02/03/2010 2:17PM

HG 171 (Off The Turf)


This week's HandiGambling 171 exercise is the eighth race from Gulfstream Park, a $62,500 optional claimer with 'n2x' conditions for older runners at ten 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.

As of this writing, the main track is fast.  This race has been taken off the turf.  Let's scratch Royal Challenger (#1), Ordination (#2), Silver Mountain (#4), Andhaar (#6), Mr. Universo (#7), and Memorial Maniac (#8).

That leaves us with an unappetizing group of four. 

Headache (#10) has four wins on fast dirt.  The rest of the field combined boasts one win on a quick main track.  I think it's safe to draw a line through Headache's poor recent running line.  In that one-turn mile, Headacke was checked hard leaving the chute, and raced down inside where he was checked again entering the turn.  Understandably, Julien Leparoux didn't beat up on his gray mount as he was hopelessly beaten over the speed-favoring surface turning for home.  An interesting reclaim (Headacke was originally purchased at public auction for $85,000 by Kenneth and Sarah Ramsay, lost him for $20,000 at Saratoga, and immediately took him back for $25,000 at Belmont), Headache figures to be tracking expected pacesetter Gabriel's Hill (#3).  The distance is the main concern.  Headache has won at 1 1/16 miles, and his sire won the Wood Memorial at nine furlongs, but the unraced dam's most accomplished runner to date was multiple stakes-placed sprinting.  The second dam, Del Mar Debutante winner La Spia, was best up to a mile.  Headache looks good on paper, but the distance does provide some worries.

Gabriel's Hill should handle the distance without a problem.  A son of Breeders' Cup Classic winner A.P. Indy out of Flower Bowl winner Lailani, Gabriel's Hill already boasts two victories at nine furlongs.  A Darley castoff privately purchased by Haras Cotacachi of Ecuador after a third-place finish at Golden Gate, Gabriel's Hill shipped to South America where he promptly broke a nine-furlong track record in his sole South American race.

To view Gabriel's Hill's run in Ecuador, follow the link below, and click on the upper left hand box:


Expect Gabriel's Hill to try and control this race from the get-go ala his race in Ecuador.  He looks like the horse to beat.

Cat 'n Fiddle (#9) shouldn't be counted out following a runner-up effort in an off-the-turf race at this distance on January 17.  It should be noted, however, that he is racing above his conditions here as he is still eligible for a 'n2L' race.  Cat' n Fiddle doesn't have much speed and may have to get into the race earlier lest he be left with too much to do when the real running begins.

New Fandan (#5) won the John Henry Stakes over 11 furlongs in October, but that race was contested over yielding turf.  He was beaten over forty lengths by the mare, Borrowing Base, in the Power Lunch Stakes on dirt at Aqueduct two back, and was beaten 18 lengths in his only other race on the main track (allowance over 12 furlongs in the mud in Brazil in 2007).  He'll take a drop in class, but is another that likes to do his running from off the pace.

A race that I won't play with real money, but for HG purposes, I'll take a leap of faith on Headache handling the distance.

$50 Exacta - Headache - Gabriel's Hill (10-3)
$50 Exacta - Headache - Cat 'n Fiddle (10-9)

Watch New Fandan beat me.

Best of luck to all.

