Friday, April 29, 2016

Handicapper's Corner: San Francisco Mile (G3)

San Francisco Mile Belongs to Favorites

By: Reinier Macatangay (Lady and The Track)

Turf races are more susceptible to be won by the class choice. On dirt, speed types with less class can slip away and steal a race, but on turf class and late-pace figures become more important.

After looking through the San Francisco Mile (GIII) field, scheduled for this Saturday at Golden Gate Fields, the two “class” runners certainly look unstoppable. Bettors will need some creativity in order to profit from this race.

Below is a rundown of each horse.

1. Tamarando (20-1) - No wins in his last 10 starts. He really was exposed as an average horse.

2. Home Run Kitten (10-1) - Hey, this kitten owns one win out of his last 10 starts. Not seeing it.

3. Kenjisstorm (20-1) - Bal a Bali finishes several lengths ahead every time these two meet. Why would anything change in this spot?

4. Docs Legacy (15-1) - This one rallied nicely to win an allowance race over the same surface last time. He overcame a half mile in 49 seconds to close from behind, but fractions mean less on Tapeta.

5. Montego Bay (15-1) - Going from an open claiming race to a graded stakes event is always a difficult task.

6. Perfectly Majestic (15-1) - As a 4-year-old gelding, some upside exists. Note the second-place finish to Om four starts ago.

7. G.G. Ryder (10-1) - The defending champion has an outside chance, but overall, his class feels a step below the top horses for this edition.

8. P Club (30-1) - The winner of over $84,000 only cost $2k at auction last fall. He won two races since the sale to justify the purchase, but looks over his head in this spot.

9. Royal F J (30-1) - Old warriors attract a following, but this nine-year-old gelding lost by eight lengths in a Los Alamitos optional claimer, one race after a 15-length drubbing in another optional claimer on the track. Pass.

10. Terrys Tom Cat (20-1) - Although he won an optional claimer at Del Mar three starts ago, his class falls a bit below some of these.

11. Alert Bay (6-1) - Last year’s City of Hope Mile (GII) winner at Santa Anita Park tries hard and sometimes gets the job done. He lost five straight races though since his big win.

12. Bal a Bali (2-1) - Deserving favorite only ran a nose behind Bolo in his previous start. The South American star lands in a nice spot to pick up another graded stakes victory.

13. Gabriel Charles (3-1) - While the layoff may concern some, the six-year-old horse fired off a six-month break in the 2013 Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar. He will prove a formidable opponent to Bal a Bali.

14. Unusually Green (30-1) - The son of Unusual Heat shows several competitive races in his back form on the Southern California circuit, but Bal a Bali and Gabriel Charles will prove too much.

Closing Thoughts:

Bal a Bali and Gabriel Charles simply appear too much for these horses, unless a crazy pace scenario occurs. If longshots must be used, then Docs Legacy or Perfectly Majestic might be interesting.

$100 Handigambling:

$15 Exacta Wheel: Bal a Bali, Gabriel Charles / Docs Legacy, Perfectly Majestic

($60 in all)

$40 to win on Bal a Bali

Handicapper's Corner: Miami Mile Stakes (G3)

Smokem Kitten Has Speed to Burn in Miami Mile Stakes

By John Caro

Eight three year olds are eager to contest the Grade 3 Miami Mile Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.  South Florida ThoroFan handicapping expert John Caro uses his keen eye to discover long shots flying under the radar.

Miami Mile Stakes GIII - $100K –Turf 3 and Up
Lots of top turf veterans horses in this one with top turf trainers and jockeys that have some of the best stats for this kind of race. 

#1 – Conquest Tsunami has limited turf experience but put out a fast turn of foot in his last outing at a mile and an eighth at Tampa in January. He has had many breaks the past year and his ITM record is 0 for 3 since his good efforts as a two year old. On the plus side; Casse is 25% on turf with 68% ITM and 24% at a distance, Jaramillo Emisael is winning on the turf at 31% and ITM at 47% and is the top distance jockey at Gulfstream with nearly 40%. Tsunami’s early speed may make him the rabbit for this one but will likely give others the chance to run at him through the stretch. Nice workouts with two bullets though his record’s not strong enough for me as a winner. Bottom of exotics but Jaramillo may play it different today and could show up for second.

#2 – Smokem Kitten is a “JOY” to watch. Setting the Gulfstream track record last time out at 7.5 was very impressive. Under Johnny V’s direction he pressed (albeit 7 lengths back) in a furious pace to move at the half and finished 5 up in his fourth start. Great video. The finish is an indication he can go longer today with no problem as he did in his maiden win with Prado aboard. Maker has not fared well on the turf this meet with his lone win by Smokey and 3 more in the money out of 7 races (57% ITM). Interesting note is he seems to do better inside and he is versatile on the lead or as a presser. I really like this fella for the win!! Hope the odds are right.

#3 – Amigo is a road warrior veteran but has not shown much this year and the last win was in an OC at GPW. He did hit the board in the Tropical Turf H. against Locate and Flashlight with a furious run down the stretch at 63-1 under Jaramillo E. (above). Great news is Ronny Werner is 2 for 3 at a distance and 42% on the turf and 57% ITM with only 7 attempts. Caraballo is 1 for 11 on turf and 1 for 10 at a distance and not having a stellar season. Could see him plodding along and try to revisit the furious run tactic but, Amigo is not on my list even with a steady diet of .49 works and a winning trainer.

