02/25/2010 2:15PM

HG 174, Derby Futures


Today's HandiGambling 174 exercise is the seventh race from Gulfstream, a $100,000 optional claimer for older runners at nine furlongs on the grass. 

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.

The turf course is currently rated GOOD. 
The track feed shows both #2 NOWNOWNOW and #3 WESLEY as racing with BLINKERS OFF

Quite a competitive and puzzling affair. 

I thought WESLEY would have a good year in 2009 after capturing the Grade 3 Miami Mile Handicap in his first start with blinkers, but he floundered in his last three races of the season, and was finally put away in early summer.  He faced some of the better horses in the division (Justenuffhumor, Presious Passion, Gio Ponti) while running in such races as the Grade 1 United Nations and Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap.  He simply isn't as good as those runners but this drop in class should hit him between the eyes. 
As a late runner, he'll need some pace to help his kick, and #4 MARQUET CAT and #7 WHEELS UP AT NOON both like to hear their feet rattle up front.  I am concerned about the layoff as well as the wet going, but Wesley has shown some flashes in his career, and he ran well off the bench to kick off his 2009 campaign over this course.  I'll give him a tepid nod.

MARQUET CAT won two of his last three races in front-running style and he looms the main speed once again this afternoon.  This is a pretty big step up in class as the runner-up at Tampa last time, Stepaside, is a New York-bred riding an 8-race losing streak, and couldn't win a $16,000 claimer last fall at Aqueduct.  Still, "pace makes the race," and the in-form speed should offer a healthy mutuel. 

#1 GRAND CASH will face older horses for the first time as the newly-turned 4-year-old makes his return from a four-month respite.  Unlike WESLEY and MARQUET CAT, he shows established form on turf with a little "give" to it, and the pace should be suitable for his late-running needs.  He enjoyed very good trips when winning the American Dreamer three back, and finishing second in the Grade 3 Calder Derby last time out, and one has to wonder if trainer David Vivian will have him completely fit for this optional claimer.  With a little improvement, he can get into the number.

I've always been a NOWNOWNOW fan and it's interesting that he'll run with Blinkers Off.  He'll make the third start of the layoff, but while the last two races were tough, I couldn't find too many excuses for Nownownow.  The San Pasqual looks like a slow race and he didn't do anything in the San Antonio.  Perhaps switching back to grass will help, but he's going to take his share of money off reputation (initial Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf winner with seven straight graded races on display), and may not be worth the short price.  We know he likes a wet turf course so that certainly works to his favor.  He's hard to leave out. 

WHEELS UP AT NOON may have been a bit too close to some hot fractions last time out, but he may be caught between a rock and a hard place today.  He probably will be sitting behind MARQUET CAT heading down the backstretch, and that's where the quandry begins.  If he goes with that one, a speed duel could harm his chances.  If he allows Marquet Cat to set an easy lead, will he be able to rally from off it?  Occasionally, he runs a big race, but he's never run back to that 102 Beyer at Delaware, a race in which he drifted out noticeably in the stretch. 

#6 DANAK, a Group 3 winner over firm going in Ireland, reportedly suffered a muscle injury when fourth in the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup.  He raced only three times after that race before being vanned off the track when favored in the Fourstardave Handicap on August 3, 2008.  He reportedly suffered only cuts to his legs in that race, but was off for more than a year, and hasn't done much in his two most recent races.  He has to show more before I get very enthused.

Tough race.  I'm not expecting much, but I'll play it like this for HG:

$40 Exacta - Wesley over Grand Cash (3/1)

$40 Exacta - Wesley over Marquet Cat (3/4)

$20 Exacta - Wesley over Nownownow (3/2)

Best of luck to all.


Here are the latest Kentucky Derby Future Odds from Lucky's Las Vegas:

Download Kentucky Derby updated 0224 (2)

