Handicapping Picks for 09/30/2011

Race #8 - Rating = 2
#7 Hudson Landing - Fair odds 5/2
#3 Yodelen Dan - Fair odds 5/2
#5 Donato - Fair odds 5/2

Combined, the three listed contenders above have 11 wins in 22 races in 2011, a 50% win rate that gives them an edge, even in this very deep and talented field. Hudson Landing is the most intriguing of the trio, having been claimed out of his last three races, the most recent claim for 40K on 8/27 at Del Mar by Trainer Bob Hess Jr., for HIMSELF, which is notable. The gelding likes to win races, 4 for 8 this year and 5 for 12 in his career on the turf, with his last 3 efforts, including 2 wins in a row, having earned 100, 100 and 105 Equibase Speed Figures that stand up well here in comparison to the best efforts any other horse has run recently. Additionally, Hudson Landing is in for the optional $62,500 claiming price today, a hefty raise from the 40K level last seen, not eligible for the NW2X allowance condition that this race contains as well because he’s won at this level and at the even higher classified allowance level.

Yodelen Dan has also won 2 in a row and is also in for the optional claiming price because he’s already won at this allowance level. He really likes the SA turf course, as evidenced by a 6-5-3 record in 18 races here, and in his last start over this course at this mile turf trip he rallied fast from 8th of 9 to miss by a nose on the wire so he figures to be in the thick of the action on the wire in this situation.

Donato won at the one lower NW1X allowance level in his most recent race, on 8/21 at Del Mar, Brice Blanc in the saddle for the 1st time and riding him back again. The win came in his 2nd start since the claim by Becerra, out of a win at this mile turf trip as well. He’s won 4 of 11 this year, the last two on the sod, and with a sharp workout coming into the race and the likelihood that he’ll be underbet as he’s been in both recent victories, going to post at 15 to 1 and 8 to 1, he may offer the best return for our investment dollars of the three contenders.