07/14/2010 6:11PM

HG 194 (Woodbine turf)

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Tonight's HandiGambling 194 exercise is the fourth race from Woodbine, an optional claimer with 'n3x' conditions for fillies and mares going a one-turn 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

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 labeled as FIRM. 

Let's scratch #2 DANCE FOR US and #7 SCRATCHY GOT EVEN.

An interesting race with several contenders.

I landed on #5 IMPOSSIBLE TIME, a lightly-raced mare that has seemingly returned to form after faltering in two dirt tries over the winter at Gulfstream Park.  Impossible Time has come back from adversity to become a restricted stakes winner in Canada.  She reportedly chipped a knee before she made her career debut and it took her until April of her 3-year-old season before she met the starter. 
Impossible Time was the beaten favorite in her turf debut on June 19, but she was in between horses for the first part of the race, was in behind rivals in upper stretch, and she did rally a bit along the inside in the stretch.  There are some distance and surface issues to address as she seems more explosive on the polytrack and she failed to gain ground from the stretch call to the wire in both of her prior route races (albeit on dirt). 
Still, that was a decent bunch she ran into last time (last-place finisher Mullins Beach returned to win an 'ANC' allowance on polytrack with an 86 Beyer).  The other horses in this spot have been beating up on each other so perhaps it's the right spot for a new shooter like Impossible Time.  Plus, there should be enough pace to adequately setup her late kick.

#3 SUGAR BAY looms the one to beat.  She won five in a row (four stakes) to cap off her three-year-old campaign, but missed all of 2009, and is still seeking her first win this year. 
While it's nice to see her improving Beyer Speed Figures and her tactical speed should serve her well from tracking or stalking range, Sugar Bay didn't have many excuses when the beaten favorite against similar last time out.  She saved valuable ground down the backstretch before setting sail for the leaders with a three wide bid on the turn.  She made the front in upper stretch and looked well on her way to victory only to hang in the final sixteenth.  She did finish ahead of three of the rivals she'll face this evening and the winner of that June 18 race, Magic Broomstick, has won four of her last five starts.
Sugar Bay should get the jump on the top pick and should be used in multiple race wagers like the Pick 4.

#8 REDVERSE is a three-year-old filly stepping up for the underrated Josie Carroll barn.  She has kept good company throughout her short career, facing the likes of Franny Freud, Negligee, and Bay to Bay as well as tackling males in the Display Stakes in her 2-year-old finale. 
Redverse beat older rivals last time out going nine furlongs on turf, but was life-and-death to do so, and should find this assignment a bit more difficult.  In that recent race, she saved ground down the backstretch before engaging the pacesetter under a confident Emile Ramsammy on the turn.  Redverse got a case of the weaves in the stretch and flipped leads a couple of times while under an all-out drive. 
This is her third start of the year and it's possible we haven't seen her best.  I'd use her in multi-race gimmicks as well.

#11 FLAMING SLEW is a fringe contender for me.  She hasn't won a race in over a year and it will be intersting to see how she handles this one-turn mile turf course.  She just missed last time out in a similar spot at Arlington Park, but there are speeds to her inside and she may have to rate under Patrick Husbands.  She finished ahead of Grade 3 winner Single Solution on June 13, and that one returned to clear this condition at Arlington with an 83 Beyer. 
Flaming Slew ran some races last year that would be competitive with these.  I couldn't blame anyone throwing her in as a longshot possibility.

As for the others:

#1 AVIE'S TALE is 0-5 since flipping in the paddock, necessitating a veterinarian scratch on August 10, 2009.  She should benefit from her most recent outing, her first start since January, and her running style fits well in this spot.  Expect some improvement, but she's been stuck in that 80-81 Beyer range in her last four races and may need to kick it up slightly to beat these.

#4 DEEVEETEE figures to be one of the front-runners, but those that saw her late fade going seven furlongs in the Jammed Lovely Stakes on November 19 will question whether she has enough stamina to see out this longer trip while in her current form.  That day, she really got tired in the final furlong and her gallop-out was basically non-existent.  Note that she has won at this distance over the polytrack, but is 4-0-0-0 on grass.

#6 SHERATON PARK is another with good early foot.  She may have been a bit short when a weakening fifth in her 2010 debut two starts back, but she again couldn't fend off the closers when returned on June 18.  I'm not sure if she's fast enough to clear these and a prolonged pace battle could doom her to defeat.

#9 NO USE DENYING could be the speed of the speed under Luis Contreras.  She's a stakes winner going nine furlongs on dirt, but she has lost ground from the stretch call to the wire in each of her last eight races.  No match for Sugar Bay on the polytrack last time out, she will have to do better if she is to be anything more than a pace factor.

#10 MISSIT won the Grade 2 Providencia Stakes in her North American debut in 2008, but reportedly had bleeding problems the rest of that season.  She goes out for top connections and should get a solid pace to rally into, but the stretch punch just hasn't been there in her three starts this season.  Which Missit will show up today?  The one that ran an 88 Beyer two back, or the mare that ran in the mid-70's before and after that sart?

I'll play it this way:

$45 Exacta - Impossible Time - Sugar Bay (5-3)
$45 Exacta - Impossible Time - Redverse (5-8)
$10 Exacta - Impossible Time - Flaming Slew (5-11)

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 last week's highest Beyer runner.

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Back Friday with some weekend thoughts.


Best,
Dan