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HG 183 (Kentucky Derby)
Saturday's HandiGambling 183 exercise is the eleventh race from Churchill Downs, the 136th running of the Kentucky Derby at 1 1/4 miles for three-year-olds.
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. 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.
Here are the past performances:
I'm posting this Friday morning so don't have access to program changes.
I view this as a wide-open race and will try to take six longshots in multi-race wagers.
Frankly, I don't know if AMERICAN LION (#7) is any good. He has well-hyped as a juvenile, devolved into an underachieving mediocrity on synthetics earlier this year, and then leapt into the Derby picture thanks to an easy trip against a poor field in the Illinois Derby. Like so many other synthetic-to-dirt performers in 2010, he moved way forward on the real stuff, and I'm willing to take a gamble at 30-1 or so that he can rate from off the pace. If he was 6-1 or 8-1, I wouldn't be willing to take that risk, but American Lion is sharp, bred to go the distance, and bred to handle an off track.
It's hard to view the filly, DEVIL MAY CARE (#11), as the next Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, or Goldikova based on the cold dope, but there's no denying that she's fast enough to win this Derby. Her Bonnie Miss was faster than the Florida Derby run at the same distance on the same day and she raced that quickly despite looking as green as the Grinch in the stretch. You always have to worry about a filly that's shown inexperience (fractious gate, weaves in stretch, races on wrong lead), but one gets the feeling that she does have some talent, and the blinkers may help her focus a little bit. She may work out a good trip from off the pace and she already owns a win over a wet track.
LINE OF DAVID (#5), SUPER SAVER (#4), and NOBLE'S PROMISE (#3) haven't gotten much mainstream publicity over Derby week, but they all deserve to be included in the conversation.
Line of David showed high speed in outsprinting Super Saver to the front in the Arkansas Derby and was dead-game in the stretch. It wasn't his fault that Super Saver and DUBLIN (#17) seemed to hang when challenging him in the stretch. The pace scenario may work against Line of David, and he's questionable on wet surfaces, but you're getting 30-1 on the morning line on a horse that hasn't been headed in his last three races and will go out for top connections (Bejarano/Sadler).
Super Saver likes a wet track and has winning experience at Churchill Downs. While his two prep races this year haven't really caught the eye, I wonder if he was fully charged for those starts. In the Tampa Bay Derby, he was asked to go 1 1/16 miles off the layoff and he was only beaten a half-length. In the Arkansas Derby, he was asked to rate for the first time and was only beaten a neck. Expect Calvin to send and find a spot on the rail while close to the lead. The pace scenario is worrisome, however.
Noble's Promise is bred to enjoy a wet track, but one has to be concerned about his ability at this distance, and he did have some physical problems (banged up, lung infection) after the Arkansas Derby. He also had a very bad trip in the Arkansas Derby, breaking slowly, being pinched back soon after the break, and being checked while attempting to sneak up the rail on the far turn. He's a gutsy little fellow.
ICE BOX (#2) may be one of the wiseguy picks as he's a strong closer in a race packed with speed. The Pulpits seem to do well on wet tracks and Ice Box fits the profile of the typical late-developing Zito colt that is primed for the first Saturday in May. I didn't like that he raced on his wrong lead in the stretch of the Florida Derby, but one gets the feeling he'll be running hard late off fast fractions.
As for the horses that I'll let beat me (in post position order):
LOOKIN AT LUCKY (#1) is the most accomplished horse in the race. He's fast, courageous, has the right running style, is in the right hands, and is battle-tested. I must admit that the inside post does bother me a little bit, especially after Lookin At Lucky was checked while down on the rail in the Santa Anita Derby. Will there be lingering psychological effects for both horse and rider? Possibly not, but you never know. He seems to have strong wet-track breeding so I'm not that concerned about the possibility of off going. He's a horse that I can certainly root for and he can certainly win this race.
I don't know if STATELY VICTOR (#6) wants to run on dirt. His wins have come on grass and on Polytrack, and his dam was a graded stakes winner on the lawn. He's also somewhat questionable on a truly wet track. He has the right running style and should see out the trip but I'd like him better if this race was on grass or synthetic.
The same goes for Michael Maker's other entrant, DEAN'S KITTEN (#8). He should run all day being by stamina influence Kitten's Joy, but his lone race on dirt resulted in a 33 3/4 length drubbing. Like his stablemate, he's sharp and has the right running style.
