|Out of the Handicapper Hibernation|
Welcome friends to The Turk and the Little Turk Blog, now in our tenth year of providing free handicapping to people who never asked for it. Before I start to blather, I'd like to thank the good folks at The Thorofan and the The Thorofan Handicappers Corner for welcoming me today as guest handicapper.
What's with the bear? I like to take a siesta from handicapping every year, usually just after the Clark Handicap when Churchill's late year season is wrapping up. This past year I shut it down right after the Breeders' Cup. I have always found these extended handicapper holiday's helpful to me to clear my mind and reset. I haven't a clue who's on the Kentucky Derby trail, didn't pay any attention to the Pegasus World Cup, nothing, no racing, no handicapping, no blogging. I do indeed feel fresh and ready to get back after it. I'm not much of a young 3 YO gambler, I prefer the handicap division with older horses and today's Hal's Hope, 1 Mile over Dirt for 4 Year Olds and Up fills the bill.
Let's get after it!
This is obviously not peak racing season. This is a time of the year where trainers are just shaking the farm rest out of the their handicap division, while others, the journeyman horses, are just running and can only dream about a long romp in a pasture. My ROI in early season is so-so, especially when I try to get fancy. I will not be getting fancy here.
The weather may be wet Saturday and it bears watching. You can find the scratches and changes and track conditions by following this link. The Gulfstream website was clearly not set up for horseplayers, it is a messy jumble.
I don't see this race as very complex: There is a clear line of quality runners that are on the outskirts, but in the Grade 1 conversation, and then a few that barely belong in graded stakes competition.
As my chart shows, I think you can throw a blanket over the likelihood that Malagacy, Send It In or Economic Model can win. While the odds are similar, I do however like them in the order I listed.
Malagacy had a long break after leaving the Derby Trail in April last year. This is his second off the long break, something Pletcher wins 17% of the time. He'll be very early speed and it's just a question if he can carry.
Send It In is off a break since last April and this is his first start, something Pletcher is actually 33% good at in 87 tries. The six year old Big Brown New York Bred is 14 of 15 on Fast Dirt in the money. Expect him on the ticket.
Trainer Chad Brown brings the inconsistent 5 YO Economic Model in off a long layoff since October, something Brown wins 28% of the time on 160 tries. It's really staggering Brown's stat's by the way: 30% winner on 202 tries Won Last Start, 26% of Routes on 652 tries.
Just below that top group is Irish War Cry, Derby Trail darling on the shelf since a dull PA Derby in September. Motion is a deliberate trainer, but this is his backyard and I think this is just a tune up with low expectations other than a good run. I need to see something first, but class alone makes him dangerous from Place down.
Trainer Donna Green has no wins in 4 tries at Graded Stakes in past year and her runner Conquest Big E will be big early pace but should falter to better runners late. Should. Show or 4th not unreasonable if hunting value.
The gelded Street Sense 5 YO, Tower of Texas goes on a Turf to Dirt switch for Roger Attfield which feels like an unsure test. Where he finishes, your guess is as good as mine.
As I said, nothing fancy for me this time of year. I'll be looking at Exacta's built off my base handicap and I'll use the Tote Board to help me build a bet worth betting. I'm thinking no more than 5 separate $2 combinations for $10 total and all of them with a 4-1 or better Tote Board Post Time odds on top.
Have fun with the races friends, Turk Out!