04/28/2011 12:00PM

HG 231 (Keeneland Maiden Turf)


Today's HandiGambling 231 exercise is the third race at Keeneland, a maiden special weight for 3-year-old fillies at 1 3/16 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 at the previous blog post.  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 listed as YIELDING.


#9 INCENTIVE runs with adjunct medication.

I won't try and get past the morning line favorite, #11 WARM HUGS, a Bill Mott-trained filly that didn't get close to the rail in her career debut at Gulfstream on March 20.  Racing at least three paths off the fence throughout, Warm Hugs was bumped entering the far turn before uncorking a four-wide bid to the lead turning for home.  She tried in the stretch, but was run down by a rail-skimming winner.  The third-finisher that day returned to run second in a maiden special weight over the Keeneland polytrack with a 78 Beyer Speed Figure. 
There doesn't seem to be a ton of speed in this race and Kent Desormeaux may find a forward position going into the first turn.  I expect Warm Hugs to be prominent when they swing into the stretch. 
As for pedigree, she is out of a full sister to Silent Sighs, the winner of the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks on dirt (unraced on grass) and Proposed, a Grade 2 winner on the main track.   The "Keeneland Clocker Report" for April 19 remarked that Warm Hugs "finished well under control."  On April 11, she "finished with good energy, better than Shanfield."  Shanfield is an unraced 3-year-old filly by Shaniko.

An interesting exotics possibility may be #8 MOON, a first-time starter going out for Philip Oliver.  Although the sire, Pleasant Tap, doesn't have great first-out statistics (6% with overall debut runners, 5% with first-time turf performers), there is a good amount of stamina in this family.  The dam is a half-sister to Queen's Gray Bee, a multiple stakes-winner that took 11 routes on the main track.  Shahik, another of the dam's half-siblings, was Group 1-placed on turf in Ireland while another half-brother, Dysham, won the Junior Champion Stakes on grass at Monmouth Park.  Finally, another of the dam's half-brothers, Melrose Avenue, was a Group 3 winner on grass in England. 
It's never easy to win first-out at a route, let alone at 1 3/16 miles, but I'll use this one underneath at what should be a big price.

#5 BIZZY CAROLINE looks logical after finishing a rallying third behind next-out winner Artisanal at Gulfstream on March 19.  She ran her final quarter-mile in 22.07 that afternoon, according to Formulator Web, and Artisanal came right back to win an entry-level allowance as the favorite on polytrack with a 74 Beyer. 
The dam is a half-sister to Grade 2 sprint winner Changing Ways, and Grade 3 winners Jacodra and Jacodra's Devil.
Bizzy Caroline goes second off the bench for high-percentage connections and wouldn't be a surprise in the slightest.  Note that she was outworked by Salty Strike, according to the "Keeneland Clocker Report" for April 15.  Salty Strike is a 3-year-old filly trained by Ken McPeek that finished sixth at even-money in a 'n2L' allowance on polytrack on April 21.  Seven days earlier, Bizzy Caroline reportedly got the better of Lady Aspen in a morning trial.  Lady Aspen, a 3-year-old filly, won her maiden for McPeek on Polytrack on April 16 with a 64 Beyer. 

#6 ABACO is out of Cat Cay, a Grade 2 winner on the main track.  By the turf-loving Giant's Causeway, Abaco adds blinkers and Garrett Gomez for Shug McGaughey after finishing off the board in two starts at Gulfstream Park.  The top three finishers of that March 27 race at Gulfstream all returned to hit the board next-out. 
It's probably too early to give up on Abaco, and she may show more interest in the blinkers.  Note that the "Keeneland Clocker Report" for April 16 remarked that she "easily pulled away from Evasion (48/2), out in 1:00."  Evasion is an unraced 3-year-old filly by Empire Maker out of Inside Information.

#9 INCENTIVE is a half-sister to Winchester, a multiple Grade 1 winner on grass.  Incentive faltered after midmoving in her career debut on Tampa Bay Downs, but has been working steadily over the deep Payson Park surface in preparation for this run.  The winner of that Tampa race returned to score in a $30,000 starter handicap on turf with a 78 Beyer before finishing fourth in the Grade 3 Appalachian here on April 21 (77 Beyer). 

