01/29/2013 4:02PM



ITSMYLUCKYDAY became the newest "it" boy on the Derby trail after toppling champion SHANGHAI BOBBY in the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream.

Trained by Eddie Plesa Jr., Itsmyluckyday broke the track record at 1 1/16 miles.  He raced the distance in 1:41.81, almost a second faster than the older GOLDEN TICKET navigated the trip in an optional claimer earlier on the card. 

Itsmyluckyday achieved victory in a solid and professional manner.  He broke sweetly under jockey Elvis Trujillo, prompted the early leaders from the outside and took over turning for home.  He backed up his big victory in the Gulfstream Park Derby on New Year's Day (95 Beyer) with a career-best 104 in the Holy Bull.  While some critics may label him a Gulfstream horse-for-course, it must be noted that the versatile Itsmyluckyday has now won at three different tracks (Monmouth, Calder, Gulfstream) at distances ranging from five furlongs to 1 1/16 miles over fast and sloppy surfaces. The Holy Bull was dominated by horses racing near the front as the first three runners at the initial call ended up second, third and first at the wire, and the only horse making up late ground was the well-beaten and overmatched JOSHUA'S COMPRISE. 

This isn't Plesa's first rodeo.  He won the Grade 1 Acorn in 1999 with the ill-fated Three Ring and has trained such capable performers as J J's Dream, Gottcha Gold and Best of the Rest.  His BRAVE DAVE, a leading 3-year-old sprinter, is slated to compete in Saturday's Grade 2 Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream.

It's always disappointing when an undefeated champion tastes defeat for the first time, but SHANGHAI BOBBY was far from disgraced.  He was hounded on the lead by a horse with a recency edge and still ran, by far, his fastest race.  He galloped out past the winner heading into the clubhouse turn and will likely be tighter for his next start.  Distance is the question for all of these horses and the nine furlongs of the Florida Derby will be a major test. 

FRAC DADDY, trained by Ken McPeek, lost all chance at start when he grabbed a quarter in his left front foot.  On Twitter, McPeek also mentioned that SAYLER'S CREEK, eased behind ORB in an entry-level allowance race for 3-year-olds earlier on the card, may have displaced his soft palate.  Still, the barn was saved by the good performance by Golden Ticket, last year's co-winner of the Travers Stakes at Saratoga.  Golden Ticket, making his first start since a disastrous try on grass in the Hollywood Derby on November 25, stalked and pounced his way to a 5 1/4-length score under jockey David Cohen.  McPeek mentioned a race like the Mineshaft Handicap at Fair Grounds for a possible next assignment.

*OPTIMIZER doesn't like to change leads in the stretch, but he didn't need to when a popular gate-to-wire winner of the rescheduled Col. E. R. Bradley Handicap at Fair Grounds.  Optimizer showed off his excellent tactical speed in a race devoid of early pace and took them on a merry chase around the Stall-Wilson turf course.  Optimizer's trainer, Coach Wayne Lukas, has gone 7-30 (23%, $4.24 ROI) over the past thirty days with wins in the Bradley, Lecomte (Oxbow) and Smarty Jones Stakes (Will Take Charge).  Another winner, the debuting 3-year-old filly BOUSTIERRE, rallied from somewhere in Kansas to outfinish nine others going 1 1/16 miles at Oaklawn on January 18.  Boustierre only cost $12,000 as a short yearling, but is by Empire Maker and the second dam is multiple Grade 1 winner Flute.

*SUMMER APPLAUSE finished last in the Houston Ladies Classic, her first start since the Kentucky Oaks (missed time due to a knee chip), but you may want to give her a mulligan as jockey Miguel Mena lost his irons on the backstretch. 

*DELAUNAY has emerged from relative obscurity to become one of the fastest sprinters in the country.  Claimed by Maggi Moss and Tom Amoss for $40,000 on May 12, 2012, Delaunay has won five of six starts (all in stakes races) for the owner-trainer combination, including the $72,000 F. W. Gaudin Memorial Stakes at Fair Grounds with a 110 Beyer.  Overall, the gelding has scored in eight of his last ten races.

