03/23/2012 1:32PM

HG 275 - Pasadena Stakes


Friday's HandiGambling 275 exercise is the seventh race at Santa Anita, the $70,000 Pasadena Stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile on 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. 

Please separate the play from the analysis and label the play "HG" with the program numbers (instead of the horse's name) for easier scoring.

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.

Best of luck to all.


As of this writing, the turf condition is FIRM. 

#3 CAPTAIN OBVIOUS is 1 pound overweight.

#6 MIDNIGHT CROONER is 1 pound overweight.

#8 UNUSUAL HEATWAVE is 1 pound overweight.


I found three top contenders to use in multiple-race wagers.

#9 BUFFALO BILLY, a half-brother to Grade 3 turf winner Chattahoochee War, makes his first start in North America after being purchased for 60,000 Irish guineas (about $100,000) last October.  Buffalo Billy finished behind Captain Obvious last time out in Ireland, but that race was over the all-weather surface at Dundalk and Buffalo Billy may be a bit more effective on grass. Two starts back, in a maiden race on turf at Tipperary, Buffalo Billy defeated three next-out winners.  He'll pick up Rafael Bejarano this afternoon and has enough pedigree to see out this mile trip.  Plus, there should be enough pace to adequately setup his kick.  At 8-1 on the morning line, he looks like fair value.

#6 MIDNIGHT CROONER has yet to race on grass, but he is a full brother to Santa Anita Derby winner Midnight Interlude, a Bob Baffert-trained runner that has shown a strong affinity for turf racing.  Midnight Crooner didn't do much in two starts on dirt, but he exploded to win at this distance over the Tapeta surface at Golden Gate on February 18.  The runner-up from that race returned to graduate with a 74 Beyer.  Baffert worked Midnight Crooner in company with stable star Game On Dude on March 16 and he looms a forward factor for his first start against winners.

#4 CHIPS ALL IN won the Eddie Logan Stakes over next-out winners Daddy Nose Best (Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby with 93 Beyer) and The Black (starter allowance on dirt with 83 Beyer) over this course and distance two starts back before being thrown to the wolves on dirt in the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes on February 4.  He should appreciate today's class relief as well as the surface switch and he has the tactical speed to find a good spot while close to the early leaders.  Trainer Jeff Mullins is having an amazing meet and Chips All In, a private purchase after winning his first three races, seems very well-spotted to rebound.

As for the others:

#1 LOUKAS goes two sprints to a route for the third start of the form cycle and may show improved early interest with the stretch-out to two turns this afternoon.  He's been a bit of an in-and-outer throughout his short career, but Joe Talamo may work out a trip from the rail.

#2 THAT'S DANGEROUS goes out for trainer Dan Blacker, a former assistant to Tom Albertrani, after selling for 20,000 Irish guineas (about $33,000) last October at Tattersalls.  A two-time winner on grass in England, That's Dangerous has already succeeded at this mile distance.  His Racing Post Ratings are a bit light when compared to those of Buffalo Billy and it will be interesting to see if he needs a race off the layoff.

#3 CAPTAIN OBVIOUS was purchased privately by J. Paul Reddam after finishing ahead of Buffalo Billy in that synthetic race in Ireland and he wasn't disgraced when fourth, after a rough start, behind next-out Grade 1 CashCall Futurity winner Liaison on November 12.  He worked a bullet 58.80 over the main track on March 6 for Ben Cecil and should appreciate getting back to grass.  He figures to be charging hard in the lane and wouldn't be a surprise in the least.

#5 TONES stretches back out following a victory in the Baffle Stakes going down the hill on February 26.  He was up on the pace that afternoon and figures to be one of the early leaders of this two-turn event.  We can toss his North American debut two back as he ran into the very promising Fed Biz on dirt and it looks like turf or synthetics is really more to his liking.  Tones makes his third start of the form cycle for high-percentage trainer Doug O'Neill and could be the one to catch when the real racing begins.

#7 VIBRATO JAZZ looked good overcoming some traffic trouble to win his maiden at nine furlongs on February 16 for John Sadler.  He'll get a class test in here, however, as he faces winners for the first time and only one of the six performers to emerge from that maiden race returned to crack the trifecta next-out.  The gray seems to be on the improve and should get a good pace setup.

#8 UNUSUAL HEATWAVE, a half-brother to Grade 3 winner Alphie's Bet, won his maiden going down the hill three back but faltered after pressing the pace when stretched back around two turns on February 18.  He has been working swiftly for trainer Alexis Barba, but he may be involved with some others in the early going and that may soften him up for the final quarter-mile.

#10 STONEY FLEECE enjoyed a perfect trip when taking the Grade 3 Generous Stakes at this distance last year at Hollywood.  In that race, he tracked a contested pace before making a three-wide bid on the final turn.  He hasn't won since that effort, however, and is mired in the far outside post position today.  He made up some late ground going down the hill in his first start of the year when second to Tones (as the betting favorite) and can certainly improve off that effort, but he isn't much faster now (on the Beyer scale) than he was when winning an allowance race over this course in October.

1.  Buffalo Billy
2.  Midnight Crooner
3.  Chips All In

Here's my HG play:
$50 Win/Place - Buffalo Billy (#9)

Best of luck to all.