07/28/2010 10:53AM

HG 196 (Lake George)


 Today's HandiGambling 196 exercise is the eighth race from Saratoga, the Grade 2 Lake George Stakes for three-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on 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.

Let's scratch the also-eligibles (#13 AMBITONESS, #14 KITTYLICIOUS, #15 QUEEN HAZEL). 

The inner turf course is listed as FIRM with the rail out at 9 feet.

I'm going to go three deep in my multi-race wagers.

#4 NEON LIGHT won a productive Group 3 race in Germany two starts back (the runner-up, third-, and ninth-place finishers would go on to win listed races while the fourth-, and sixth-place finishers earned Group 3 success in 2010).  
Neon Light finished third in her only start this year (German 1000 Guineas on May 1).  You can watch the race by clicking on the link below. 


She goes out for Andreas Wohler, a trainer that sent out Lauro to a couple of productive seasons in North America in 2008-2009.  It looks like Neon Light has some tactical speed and she may work out a good trip behind what projects to be a solid pace.

I'm a big fan of #12 BAY TO BAY, but she drew another tough outside post position for trainer Brian Lynch.  Last time, she drew the far outside in the Grade 3 Boiling Springs Handicap and was hindered by a lack of pace up front.  She still rallied nicely to finish second and may be the most explosive horse in the race.  She should get faster fractions to rally into this afternoon, but Robby Albarado must work out a good trip from the widest stall. 

#8 STRIKE IT RICH wired the Boiling Springs under a heady ride by Garrett Gomez.  The Unbridled's Song filly made an unchallenged lead, backed down the fractions just a bit, then accelerated through a third quarter in 23 3/5 to break the hearts of the chasers.  She had enough left to hold off Bay to Bay in the stretch and has really come to hand during this form cycle for Christophe Clement.  She has won from off the pace in the past and may sit just off #7 GO ASK ALEX in the opening portion of the Lake George. 

As for the rest:

#1 HOUSE OF GRACE was the beaten favorite when trailing a three-horse field throughout on July 1 at Belmont, but that was against older horses and it was her first race since the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Filly Turf.  That start should have her legged up nicely for the second try of the form cycle and she should save valuable ground going into the first turn under the crafty Ramon Dominguez.  House of Grace shows a pair of five-furlong breezes leading up to this race and can't be counted out for Team Godolphin. 

#2 CRESCENDA, a former maiden claimer, has done nothing wrong in her short career for trainer Michael McDonald.  She finished a rallying second in the Grade 2 Sands Point at Belmont behind a sharp runner in Check the Label (that one took her third straight in the Virginia Oaks on July 17 with an 89 Beyer) and she may work out a nice inside-out journey under Cornelio Velasquez. 

#3 KHANCORD KID finished behind Crescenda in the Sands Point after a poor break.  She has good early speed and should be among the leaders as the field makes their way into the backstretch.  She has won from off the pace in the past so it will be interesting to see how Rajiv Maragh wants to play it.

#5 PERFECT SHIRL, a nicely-bred bay, has won her last two at Woodbine for the excellent horseman, Roger Attfield.  A versatile sort, Perfect Shirl earned a competitive Beyer Speed Figure two starts back but gets a class test today.

#6 NO EXPLAINING also ships down from Canada for Attfield.  She's won three of her last four races and was flattered when the runner-up from the July 10 race returned to win an entry-level allowance race on grass with an 80 Beyer.  Note that she has yet to race around two turns.

#7 GO ASK ALEX set a new course record in winning the Indiana Distaff three back, but she's faltered in her last two tries and may face heavy pace pressure in this spot.  She's won at this distance, but that was when on a lonely lead against maidens. 

#9 DYNAZAPER can be a bit of a handful as she flashed her tail noticeably while switching leads several times during the stretch run of the Edgewood two back at Churchill Downs.  It looked like she was on her way to a win in the Grade 3 Regret last time out only to be swallowed up by closers in the final quarter-mile.  Dynazaper should offer value for a dangerous trainer-jockey combination, but must be on her best behavior in order to upset these.

#10 EXCLUSIVE LOVE is a bit light on speed figures, but it's quite possible that we have yet to see the best from this lightly-raced filly.  She won an entry-level allowance race at Woodbine in her turf debut, and was flattered when three of the beaten rivals returned to win. 

#11 CAMINADOR ran down Dynazaper and company at big odds in the Regret and picks up the hot-riding Javier Castellano for the always-dangerous Todd Pletcher barn.  She has a big kick and should get a good pace to attack, but one must note that her winning races have come when there is some give to the ground.

Tough race and a good one for HG purposes.

I'll play it this way.

$100 Win - Neon Light (4)

Best of luck to all.

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

Here are the lifetime past performances for the top Beyer performer:

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