12/08/2011 3:27PM

HG 261 (Hollywood Claimers)

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Thursday's HandiGambling 261 exercise is the eighth race at Hollywood Park, a $25,000 claimer for juvenile fillies at six furlongs.

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.

Please separate the play from the analysis and label the play "HG" with the program numbers instead of the names of the horses.

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.

***

The Cushion Track is fast.

Let's scratch #7 JIMINI CHRISTMAS.

Mike Smith rides #8 BACKWOODS BELLE.

***

Another very tough race for our HandiGambling exercise as several of the main contenders on the morning line have major question marks.

I'd have to go four deep in some fashion in the last leg of multi-race wagers.

#10 MUSICAL ARTS faced next-out Anoakia Stakes winner Ismene in the career debut at Del Mar and wasn't disgraced, finishing only 3 1/2-lengths behind that foe.  Making her first start off a short layoff, the Cal-bred dropped in for $50,000 and she didn't disappoint as the 9-10 favorite, winning comfortably under Joel Rosario.  She was claimed that afternoon by Ron Ellis (0-14 over the past three years with newly-acquired performers) and is now being jammed in for $25,000. 

That's a somewhat questionable drop. 

Musical Arts likes this surface and may work out a comfortable outside stalking trip.  If you aren't worried about the plunge in claiming price, then she looms a solid contender.  To me, however, the drop is somewhat of a red flag.  I couldn't play her to win at her 3-1 morning line.

#11 SILVER STREET boasts improving Beyer Speed Figures and her confidence should be at an all-time high after she smacked $30,000 maiden claimers on dirt at Santa Anita on October 23 (the runner-up from that race returned to finish third against maiden special weight runners with a 62 Beyer).  Still, she was able to grab an easy lead that afternoon and it's unlikely she'll make the front with #8 BACKWOODS BELLE drawn to her inside.  Silver Street must prove that she can rate and win in her first start out of the maiden ranks and she doesn't show a published workout in the last 15 days. 

#5 I SENSE YOUR LUCK, out of stakes-winner Racing Luck, scored first-out over the Del Mar polytrack and you can excuse her second-out loss at the hooves of Candrea (that one returned to finish second in the Grade 1 Oak Leaf Stakes with an 85 Beyer).  I Sense Your Luck raced evenly in her first start over the cushion track and is capable of some improvement in her second start following a short layoff line.  Her recent numbers are going the wrong way, but she seems like a solid fit at this level.

#3 NICOS MEMORY is one of only two multiple winners in today's lineup, but it's a bit concerning that she's dropping in claiming price following a victory against $32,000 platers on November 12.  Nicos Memory beat three of today's rivals in that race, however, and looms a strong stretch threat given a bit of pace to work with. 

As for the others, none of them would really surprise me.

#4 PURPLE STARDUSTER has two wins on her record and she was in a bit steep most recently in the Golden Gate Debutante (won by Lady of Fifty, who returned to take the Corte Madera Stakes in Northern California with a 70 Beyer).  Purple Starduster goes out for a high-percentage trainer in Peter Miller, but must avoid an early pace skirmish.  She can certainly win and her 6-1 morning line price may represent some value.

#1 WARREN'S JUDY, out of stakes-placed sprinter Our Judy, finished behind Nicos Memory in her last two races.  She graduated in her second lifetime start and can improve a bit here in her second start of the form cycle, but she draws a tough inside post and could be shuffled back along the rail if she isn't able to establish early position.

#9 ELEGANT EVE isn't the worst 20-1 stab in the world.  She looked good beating $32,000 maiden claimers at Fairplex (her race went faster than the juvenile colt division) and now drops back in for a tag after finishing off the board in her first two starts against winners.  That victory came when on the lead going a half-mile, however, and these are obviously tougher foes.  The horse that beat her last out returned to finish fourth in the Grade 3 Miesque Stakes on grass with a 68 Beyer.  Elegant Eve is another that must prove that she can rate and finish, but is worth an opportunity at long odds.

#2 UNDER PROTEST won her debut for a $32,000 tag at Fairplex and may simply have been overmatched against starter allowance company in her subsequent two outings.  She finished behind Elegant Eve on November 6 and will make her first start over a synthetic surface this afternoon.  The drop should help matters and the barn wins lots of races.

#6 JOSEPH JOE goes third off the layoff, but was beaten fair and square by Nicos Memory on November 12 and by Purple Starduster on October 15.  She'll have to improve off her last five races (top Beyer of 44).

#8 BACKWOODS BELLE figures to attract mutuel attention as she projects as the main speed following a class drop.  She certainly could be dangerous if able to establish a lonely lead, but she stopped badly in her most recent effort at 9-10 odds when facing off with Elegant Eve and Under Protest.  Her best effort (a 69 Beyer) would be good enough to win this race, but I have trouble backing horses like this at short prices off poor performances.

It's a race that I would only stab at with HandiGambling money.

$50 Exacta - Musical Arts - Silver Street (10-11)
$25 Exacta - Musical Arts - I Sense Your Luck (10-5)
$25 Exacta - Musical Arts - Nicos Memory (10-3)

Best of luck to all.