03/31/2010 12:38PM

HG 179 (West Coast Maidens)


Today's HandiGambling exercise is the eighth race from Santa Anita, a statebred maiden special weight for fillies and mares at 5 1/2 furlongs on the Pro-Ride racing surface. 

Remember that you have a mythical $100 with which to wager on the races, 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.  One entry per person please.  I reserve the right to approve or deny any entries.

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.

Best of luck to all.

As of this writing, there are no scratches.  #8 SWISS JEWEL races with Lasix.

On paper, this race looks ripe for a first-time starter.  I'm guessing that's where the majority of the money will go, however, so I'll concentrate on the experienced runners and hope that one of them steps up their game.

#1 SIBERSKY made up some late ground at 40-1 in her career debut, but that race came back pretty slow.  The older open maiden special weight that she raced in finished up in 1:10.26 while a $32,000 maiden claimer restricted to three-year-old fillies two races later went in 1:10.16.  Still, she has some pedigree and is eligible to improve second-time out.  Her dam, Shay, was a multiple stakes-winner (earned 100 Beyer Speed Figure in winning the six-furlong Arches of Gold Stakes on dirt at Golden Gate) that has already foaled Getback Time, a multiple stakes-placed performer that won second-time out at Santa Anita. 

Bruno De Julio, the crack workout analyst for Today's Racing Digest(available on drf.com), was somewhat heartened by Sibersky's gate workout on March 25.  Sibersky "worked from the gate with unraced three-year-old Tiz Smoke Tiz Fire," according to Bruno.  "Broke well and the pair went eye to eye for duration of the drill in well matched.  Showed some competitive nature without being asked.  Final furlong in 11 4/5."

Sibersky drops into a statebred claimer and is eligible to rally strongly in the stretch once again.

#2 MISS PEANUT is 30-1 on the morning line, but she's been given plenty of time to grow into herself after a pair of double-digit defeats last summer.  In her career debut at Hollywood Park, she broke slowly over a speed-favoring track.  Last time, at Del Mar, she caught a salty field that included a pair of next-out winners as well as Champagne d'Oro, who just finished second in last week's Fair Grounds Oaks.  The rider switch to Martin Pedroza may allow her to get into the race a bit quicker.  We may see more early speed as Bruno noted that she "worked with cheap speed type, maiden claimer, Billssecondchance," on March 17.  Went in 235.3 early and on even terms, dropped back two after a half and finished a length behind late."  On March 26, she "worked from the pole and went in 23.1 early for Silverio and then finished in 25.1 for the final 1/4.  Went in 48.2."

#4 PIC O DREAM hasn't done much in her career and she has had problems with her lead changes.  Still, she did show some early interest last time out at Golden Gate.  Barring a quick firster, she can be prominent from the start and the slight turnback in distance may work to her advantage. 

#7 BUTCH MARINO may have been overmatched against open company when making her career debut going down the hill on March 24.  The dam, The Parties Over, was stakes-placed going seven furlongs on dirt at Del Mar so it may be a bit early to give up on this one just yet.  She wheels back on a week's notice for Barry Abrams and that barn has been very successful with quick turnarounds.  She's worth a shot at 20-1 on the morning line.

As for the first-time starters:

#3 MONEY LOVER's sire, Marino Marini is 6-56 with first-time starters.  The dam, a $150,000 yearling purchase, won 1 of 3 lifetime starts (going a mile on dirt at Turfway; she never sprinted) and this is her first starter.  The dam is also a half-sister to Favorite Times, a stakes-placed sprinter on dirt at Solano.  Bruno really liked this one's workout on March 22.  "Looked very good from the outset while posting splits of 12 1/5, 24.0, 35 2/5.  Finished up very well to get the final quarter in 24.0 flat void of any urging.  Looks like a runner at this level."
Note that this barn is only 1 for their last 30 with debut runners over the past couple of years.

#5 MS TREASURE HUNTER is by the top debut sire, In Excess, (97-586, 17%) and is the first runner out of a mare that won five times.  Note that all five of those wins came at one mile so this distance may be a bit short for Ms Treasure Hunter.  For the March 25 workout, Bruno noted that she "went very even throughout while never being asked.  24 2/5, 36 4/5.  Finished up in hand while covering the final 1/4 in 24 2/5.  Could be a factor at first asking."

#6 SANTINA's sire, Mud Route, connects with 12% of his debut runners.  The dam won four sprints and has already foaled three sprint winners.  There is not a ton of blacktype close up in this female family, but it's good to see David Flores stick around for the finale, and the March 18 workout looks pretty quick.

#8 SWISS JEWEL was the second highest-priced yearling at the Barretts California Yearling Sale in 2007, but it's obviously taken a long time to get her to the races.  She is in the very capable hands of Carla Gaines, attracts the master jockey Rafael Bejarano, and is by a sire that wins with 12% of his firsters.  The dam was stakes-placed on grass at one mile.  Bruno liked the move on March 22.  "Good series of drills for debut for solid barn.  Most recent drill could not have gone any easier.  12 2/5, 24 3/5, 37.0 flat.  Came home with plenty left to get the final quarter in 24.0 flat.  The presence of leading rider aboard for debut suggests she's got more ability than morning activity has shown to date."

The firsters should be tough in this race, but I'll fish for a price with the experienced runners.

$50 Exacta - Sibersky with Miss Peanut (1-2)
$50 Exacta - Sibersky with Pic o Dream (1-4)

Best of luck to all.