Tonight’s HandiGambling 240 exercise is the sixth race from Indiana Downs, The Girls, Incorporated, of Shelbyville, Shelby County Stakes for fillies and mares at one mile on the grass.
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 turf course is listed as FIRM with the portable rail out at 24 feet. Let’s scratch #3 LADY’S LAUGHTER, #6 ROMIN ROBIN, #9 SILENT CANDY, #10 TAPTAM and #11 LA GRAN BAILADORA.
I’m going to lean on two horses in the multi-race wagers.
#5 KISS MINE is a notch below graded quality, but she makes hay in these listed events with stakes victories at Mountaineer (three times), Turfway and Ellis. While she is quick from the gate, she may be even better when she has a target and she may find one in the form of #2 SHEER BEAUTY, the pacesetter in the Grade 3 Ouija Board Stakes on May 30.
Kiss Mine’s most recent start, the Decoration Day Handicap at Mountaineer on May 30, was a quick victory. It graded out two-fifths faster than the stake for older male turf milers a race before. Kiss Mine tracked the pacesetters from the outside, geared up down the backstretch to take on the leader and held sway in the final furlong.
She should be right there when the field swings into the stretch and could get the jump on the closers.
#1 CATEGORY SEVEN, a reformed $15,000 maiden claimer, has built quite the career for herself with earnings of almost $500,000 and a record of 17-11-4-0 at this distance. She’ll make her first start for high-percentage trainer Richard Kohnhorst and figures to save valuable ground from her inside post position.
She’s faced some solid company in her last few races. Three and four starts back, she finished second to Upperline, a Grade 3 winner that took the Trillium Stakes over the Woodbine polytrack last Saturday. Two back, she was favored against males, but didn’t run her best. Last time out, Category Seven chased heavily-favored speedster Wasted Tears in the Grade 3 Ouija Board. A four-time stakes-winner (once against the boys), Category Seven looms a dangerous late threat.
As for the others:
After finishing third in the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks on dirt last year, #2 SHEER BEAUTY had surgery to remove an ankle chip and was on the shelf for almost 10 months. It took her a couple of races to get back to her best form, but she went gate-to-wire two back at Lone Star before getting caught up in an early tussle with the aforementioned Wasted Tears in the Ouija Board. Sheer Beauty won’t have to worry about that foe tonight and she may be on the front end under Jon Court. She’s an improving filly, but the top choice may not let her steal away on a lonely lead.
#4 SNOW TOP MOUNTAIN looms the one to beat after finishing a close fourth in the Grade 3 Mint Julep Handicap at Churchill Downs 18 days ago. Grade 1-placed in New York last year, Snow Top Mountain seeks her first stakes victory this evening and her recent numbers are very competitive. She beat Persuading (next-out winner of ‘n3x’ optional claimer on dirt at Churchill with 85 Beyer) two starts back at Churchill, but her lead changes were a bit sloppy. Snow Top Mountain is a dangerous adversary, but she owns more second-place finishes than wins and spots weight to most. Still, she should be charging in the lane.
#7 SENIGA loves this turf course with three wins from four races. She rallied from off the pace to defeat War Tigress (returned to finish sixth, beaten three lengths by Kiss Mine at Mountaineer) in her local prep and has the tactical speed to find a nice spot in midpack. While one should respect the horse for course angle, she’ll need to improve a bit against this tougher competition.
#8 INSTANT STYLE stretches out three furlongs following a fourth-place finish in an optional claiming dash at Arlington. That race looks like a prep for this longer stakes opportunity and she is a two-time winner at one mile on grass. Please note that her trainer, Frank Springer, used the sprint to route move (also in second off layoff) successfully with Instant Style when they won a maiden contest at Arlington on September 5, 2009. Instant Style was no match for Category Seven two back and likely needs a career-best number to beat these.
#12 DISTORTED LOVE seeks her third straight, but those last two wins came in off the turf heats and she has never succeeded on the grass. A late-runner with a solid closing kick, Distorted Love may be gathered back in the early portion of the race by Miguel Mena in the hope of rallying into a contested pace.
Here’s how I’ll play HandiGambling:
$50 Exacta: Kiss Mine – Category Seven (5-1)
$30 Exacta: Kiss Mine – Sheer Beauty (5-2)
$20 Exacta: Kiss Mine – Snow Top Mountain (5-4)
Best of luck to all