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HG 175 (Gotham)
Today's HandiGambling 175 exercise is the tenth race from Aqueduct, the Grade 3 Gotham for three-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on the inner 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 track is fast, and there are no scratches. (#7) SHRIMP DANCER will be ridden by Gabriel Saez.
An extremely interesting Gotham and I'll have to go four deep in the $250,000 Guaranteed Late Pick Four.
(#5) I'VE GOT THE FEVER has been in with some tough customers throughout his short career. In his debut, he faced Aikenite, subsequently Grade 1-placed on dirt and polytrack. After being privately-purchased by IEAH Stables, he tackled Super Saver in the slop at Belmont (Super Saver won the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club for Todd Pletcher in his juvenile finale). For I've Got the Fever's last start at two, he had the misfortune to draw Rule (has now won his last four starts including a pair of graded stakes). For his three-year-old debut, I've Got the Fever took on Brake Lights, who won by 9 1/2 lengths and looked like a nice prospect before being forced off the Derby trail with a chip in his left front ankle.
Finally, in his fifth lifetime start, I've Got the Fever got a break in competition. Adding blinkers for the first time, he went right to the front, rode a golden rail, and scooted home to win with a 90 Beyer Speed Figure. He wheels back on two weeks rest and shouldn't be too far off the expected pacesetter (#10) WOW WOW WOW.
(#2) YAWANNA TWIST is a perfect 2-2 for Dutrow. Both races were fast and both were visually impressive, but he'll have to go two turns for the first time in his initial start out of the statebred ranks. Still, this doesn't look like the toughest field in the world, and Yawanna Twist may work out a good pace-tracking, ground-saving trip under Edgar Prado. I don't know if he beat anybody in that entry-level allowance race for New York-breds on February 7, however, and stalkers and closers, like Yawanna Twist, seemed to do best on the inner track that afternoon. He's an intriguing prospect this afternoon but price should ultimately be your final guide.
Wow Wow Wow drew a tough outside post position and one gets the feeling that Corey Nakatani will be on a dead-send leaving the stalls. The Whitney homebred has the speed to clear this field going into the first turn but may have to expend a good amount of energy in doing so. The Lukas barn has had a good start to the year at Oaklawn Park and Wow Wow Wow can contend if he runs back to his most recent Beyer Speed Figure. If the others leave him alone up front, he's capable of an upset. Note that he did shake loose against a suspect group at Oaklawn last time out, so the waters get deeper today.
(#6) PEPPI KNOWS reportedly grabbed a quarter in his left hind foot while winning the Whirlaway, a race that was drastically altered when heavily-favored Eightyfiveinafifty bolted going into the first turn. Fortunately for Peppi Knows, he didn't miss much time from the injury, and we know he handles this track and distance just fine. He has a good stalking gear, is remarkably consistent, and is usually ignored at the betting windows. Although a three-time stakes winner, he may be an overlay one more time.
As for the others:
(#1) THREE DAY RUSH was carried out by Eightyfiveinafifty in the opening quarter-mile of the Whirlaway and that may have somewhat compromised his stretch kick. He draws a good inside post position and jockey Fernando Jara is expected to put him into the race very early. Although bred for some success going long, Three Day Rush has acted like a sprinter thus far, and must escape that stigma this afternoon.
(#3) NACHO FRIEND won off by six in his career debut over Monmouth slop, then didn't have an easy trip when beaten only a length by Backtalk in the Grade 2 Sanford on opening week at the Spa. He hasn't been out since that race due to an ankle injury and one has to wonder if placing this colt in a two-turn Derby prep off the long layoff is a bit of "too much, too soon." Nacho Friend has some ability and his trainer, Kelly Breen, wins with a high-percentage of his starters.
(#4) AWESOME ACT's lone career victory came in a seven-furlong turf race at Goodwood last year but he was one of the few runners closing at the end of the slow-paced Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. That start indicates he has some ability and he has some American blood mingled with European class in his pedigree. His sire, Awesome Again, won the Breeders' Cup Classic while the dam earned a 96 Beyer winning on dirt after beginning her career in Europe. The dam is also a full sister to the classy European performer Machiavellian. It's quite possible this horse has the ability to overcome some difficult obstacles (shipping from Europe, first-time on dirt), but I'm not sure I'm willing to take a short price to find out.
Shrimp Dancer makes the third start of the form cycle after falling short as the betting favorite in a pair of statebred allowance races. He's stakes-placed on both dirt and turf but will be taking a big step up in class here.
(#8) TURF MELODY attracts Ramon Dominguez but the Remington Park stakes-winner didn't do much after being rank in the early stages of the Grade 3 LeComte last time out at the Fair Grounds. Turf Melody has been shopping for a spot since that race but finds a deep and contentious group waiting for him here. Nothing seems impossible for Dominguez, however, so he could be a sleeper at a price.
(#9) AFLEET AGAIN rallied mildly for second in the Whirlaway. He seems like a grinding type that will need some pace to properly setup his kick. His last race was a Beyer top but he'll probably need to up that number even more if he is to succeed here.
Very conservative HG wager:
$50 WP - I've Got the Fever (#5)
Best of luck to all:
Some quick and dirty selections for selected stakes races:
Toboggan: Elusive Warning
Palm Beach: Dean's Kitten
Big 'Cap: Jeranimo
Santa Anita Oaks: Zilva
More importantly, who do you like this weekend? I want to know.