#4 – Hothersal this 8 year old veteran is out of a Theatrical mare and is pretty handy at Gulfstream while 71% ITM here. The numbers for the trainer and jockey as posted on Brisnet are in error. Gaffalione is winning at 17% and 65% ITM on turf with 21% and 71% at a distance. Serves is a top trainer on turf at the meeting with 42% and 81% ITM with 14% at a distance. Hothersal three important factors to note; can take a quick pace and catch up, is a mid-pack closer and has done a mile in 1:34. I like this guy as a second and third place finisher…. He’ll be in the mix.

#5 – With Exhalation has great breeding for this event, has won two at Gulfstream this meeting but I’d like to see a little bit more in his works while he goes with the high weight. Elvis is doing well on the turf at 18% here and may be able to overcome Weaver’s low stats. When he wins he is fairly close to a moderate pace. I don’t think we’ll see that today. Third place, maybe. 

#6 – Middleburg is ITM 15 of 17 lifetime and his conditioner is winning at 33% on turf and tied with Serves for ITM at 83%. Steady works at Payson Park (Recreation and Relaxation Center) since January indicate to me that Clement has been waiting for the right race at the right time. Bravo has not had a turf race here at the meeting but, that doesn’t scare me. His class, ITM record at this or any level, and the weight break. Make him a top pick with Smokey Kitten.

#7 – Akatbantay is the Out-of-Towner… two races back he closed to within 1.25 and lost with the very hot Victor LeBron at Tampa against… Who…. Ok, I read the Equibase article about him and the thoughts about a well bred colt who failed in Europe and came for the American game ….blah, blah, blah. Sorry the performance since two has been abysmal even when Europe’s best riders are aboard losing by 61 lengths in the last 5 races. Trouble Prone? Castro is hot and a smart jockey with a competitive spirit but, you have to come with a horse….. may be a scratch candidate. NO!

#8 – Quiet Force has just about everything a horseplayer would want to see on past performance. He either wins or is out of the money. The great news is he may be a price today. Not real happy with Walder’s stats but, the breeding, the speed, the pace marks, two wins after a break and Zayas aboard gives me a lot of hope. Force can meet the forecast pace and show up from mid-pack to take a piece or win. Like him as much as my other two above.

Let’s make a bet…..Hoo-Rah

Use the Dutch bet method with the #2, #6 #8
i.e.- $20 win on the lowest odds of the three, $10 on the second lowest and $7 on the highest odds

$0.50 Trifecta  2,6,8 / 1,2,4,6,8 / 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8    $36
$0.50 Tri Box   2,6,8              as many as you feel comfortable with…. Check the odds
$2 Exacta 2,6,8 with 1,2,4,6,8   $24

Friday, April 22, 2016

Handicapper's Corner: Charles Town Classic Stakes (GII)

Looking for a Star in the Charles Town Classic Stakes

By: Dylan Jarmulowicz 

In recent years the Charles Town Classic has become a race that has gained in stature and quality. The race was first a Grade III in 2011 and the very next year it was upgraded to a Grade II and increased purse of 1.5 million. This year the purse has been reduced to 1.25 million but has still attracted some big name horses going around the Charles Town bullring.

Charles Town Race 12 – Grade II 1&1/8th Miles 
Post Time – 6:05pm (Eastern)
Advance Weather: Chance of Storms, 70s

This race is unique to all these horses as no one in the field of 11 has run a race going three turns and the Charles Town track is a bullring with sharp turns so that could add another wrinkle into handicapping.

Let’s start with the three horses shipping in from Santa Anita; #4 DONWORTH (3-1), #5 IMPERATIVE (7/2) and #10 HARD ACES (8-1). They were all wired by Melatonin in their last race and I’m not exactly sure what to make of them as speed is usually strong at Santa Anita. DONWORTH lost all chance in the race when he had to steady. Throwing that race out, his other races give him a good chance in here but I’m not sure he can wire the field and that’s what it looks like he will have to do to win. IMPERATIVE is a hard knocking horse but he doesn’t like to win, he has not won in two years and just kind of plods around the track wherever he breaks. I’ll pass on him. HARD ACES is essentially the same as IMPERATIVE and his second last time out was dressed up as he really didn’t close, he just passed the tired horses who were dueling on the lead late.

#2 S’MARVERLOUS (10-1) and #7 STANFORD (9/2) will likely set the pace with DONWORTH but both have lot of questions in their own right. S’MARVERLOUS wired a field last time at the Fairgrounds and his better races have come on the front end but no way can he run those fractions in this race. STANFORD is a pure speed horse but his best races are all around one turn, this race is three turns; hard to make a solid case for either of them.

My pick in this race will be #6 INTERNATIONAL STAR (8-1). He is a closer in a race there is plenty of speed in. I think the three turns will suit him well and after a disappointing effort two races back, he ran well last time only to be wired by S’MARVERLOUS who set a slow pace that was impossible to close into. His last two works have been strong and should be good value in this spot.

My Plays:
Win: #6
Exacta: 6/2,4,9
Trifecta: 6/2,4,9/2,4,5,9,10
Good Luck!