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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.
Nice BIO BA, MBA, Law School. Since you gave me yours I'll give you mine. Skipped 1st grade. Skipped 1/2 of 2nd grade. Skipped 3rd grade. Skipped 1/2 of 4th grade. (care to hazard a geuss as to why they were skipping me all those grades?) They would have skipped me more but my mom finally said no mas. High school (10th grade in L.A.) at 13 out of high school at 15. Lettered in 3 sports (no small feat for sombody whose peers were 3-5 years older than him.) college and full time job at 16 no degrees. Private contractor at 20.
In defense of Bejarano, Czechers was a complete run-off speed horse earlier in her career, and her trainer Mark Glatt has worked hard getting her to relax. So, it's possible Bejarano was riding to instructions. I still think he could have accomplished the goal of rating while creating a better shot at winning. 1) Bejarano could have had Czechers on Unzip Me's flank rather than a full length/1.5 length behind; 2)Bejarano could have pushed Czechers to stay alongside Unzip Me a little longer to ensure Unzip Me would have to work, and then take back slightly(in the actual race Bejarano did go with Unzip Me, but only for a few strides right out of the gate); 3) Bejarano could have laid back behind just as he did, and then asked for Czechers' final run earlier, ensuring Unzip Me would never be more than 1.5 lengths ahead, and preventing Unzip Me from getting that decisive jump.
The 6.5 furlong Las Cienegas Cap' (on the hillside turf course) at Santa Anita yesterday was a textbook case in the debate over the ability of current jockeys to judge pace. I was at Santa Anita yesterday and handicapped the race expecting Unzip Me and Czechers to engage in a spirited early duel that would play to the late runs of Gotta Have Her and Annihilation. The actual result was typical of a race with just 2 speed horses, as I should have expected. Joe Talamo, one of the few really agressive speed riders at Santa Anita, hustled the fast but apparently out-classed Cal-bred Unzip Me to the lead right out of the gate. Initially, Rafael Bejarano pushed his mount Czechers, putting her alongside Unzip Me through the first sixteenth of a mile. For a brief moment, it appeared the speed duel would in fact develop. But then, Bejarano was overtaken with the "rate at all cost" mentality, and took Czechers back, conceding the lead to Unzip Me. With Czechers now a full length back, Talamo did what any good jockey would do and slowed things down. Czechers is a mare capable of running a half in :43 and change down the hillside. However, after the first half mile of the Las Cienegas, Bejarano had her 1 and a half lengths behind Unzip Me even though the pace was an extremely slow :45 and 1. With no one applying pressure through easy fractions, Talamo was in full control of the race. Before someone could begin a late run, Talamo smartly pushed the button and asked Unzip Me to open up on the field coming into the stretch. In the best form of her life, Unzip Me responded and quickly established an insurmountable 3 length lead. Behind Unzip Me, it was a carrousel ride with Czechers finishing 2nd, Gotta Have Her 3rd, and deep closer Annihilation 4th. Bejarano is a wonderful jockey, and is dominating the Santa Anita meet. But I don't know how else to interpret the Las Cienegas without concluding that Bejarano misjudged the pace. He was riding a filly capable of fast fractions, yet took her back behind a lone frontrunner and allowed that runner to set an easy pace. And even though Gotta Have Her is typically a mid pack runner/closer, Tyler Baze probably should have had her closer to Unzip Me given the fractions. Given how often it happens, I don't know why I continue to be surprised or why I don't change my handicapping.
Saturday's Picks Working all weekend so just some quick thoughts and picks: PH Keen 8th-Wasted Tears-lone speed with the interesting record of four straight wins, but spread over a lengthy period of time. Think she wires them at a square price. Doubles of her, Quiet Harbor and "Forever" to Paddy and Interactif Keen 9th-Paddy-I'm a sucker for this kind of progression. Think he'll take to the Poly, also at a square price. Oak 9th-Super Saver-think it's a two-horse race with Noble's Promise. Worried about Noble's will to win, so staying with Super one more time. SA 8th-Drean Nettie-another progression bet-think he'll do fine on the lawn at 5-1. Back double him and Fantastic Pick to Details R Sketchy and Charm N Chuck . Other races Keen 6th-Affirmatif-facing a couple of salty veterans-time to see if he's good enough. I'm betting he is. SA 7th-Details R Sketchy-a Carla Gaines comebacker-should be running at the end. GGF 8th-Katieinthefastlane-trying to get my feet wet with Alex Gonzalez (Martinez getting days). Don't like 2-1, but she may go off somewhat higher. I won't know what happened until late Saturday. But good luck to all of you!
Steve T and Van Savant Really nice job on the 5th at SA today. Not only did you both have that nice 18.80 winner, but Van Savant also had the 54.40 (for a buck) exacta (Steve T also had it if he used his top 3 picks). Throw in Dr Derango's pick in the 3rd slot and you got the 499.30 tri !!!). Terrific handicapping both of you. Dick W
cayman, I found it also 4 the HG180. Posted on the Duke on the Rise section by Mike. $100 straight exacta on the 2/7. April, 7 th...11:51 AM...