*Sophomore filly SATICOY turned some heads with a 96-Beyer debut win at Santa Anita.  Trained by Gary Mandella for breeder Double JH Stable, Saticoy humbled a field of California-bred maiden special weights, setting splits of 21.50 and 44.16 before completing her six furlongs in 1:08.55 over the sealed, wet-fast track.  A $35,000 yearling buyback by Bertrando, Saticoy is a half-brother to stakes-placed synthetic router Working Capital.  The winning dam is a half-sister to Grade 3 winners California Flag and Cambiocorsa, both excellent turf sprinters.


Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures (1/21/13 - 1/28/13):

1. DELAUNAY - 110 - F. W. Gaudin Memorial Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Fair Grounds
2. ITSMYLUCKYDAY - 104 - Holy Bull Stakes (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles - Gulfstream
3. JOYFUL VICTORY - 100 - Houston Ladies Classic Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - Sam Houston
3. OPTIMIZER - 100 - Colonel. E. R. Bradley Handicap (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Fair Grounds
5. COMISKY'S HUMOR - 99 - OC 62k/C -N - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Fair Grounds
6. APPREHENDER - 98 - King Cotton Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Oaklawn
6. SWIFT WARRIOR - 98 - John B. Connally Turf Cup Stakes (G3) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Sam Houston
8. CLAWBACK - 96 - Jimmy Winkfield Stakes - 6 Furlongs (inner dirt) - Aqueduct
8. DAISY DEVINE - 96 - Marie G. Krantz Memorial Handicap - 1 1/16 Miles (Fair Grounds)
8. GOLDEN TICKET - 96 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - Gulfstream
8. KAUAI KATIE - 96 - Forward Gal Stakes (G2) - 7 Furlongs - Gulfstream
8. SATICOY - 96 - Md Sp Wt 56k - 6 Furlongs - Santa Anita
8. WHATTHECATDRUGIN - 96 - OC 20k/N1X - 1 Mile (polytrack) - Turfway
14. CROSS TRAFFIC - 95 - Md Sp Wt 42k - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Gulfstream
15. RUSTLER HUSTLER - 94 - Hcp 25000s - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Gulfstream
16. BIG SCREEN - 93 - OC 25k/N1X -N - 1 Mile - Gulfstream
16. DISTINCTIV PASSION - 93 - San Pedro Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Santa Anita
16. ICON IKE - 93 - Champion Energy Services Stakes - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - Sam Houston
16. STOLEN CHEVY - 93 - Clm 6500(7.5-6.5) - 5 1/2 Furlongs - Laurel
20. PRIVATE TALE - 92 - Native Dancer Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - Laurel
20. ROCK ME BABY - 92 - Alw 40000s - 7 Furlongs - Santa Anita
22. CYBER SECRET - 91 - OC 32k/N2X -N - 1 Mile - Oaklawn
22. MOON PHILLY - 91 - Nellie Morse Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - Laurel
24. CERRO (Ire) - 90 - OC 75k/N1X -N - 1 1/8 Miles - Gulfstream
24. CHAPMAN'S PEAK - 90 - OC 62k/N2X - 6 Furlongs (Tapeta) - Golden Gate
24. DETERMINATO - 90 - OC 62k/N2X - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - Gulfstream
24. FIFTYSHADESOFHAY - 90 - Santa Ysabel Stakes (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles - Santa Anita
24. FINALE - 90 - Clm 40000 - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Gulfstream
24. NICKLAUS WAY - 90 - OC 16k/N1X -N - 1 Mile 40 Yards - Tampa Bay
24. QUICK MONEY - 90 - Clm 35000(35-25)B - 6 Furlongs (inner dirt) - Aqueduct
24. TWICE THE LADY - 90 - Affectionately Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles (inner dirt) - Aqueduct

DELAUNAY's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.


Congrats to Meathead for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling exercise. 


Let's go with Friday's ninth race at Gulfstream for this week's contest.


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.

