Favorite Handicapping Angles
I’ll be the first to admit
the first half of the 2013 meet at the Meadowlands was indeed a challenge to
sift through and solve as a handicapper.
In particular, the start of season presented many interesting puzzles and
mysteries due to the sheer volume of shippers, and how they were classified
under the revised A B C system. Still,
as we continued to evolve in our approach, and considered weather conditions
and pace scenarios, some tried and true angles flushed out live horses and produced
their share of winners, especially when things settled down. We often tried to beat the favorite, couldn’t
do it, and had to settle for the exacta box.
On the flip side, just when we thought we were going to get some value
on our top selection, the price was hammered down. When there was a standout, it was fun
figuring out who to play underneath. Many
times multiple angles overlapped and applied to the same horse. The following examples are a few of our
Acclimating Mile – Once horses have a trip over the track and/or a
start after a layoff, we can gain a better gauge on their true form. On January 4, The Evictor had rallied stoutly
from far back in his first start over the track. He also showed raging form against tougher company
elsewhere and switched to Corey Callahan.
The Evictor roared home to a career best of 1:53.4 to pay $7.40.
Positive Trend – On January 17, Cruise Queen had picked up her game on Lasix and had a
needed start at the Big M. The winner of
eight of 24 career starts was also one of many new acquisitions for leading
trainer Ron Burke this meet. The
daughter of Artiscape brushed and crushed them from post eight, and took a new mark
of 1:52.4 and paid $8.80.
Closer on the Verge – Stone closer Clear View Hanover had three starts
under her and was getting a slight class drop going into her January 25
race. Her latest effort was an improved
second with a driver change to Simon Allard.
Simon now had a better idea of what this mare was all about and got her
into a perfect second over striking position to nail the favorite in 1:53.3 to
Class Drop in a So-So Field – Dash For The Cash appeared to be a relatively
consistent trotter for brothers John and Jim Campbell, and was coming off two decent
miles at the B-2 level on January 31. He
dropped to face an uninspiring C-1 field, steamrolled first over from post
eight and paid $8.60.
Burke Overlay – Trainer Ron Burke blanketed cards with fresh faces early in the meet
and Oil Magnet made an immediate impression.
The 9YO Western Hanover gelding was making his Big M debut on February 2
after going three-for-three since the Burke acquisition at The Meadows. Oil Magnet cruised to a career best of 1:51.3
and paid $8.40. The pacer went on to
sweep the Winter Survivor Series.
Cycling Forward for Team Allard – On February 9, No Bu was an excellent candidate to
upset the favorite Perrito Caliente.
Acquired by Rene Allard in late Fall of 2012, he was a closer who showed
form that was gradually cycling forward.
His last two final quarters were an improved :26 and change. He kicked home in :26.1 to upset in a career
best of 1:51.2 and paid $8.40.
Second Start off the Bench – Vaporstar only won once this meet and that lone
tally came in his second start for strong percentage trainer Rob Harmon. The four-year-old banked $100,000 in Illinois
in 2012 and finished solidly in his first tour of the oval. On February 15, he went wire-to-wire in
1:55.2 and paid $9.00.
Strong Back Half off a Modest Pace – It took Dream’s Bar a few starts at the Big M and
the right scenario to see her late move pay off. On February 15, she was coming off a sterling
rally to hit the board off a modest pace and stormed home to for Eric Carlson
to win by a nose in 1:54 to pay $10.40.
Dream’s Bar did virtually the same thing in her next start to repeat and
Drop Back to Winning Level – Photo King had shown positive hints, including a
sharp win two starts back at the A-2 level.
After a mile in which he was shuffled from the rail in a slightly
tougher A-2/A-1 Handicap, the son of S J’s Photo returned against an evenly
matched A-2 group on February 22. He
rallied to score in 1:55 and paid $18.80.
Class Drop off a No-Chance Mile – Zumba Mouse is a trotting mare noted for her big
finishes, and on March 1 she was coming off an impossible trip from post 10 at
the B-2 level. She had won just before
that in only her second start after a long layoff. With the drop to the C-1 level and a
perfectly timed move by Marcus Miller “The Mouse” pounced to equal her lifetime
mark of 1:55 and paid $9.00. Then, she
repeated back up at the B-2 level for a $13.20 payoff.
Class Relief & Driver Change Combo – Going into his race on March 2, Southern Sport had
his share of tough trips, he was dropping down to the level of a recent win and
picked up Tim Tetrick. As usual, Rob
Harmon had his trainee on his toes and Southern Sport flashed :27 speed on both
ends in a 1:51.2 mile and paid $13.20.
Sudden Speed & Class Drop – Westside Lindy had gotten his act in gear showing
sudden speed in his last two starts noted trotting man Walter Carroll. On March 22, the son of SJ’s Caviar dropped
from B-2 to C-1, was given a slick drive by Eric Goodell and paid $9.20.
Sudden Speed & Back Class – Arctic Fire had dropped down in class and revived
her form with sudden speed at Harrah’s Philadelphia. On April 5 at the Big M, she faced a camera-shy
group of mares at the B-2 level for owner/trainer Noel Daley, Andrew McCarthy
drove her superbly and she zipped home in :26.3 to win a blanket photo and paid
Sudden Speed in a Question Mark Field – On April 19, Bambino Hall was returning to the Big
M after three races elsewhere, his latest a sudden display of speed at Pocono
Downs. Team Allard had him well placed
in a so-so B-2 field, and with a perfect second over trip he was able to employ
his preferred closing style in a 1:53.2 career best and paid $9.20.
Parked Out & Didn’t Fade Much – Multiple angles applied to Alex Bullville on April
20. The steady son of Bettor’s Delight
was coming off a parked out trip and lost by less than two lengths. He had been knocking on the door, drew an
improved post and switched to Corey Callahan.
Alex Bullville stormed home in a career best of 1:50.4 and paid $10.00.
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