Friday, February 8, 2013

The Nomination is In: The Donn Handicap Grade 1 at Gulfstream Park

Welcome friends and readers of The Turk and Little Turk, and a special welcome to the readers of the Thorofan Handicappers Corner. I'd like to thank the Thorofan for the work that they do promoting the fans of horse racing and creating a community of horse racing fans throughout the United States.

I look forward to the Donn Handicap every year, the first big older horse division two turn racing. Good stuff for the horse racing fan inside me but a jagged reef for most handicappers. This early in the season you have a mixed bag of horses at different points in their cycle: Some are coming back from the farm, some raced continuously since the Fall, some are on their second runs off a long break. Trainers have targeted objectives for these horses and their objective may not be winning Grade 1 races in early February. All of these factors to me makes for incredible variability, good payouts, and a chance for frustration or glory. The Turk, a proponent of exotic betting, likes to keep it a bit simple when there are this many moving pieces, and quite honestly, not investing my hard earned capital on crapshoots is often the best course of action. It would be a pretty boring and unfulfilling handicap if I pulled the chicken switch, so we will put our best handicap forward and push up to the punters window with some cash.

Let's get it on!

2013 Donn Handicap Grade 1

There should be an interesting pace to this race, with a bunch of horses that might strike the front and try to stay there. With that much speed it may set up perfectly for a late breaker like the 8 year old, Pool Play: A $30,000 Silver Deputy has earned $1.2 Million through 20 of 34 lifetime money finishes. Another two who may break late and hit the wire or the ticket is Ultimate Eagle and Bourbon Courage. I'm leaning in a different direction, I'm going with the winner of the 2012 Florida Derby, Take Charge Indy.

2012 Florida Derby G1 Take Charge Indy wires the field

2012 Clark Handicap G1: A gutty Place for Take Charge Indy

Training sharply for Trainer Byrne, he's coming off a layoff that Byrne wins 20% of the time. Take Charge Indy is 3 of 3 in the money lifetime at the distance, 2 of 2 in the money at Gulfstream, and 6 of 9 lifetime in the money. His last race against a beast in Shackelford at the Clark was gutty. With Johnny V, up, he'll need to settle, relax and show something as a four year old he didn't show as a 3 Year old: Versatility.

The game winner of the Hal's Hope at Gulfstream is a logical win bet as well (I'd paste the video but some video troll at Gulfstream didn't allow for embedding)

2013 Hal's Hope G3 at Gulfstream

A 4 year old Kitten's Joy who has had good results at GP: 2 wins in 3 tries including a 103 BSF win in December.

Graydar is a very lightly raced Pletcher pupil, and he puts a steady hand in Edgar Prado up on him again as they look for their first stakes win.

So what do we do? I have a base handicap with the way I see the race unfolding. I think the speed may wear down and fade but I'm not betting the mortgage on this baby. I'll most likely box my top 4 for a Trifecta: That's a $48 dollar flier and horses that should all stay under 4 to 1. If you want to go safer, there will be a couple of horses under 8 to 1 like Bourbon Courage, Fast Falcon and Pool Play that could strike for Place. Build several bets with one horse keyed to Win and these two boxed to Place. For $18 dollars you can assemble an Exacta with Graydar, Csaba and Take Charge Indy to Win and drop Bourbon Courage, Ultimate Eagle and Pool Play in Place. I like it and I think I found my bet.

The key in playing the horses in my opinion is to do your homework, be prepared and not start handicapping after the last race goes final, have a plan and work your plan. I've been a horse player for most of my adult life, I watch the horses because I love these magnificent animals, but I handicap purely to relieve work stress and relax. Anyone can be break even if you take it seriously and do the work, and with practice you can scrape out a positive ROI. Bottom line though, have fun, it's a great sport.

I'm ignoring Flat Out at my own Peril.

Best of Luck, Turk Out!

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