MAKE MUSIC FOR ME (#9) and PADDY O'PRADO (#10) were both maidens until winning stakes races going long on the turf on March 6. The former may not have the pedigree to handle this demanding distance. Paddy O'Prado, on the other hand, may have moved a bit too soon when second to Stately Victor in the Blue Grass, and has some wet-track pedigree. Still, one has to wonder if he's better suited to turf and synthetic racing.
CONVEYANCE (#12) is a quality speedball, but may be at his best in races up to 1 1/16 miles. He won the Southwest in gate-to-wire fashion over a speed-favoring track and it looks like there are other pace factors for him to deal with on Saturday. He has solid wet-track breeding, but the combination of pace scenario and miler's pedigree makes me look elsewhere.
I won't say anything bad about JACKSON BEND (#13), a courageous little colt that doesn't understand the meaning of "quit." He was no match for Eskendereya in the Fountain of Youth and Wood Memorial, but there's no shame in that considering the Pletcher colt's overall quality. Jackson Bend may not want to go this far, and I'm not sure he'll relish a wet track, but I do know he'll give it 110%.
MISSION IMPAZIBLE (#14) and DISCREETLY MINE (#15) both took the Louisiana Derby route for Team Pletcher. Mission Impazible worked out a nice trip in winning that prep race and looks comfortable from off the pace. He also has some upside potential and Beyer Speed Figures that are trending upward. He's not out of this.
Discreetly Mine should relish a wet track. His dam ran off with the Alabama at 10 furlongs over a very wet track and Discreetly Mine won his maiden at the Spa over good going by 6 1/2 lengths. I do wonder if Discreetly Mine is better when he controls the pace. That scenario may not play out here.
AWESOME ACT (#16) has a tendency to pull hard coming out of the gate and it will be up to Julien Leparoux to get him in behind horses to relax Awesome Act in the opening three furlongs. He has a strong wet track pedigree as well as a powerful turn of foot. I'm willing to think that he was a short horse in the Wood Memorial as he missed some time due to a reported infected pastern as well as poor weather. He's dangerous.
Dublin hasn't won this year, but he's had three preps and should be legged up for the Derby. He raced against the grain of a speed-favoring track in the Southwest and made a premature wide move in the Rebel. I was expecting better in the Arkansas Derby but he seemed to hang when the money was on the line. I'm not sure if he'll be at his best at this distance, but he has an acceptable running style and should handle wet going.
BACKTALK (#18) likes Churchill Downs, likes it wet, and should benefit from a good pace up front. Other than that, he's hard to recommend. He's yet to crack 90 on the Beyer scale and was beaten 14 lengths by American Lion in the Illinois Derby while not looking comfortable in the stretch.
HOMEBOYKRIS (#19), like Backtalk, has not run a 90 Beyer. He also hasn't raced since February 27, has never won around two turns, isn't really bred for off going, and is suspect at the distance. If he beats me, he beats me.
SIDNEY'S CANDY (#20) is one of my favorite horses of the crop. He has speed, class, and professionalism. The pace scenario is a worry. If he runs and guns, does he get caught up in a speed duel? If he rates, do we know he can rate successfully while probably losing ground? Again, these are questions I'd attempt to answer in the affirmative at 30-1. Sidney's Candy won't be those odds. I think he'll absolutely love a wet track and can certainly take this race home with him.
I'll keep HG simple and focus on multi-race wagers in "real-life."
$50 WP American Lion (#7)
Best of luck to all:
Here are some quick and dirty selections for Saturday at Churchill:
Eight Belles: Buckleupbuttercup, Visavis, Hot Dixie Chick
Humana Distaff: Informed Decision, Warbling, Dr. Zic
Woodford Reserve Turf Classic: Court Vision, General Quarters, Blues Street
More importantly, who do you fancy this weekend? I need to know.
