05/05/2010 1:30PM

HG 184


Today's HandiGambling 184 exercise is the ninth race from Belmont Park, a $35,000 claiming event for fillies and mares at six furlongs over the inner turf course. 

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.  Past performances are available on the previous blog entry.  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.

As of this writing, the turf course is rated as GOOD and there are no changes.

In my late Pick 4, I'm going to spread four deep with these contenders:

#7 DIAMOND DINA has some questions to answer as the favorite.  She hasn't raced since February, is dropping in claiming price following a victory, shows several gaps on her work tab, and is unproven in a turf sprint (finished last in only previous turf sprint on October 13, 2008). 
She beat a pair of next-out winners in that February 20 race at Gulfstream (third-finisher Granted Tiger came back to beat entry-level allowance runners with an 86 Beyer, then finished only two and change behind recent Grade 3 winner Dynaslew in a 'n2x,' and then finished third in a statebred stakes on grass at Gulfstream), and the expected hot pace should work to her favor.  With Richard Dutrow Jr. calling the shots, one has to be leery about letting this mare beat you in multi-race wagers. 

#3 MYAKKA is trained by the Queen of the Turf Sprints, Linda Rice.  She looked very good dusting off a pair of next-out winners going five panels at Gulfstream in February before faltering around two turns off a short layoff last time out.  She looms the speed of the speed, but there is a possibility that she will face pressure in the first quarter.  Expect her to be prominent when they swing into the stretch on the cutback in distance.

#9 SILVERCUP BABY has yet to place in three turf starts, but I've been following her since she finished a solid fourth going seven on the Widener on May 31, 2009.  That day, she broke beautifully, but was wrangled back to stalk the pace by Cornelio Velasquez.  Once clear in the stretch, she made up some late ground.  In her only subsequent turf outing, she caught yielding footing so there's somewhat of an excuse there as well.  A multiple stakes-winner on dirt, she classes up nicely here and can threaten from off the pace. 

#8 DESERT FLIGHT is one I'll use as a "longshot special" in my late Pick 4's.  She's only raced twice on turf, but wasn't disgraced in both of those runner-up efforts.  In her turf debut, she pressed a solid pace and finally passed the leader in late stretch only to be overcome by a late kicker.  At the Meadowlands on October 6, she made a strong move up the rail in upper stretch only to switch leads several times in the final eighth of a mile.  She can stalk and pounce from the outside here off the long layoff although one must wonder if she's prepping for the rich Monmouth meet. 

As for the others:

#1 MAGIC TUNE has won three times, but all of those races came at the expense of conditioned claimers, and she'll have to face some interesting open fillies this afternoon.  She's improved since Lasix was added to the equation by trainer Tim Ritvo and can work out a good pace-tracking, ground-saving trip from the inside post.

#2 STORM GAL scored to close out her three-year-old campaign over yielding going at Gulfstream Park, but she was late to make her final lead change that afternoon, and failed to threaten in two subsequent starts at Gulfstream.  There is a nineteen-day gap between the last two workouts and she may face some pressure if she attempts to contest the pace.

#4 DANA'S BELL tries turf for the first time.  If you believe that synthetic horses translate their good form to grass, you're looking at a mare that boasts an 18-7-5-0 record on the all-weather.  The sire is 0-22 with first-time turf runners while the dam compiled a 6-0-3-0 record on the sod.  If you look deep in the female family, you'll see that the third dam is a half-sister to Sir Ivor.

#5 ROCK HALL HONEY also will make her turf debut in this spot.  Cuvee is 2-38 (5%) with first-time turf runners and this is the first starter from a dam that never raced on grass.  The dam is a half-sister to Jokerman, the winner of the Grade 3 Generous Stakes on grass.  Rock Hall Honey drops in class, but seems like a one-dimensional speedtype that could conceivably get cooked on the front end.

