03/23/2016 4:07PM

Some Saturday opinions

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Let's take a look at two price horses to consider on Saturday at Fair Grounds and Meydan.


*UAE DERBY - MEYDAN - RACE 3

5 - VALE DORI

POLAR RIVER, undefeated from four starts, will take the lion's share of the wagering. She boasts a strong tactical gear and proved herself over this track and trip when winning the UAE Oaks in "ridden out" fashion on March 3. Simply brilliant at times, Polar River is definitely the horse to beat.

America's UAE Derby hope is FRANK CONVERSATION, who will attempt to transfer his good synthetic form to dirt. It appears he's caught the right field in order to grab some more Kentucky Derby points as most of the competition is suspect at best.

Those two horses look tough, but I'll give Vale Dori another chance at solid odds. Sidelined by injury after winning a Group 1 in her native Argentina on May 1, she returned to the races with a second to Polar River in the UAE Oaks. I don't think she was cranked up 100% for that start and Christophe Soumillon didn't beat her up once she was passed by Polar River at the three-sixteenths pole. Vale Dori has the pedigree (by UAE Derby winner Asiatic Boy), the connections (trainer Mike de Kock has won this race six times including the 2015 edition with Mubtaahij) and the early speed to be dangerous. She's quoted at 9 to 2 in overseas betting and that seems like a fair-enough price in a short field.

*MUNIZ MEMORIAL HANDICAP - FAIR GROUNDS - RACE 8

1 - TAKE THE STAND

Take the Stand showed hints of potential last year for trainer Bill Mott, but could never really get over the hump. You have to throw out his race two starts back in the Tropical Turf Handicap as the race was run over a boggy course that he didn't like at all. Last time out, in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Stakes, Take the Stand finally ran a big one. Dismissed as a 61 to 1 chance, he set a fast and pressured pace, shooed away his early rivals and dug in gamely to drop a neck decision.

I don't think he makes the lead in the Muniz Memorial, but he is proven from off the pace, and can stalk and pounce under Edgar Prado. He's 6 to 1 on the morning line and that seems like a playable price. In multiple-race wagers, one could certainly use contenders like WORLD APPROVAL (10), CHOCOLATE RIDE (4), CAN'THELPBELIEVING (5) and CLOSING BELL (5)

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Many handicappers believe there was a strong rail bias in play at the Fair Grounds on February 20 and that the nature of the track propelled GUN RUNNER and FOREVAMO into the Risen Star exacta. It didn't hurt to be inside, that's for sure, but I wonder if the bias was as powerful as some think.

Perhaps MO TOM was aided by remaining on the rail for the majority of the race, but he sure wasn't helped when he checked terribly in the midst of a strong stretch rally. I'm of the opinion he was best that day and that he remains the leading light of the local division. Unfortunately, his one-run style from the back of the pack isn't conducive to the best of trips. He'll need a setup and a clear run, but his usual performance puts him squarely in the hunt.

He's my Louisiana Derby pick over Gun Runner and GREENPOINTCRUSADER, but I wouldn't take much less than Mo Tom's 5 to 2 morning line price.

***

Here are some quick selections for a few other big races:

Dubai World Cup:
California Chrome
Frosted

New Orleans Handicap:
International Star
Majestic Harbor
Eagle

Fair Grounds Oaks:
Land Over Sea
Adore
Dream Dance

***

Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 3/15/16 - 3/21/16:

1. SMOOVE IT - 100 - Irish O'Brien Stakes - About 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 19Mar16-2SA
2. CLOTHES FALL OFF - 99 - Correction Stakes - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - 19Mar16-3AQU
3. ROYAL SAINT - 96 - OC 20k/N1X -N - 6 Furlongs - 18Mar16-6OP
3. SEEKING THE SHERIF - 96 - Clm c-(50-45) - 6 Furlongs - 20Mar16-5SA
3. SHARP ART - 96 - OC 35k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - 18Mar16-8OP
3. STONETASTIC - 96 - Inside Information Stakes (G2) - 7 Furlongs - 19Mar16-12GP
3. TARA'S TANGO - 96 - Santa Margarita Stakes (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - 19Mar16-9SA
8. COIN BROKER - 95 - OC 40k/N2X -N - 1 Mile - 20Mar16-8OP
8. CUPID - 95 - Rebel Stakes (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - 19Mar16-10OP
8. DEFER HEAVEN - 95 - OC 62k/N2X - 6 Furlongs - 20Mar16-3GP
8. FANTASTIC STYLE - 95 - Las Flores Stakes (G3) - 6 Furlongs - 20Mar16-3SA
8. SMOKEM KITTEN - 95 - OC 25k/N1X -N - 7 1/2 Furlongs (Turf) - 20Mar16-1GP
8. VIGOROUS TITAN - 95 - Colonel Power STakes - 5 1/2 Furlongs - 19Mar16-8FG
14. EIGHTY THREE - 94 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - 20Mar16-8AQU
14. STALLWALKIN' DUDE - 94 - Alw 60840NC - 6 Furlongs - 21Mar16-7PRX
16. MAGNIFIER - 93 - Md Sp Wt 60k - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - 17Mar16-6AQU
16. SECOND SUMMER - 93 - OC 40k/N1X -N - 1 Mile - 19Mar16-4SA
18. UPSTART - 92 - Razorback Handicap (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles - 19Mar16-8OP
19. DIRECT MESSAGE - 91 - Md Sp Wt 40k - 1 1/8 Miles - 19Mar16-9GP
19. FOURTH OF JULY - 91 - OC 20k/N1X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - 19Mar16-6OP
19. IRON ROB - 91 - San Pedro Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 20Mar16-8SA
19. J S BACH - 91 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 Mile - 19Mar16-10GP
19. LITTLE CURLIN - 91 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - 20Mar16-6SA
19. RED RAZZO - 91 - Alw 67820N1X - 6 Furlongs - 21Mar16-5PRX
19. SONNY INSPIRED - 91 - Ben's Cat Stakes - 6 Furlongs - 19Mar16-8LRL