As promised here are the top 25 Winning Beyer Speed Figures from last week's racing action:
Here are the lifetime Beyer Speed Figures for last week's highest Beyer earner:
travers, Great pictures, and thanks for sharing. Don't mean to go ga, ga Hollywood, but I remember seeing "10" as a young man like it was yesterday. Also, I did not realize you were so young. Am trying to put some pieces together, from some of the comments, are you related to Ray? If so, that is super! Thanks,
KYL Syndicate "Wagers for Wednesday May 4" Listed Plays from April 30 to Current: Top Selection: 3 for 11 | 19.70 : 22.00 ROI (.11) Wagers: Invested 2389 | Return 1727.40 | (661.60) Wednesday Belmont Park Race 1: AUTUMN LADY Has kept better company in her recent start and finds a field without much speed. Last out she broke sharply but with the rail position, she had to settle behind the leaders and she wanted to run thruout the backstretch, but had to rate and when swung out for the drive, no kick was offered. Expect Maragh to send AUTUMN LADY to the lead from the start and take the field wire to wire. Wager Amount 250: 50 Win 6 ; 25 Exacta Box 6-4 ; 25 Exacta 6/4-3 ; 15 Triple 6/3-4 ; 20 Triple 6-4-3 ; 25 Pick 3 6/6-2/6 Belmont Park Race 3: STUNGBYTHESTORM Not much to comment on when landing on a even money favorite who has won four out of past five starts. The 4 has no chance and the 2 who has run well recently is not the same in Belmont. The 3 is not as good as he was last year and as the 5 ran an improved race after two subpar performance is first off the claim and looks poised to round out a small 9 dollar exacta. Wager Amount 200: 25 Triple 6/3-5 ; 50 Triple 6/5/3-1 ; 25 Pick 4 from Race 2 6-2/6/1/6 Belmont Park Race 4: IN TE DOMINE Another race where there isn't much to say as everyone who handicaps the field sees that IN TE DOMINE is a standout. Will be in the vicinity of 2/5 in here. Wager Amount 150: 20 Exacta 1/4-7-8 ; 25 Triple 1/7/4-8 ; 10 Triple 1/4-7 ; 10 Triple 1/7-8 Belmont Park Race 5: TAZA Dominant speed and will be surprised if she doesn't go off around 6/5. Rounds out a chalky pick 3. Wager Amount 150: 20 Exacta 6/4-7-10 ; 5 Triple 6/4-7-10 ; 5 Super 6/4-7-10 ; 15 Triple 6/10/4-7 Belmont Park Race 8: LET'S FLY AWAY Morning line favorite Bailzee is very vulnerable as she is the lone three year old in the field and draws the dreaded rail position. Yes she has run well, but the figures nor the company she has kept merits her being the favorite. As such will try and beat her with a longshot in LET'S FLY AWAY. The key to this race will be whether any of the horses, in particular the 4,6,8 scratch out as they like to run on the front end, while being stalked by the 2 and 5. With the pace battle early and then the pressure applied by the stalkers, the race sets up for LET'S FLY AWAY. Wager Amount 200: 50 Win 7 ; 20 Exacta 7/2-3-5 ; 5 Triple 7/2-3-5 ; 5 Super 7/2-3-5 ; 10 Exacta 2-3-5/7 Initial thoughts on Thursday and Friday... Thursday Belmont Park Race 3: VINDICAT Much improved effort last out as he broke sharp from the gate but was kept on hold behind the front runners, made a three wide move in the stretch and looked to have the win but got run down late by the odds on favorite. As there isn't much speed in this race, look for Prado to send VINDICAT to the lead and take this field wire to wire as much the best. Wager Amount: 100 Win 6 ; 50 Exacta 6/2-3 Belmont Park Race 8: STREAKER It's been a while since Shug has had a good filly in his barn and STREAKER has looked good winning her first two starts and has the potential to make an impact in the big races in NY for fillies during the summer. Lands in a race where there isn't much speed and as she has somehow drawn the rail in all three starts, look for Castellano to establish a mild pace early and as with her two wins, lengthen her stride in the stretch to draw clear. Friday Belmont Park Race 1: ODESSA'S HOPE Wager Amount: 20 Exacta 6/1-4-2 Belmont Park Race 3: WIND CAPER Wager Amount: Exacta 4-1 ; Triple 4/ALL/1 Belmont Park Race 4: QUICK MONEY Wager Amount:
KYL Syndicate "Past Week Reflection - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" The Good... - Congratulations to Todd Pletcher for silencing the critics on his 0 for 9 record in the Kentucky Derby and for winning the derby after his big horse was injured. - Congratulations to Winstar Farm who also endured a rough week with the injury to Endorsement. - Congratulations to Calvin Borel for another masterful ride. - Congratulations to the horse himself, Super Saver in being a part of horse racing history. The Bad... - Rachel Alexandra, another inexcusable loss. For all those who criticize the path Zenyatta is taking, look at Rachel Alexandra and be thankful that Zenyatta came back as good or better than last year and at least held up her side of the bargain. Zenyatta's next few races will be against weaker company but