cranked for this race, and wasn't even expected to win by his own trainer, I think he showed a lot of promise in this race. JB had the entire stretch to catch him and couldn't, wide trip or not. WH moved up on that fast past by the half way point and ran 3/4 as swiftly as the rest. So, I think both of the top two have a bit of an excuse to come home rather slowly, but it was their first race back, and it's only January, so I expect more from them, esp. WH. The way he split horses with his little amount of experience impressed me. I've been following WH since Saratoga and I think he's going to make some noise this spring. The FoY is next for him and he'll be meeting up with Buddy's Saint, so that should tell us something more about him. Maybe I missed it, but I saw no mention on here of Friesan Fire's nice win over General Quarters at Fairgrounds yesterday. Beyer was 104. Hoping to see a lot more of this guy this year. AP Indys tend to mature late, so I hope he blossoms into something special. The male handicap division will need some who can hold their own against the ladies this year!
BigEasyBigChok More than 1 year ago
Americashorse, Nice comment on a man who works as hard as Dan does for people he knows only through HIS blog and who works extremely hard for others. IMO your name is missing 3 letters. BigEasyBigChok
Annie More than 1 year ago
I heard a rumor that Uncle Steve is out at SA, helping to mop the track so they can have racing tomorrow. :) Annie
Dick W More than 1 year ago
Annie Thank you [I think :)] for that heads up on Brian Mulligan's 'closer look' comments regarding my very masculine equine hulk, Litigation Risk. I put in a person to person collect call to Mr Mulligan to suggest that he should indeed take another even closer look and to provide a lesson in distinguishing between the male and female of the species. But he refused to accept the charges. I have given orders that L. R. is not to be allowed within 100 ft of a DRF at any time prior to the Holy Bull. As I said in a earlier post, my L. R. is not getting a lot of respect, but this is ridiculous !!! Dick W
terry More than 1 year ago
Holy Bull If you want to look at a live longshot.Look no further than Williams Kitten.This horse will be flying by the time he gets to the 1/8 pole.Just watch his last race.He got clobbered in the stretch and still almost won.His BC race can be thrown out,doesnt seem to like poly much.....
Annie More than 1 year ago
Caseyjeaux, That's OK, Kelley Belles' victory will just taste all the sweeter. :) Annie
Annie More than 1 year ago
Mickey, Now see, Vicstu's got you spelling your horse's name wrong again. And after you just got it down. PISCITELLI! :) Annie
BillG More than 1 year ago
blackstone,10cent, My PH picks. Hal's Hope: HOMEBOYKRIS Tiffany Lass: QUIET TEMPER Leggio: TRUSTY TEMPER Lecompte: CITRUS KID Some very tough races. Blackstone, Now you know who to delete from consideration! Other picks Louisiana Hcp. GOOD AND LUCKY Paumonok: WALL ST. WONDER Good luck to all!
Whackymacky More than 1 year ago
Good Morning All... I did take a road trip to Foxwoods yesterday to play some poker and take a break from the Sport of King's. Just catching's up on some reading. p ensign Baze was 1/5 out of the #1 hole. Big prices in the show pool as he ran out in a 5 horse field. I would have had that one. Paid $17.20, $75.40, and $69.20 to show. Just plain stupid. Jim Tulley Nice to see you in the winner's circle in HG 169. Great to get that 92-1 shot up by a nose. GP has been bomb city with a 40-1 shot and 28-1 shot yesterday. Santa Anita has been getting washed away with 4-5 inches of rain. Who think's that the good old dirt will show up again? Americashorse What's the deal? Some heavy words for our man Dan. If you don't like what we do here, just go somewhere else. Plain and simple. We have a nice family here and enjoy what we do and love. If you have something positive to add to the discussion, we are all ears, if not, please go away. Good luck to all today. Whackymacky Out!!!