Oaklawn Park – 4/10/10 (Saturday) I haven’t played Oaklawn much this season except for a handful of races, and have managed a small, positive ROI. That said, my confidence in my handicapping abilities for this track is not very high. I think I have a decent understanding of the track, trainers, jockeys, etc., but in no way do I have any real or perceived edge. I am also suspicious that I have carved-out a Pro Ride and Turf –groove into my brain, and that dirt racing eludes me at present…we’ll see. Keep all of this in mind if you are relying on my selections/thoughts for these races. 5th Race – RIGAMARO (#9) break from the outside post, and can find a good position in mid-pack. I like his running line from his last, and expect improvement for this. ALIYAH (#6) showed good early pace in her debut before fading. I expect her to show the same speed without all the fading. BORN INDY USA (#1) also showed some early foot in her debut (same race as the #6), and her recent work suggests sharpness. 6th Race – BAD BANDIT (#8) is into the third race of this form cycle, has tactical speed, and ran credibly last time out at this level. HEY SMARTY (#5) is also third race into current form cycle, and ran well last time out. GATHER ALL (#7) can be placed anywhere, but will probably be on the lead and on the rail…and that just might do it. WHISTLER’S DREAM (#9) can come from off the pace and pump-up some of the exotics. 7th Race – I will be relying on SMOKIN STAR (#10) to make a big improvement off his last try around two turns, and his recent works and trainer percentages are a big plus. GRAYSONIA (#8) looks to me like a player in this based on his last. TIZ A SCHOLAR (#11) also figures to improve with a second try around two turns with jockey Borel up. CLASSIC EAGLE (#9) is working smartly following his two turn debut and should improve. Tough race. 8th Race – BRICKYARD (#3) is 12/1 on the morning line for trainer Richard, and with Blinkers Off following two really good workouts, I believe that all systems are go for an upset. RABBIT TRICKS (#5) is a trap-horse, and I believe that I have fallen for the trap. Can’t explain it either… QUIET THANKS (#6) can win this with his best effort. I believe he will be somewhere near at the end. 9th Race – I couldn’t correctly handicap this race if you gave me a dozen efforts, so I am going to take a big stab here with LINE OF DAVID (#8). Trainer Sadler has been impressive in SoCal this year, and this colt just may steal this race with a switch to dirt and the addition of Blinkers. He’s working well to boot. PULSION (#9) is Blinkers Off, shows a nice workout last time out, and will be passing tiring colts in the lane. NOBLE’S PROMISE (#3) is the deserving favorite, but he may not get the 9 panels. NORTHERN GIANT (#4) has improved markedly since the addition of Blinkers, owns a win at this track, can get the distance, but doesn’t win often. Should be there at the end, however. Good luck today good people. Enjoy the golf, racing and the sunshine. And say or do something incredibly nice for someone tomorrow because it does make a difference ☺!
Wilson @9:19 - well & beautifully said!
Steve T, I would certainly agree that Zenyatta is an all time great. As for all-time, I will wait for her to retire and then assess her body of work. But clearly, she is right there. As for her dirt form, you are preaching to the choir with me. She gets over it even easier than synthetic, looks more comfortable, and looked great Friday. I knew the race was over when she was drawing closer, effortlessly, along the backstretch. The top flight Cal runners in general, and Z and the 3 year old crop in particular, sure do hit that synthetic to dirt jump (or trampeline as I have heard it called), don't they?
blackstone, Endorsement will be good at a price for a nice value play in the Derby. He is too green to win, IMHO, he is getting good at the right time. Then again, I am not sure how many true routers he beat in the Sunland Derby in the 1st place. Still, Calvin likes his chances as a longshot, and Alan and I both had him to win or run big before the Sunland Derby, so, I know we both like the horse as well. Alot of his price will ride on these last two big preps and the (possibly) the Lexington S. A big effort or two by a big barn horse will likely push Endorsement's odds even higher. I need to see him work before I commit, however. BTW, I agree. Rest in peace. Her stretch duel with Winning Colors was an all time great race for me. Alan, Re: master's coverege... My boss at my p/ time job is a huge golf fan (we are located close to Ponte Vedra Beach, the Golf HOF and the Players Championship (Sawgrass) anyhow). He has an Ipod-phone and updates regularly on that site. Amazing, real time stuff! BTW, who does the FAA think they are kidding? Grounding that plane that kept flying those banners over the Master's course ("Hey Tiger-Didn't you mean that you practice Bootyism?") etc, and on bogus repair log violations that mystically appeared. C'mon, man. Can you say pubic enforcement of a private club matter? And an abuse of discretion? And, or course, they issue the order ex-parte like its an emergency and irrepreable harm will ensue. I say, if it was me, I keep flying and get a court injunction against the FAA. Actually, I would probably ignore the order and FORCE the matter into court by making them file, as the agency is its own arbiter once you challenge the order as legit. Any administrative order is merely executive in nature, it must be enforced in a judicial proceeding if ignored (not by an ALJ). Of course, to even get a license to fly you practically agree to FAA agency jurisdiction. But the exparte order lacks due process, IMHO, and is suspect on its face. I like TW, but the Order to cease and desist is an abuse of discretion. Tell Tiger's and the Master's sponsers to back the lobbyists off the FAA. Just my opinion, I am not providing any counsel. Is there no free exchange of ideas and criticism in this country anymore? The Master's could secure their grounds from the hecklers, but not their airspace. Enter the FAA... OK. That is my generic moan about the state of sports and affairs in this country...I am much more concerned about today's prep races, although I will note that there were paramilitary with machine guns at last year's Derby for the first time (I even posted a picture). So, we are not immune from the growing police state in this game, either.