08/05/2007 2:30PM

Baby Step


If you had told me I'd take my first baby step toward getting well for the meeting on a baby race, I'd have told you that was impossible and that you must have me confused with juvenile-guru Dan Illman. I rarely bet firster-loaded 2-year-old races but rather try to survive them in multirace sequences, and lean heavily on the toteboard for guidance. But when I finally did something smart today, it was in a baby race with a horse who was classically "dead on the board."

Today's second race, for 2-year-old fillies at 6 1/2 furlongs, drew a field of just six: two who had run at Churchill, closing late in the same fast-paced race, and first-timers from Pletcher, Mott, Zito and Rusty Arnold. I didn't like the two Churchillians, whose running lines had been dressed up by clunking up into a collapsing race. The Pletcher firster was from a mediocre mare and seemed better suited for grass. As I said at Siro's this morning, the one who intrigued me the most was Rusty Arnold's Morakami. The Fusaichi Pegasus colt l filly looked more like a win-early type, having been produced by Astrid, a sprinter who won the My Juliet and Serena's Song. And Arnold had tremendous trainer stats in situations like this -- 20 percent with firsters and 24 percent with 2yo's, both with a positive ROI.

I was charting daily-double probables looking for any support for Morakami but found none. I did, however, see a ton of late double money pour in on the Mott firster, Sunday Holiday. With nine minutes to post, the probable for a Smart Bunny-Sunday Holiday double was $63. At post time, it was down to $42, a serious hit. During that same time, the Smart Bunny-Morakami double stagnated from $110 to $114.

Unfortunately, I loved Sumwonlovesyou more than Smart Bunny in the first, and tried to get out for the meeting with a cold Sumwonlovesyou-Morakami punch, with much smaller savers on Smart Bunny-Morakami, Sumwonlovesyou-Sunday Holiday and Smart Bunny-Sunday Holiday. But Sumwonlovesyou didn't love me or nine furlongs. She got the lead and the rail and briefly looked home free but quit after a mile and Smart Bunny scored at an unexciting 5-2.

The betting in the second was just like it was in the doubles, with Sunday Holiday getting whacked from 7-2 to 2-1 in the final five minutes while Morakami drifted from 7-1 to 10-1. At that price, I made this old-fashioned thing my grandfather once told me about, a win bet, and a small exacta box with Sunday Holiday.

Sunday Holiday broke right to the lead like a good thing as Morakami chased from the outside post. Sunday Holiday looked strong turning for home but Morakami kicked in harder. She took over late, and scored by two lengths but....Inquiry! Morakami had drifted in slightly in the final furlong. It was a lesser infraction than several the stewards have let slide at the meeting, but maybe they'd think it was time to overcompensate and get tough? Fortunately not, and the result stood, with a $23.40 win mutuel, a $114 double and a $100 exacta. Phew.

Of course the moment I finished patting myself on the back for smoking out Morakami, I couldn't have been more wrong in the third race, where Russian Gypsy won on the lead at 7/5 in a race I had figured for a meltdown. My big pick-fours went up in smoke, leaving me alive with only a $2 6,8/1,7,8 and $1 6,8/2,6 and 2,9/1 tickets in the last two legs. But maybe if I can beat one of the big chalks in the next two races it could still be okay.

I'm probably going to quit playing baby races while I'm ahead on them. I still can't help feeling like a guy who loses for the day with his rational opinions at Saratoga and then makes a little score buying Lotto tickets or playing his lucky numbers at the trotters.