Rachel Alexandra two races this year were not against strong mares and she still lost. Also be reminded, the plan this year for Zenyatta was first to settle the debate against Rachel Alexandra and the debate has subsided and two, was attempting to win a consecutive Breeders Cup Classic. I'm from the East Coast and thought Rachel was the deserving horse of the year based on her campaign last year, but now I'm just thankful to see the queen run another year and retain her form. - Will quickly turn the page on the Derby as I did last year. No sense in analyzing the trips, the bad performances, etc as post position and sloppy conditions threw the race for a loop. The Ugly... - Suspension on a couple of the leading trainers in California. Wish I could believe that racing is clean but that's stupid thinking on my part and unfortunately has to be factored in as this thing call gambling. - Sloppy track on Derby Day. I was horrible Friday and Saturday and must make a point to scale back considerably when the track comes up wet. Much different if its a track you follow but with shippers coming from around the nation, a wet track favoring speed, I knew I was in for a long day when I arrived at the betting parlor at 10am, but yet got carried away. - Getting caught up in the hype of the derby. With Eskendereya scratched and the track coming up sloppy, I hated the Derby and had no grasp of the race and instead of treading lightly, I overwager by getting caught up in the race being the Derby itself. Last few thoughts... - Don't see Super Saver ending the Triple Crown drought and in the Preakness, would anyone be surprised if the favorite goes off higher than 3-1. - Congrats to those who won money this weekend. I was informed this evening that someone walked into a local betting parlor having put in a 2 superfecta box on the derby and walked out with 200k. I would trade having good luck than being a good handicapper. I don't care what system you have...as long as you win, I'm not one to argue. - Sometimes I feel like a jinx...get caught up in the Rachel - Zenyatta debate before it happened and then it quickly evaporates. Kept silent on Eskendereya and then posted about the workout being most important and he gets injured. Will learn to stay mum until a day or two when the vision is actually a reality... - With Derby out of the way, back to winning, hopefully
Travers, thank you for sharing your Derby experience with us; it certainly was a memorable 1st Derby. Also, please keep us informed on Sky and Skype. Ray, you should be very proud of your son. Alan, I believe you are following a wise strategy regarding the CD P6. I may attempt a ticket myself, but will have to see if I can find two singles. Congratulations on hitting the P4 and your other bets. While I think SS has a chance to win the Preakness as he may still be improving and has the correct running style for Pimlico, I will wait to see the final entries and PP's before making any predicitions.
TBTA, Thank you, I am indeed proud of my boy. And I know you are proud of your David as well. Thanks again, you brought a smile to my face!
Delaware Park, Race 9, 6 Furlongs (DRF Race of the Day) I looked this race over just for fun, but in so doing, I find that this race may actually be playable. I am completely unfamiliar with Delaware Park (and don’t even know if I can bet it where I am), but I may put in a small little play here. DEBIT CARD (#1) ships in from Tampa Bay Downs, and he seems to have found a niche in the lower claiming ranks out there. But he also looks like a colt that really just needs to be sprinting on the dirt more than anything else. Since adding Blinkers five races back, his only clunkers have come around two turns or on the turf. He looks like a nice sleeper in here at 10/1. POPPA’S PICK (#7) was competitive in New York over the winter at this level, but failed to cash in any Wins. He seems to have second-itis, but is useable underneath. THE ELEVATOR (#3) shows three consecutive wins in a row out of Hawthorne Park, and is a threat in here for high percentage trainer Cox. The play: $4 to Win on the 1 ($4) $3 Exacta – 1w/6,7 ($6) $2 Trifecta – 1w/6,7w/6,7 ($4) $1 Trifecta box – 1,6,7 ($6) That’s a whopping $20. Now let’s see what happens here.
Annie, Royal Ascot you say? I better pack my bowler hat. I think Noble's Promise will turn out to be a bloody good miler.
Annie, I understood your point about Summer Bird not running @2. It's just the response was funny. I think it was just a comical relief thing. However, your stats about the big Beyer jump, really opened up my eyes. That's a stat I can live with. Good work..
Vicstu, Vicstu, "No, I didn't think you were bearish on Super Saver at all." C.. I believe C & myself took the same memory classes.
$50 exacta Diamond Dina over Myakka/Silvercup Baby! Basking in the glow of the Derby handigambling win!! SORRY, FORGOT TO PICK A RACE!!!