As for the others:

#10 STRIKING WONDER is out of Wonder Again, a multiple Grade 1 winner on the grass.  Bet to favoritism for her career debut at Gulfstream, she finished ahead of Abaco in the aforementioned solid maiden on March 27.  She doesn't show a published workout in the last 15 days, but must be respected off pedigree, connections, and the decent debut effort.

#12 ZENZERO is bred both sides for grass as she's a daughter of Theatrical and the second dam is Group 3 winner State Crystal.  Although Zenzero has yet to gain ground from the stretch call to the wire in her short career, she showed vast improvement in her most recent start, a runner-up effort at Fair Grounds.  The "Keeneland Clocker Report" for April 19 noted that Zenzero gave a "good even effort, lightly ridden."  On April 11, she "finished with good energy, out in 59/3."

#2 CONESTRELLAS and #1 AUDTON both finished behind Zenzero in New Orleans.  The former has strong turf breeding and has some upside potential while Audton's dam was a multiple Grade 3 winner on the grass.  Audton, however, could be compromised by the perceived lack of pace up front.  Note that Conestrellas went "well within herself," according to the "Keeneland Clocker Report" on April 21.   

#7 CASS' LADY has experience over wet turf and she ran into a sharp runaway debuter named Anandi in her most recent outing.  She can do better, but found herself in a salty maiden special weight this afternoon.

#4 AKRIS QUEEN is a half-sister to multiple Grade 3 winner Indescribable out of multiple stakes-winner Catnip.  By the long-winded stallion Arch, Akris Queen attracts John Velazquez, but the workouts fail to excite.

Here's how I'll play HandiGambling.

$30 Exacta:  Warm Hugs - Bizzy Caroline (11-5)
$30 Exacta:  Warm Hugs - Abaco (11-6)
$30 Exacta:  Warm Hugs - Incentive (11-9)
$10 Exacta:  Warm Hugs - Moon (11-8)

Best of luck to all.


After filming our weekend video previews, Mike Beer and I will head out to Delaware Park to prepare for Saturday morning's track seminar.  If any FormBloggers are in the area, we'd love to say hello.  I'm sure it will be a interesting event.
I'll be back on the blog early next week so check out our videos on the homepage for some weekend stakes opinions.

SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
Annie 'The important thing is that MMM stays in HIS shoes. :)' I read this about Mucho Macho Man. from Courier-Journal.com Posted on April 24, 2011 by Jennie Rees "Risen Star winner Mucho Macho Man has been equipped in glue-on shoes in the wake of his losing a front shoe out of the gate in the Louisiana Derby (in which he finished a close third), trainer Kathy Ritvo said. “He’s been doing really well with them,” she said, “so that’s what we’re going to stick with.” ..from the horses , ummm Trainers mouth :)
SpartanTom More than 1 year ago
Hi everyone, I am enjoying the KD banter, but I have one question for anyone who cares to answer: How much does the loss of a shoe, affect a horse's performance? I can understand it might affect the horse's balance, and thus his stride, but I believe shoes are worn to protect the horse from bruises and do not make a horse run faster( I am discounting bar shoes for running on an off track). I would appreciate any civil comments on this subject. I believe that MMM has a chance for a money finish, but feel that too much may be being made of his losing a shoe in the LD. ST
Whackymacky More than 1 year ago
Tuesday's notes... The clock is winding down and the blood is pumping fast for all involved... I see that we lost Toby today. Sad to get this far and not make it to the starting gate. He is what I am thinking about for my wager on the Derby as of today: I will be looking for some feedback from the bloggers on this one!!! I already have MMM in the Futures Pool for $350 to WIN with a return of over $10K !!! I was thinking about betting on him to run second in $200 Exacta's behind 10 Horse's!! Wager 10 Horse's / MMM. Cost of $2,000. The way I see it, is that this Derby will return an exacta over $100. I need to toss 9 from the equation and that's it. If I can do that, I will get back over $10K from an investment of $2,350, The problem is, do I think that MMM can run first or second??? He needs too. I think that he can. He has had time to rest. He has looked just fine at CD. People are talking about others. Uncle Mo is getting all of the ink and I think that he is a TOSS for me. I just flat out like him. What would you do if you were in my shoes?? Let me know? I need to see the final 20. See the post position's. The weather. Good Luck To All. Hard to believe it is Derby Week. Whackymacky Out!!!
jim tully More than 1 year ago
Wacky, One my best buds is a big WP better like yourself. His typical bet is $500 WP but will occasionally wheel all in exactas. Two years ago he wheeled Pioneer of the Nile over the field in $100 exactas. He was sure a bomb would sneak up. I tried like hell to convince him to go $80 on top, $20 underneath to no avail. When Mine that Bird won the ex paid 2 grand and he would have won 18,000. You deserve to collect if your horse runs second.
Annie More than 1 year ago
Whacky, The important thing is that MMM stays in HIS shoes. :) Annie
Molesap More than 1 year ago
vicstu, I just wanted to echo your sentiments aout trainers not learning from situations and repeating the same mistake. I feel the same way you do about Pletcher and Uncle Mo, but I wanted to mention Bobby Frankel. I'm sure most of you remember that he trained Madaglia d' Oro. He gave that horse two months off between the Travers and the Breeder's cup Classic and complained openly to the media that he ran a "too fresh horse" and that was the reason he ran second. Fast forward to next year when he ran him in the Pacific Classic and then gave him two months off before the Bredder's Cup Classic. Now do you think you would have remembered what happened the year before - perhaps put a sticky note on the fridge "Not to self - give Medaglia d' Oro a prep race before the Breeder's Cup. Of course that resulted in the same results (second both times) and him complaining about a fresh horse again.
Turnbackthealarm More than 1 year ago
Laura, Loved the KY Confidentiall website. Kerry Thomas has some very interesting ideas and look what he says about Dialed IN: “I love his grit. We’ve got a bulldozer here. He is a hellbent-for-leather boatload of grit. He plows through his space. Other horses be damned. This horse will be most successful when asked to go right through a crowd. He might like a 20-horse field. Dialed In has absolutely no issues with what is behind his flank, and that’s wonderful. “Dialed In has the emotional command over space to win the Triple Crown.”“It seems like the jockey [Julien Leparoux] understands this horse. Dialed In is a stair climber. He has the ability to target and release, target and release, as he rallies through the field.” “Dialed in has such a strong emotional conformational. This horse is actually frightening. Intent over space is the definitive equine communication. Body language is the result of this intent. Less body language means stronger intent. Stronger intent means a higher-level horse. “It’s like if your dad walks in the room. By his presence alone you defer, because he’s your dad. “With horses, you want to look for how far away they can influence space. Do I influence space 20 feet in front of me or five feet in front of me? Dialed In can influence space at great distance. He pulls other horses in. In the Florida Derby, Shackleford deferred just long enough that he lost pace and allowed Dialed In to take over. “It’s all about winning your space in motion, especially with males. Dialed In has the emotional command over space to win the Triple Crown.” He also liked Nehro, Mucho Macho Man, Shackleford and Animal Kingdom based on his emotional conformation theories. Dan, There was also a general comment within the article about betting maidens and what you can tell about them based on their behavior in the paddock. OK, that's it from me for awhile.....I have to go take some more advil........
Annie More than 1 year ago
TBTA, I think that was true of Z. From the paddock on, she was telling them who the Queen was and when she passed them, they thought, "Here she comes, she wants the lead. I'm not going to argue with her". :) Annie
Katieattherail More than 1 year ago
Thanks for the PPs link, Ned. I have one week when I'm not working this summer when Saratoga runs.....I'll check with you later to see about meeting at the Spaaaaaah! Appreciate it, and good luck to all! Katieattherail
