05/26/2010 12:55PM

HG 187 Belmont

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Today's HandiGambling 187 exercise is the seventh race at Belmont, the $100,000 New York Stallion Stakes for three-year-olds going seven furlongs on the Widener 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 page.  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.

Let's scratch, #1 SEATTLE MISSION, #2 EIRE'S RUN, #4 IN TE DOMINE, and #5 STRATEGIC MISSILE.  There is no Superfecta wagering.  The turf course is Firm with the portable rails set at 27 feet.

On paper, this race looks like a slam-dunk for #8 FRANNY FREUD, a Grade 2 winner dropping in against statebreds (she is 3-3 against NY-bred only competition in her career).  Of course, they don't run on paper, they do it on the track, and no one is unbeatable.  Sure, Franny Freud is the horse to beat at 1-5 or so, but the words of the great Harvey Pack keep resonating in my head:

"Never bet A FAVORITE doing something it's never done before."

Franny Freud is a filly facing males this afternoon, but she defeated the boys in her career debut last year.  No problem there.  But, she has never raced on turf.  While some may note her successes on synthetic and believe that she'll automatically transfer that good form to the grass, I'm not sure that's as much a racing absolute as many folks believe. 
She's the main speed and is bred for the grass as her sire, Freud, is a Group 2-placed full brother to the top-class turf runner Giant's Causeway.  Freud checks in at 14% with first-time turf runners.  The dam was unraced on grass and has foaled two turf runners that failed to win on the surface. 
Trainer John Terranova II is 0 for his last 23 with first-time turf runners (1-38, 2-45).  Franny Freud SHOULD win and it would be folly to toss her in multi-race wagers, but for HandiGambling purposes, I'll take a chance that she stubs her toe on the sod.

I'll go with #3 MAKE NOTE, the winner of a pair of statebred sprint stakes races over sloppy going at two.  He made his three-year-old debut 24 days ago, and wasn't disgraced behind a swift runner named General Maximus.  He won his second lifetime start and may be a bit sharper for his second race of the form cycle at three. 
The sire is 13% from a limited sample of first-time turf runners and the sprint-winning dam was 0-1 on grass.  She has foaled 1 turf runner that did not win on the surface.  The dam is a half-sister to turf stakes-winner Meadow Pipit. 
Make Note may be up against it from a pace standpoint, but he hasn't really run a bad one.  Perhaps he can take the measure of Franny Freud in the waning strides.

As for the others:

#10 BELONGS TO SHEILA took to turf like a duck to water as he successfully stepped up from claimers to beat statebred maiden special weights in his first try on grass.  He's another that prefers to rally from off the pace and may be in trouble if Franny Freud waltzes on the front end.  Adventurous handicappers could play her as a 'C' in their multi-race wagers. 

#6 LEATHERHEAD won his maiden in his 11th lifetime outing but his Beyer Speed Figures pale in comparison to those of Franny Freud and Make Note.  He'll need continued improvement in order to take these down. 

#7 HITTIN THE NOTE, like Make Note, is a first-time turfer by Read the Footnotes.  The sprint-winning dam was unraced on turf and has foaled 1 sod starter that did not win.  He finished behind Make Note on dirt last time out.

#9 GAME TOKEN is by a stallion that only wins with 4% of his first-time turf runners.  The stakes-winning dam went 0-2 on grass and this is her first foal to try the surface.  The dam is a half-sister to Justice for Auston (8-49, 368K on grass).

Franny Freud is the horse to beat, but I'll play it like this:

$100 Win - Make Note (3)

Best of luck to all.

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Here are the top 25 winning Beyer Speed Figures from last week's racing action:




Here are the lifetime past performances for Enriched:

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