C. Warner More than 1 year ago
HCP 174 : $5 TRIs : 8/4/2-5 & 8/5/2-4 = $20 $20 EXACTA BOX : 5/8 = $40 $20 EXACTAs : 8/4-5 = $40 Totals - $100
wilson More than 1 year ago
HG 171a $100 trifecta 4-10-5 Quality Road should win this easily despite the weight disadvantage, although I'd give Delightful Kiss a chance if their post draws had been reversed. Delightful Kiss won't be able to catch him, but he'll be coming late. I also think Dry Martini will run big, and he liked the slop at Acqueduct last year, so I think he's in the mix as well. I like this one stone cold because I just think Delightful Kiss is a little better than Dry Martini right now.
C More than 1 year ago
Didn't Rags to Riches win Grade 1s at 1m and 1 1/2? It doesn't happen that often because we don't run a lot of 1 1/2 races. In Europe, this happens frequently. Everyone is so afraid of big, bad Quality Road. Why? Sure he could win, but unbeatable? A lock? He's not THAT great and he's also a nutcase who has had several physical problems. It would not be surprising if he won, but I have a feeling the HG winner might be the one who tries to beat him. With Dutrow in the mix, that's always possible. I had to laugh when Mike mentioned 5YO transformations and big trainer switches. That's one way to look at it.
C More than 1 year ago
PGM, The only talk about Zenyatta and Rachel is between diehard racing fans, mostly on the internet. The general public has no clue. Ask 10000 random people who Phil Helmuth is. At least 2500 will know he's a poker player. Then ask them who Rachel Alexandra is. First of all, they'll assume it's a human woman. You might get 200 people who know. Am I suggesting poker is more popular than horse racing? Yes, I am. Saratoga Springs and Del Mar are hot summertime vacation spots. They will draw fans as long as they are open because they've been part of the local culture in those areas for many decades. But are they drawing more handle? The only people who want to save racing are us. The public could care less. In fact, thanks to Barbaro and the PETA response to Eight Belles, most non-fans I know actually want to see racing shut down for good.
Mickey More than 1 year ago
CM: No problem as I agree 100% with you...too bad the times that Easy Goer "needed" to be his best he showed up with a lesser effort. C: I have read your posts with Steve T..and believe it or not sometimes you come across as someone who "puts down" the accomplishments of Zenyatta. You did the same thing with me back in October with Gio Ponti..and all he did (after you stated he was over the top,..didn't beat anyone in his Grade 1 races, was scared to run in the Turf)..was run 2nd to an undefeated mare in the toughest race of the year? I have NO DOUBT that you are an honest and good racing fan with plenty of knowledge of the sport..but sometimes your opinions (and really everyone is entitled to them) get in the way of focusing on what others are saying/writing. Just like it is MY OPINION, which is shared by many on here...that Zenyatta deserved HOY..there are many on here that don't. You, through some past posts, have stated to Steve T about Zenyatta's competition and the feeling she wouldn't be undefeated if she raced exclusively on dirt tracks. That's your opinion and I guess a few of us on here disagree...myself included. RA has had nice accomplishments as well..but if you are going to "DISSECT" fields that Zenyatta has raced against..then start with RA..because there is a lot more to dissect with those. Sure Gabby's Golden Gal is a dual Grade 1 winner NOW but what was she prior to the trouncing?...You can say the same about Flashing. (who was crushed in a speed dual in that one in a THREE horse field) RA's competition..IMO...centers around ONLY ONE true horse she beat ALL YEAR...Summer Bird in the Haskell. Basically every other horse she ran against..outside of the ones mentioned..have done NOTHING of note. At least Zenyatta's whipping girl (Life is Sweet) won the Ladies Classic easily (THE TOP FEMALE RACE OF THE YEAR)..and can't you at least acknowledge that? For every horse you state that Zenyatta beat up on..I can just throw up Macho Again and Bullsbay..the "salt" in the cupcake!...LOL
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
..."Anyone taking bets on the Magna5 canceling for the 2nd time this weekend?" Alan you nailed that one ! SR Vegas
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
vicstu Thank you for the breakdown of the Zayat-5/3 legal battle. I will now take two asprin & call back in the morning. What a headache & what a shame. SR Vegas
Caseyjeaux More than 1 year ago
These are the only Oaklawn races that I have looked at so far. I'll post more if I have time to look. Race 4 #8 Swithced On. Even cheap speed alone on front is dangerous. Sire and dam sire @ 16% off track starters. Good connections. #6 Miss Snow Nose. Drops in class. sire 19% and dam sire 15% off track starters. I've made good money on these connections in past. Race 8 #12 North Goal. Not a clue why this horse is 10/1 m/l. Hard to find better claiming connections @OP. Won against 10K N2L in slop last out. #10 Prince Hope. Reclaimed by Asmussen, then reclaimed by Martin. 2/3 ITM OP. Lemon Drop Kid 2/3 ITM off track. These are his friends. Race 10 #3 Sizzleate Sire is 22% with off track starters. Repeat of last effort probably wins this. #8 Sarah's Song Trainer 31% with first timers. Sire and dam sire @ 17% with off track starters. Sold for 10x stud fee. #12 Honor Hymn Asmussen at good odds. Scary! Good Luck, Caseyjeaux
blackstone More than 1 year ago
Stephen Taylor-Weekend HG We have been over this issue a number of times, and the reasons for a Wednesday Contest don't need repeating here. For myself, I strongly prefer Wednesdays, again I won't repeat all the reasons-I think Dan and the majority of bloggers do as well. So my vote is to keep it in the middle of the week.
Charlton More than 1 year ago
One more 4f differential winner in a GI - Rags to Riches won the GI Las Virgenes Stakes at 1 mile, then went on to win the Belmont.