DELAUNAY.pdf68.75 KB
Copy of Formblog Contest Gulfstream 1-25-13.xls46.5 KB
Jeffrey Cobb More than 1 year ago
HG Gulf 9th. There is no way to take 9/5 on the 4. I'm going to keep my HG bet as is, but with my real money, I'm going to use the 13 who drew in off the AE list. I'm leaving the 4 out altogether. If he beats me, so be it. Jeff aka The Chalk Eating Weasel
rvraynmary More than 1 year ago
HG Gulf 9th $4 TRI Box 4-5-9-13 for $96 $4 WIN on 13 for even $100 Had to wait for scratches. STUCKINARIZONA
CalvinLCarter More than 1 year ago
Revolutionary and Amerigo Vespucci look good in the Withers Stakes (G3) - http://bit.ly/TmJ9Gk
Sinatra Jeter More than 1 year ago
HG Gulfstream Turf Sprint $2 superfecta 5 // 4-7-11-12 // 4-7-11-12 // 8-9-13-14 = $96 I have Strike the Tiger and Gibson on my watch list, but I am using them for the place and going with Southpar Slammer on top. Turf Ruler
Keith More than 1 year ago
HG Gulf, $34 Exacta #14 over #5. $33 Exacta #14 over #12. $33 Exacta #14 over #13. I feel #14 will fire fresh (like 3-11-11 at GP). Thanks, KVANLAN
Okiesharp More than 1 year ago
HG Tough race and the finish could see 3 or 4 horses noses apart for the win. $1 trifecta 13 / 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 / 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 = $ 20 $1 trifecta 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 / 13 / 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 = $ 20 $1 superfecta 13 / over 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 = $ 60 Okiesharp
Michael Griffiths More than 1 year ago
HG 2/01/2013 $10 EXA PART WHEEL 3,5 // 3,4,5,8,11,12=$100 I like the #3 comming back to Turf, Also the #5 seem to have a class edge.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Black, Long time no hear. Thanks for the explanation of the difference between real Football and American Football. Can I make some suggestions to make things even clearer. 1. Firstly, the World (with or without the US), sticks with FOOTBALL, as it is largely played with the FEET. That's the clue. 2. Change the name of American Football to the American Oval Ball Game. For those less bright, you might wish to include an addendum "largely played with the hands". 3. If No 2 is unpalatable for the US public, disband American Football entirely. Consign it to history and persuade the players to get rid of their helmets and switch their speed and strength to playing Rugby. Best Regards - Bernard Downes
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
HG Scratching: #1, #2, & #10. Tossing: #3 (not sold on turf form), #14 (don’t feel he will fire fresh) #4 – Don’t Say No – New trainer seems to have this one ready to fire after 2 bullet works. Adding Rosario should only help matters. The choice. #5 – Southpaw Slammer – Another new trainer, who hits a 29% clip with the 1st off Claim, but question the shortening up on the distance, feel as though this one could use a little more distance. #6 – The Chill Zone – Nice performance last out, but feel that is the best he has to offer. Looking elsewhere. #7 – Strike the Tiger – Beyers put this one at the top of the field, but is 4-0-1-0 on GP turf and that place came a long time ago. The Un-horse for the course? #8 – Forest Station – Horse projects to like dirt, so of course he scores a new career Beyer at 35-1 in turf sprint in last. Lightly raced 5 yo could take another step forward in 2nd start of the break. 15-1 M/L means could be a live bomb. #9 – Starship Sulu – Valiant effort last out, posting new career Beyer, but runs into same foe again who is looking stronger, plus other who look to take a step forward. Minor piece. #11 – Gibson – Another new trainer, who also goes with an equipment change taking the blinkers off. Normally, I like an equipment change, but with the new trainer, don’t know what difference it’s planned to make. Taking a “wait and see” approach. #12 – Ari’s Pride - Another new trainer, for was good before the swith, winning 2 of last 3 at surface/distance, lone loss was 5 wide and coming on strong. Possible. #13 – Starship Wildcat – Nice turf debut to break maiden, could take another step forward on 2nd of the bench, although it’s always tough to run against winners for the first time. Possible. I like the #4 and think the #8, #12, and #13 offer a good price from the M/L, so . . . $16 WIN - 4 = $16 $12 EX - 4/8, 12, 13 = $36 $8 EX - 8, 12, 13/4 = $24 $4 EXB - 8, 12, 13 = $24 $100 Mario (barbero420)
Jason Ryan More than 1 year ago
CORRECTION TO MY HG. The "changes" section of DRF said #4 was scratched. apparently it is the 10 instead. They have since corrected the site. Therefore I change my bets. Please cancel my previous entry....... HG $1 Tri 4,5,11 with 4,5,7,11,12,14 with 4,5,7,11,12,14 = $60 $4 EB 4,5,11 = $24 $16 win 5