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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Weekend Handicapping: No candy for the Candyman today at GP

I hope all had a wonderful and fun filled holiday.  Today is it, the last day of racing for 2011, and we are going to spend it at Gulfstream Park.  It will be a nice sunny day for a competitive Grade 3 sprint, the Mr. Prospector for 3YO and upwards running for a purse of $100,000.  A field of seven has entered and there is plenty of front end speed to contend with.  After looking them over I can see several claiming victory today, I don’t see any clear cut favorites, it’s that wide open.  So here we go …

#4  Indiano ML 3/1

He has won three of his last four, all at Calder, including a Grade 2 event.  Strong consistent Beyer’s and has hit the board 11 of 12 times.  He likes to rate a smidge off the pace and with several here going to the front, the pace might set up perfectly for him.  He has raced against some good horses in the past; several have gone on to win.  He has all the ability to take this group.

#2  Zero Rate Policy ML 6/1

If there is one horse that can get the jump and run away it will be Zero Rate Policy.  Won nicely here three weeks ago in a $60K stakes race, and has won two of three lifetime here at GP (including his maiden).  Pompay is a dangerous trainer and with Paco Lopez staying in the irons makes him even tougher.  The only reason I don’t have him in the top spot is that his Beyer’s are a bit lower than the #4.

#5  Immortal Eyes ML 6/1

This is one tough knocking gelding and you can’t ignore him in this spot.  He has raced well wherever they have taken him.  Solid Beyer’s at all the tracks, last out was on a “good” surface so will discount it.  James Toner takes over and he has a decent record with first timers (his ROI is a staggering $5.37), and puts on Lezcano.  He is another one that can get to the front and run off with it, should be interesting.

Dark Horse:

#6  The Hunk ML 10/1

Many would say he should be the “Bombs Away” but I have feeling money will move to him.  He is moving up in class after winning four in a row (moved through his classifications nicely) and poised to take on his first graded effort.  You can’t ignore Ben Perkins connecting with Elvis Trujillo, 23% winning record together.  He likes to go to the front, and the only weakness is does he have the speed to stay with the top contenders?  His breeding say’s there is still some upside and today will give him that opportunity.

Bombs Away:

#1 Apriority ML 4/1

Those odds say are you crazy?  I have a feeling he will get ignored today at the tote.  This 4YO has become an enigma for us handicappers.  During the winter and summer he was having a nice season, winning two of five (the other three were place finishes), 100+ Beyer’s in each race, and had nice efforts in a G1 and G2.  Then it all fell apart, an uneven race at Saratoga, off to graze and two ugly results since.  He has faced much tougher and has the class edge, but I wonder about his confidence going forward.  I respect David Fawkes and he has put Saez back on top, which might be the answer.  If he is back on track watch out, otherwise we could be watching a horse that peaked too soon.

Note:   Some will ask why I don’t have the #3 Capt. Candyman Can in the mix.  He is an excellent 5YO and has proven himself at all levels he has competed in.  The issue I have is that he has not won at the 6f level, his wins have been at longer distances.  He is a closer and has shown he doesn’t get there in time in the shorter races.  If this was 7 panels or a mile, he would be the top dog, not saying he can’t win, but the speed burners in this mix will be long gone before he wakes up.

Selections:

4 – 2 – 5

Happy New Year!! And make a safe one. 

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