fashion slipper More than 1 year ago
Hi DAn Thanks for all the hard work and info provided by you and your bloggers. Would it be possible to compile a list of all of pletchers Derby runners lifetime and how they did etc. Also, in years past on the historical links to thew Derby you could click on a link that would show you lifetime how each jockey had fared in the Derby. Even if they had never won the Derby a list of the years they had a mount the name of the horse etc was found. Nowadays it only concerns itself with jockeys who have won 2 or more. The old way was better in terms of trivial enjoyment of the sport. Its like Don Mattingly and the fact that despite being a Yankee he never played in the post season. Thanks Fashion Slipper
Curt V. More than 1 year ago
C, I responded to you yesterday, & like some other posters, including yourself, it seems to have been lost in cyberspace.....Maybe it'll somehow re-appear later...So, in the light of possible redundancy, let me suffice it to say, I do not need to check the archives about the Barbara L. comment...Why ? Because it was NOT directed at you..You get a pass on that one..I'll withold the rest until later........Good try though..It still doesn't fly.....as in Fly Down......heehee...
blackseabass More than 1 year ago
Looking at whats not to like about derby horses or horses in general. Pants on fire > I don't really like horses off 6 week breaks in the everyday races so in the derby its all the more so. I could be wrong but I don't think he can deal with the speed he will encounter. MMM > 6 weeks off . Shoe getting ripped was a setback . style looks troublesome. (Half the field wants to sit in his spot ?) Soldat > Badly beaten in last race. I don't like horses badly beaten unless they are Speed horses that get a better pace scenario today. Soldat doesn't get a better scenario in the derby. Doubtful on form. Shack > seems to need it his way to compete . Not sure he will get what he needs. Successful Appeal > he's doubtful on distance , class , speed. Been away a while. Santiva > something of a poormans contender with drf staff . A pretty good horse but probably not this good. Dismal race as fav in last. Doubtful on class ,speed & form. Decisive moment > tryer looks overmatched. Hardknocker looks a tad slow. Doubtful on class , speed & style Midnite > Short on experience . Style might be problematic. Brilliant > Style is problematic. Class is questionable. Speed is questionable.questionable on dirt. Stay Thirsty > off his last it would seem near impossible. He ran like he was sponged. heck he might have been ! doubtful on form. Mo > light schedule without much challenge. Health rumors. Apparent regression from 2yr old form. Doubtful on form. questionable on speed. Nehro > light on experience . Animal > light on experience. questionable on speed ( hard to fault a closer for time)questionable on class. questionable on dirt. Dialed In > light on experience. Competition has been slightly weak. Its been a while since last. questionable on speed. you can't fault a closer for times but you can for slow come home time. Toby > question of speed . AAA > Pattern ? Distance ? not that much to not like. Commanomaly > Distance is questionable. ________________________________________________________________________________ Twinspired , Houndog, & whoever else I forgot I'll get to later.
Annie More than 1 year ago
Aha, I was wondering why TOBY'S CORNER went about 3 weeks before having a workout after the Wood. I think the poor guy did more to win that race then he could give without seriously straining himself. I couldn't read the full article on his injury (some kind of memory error), but I suspect that whatever it is was precipitated by his stretching beyond his capabilities in the Wood. We've seen it many times before. One big race, and the horse never wins another big race again. Now it's really too bad that Katie's ANTHONY'S CROSS came down with a fever. He would have been in! Dan, I suppose we will need the PPs for DERBY KITTEN now??? Annie
Annie More than 1 year ago
Uncle Joe, LOL on the Bird! Boy were you bamboozled. :) As to the twin rainbows. Since they were arched over the twin spires at Churchill Downs, you should look at TWINSPIRED. :) Wouldn't that be a prophetic name if he were to win. LOL Annie
NellyGCM More than 1 year ago
I love all the thought and input here, and I'm hoping for a consensus on one point I think is integral in analysing the FL Derby. Was there a speed bias on dirt at GP on FL Derby Day this year? What I've seen, including the chart of the day's races, says at least partly yes - very few runners other than made any big advance (other than DI). However, in most cases on the card (other than the Derby) the early and middle pace on dirt was also pretty soft. This is important because of the terrible performances of Soldat and Stay Thirsty, the mildly disappointing performance of THAS, and the good looking performances of Shack and DI. 1. Should we upgrade DI by a major factor, given that he closed huge amounts of ground over a biased surface where other GSWs (including Stay Thirsty, who closed well to beat later UM vanquisher TC) could not make up ground ? Or, 2. should we upgrade Shack because of how badly he beat into submission highly regarded pace runners Soldat, THAS, Flashpoint, etc., that his internal pace numbers have improved each of the last three races (even if the final time was 1:50), and that he finished 6 lengths clear of THAS? I am dying to find out what you think and would be grateful for any help in solving the problem. If 1, then I can forgive DI's dawdling closing fraction, the fact that he 'barely beat at 68-1 shot', and that the BSF was not high. He did what others could not do. Under 1, DI is probably deserving of quite a bit of action on Saturday. If 2, DI had the perfect set up and only just barely got there. Downgrade DI. On top of that DI didn't run that fast for a BSF, and thus for two reasons should be considered even close to Ice Box. Under 2, Shack, on the other hand, may well be a pace force to be reckoned with and may show up underneath in exotics, although he may not be able to finish fast enough for the roses.