#6 HIGHER INCENTIVE should get the proper pace setup as the late-running mare turns back in distance.  If you look at her turf sprint record in New York, however, one fails to be inspired.  She raced nine times in turf sprints on this circuit with one second-place finish.  Her lone turf sprint win came going down the hill at Santa Anita.  She can contend under Dominguez with a late burst, but I wonder if she wants more distance.

#10 GEORGIANA tried grass for the first time.  Her sire, Smarty Jones, does well with first-time turfers (8-39, 21%), and the dam finished second in her only start on grass (has dropped two turf runners that failed to win).  The dam is a full sister to Warleigh, a nine-time winner on grass that banked over 600K on the green stuff.

#11 SISTER IN THE CITY hasn't done much on grass and may need weaker competition.

Here are my HG plays:

$40 Exacta - Diamond Dina - Myakka (7-3)
$40 Exacta - Diamond Dina - Silvercup Baby (7-9)
$20 Exacta - Diamond Dina - Desert Flight (7-8)


Dan, will you please post this years Derby and Oaks runners sold at Keeneland in September?  It blows all other sales out of the water with ease.
Dan, care to give an educated guess on how much farther ICE BOX ran than SUPER SAVER in the Derby?
Captain Bodgit


Here are the Derby and Oaks runners that were entered in the 2008 Keeneland September Yearling sale:


Lookin At Lucky - $35,000 RNA
Ice Box - $125,000
Line of David - Withdrawn
Stately Victor - $110,000 RNA
American Lion - Withdrawn
Paddy O'Prado - $105,000
Devil May Care - $110,000
Conveyance - $240,000
Mission Impazible - $200,000
Awesome Act - $240,000
Dublin - $525,000
Backtalk - $250,000
Homeboykris - $50,000


Jody Slew - $9,500
Quiet Temper - $90,000
Age of Humor - $180,000
Beautician - $110,000
Crisp - $160,000
Tidal Pool - $120,000
Champagne d'Oro - $210,000
Evening Jewel - $8,000
Ailalea - $340,000
Amen Hallelujah - $40,000

As for Ice Box, I'd say a lot.


Nearing the wire in the derby it looked to me that Kent D. stopped riding Paddy O'Prado to get nipped at the wire for second. It even looked like he looked back just when ice box passed him. Your thoughts?

Tony, when I first saw the overhead replay on the NBC telecast, I thought the same thing.  After watching the race a couple of times, however, I don't think Kent stopped riding in the final 200 yards or so.  He did look back to see if anyone was coming, but I think it was because he realized his mount was getting leg-weary, and he was praying for the wire.  No, Kent didn't go to the stick during this period of time, but I think he was nursing a tired mount home (you'll notice Paddy O'Prado hop back to his wrong lead right before the finish). 


How can " Performance of the Week" ever be anything but the Kentucky Derby on derby day. It's the hardest race in this country to win.

As my good friend, a Mr. Austin, may say..."Cuz Stone Cold said so."


Now, I remember watching the Withers on Racing From Aqueduct with the late, great Frank Wright & his protege Charlsie Cantey in 1979 BC (before children) when Junction won easily in the slop. I believe Junction was injured & retired not long after that, would his pp's still be available? Thanks for any assistance
Tom Pendergast

Here's what I have for Junction.  Enjoy!

Download Junction


Dan -
Super Saver may have won a slow Derby, but he still ran faster than H-O-T-Y Rachel Alexandra.
What was Blind Luck's Beyer for the Oaks?
Dan Baedeker

Yes, he did run faster than Rachel...by one Beyer point.  Just for comparison's sake, his Derby was also nine points faster than Zenyatta's Apple Blossom and two points better than Zenyatta's Santa Margarita. 

Blind Luck received a 94 for her nose win in the Kentucky Oaks. 


Does anyone know what must happen in the Ky. Derby to result in a horse's disqualification?...Do you know, is there any way to correspond with racing stewards and get answers to questions such as these? Thanks.
The Nick

I believe in the consistency of stewards' rulings, but there would likely have to be an highly egregious foul in order for the Derby winner to come down. 

Try this link to contact anyone at Churchill Downs.  To be fair, though, I wouldn't expect an answer.