04/07/2010 2:39PM

HG 180 (Oaklawn claimer)


Today's HandiGambling exercise is the sixth race from Oaklawn Park, a $35,000 claimer at six furlongs for fillies and mares that have never won three races.

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.  Please post your plays and analysis to the blog. 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, the track is fast.  Let's add two pounds to #3 MIKAYLAH FAITH.

I landed on five contenders in this interesting heat.

#7 LABELED seems to do her best running when turning back in distance and she goes route-to-sprint for high-percentage trainer Bret Calhoun.  Her stalking style should work well in a race with several speeds, and she shouldn't be too far away when the real running begins.  Last time out, she engaged the pacesetter, put that one away on the far turn, and understandably tired in the stretch.  She's back at her best distance this afternoon.

#4 MIS PARDNER RULES pulled off a 26-1 upset in an off-the-turf race at the Fair Grounds when controlling the pace, but it doesn't look like she's fast enough to secure a similar position this afternoon.  This looks like a solid step in class for the daughter of Peace Rules, but she's back in the Lynn Whiting barn (26% at the meet).  You could find worse 15-1 shots on the morning line, but there are obvious question marks concerning class and pace.

#10 BOOTLESS went gate-to-wire against 'n2L' claimers last time out for Mr. Lukas, but she draws outside the other speeds in here, and may have to sit just off the pace.  The lightly-raced filly boasts improving Beyer Speed Figures, but it will be interesting to see if she is a classic "need-the-lead" type.  Of the four horses to return from Bootless' recent win, three came back to hit the board with two of those coming close to the 73 Beyer par of this race. 

Bootless is fast, but #5 RITA'S GOLD may be a bit quicker coming out of the gate.  The beaten favorite against weaker when claimed on March 14, she takes a confident hike up in claiming price for this assignment. She may make the front, but it is certainly possible that a horse like Bootless would be right at her throat down the backstretch.  This filly earned a solid figure three back but needs some of the other speeds to back off a bit for her to take these gate-to-wire.

#2 YANKEE DOODLE GIRL hasn't won since June 15, 2008, but only finished a nose behind Labeled at this six-furlong distance on February 26.  Her trainer, Mac Robertson, is having an excellent meet, and this mare may work out a nice inside-out tracking trip behind the speeds.  She'll make the third start of the form cycle, and isn't without a chance.

Of the rest:

#1 LAUREN'S TURN's best races have come around two turns, and one has to wonder if trainer Kelly Von Hemel is using this sprint race as a prep for something longer down the road.  Note that both of her wins have come on the front end and that she'll probably face quicker fractions here.

#2 MIKAYLAH FAITH seeks her third straight after a pair of hard-fought wins, and she seems to have the right stalking style for this heat.  She needs to improve her Beyer Speed Figures just a bit, but she's lightly-raced, and it's possible we have yet to see her best.  She beat a pair of next-out winners on March 5, and the runner-up from that race returned to finish second in an entry-level allowance at Hawthorne with a 74 Beyer.  

#6 GREEN GLORY broke slowly and was probably overmatched against allowance rivals last time out.  She finished behind Labeled and Yankee Doodle Girl two starts back, but may get a better pace setup in this spot.  Although her Beyers are in decline, she can factor into the exotics given the right trip.

#8 RAPOSA's only win came when on the lead over a sloppy track on Kentucky Derby day at Churchill Downs last year.  She is 0-10 over fast dirt and her early speed has departed her in recent races.  She'll drop for the third start of the form cycle but is racing over her conditions (eligible for 'n2L').  Although she does seem to have a case of seconditis, I'm worried about her as she exits a quality race that produced a pair of next-out winners including Smokey Belle (beat Green Glory by 11 1/4 on March 20).

#9 LADY DURLYN finished 4 3/4 lengths behind Raposa at this distance two back.  She should get the right pace setup, but needs improvement in order to take down the top guns.

Here's how I'll play this:

$100 Win Labeled (#7)

Best of luck to all.