*SMOOVE IT's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.

*SEEKING THE SHERIF was claimed for $50,000 by trainer David Jacobson from Ron Ellis.

***

Video stakes analyses for many of the weekend's major stakes will be available later this week at http://www.drf.com/videos

You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.

Matt Bernier, Mike Beer and I will be on for free and fun live handicapping analysis for Fair Grounds, Santa Anita and Gulfstream beginning at 3pm ET on live.drf.com.

***

Congrats to Annie for winning last week's HandiGambling challenge.

Annie selected Saturday's Louisiana Derby from Fair Grounds for this week's exercise.

PAST PERFORMANCES ARE AVAILABLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG POST.

Rick M and SR VEGAS' HG scoreboard spreadsheet is available at the bottom of this blog post.

SR Vegas and Rick M. have graciously decided to update all of the HG rules in order to make them an easier read for everyone...

HANDIGAMBLING version 2016:

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. We are not asking for a novel but SPARE A SENTENCE OR TWO outlining your HANDICAPPING ANGLES and/or THOUGHT PROCESSES about WAGERING .

1. Start your post with HG or HANDIGAMBLING to find your entry in a thread.

2. You have a mythical $100 to wager in whatever format you choose that is available for that HG race. Anyone going over the $100 limit will be DISQUALIFIED.

3. Post your WAGER and ANALYSIS to the blog prior to the start of the designated race. SIGN OFF WITH YOUR NAME/OR MONIKER AT THE END OF YOUR POST. Remember that posts may start as 'anonymous' or an 'alternate name'. You MUST SIGN YOURSELF AT THE END (even if it is the same) This enables the scorekeeper to identify who you are.

4. (1) ONE ENTRY per person for the Handigambling contest. If you have multiple email addresses, use just ONE for contest purposes. Multiple entries will be cause for disqualification.

5. Separate your analysis from the wager and use the PROGRAM # in your wager. Just like you would do in a real wager. No horse names.

**  In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference. Dan reserves the right to approve or deny any entries.

** The winner will receive a "60-Card Quarterly Formulator Past Performance Plan"

As an example :

HG 2016
The speed in this race are #1 Alpha, #2 Beta, and #8 Ocho. I like the works for layoff horse #5 Cinco who can sit off the pace. Lots of speed in here, so this could set up for a closer like  #6 Six Flags and I like the trainer's stats in these conditions. I’ll put the closer over the speed.

HG wager:
$10 EX   6 /   1,2,5, 8  = $40
$5 TRI   6 /   1,2,5,8  /  1,2,5,8  =  $60
Total $100

Thanks Dan!
Harpo

A MORE DETAILED ANALYSIS  IS  ALWAYS  APPRECIATED !

REMEMBER, IF YOU ARE DECLARED THE WINNER OF THE HANDIGAMBLING EXERCISE; PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM WITH YOUR DRF LOGIN AND PASSWORD IN ORDER TO ACCESS YOUR PRIZE PACKAGE.

ALSO, IF THE WINNER WOULD LIKE TO SELECT THE FOLLOWING WEEK'S RACE, PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM NO LATER THAN THE FOLLOWING WEDNESDAY MORNING (A SATURDAY RACE IS MOST IDEAL)

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SMOOVE IT.pdf759.04 KB
Copy of HG 3 19 16 The Rebel Oaklawn Park.xls51.5 KB
HGLADERBY.pdf176.5 KB