05/14/2008 12:10PM

Early Adjudicating


If you wanted to bet or watch the return of Ready's Image in today's featured Adjudicating Stakes at Belmont and assumed it was the eighth race, you'll miss it by nearly three hours. The five-horse field will go as the third race, with a scheduled post of 2:04 p.m.

If I thought Ready's Image was going to be as high as his 8-5 morning-line price, I'd wait until 2:00 and make a rare win bet on a favorite. I think this is a seriously talented horse and a legit Grade 1 sprinter, who ran faster at 2 than his rivals have at 3. He hasn't been out since October, when he suffered a knee chip as the 5-2 second choice in the Champagne, but has bullet workouts over three different tracks among his recent strong works. I expect him to win, but I also expect he'll be closer to 3-5 than his 8-5 ML price.

How to improve on that? I don't have a crushable exacta in mind, and the early pick-4 is out because the Adjudicating is followed by an impossible turf sprint. So instead I'm going to fool around with the new pick-three on races 1-2-3. The 2-3-4 sequence used to be the first pick-3 of the day at NYRA tracks, to prevent conflict with the daily double, but a 1-2-3 bet was added when Belmont opened April 30. It was a pretty well-kept secret, as the opening-day pool was only $16,060, but by the 10th day of the meeting Sunday, the pool was up to $54k.

I'm interested in the 1-2-3 sequence because I think the favorites are vulnerable in the first two legs. In the opener, Western Sweep takes a suspicious drop off a six-month layoff. I'll try to beat her with Pu Dew, Wildbutable, Reyana's Jet and Wundelia. In the second, the three favorites --Sacred Icon, Sapphire Eyes and Cool Tales -- are all pace-pressers stretching out and iffy at the distance. So I'll try three clunk-up longshots against them: Run Lightening Run (15-1), Tomlinson Hill (8-1) and Bishop's Creek (12-1). It's primarily a 4x3x1 pick-three play that I hope will turn a morning-line 8-5, and likely post-time 4-5, into 5-1 or better.

Update 1:04 pm: Argggh. Right idea, wrong horse. Got 2-1 ML fave Western Sweep off the board but ran 2-3-4 behind 7-1 Tzipi. Going to be pretty tough to get 5-1 on my $280 play now:

$20 pick-3: 2,4,5,7/5,6,7/2 =$240
$ 4 pick-3: 3,6/5,6,7/2 = $24
$ 4 pick-3: 2,4,5,7/3/2 = $16

Update 1:36 pm: Never mind.

Update 2:15 pm; Shoulda just taken the $3.90 to win on Ready's Image. The 1-2-3 pick-3 paid quite well -- nearly 50 percent over the $158.30 parlay at $232.50 for a $16.40/$9.90/$3.90 sequence. Turns out you could have improved $3.90 to $4.10 with an all/all/Ready's Image.

Can't say I was wowed by his performance, albeit his first start in seven months. Last down the backstretch, he found a seam and gradually wore down the tiring leaders, who dueled through a half in 44.68, to win by just under a length in 1:16.68. (Tzipi, whose usually runs Beyers in the low-to-mid 70's, won the first race in 1:17.94.) This was supposed to be a springboard for Ready's Image to the G1 Woody Stephens (formerly Riva Ridge) on the Belmont Stakes undercard, but he'll have to improve off today's effort to win it.