Jeff Tatus More than 1 year ago
Is "Mr. Hot Stuff" finally live with the perfect trip he should get today?
Stringmail More than 1 year ago
Chicago Gerry I guess it's a matter of why you are playing the horses. I can't imagine ROI not being at the top of mind of every horseplayer unless they have the discretionary income to view the horses as entertainment. There is nothing wrong with the latter but I'd prefer to be a 'capper with a positive ROI as opposed to one who can pick winners at a high %. I would think another question to consider is how much time is spent in handicapping and how much is spent in bet construction. I would think that bet construction is the downfall for most handicappers. We will fail in almost all of our wagers but those that we hit, we had better hit hard. Regards
Keith L. More than 1 year ago
vicstu: We are in agreement on JB's best gambit, sir. The presence of Rule and D'funnybone in the Fla Derby might comprimize a true run and gun approach to the race for JB, but having him up on the pace gives him a chance to get the jump on the mid-pack salkers, like Exkendereya as he passes the tiring early speed. I'd bet on it...especially with Garcia in the irons (I might even settle for Eddie Castro). I like Jeremy Rose...just not on this horse.
chicago gerry More than 1 year ago
The Byron King article on synthetic sires was interesting. I noticed he did not do as much with the California Sires. These have been studied and discussed here for some time. I like the California horses more than I let on. Would really like to get out to Santa Anita some day. Ran across some information from Brisnet while re-reading imformation about exactas. Thought others constructing their exacta might benefit. Hope it does not take up too much room here. Characteristics of Place Horses Here are a number of characteristics that are helpful for identifying place horses. Opposing Pace: This one is very strong and it happens frequently. The place horse often has a running style that is the exact opposite of the winning horse. Consider this: As you watch the horses coming down the stretch run approaching the finish line in a race, you are generally rooting either for an early running horse to hold on or you are rooting for a closer to catch and pass the front runner. Not an Early ("E") Running Horse: Horses with an "E" running style, by definition, must get and hold the lead. It is axiomatic in horse racing that when an "E" horse is passed by another horse, far more often than not, the "E" horse gives up and is no longer a factor in the race. If you think an "E" horse is going to get passed early to mid stretch, you can generally leave the horse out of the Exacta. Anti-Bias Horses: This is the case when a horse has a running style that is clearly going against the track's pace bias. For example, horses with Presser ("P") or Sustainer ("S") running styles are often the better candidates for the place position when running on the heavily early biased dirt track at Belmont Park. Unbalanced Horses: We consider a horse to be "unbalanced" if it has good speed, but lower class or if it has high class, but lower speed. These horses are generally not good candidates to win the race because they come up short and finish in the place spot. "Seconditis": Some horse's figures look very good on paper, good enough to win the race, but the horses come up short because they simply have a habit of finishing second. These horses tend to "jump out at you" on past performance reports. The best exacta payoffs come from Turf Races, followed by Synthetic races, followed by dirt races. Thanks,
longwaytomay More than 1 year ago
Mike A. Did you happen to see that Christine Daae is also entered in 1 1/8 allowance race at GP on Sunday? Is Sat. race too tough or do they want to see her really stretch out?
Caseyjeaux More than 1 year ago
americashorse, Sidney's Candy is probably headed to the Gotham. Caseyjeaux
bobc More than 1 year ago
Dale, BAM, BOOM, POP, CRASH, THUD: That's the sound of my bubble bursting. Do you delight in informing kids in your neighborhood about Santa??? LOL Sometimes in life, I find it better NOT to look behind the curtains. bobc P.S. After he visits me, I'll remind the Easter Bunny to leave you a "Special" Treat this year. LOL
jim tully More than 1 year ago
Oh, and he's being spotted at least 7 lbs. by the rest of the field.
jim tully More than 1 year ago
Call me crazy but I think the Jack Van Berg horse in the 2nd race at SA today has a shot. On first glance he's coming from a 5k claimer at Los Al and looks outclassed but actually that race had a 15k purse so this might actually be a slight drop. Throw that race out and his mid 60 beyers put him right there with this field other than Get Off The Sugar and Sidepocket Lou. But I expect GOTS to bounce a little because his last race was over one of those rare days that speed was great at SA. I know, I bet him that day. So if GOTS bounces and SPL does as well in his third race in three weeks, then Warren's Flyin High has a big shot. Another Van Berg horse ran his eyeballs out yesterday in a straight maiden so maybe that's a sign his barn is "heating up." If the bug boy will just sit him off the pace, he might have enough to squeak one out for the Hall of Famer.
Annie More than 1 year ago
KNM, Finally read your note about Charly and checked his blog. Sure enough, he worked this morning in company with Schoolyard Dreams! Since when do they work a horse with his competitor????? Is this a common practice? I wouldn't think so. Anyway, Charly worked 1:00B and Schoolyard worked :59.80B. I don't know if I like that at all. Nobody consulted me. :) Anyway, they're supposed to update his blog and tell us how the work went, so I'll reserve judgment for now. Annie