Dave Schabell More than 1 year ago
Steve: You and your partner were right on in presenting your opinions this morning at the Siro's seminar on the second race. If my notes serve me correctly, as stated in your blog entry, you suggested throwing out the 1 and 2, and suggested playing the 5 and the 6. Like you I played both Somewonlovesyou and Smart Bunny in the double with (6)Morakami and (5) Esther Got Even. Morakami keyed back in the trifecta with the 3,4, and 5 was a natural as was Esther Got Even over the 3,4, and 6. To make a long story short, I was shocked when the prices went up and I was the winner of a $114 daily double and couldn't believe that the trifecta paid a cool $400 in the six horse field. I guess that seemingly easy score makes up for all of those that you expect to cash that never seem to get there. Thanks, and I truly enjoy listening to the DRF crew on the Siro's webcasts each day!
Chisox More than 1 year ago
Litfin has been saying for many years that Rusty Arnold's first timers can be well meant whether they take money or not.
Mark M. More than 1 year ago
Is there a rational explanation for the judges leaving Texas Elegance up in the 6th race on Saturday?
Steven Crist More than 1 year ago
David G: Yeah, it could have been better, but I don't think Sherine was really $11.40 in the pick-4. The probables were $3k-$4k with all of the top 4 betting choices. EJS: I didn't mean to suggest that Morakami "took early money." I don't think she did. And I hope you're not using the ML as any kind of a barometer in a firster-loaded race. It's just one guy's guess of how horses are going to be bet. Aparagon: I don't think you ened to chastise yourself for being "lazy and not reducing a $54 play to $40 by making multiple tickets. It's not that big a deal when you're only talking about using 2-3 horses a race. It's a bigger issue if there are 1-2 races you want to go 5-6 deep in -- then you really do have to split your contenders into a/b/c or you end up spending a fortune.
Tom Marin More than 1 year ago
Congrats on your pick 4. I have read your excellent book called Exotic Betting. Would you mind posting the tickets that you played? Also, what would you recommend the minimum bet unit be for pick 3s, 4s and pick 6s. I would love to see a 0.25 unit for these bets. Finally, I am a NYRA acoount holder. What would be the best way to put pressure on them to set-up these minimums (especially dime superfectas)? Thanks in advance for any of your replies.
alan More than 1 year ago
Glad to see you finally scored on a PJ Kelly longshot!
aparagon4u More than 1 year ago
Steve, I had been playing multiple tickets for the last year or so when playing the Pick 4. At first it paid off a few times when I would have the Pick 4 two or three times. I even had it four times once. Lately, however, I had been getting killed by the Pick 4. I went months without hitting it. I would usually have all the races narrowed down but when making the A/B/C/X decision would either eliminate a horse or make the wrong horse an A or B. I was at a point where I thought about taking a break from the Pick 4. Then came this past Friday. I looked at the card because one of my dad's horses was running. He was in the second leg of the Pick 4 so I took a look at it. I narrowed down the fields to the horses that looked like contenders. I did not take the time to designate each horse as an A/B/C/X because I needed to focus on Saturday's cards because I was participating in the Colonial Downs Handicapping Tournament. So Friday I went to the track early enough to make the first leg of the Pick 4. I felt fairly confident that I had the contenders isolated but did not have time to make the A/B/C/X decision. Using every horse on one ticket would cost $54, but the long losing streak caused me to think twice about it. My cousin decided he would split the cost so I went ahead and made the bet. The first leg was won by the longest of our three contenders at 20/1. Then my dad's horse won at 3/1. Then we got the two favorites to come in to close out the Pick 4. Total investment was $54 with a $1 payout of just under $700. So the lazy play paid off. To further reinforce my laziness I played the Pick 4 at Saratoga on Saturday while playing in the tournament. I didn't have time to do the A/B/C/X designations as I was focused on the tournament. With a minute to post I almost didn't play it. Then my cousin (same one as Friday) said he would split the cost. So we played one ticket again at a total cost of $72. I loved Three in the Bag in the first race as he was lone speed. I bet him to win and used him in the Pick 4. Then we went deep in the second leg and caught a 10/1. Then we got the two favorites in the last two legs. Then came the inquiry that nearly crippled us. Our $1,000 payout was in the hands of the stewards. Luckily the results stood. So two days in a row I played lazy and won. What should I do? I know your opinion is to try to have it more then once, but being lazy rewarded me this weekend to the tune of nearly $900 for a $63 investment. Lenny
EJS More than 1 year ago
Congratulations. However, I would humbly submit a first time starter that takes early money and then drifts off to its morning line is a classical live, not dead on the board, betting pattern.
david grossbarth More than 1 year ago
pick 4 -little light no ?????
Flop More than 1 year ago
Pick 4some!!! Shirenesupreme! Lemme be the first to say, Ahooooooooooooooooooo!