Enjoy a big day of racing,
I've compiled some possible next starts for some of the MKB horses: March 13th San Felipe: BIGEASY BIGCHOK'S American Lion KEVIN S' Interactif MIKE ROMEO'S Caracortado March 13th Rebel: DAVE K'S Dublin TURNBACKTHEALARM'S Lookin at Lucky (if it rains at OP, he'll stay home for the San Felipe) March 13th Tampa Bay Derby: KNM & ANNIE'S Uptowncharlybrown DENNIS OF MOLINE'S Schoolyard Dreams SPARTAN TOM & SR VEGAS' Super Saver March 20th Florida Derby: LONGWAYTOMAY'S Eskendereya Possibly SKYDIMEAUNTIE'S Rule (but Pletcher wants to keep them apart, so one may go in the Wood). March 20th Sham: DOMINIC RICCIO'S Ibboyee LAWDUCK'S D'Funnybone (but he still might go in the Florida Derby) March 27th Louisiana Derby: ALAN H'S Mission Impazible March 27th Lane's End: CHAAZZ' Connemara April 3rd Wood: MIKE A'S Buddy's Saint CAPTAIN BODGIT'S Jackson Bend SKYDIMEAUNTIE'S Rule (if he doesn't go in the Floriday Derby) Ditto - LONGWAYTOMAY'S Eskendereya April 3rd Santa Anita Derby: KEITH L'S Make Music for Me April 10th Blue Grass: CALIBOB'S Aikenite We're moving right along! Annie
Annie, Thanks for the workout time; I'm impressed! I especially like the fact that it was NOT a bullet. It could be a change in tactics as you suggest, but perhaps he's just getting his act together. BTW, you have posted that the Sham will be on March 20th, and I think it was this past Sat. :) I'm looking forward to this weekend's race. AND, I looked out the window this morning and the forsythia bush has buds! At least, the one on the south side of the house does.
BTW, Travers mare, Sky, had a date on Saturday morning at Claiborne Farm. From what I understand, Sky and her date had a great time.
Frankie M, Here's an example of why I trust So. Cal workouts (as discussed on the Chat). Sat.'s Pick 6 winners at SA with their prior works: Race 6 - Make Music for Me, 2/20 1:25, 2/28 Bullet 1:00 Race 7 - Alphie's Bet, 2/20 Bullet 1:12.4, 2/28 Bullet 1:00. Hey, I bet those two worked together on 2/28. Alexis Barba trains both. :) Race 8 - Crisp, 2/28 Bullet 1:12 Race 9 - Proviso, 3/2 1:00.4 on turf with the dogs up. (That's very good). Race 10 - Misremembered, 3/1 Bullet 1:12.1 Race 11 - Crash Landing, 2/26 :47.3 Of course works aren't the only important factor, but in So Cal, if they work fast they more often than not, run fast. At the very least, it shows they are fit and ready. Annie
Alan, Excellent copy writing for the NHC Marketing campaign. Someday, someone is going to figure out the best people to promote our sport are the players. The people that make the purses possible. Great job.
Mike A, I just watched the replay a few times and I agree that Alphie's Bet looked great yesterday. He looked like a bigger, more athletic Papa Clem to me, with that great fluid stride. His run does flatter Caracortado and it may have been better than Caracortado's last. California is producing some serious prospects this time around.
This may be St. Patrick's day week, but the luck of the Irish isn't going to stop the Husky Blue Thongers of UConn Women's Basketball from setting the NCAA record with 71 consecutive wins with a drubbing of Notre Dame tonight in the Big East series matchup. Go Huskies!
Annie No I have not officially heard anything in regard to Three Day Rush being off the Derby trail. But anyone who watched the Gotham would come to that conclusion I am sure. In retrospect, I obviously should have entered him in the Fred "Cappy" Caposella Stakes at 6 furlongs on the Gotham undercard. But of course hindsight is always 20-20. So thank you for giving me one more chance with Awesome Act. I am surprised that no one had asked for him by now. He did not seem to get a whole lot of respect either before or after the Gotham except for a few positive comments from Mike A and a couple of others. I really do like his pedigree and think he has a chance to be a real contender. If he fails to deliver then I will declare 3 strikes and I am out. Thanks again and nice hit on that 10 cent super ! Dick W
Two horses to watch from this weekend... APPLE CHARLOTTE ran an excellent second in the Herecomesthebride (G3) at Gulfstream. She steadied early, clipped heels late, and still was a fairly close second to a loose on the lead winner... this while stepping up off a N1X victory. She could be a nice filly. ALFARABI ran an uninspiring 3rd in his minor stakes event at Santa Anita Saturday, but I think it was better than it looked. MAKE MUSIC FOR ME and MACIAS, first and second, are stakes quality horses, and Alfie was game to hold off the closers for third. Most importantly, Gomez gave this horse a bad ride, I thought. Alfie has a powerful closing kick (with which he has defeated SETSUKO among others), but in this event was kept close to the pace. He deserves another shot with a different trip.
a tale of two sixes... Friday SA p-6 $550k 2 favorites, 2 second choices, 2 9th choices. 49 horses ran total/ 4 payoffs under 4-1, 28-1, 52-1. Degree of difficulty: bordering on impossible? Sunday SA p-6 $220k 3 favorites, 1 third choice, 1 5th & 1 6th choice. 55 horses ran/ 4 payoffs at 4-1 or less, 11-1, 14-1. Degree of difficulty: moderate, as in why didn't I toss more than $48 bucks at it/ why did I try to beat Red Sun? aargh