C More than 1 year ago
Arcstats, Take a pill. It only took me about 45 seconds to write that post, but thanks for being concerned about my use of time. I don't really care about the ML either, but I just wanted to point out that 18% of 118 is NOT 18. And while I don't pay much attention to the ML myself, many multirace bettors do.
Arcstats More than 1 year ago
In typical horseplayer fashion, why are so many of you wasting your time whining about and debating the morning line? The last I checked it had nothing to do with the reaction of the tote board once a betting session begins. And don't tell me that people make their selections based on the quoted price in the morning line. If that's the case, we need to find a million more of those morons to play this game. Look, consider the morning line nothing more than a movie review. It's just one person's opinion that means absolutely nothing in the big scheme. Focus your energies on something of substance - like getting the rules governing the Pick-6 changed.
Diceman More than 1 year ago
Hi Steve, Here we go again! I just finished handicapping the Preaknes using my Formula 21 method. Each horse received a numerical score, not to exceed 21. The higher the score, the better chance of hitting the board. Listed below is each horse and their numerical score: A Group - Top Picks: Big Brown - 20 Racecar Rhapsody - 20 Behindatthebar - 19 Riley Tucker - 19 B Group - Consider For Exotics: Giant Moon - 18 Yankee Bravo - 18 Gayego - 17 Icabad Crane - 17 Macho Again - 17 C Group - No Shot: Hey Byrn - 16 Kentucky Bear - 14 Stevil - 1 Tres Borrachos - 12 I plan to use Big Brown on top and the other A Horses in my Exacta, Trifecta and Superfecta bets. For the record, in the Kentucky Derby, using my Formula 21 method, I had Eight Belles and Denis of Cork in my Tri bets. No Big Brown! UGH! Close but no cigar! Steve and Blogger Friends - would love to have your comments about the numbers assigned to each horse and my betting strategy! Thanks and Good Luck!
C More than 1 year ago
Owen, Pimlico's win takeout is 18%. The Preakness morning line percentages add up to roughly 128%. If you take 18% out (multiply 128 by 0.82), you get 105%, which is pretty close, but slightly overestimated. However, it should be noted that, mathematically, it is actually incorrect to say that the percentages should add up to 118% because the takeout is 18%... 100/0.82 is NOT 118, but roughly 122. Hence, you'd be underestimating the total percentages. The Preakness oddsmaker overestimated by about the same amount, but this is really nitpicking, isn't it?
Nick Briglia More than 1 year ago
What is so terrible about making a win bet??? Everyone is so caught up in pick 3,pick 4, pick 20, etc. Be happy when you find something that looks really good and take the cash. There is nothing wrong with a win bet. It's probably the best bet at the track every single day. Greed is bad. Enjoy the game.
Owen More than 1 year ago
Reyen and Steve, Steve, you have a point regarding how difficult it is to put a price on every horse. However, what I find inexcusable is how hopeless many of the lines are at putting up prices that add up to 115% (or whatever the takeout is at a particular track.) That's not hard - it's simple math! Looking at ESPN's Preakness draw today, the local oddsmaker put up a book that was (at a rough guess) 125 to 127% over-round. If an odds compiler wants to err on the side of caution, fair enough, but at least put up what his percentages add up to so that the bettor is aware.
Scott More than 1 year ago
Being a fan of the New York circuit for a few years now there is nothing I love more than seeing "the old man", as I call him, roll out onto the track. Evening Attire, the ten year-old warrior, in the 8th @Belmont Thursday. His win last December in the Queens County was inspiring, and win or not he always puts forth an effort. He is what I love about horse racing...they tried to retire him and he was miserable...he wants to run; and run he does against colts half his age. Good luck tomorrow Evening Attire!!
steven_crist More than 1 year ago
reyen, In defense of the better morning-linemakers, it's a tough job. Try predicting prices on every horse on the card and it's hard not to be wrong in a few spots. I though 8-5 on Ready's Image was offbase, but who could have predicted that Tomlinson Hill, 8-1 ML in the second, would be hammered to 5-2 favoritism? Having said that, I do think linemakers are generally reluctant to make likely odds-on horses as short as they should be. I don't think there's anything sinister going on, perhaps just a reluctance to make a race appear uncompetitive or a fear that they'll be criticized if the horse loses, but they're supposed to be solely predicting public behavior, not giving their own handicapping opinion. arazi, The Hollywood surface is producing very fast times so far at this meet but that doesn't make the times "irrelevant," it just makes a second-time starter approaching a track record less spectacular than it might seem. In the race after the Railbird, three Cal-bred maiden fillies, all first-time starters, finished two heads apart at the wire after six furlongs in 1:09.81. Million Dollar Run got a Beyer of 96 for her Railbird, which is still very impressive for a 3-year-old filly making her second start.
Arazi More than 1 year ago
I'm sorry because it's off-topic but I found it really interesting that Million Dollar Run, a maiden making only her second career start, won the $110,400 Railbird Stakes (gr. III) by 2 1/4 lengths May 11 on the Hollywood Park Cushion Track in 1:20.66 for seven furlongs, just .16 of a second shy of the track record. The fact that a maiden won the G3 is not the news but look at the time...what to make of that? I've never ever heard a maiden almost breaking the track record. And then a 7F distance? There were times when track record really meant something but since the adoption of artificial surfaces in CA, have the times have become irrelevant? or is she a super sprinter? Gives me headache trying to figure out CA racing now.
gofor broke More than 1 year ago
Steve, I don't know what you're expecting from Ready's Image, but this isn't May 2007. People chasing after 2007 form at odds on are asking for it. When he ran in the Hopeful, it was the same day Big Brown broke his maiden.