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Handicapper Blog

Posted by Darin Zoccali on Thursday, October 11, 2012 8:43 PM

Race 1:

The first race calls out for the bettor to look for value with a series of favorites that all have knocks against them.  #4 RAGING LION (5/2) will take play on the class drop, but is a type that has never returned to the form of his debut.  Logic says the class drop makes him the one to beat, but I caution, he does not have a quick turn of foot and this race is not much easier than the race from 7/21 or 8/12.  He is not a very inspiring favorite.  #3 RESTRUCTURING PLAN (7/2) has the profile of a horse I would typically select in here.  Lightly raced, plenty of back class, packing major upside.  My concern is, does he really want to go one mile?  He might be the best horse in the race, but I am unsure if he wants to go this far. #8 CERTAIN APPEAL has some appeal for me.  Clearly the 5 runner-up efforts compared to just 1 win is discouraging.  However, he is making his 3rd race back off the layoff and for me the move up in class is a positive indicator.  At 5-1 or better, he is an intriguing play.

Plays:
$20 Win #8 CERTAIN APPEAL
$5 Exacta Box on 5, 8 with 3,4,5,8
$2 Trifecta 5,8  with 3,4,5,8  with 3,4,5,6,8,9

Race 2:

The morning line favorite is #10 KISSES REQUIRED (5/2).  From this outside draw, she is not likely to be in a position where she will duck in to the rail.  In addition, the Meadowlands does not have an opening from a turf chute like Monmouth does.  I do not love the outside draw, and will try to beat her on top, but she must be included on tickets.  I am going to take a shot with #1 PORVOO (12/1) in this spot.  The turf breeding is there, the stallion being by the standout turf miler Cozzene and the dam is by Royal Anthem who was a very good American turf runner.  The inside draw is a plus and the value should be there.  If #14 MANIS (2/1) somehow draws in off the AE list, she must be included, but again, due to the wide draw and in this instance the 0 for 10 record, I would be inclined to limit her to underneath on my tickets.  I have a similar approach with #11 SKORT (3/1). The other horse I will use at a price is #4 CANDY LASS (6/1).  Her last start saw her hooked 4 wide down the backstretch and into the turn.  That is a situation she should be able to avoid here.  There is a positive rider switch and the value should be there.

Plays:
$20 Win #1 PORVOO
$4 Exacta Box 1, 4 with 1,4,10,11,14
$2 Trifecta 1,4  with 1,4,10,11,14  with 1,4,6,7,10,11,14

Race 3:

If #14 BALTIMORE RAVEN somehow draws in, she'll be an intriguing play.  The wide draw would be troublesome, but she has been facing better, and should offer value.  Assuming he doesn't draw in, I will look to #4 CREPUSCOLO (9/2).  Obviously going from a 17% barn to a barn that is 0 for 19 on the year is not a positive angle, but this colt has a serious class edge on many of these and the presence of #3 USMC SEMPER FI (5/2) should ensure a decent price. I like the cutback in distance and she should sit a ground saving trip.  I am inclined to use #7 BLESS THE SOLDIER (6/1) who packs plenty of early speed and should be forwardly placed.  His one effort going 4 1/2 on the synthetic is promising for this assignment.  He is worth a win save and a use in all positions.

Plays:
$10 Win on #4 CREPUSCOLO
$10 Win on #7 BLESS THE SOLDIER
$5 Exacta Box 4, 7 with 3,4,7,9,14
$2 Trifecta 4, 7 with 3,4,7,9,14  with 3,4,7,9,14
$1 Pick 4 3,4,7,14  with 7,8 with  1,8,10 with 2,3

Race 4:

The conversation in this race has to start with #9 CAR THIEF (3/1).  This horse has gone up and down the class ladder more than any horse I have seen.  It is worth noting that last year, he finished a very good 3rd in the Pa Governors Cup, and his form tailed off badly thereafter.  He did not race well in the Turf Monster and one has to wonder if he is going to head into a similar decline.  #7 LUCKYSDREAM (6/1) has some appeal.  He has been facing some decent fields of late and he shows a maiden race over the turf at Monmouth that makes him a contender here.  He is a 3yo facing older, but at this time of the year that yields more upside than concern.  He has enough speed to avoid any trouble and has the look of a player.  #8 FISCAL STIMULUS (5/1) is exiting a race that was washed off the turf.  A rebound can be expected in his 2nd race back off the layoff. He has enough tactical speed to stay within shouting distance early.  He's worth including.  If drawn in both #11 and #12 need to be given consideration.

Plays:
$20 Win #7 Luckysdream
$5 Exacta Box 7, 8 with 1,2,7,8
$2 Trifecta 7,8  with 1,2,7,8  with 1,2,6,7,8,11,12

Race 5:

This race comes down to 3 plays for me.  I am not sure any will be value enough to bring about a win play.  #1 ALKE JOHN (9/2) and #10 MARVELOUS CHESTER are 2 of the 3.  The latter should be close to the pace and have first run on the speed while the former will sit a ground saving journey towards the rear and make one big run.  Both should be included in all exotic slots.  #2 JOEY WHISPERS (8/1) is too sharp to ignore, despite the move up in class.  #4 OSCEOLA PRINCE (3/1) must be respected with the early speed he brings to the race and if he is allowed to get away with easy fractions, he is a legitimate threat to steal this.  However, there appears to be enough speed immediately to his outside to keep him honest early. #8 DEAR JOHN (4/1) will have plenty of speed to chase and should be charging late.  Along with #1 ALKE JOHN, I could see DEAR JOHN flying down the center and picking them all up.

$10 Exacta Box 1,8,10
$2 Trifecta 1,8,10  with 1,2,8,10  with 1,2,4,5,8,10,11,14

Race 6:

First, let's mention that if #14 CROCKEFELLER draws in, he immediately has to be considered in all slots.  My top selection will be #3 CAFFE D' ORO (6/1).  Draw a line through his last start where he did not race well on a sloppy track.  His 3 prior turf efforts are all against substantially better competition and he has enough early speed to stay in the hunt early on in this dash.  The price appears right for a value play to close out the card.  #2 MUSTANG ISLAND (6/1) is an interesting play on the cutback.  He has enough speed to stay within striking distance and although he has not won at this trip, he has several good turf sprint tries against much better competition including wins at 6 Furlongs.  He is worth a win saver.  

Plays:
$20 Win on #3 and #2
$10 Exacta Box 2, 3
$2 Trifecta 2, 3  with 2,3,4,14 with 2,3,4,5,7,14



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