08/21/2015 10:08AM

Fornatale: Kinchen analyzes anchor leg of Saturday contest

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Today’s guest columnist is current National Handicapping Championship Tour leader Jonathon Kinchen. He’ll give us a few thoughts on how he approaches 12-race, all-mandatory online contests such as those we’re running Saturday on BCQualify.com, NHCQualify.com, and DRFQualify.com. Then, he’ll go through the anchor leg in the sequence – a $7,500 non-winners of two at Monmouth.

Take it away, Jonathon!

When a lot of players are looking at a race sequence like the one on BCQualify.com Saturday, they are looking at all 12 races as a whole before making any decisions. They might say, “Well, these races look chalky, so I’m okay playing chalk in the right spot,” or, “There are going to be some prices in here, so I might as well start bombing away.” I probably should do that, but really, I just look at the individual races and try to figure out what my opinion is. When it gets to the last two or three races, I will start planning ahead.

I start by finding the horse I like in each race – the horse that in an ideal world, I’ll be able to play. But I also mark other horses I think can win, especially if they are going to be longer prices. I’ll go through this process for every race, starting with the last race and going forward. I start with the last not necessarily because I think the last race is the most important but because I’m just not at all comfortable dealing with the last race on the fly in the middle of the afternoon when there is a ton of stuff going on. If I have to do a race on the fly, I’d much rather have it be early on in a sequence. My work flow is better when I have the later races done early.

Let’s look at this Monmouth race (race 12, 6:15 p.m. Eastern):

#1 FRONT VIEW (30-1): Even if he were the only cap horse for me to play, I still wouldn’t play him. I’d rather just go in the other room and watch TV.

#2 EL BALACIADO (30-1): This horse has not been lower than 39-1 in his last four starts. If I need him, I might go to Target and buy an X Box.

#3 GOOSE BAY (30-1): One win in 49 starts? If he gets No. 2, then I lose.

#4 SMITTYS RAZR HAWK (30-1): He was 98-1 and 93-1 in his last two starts. He would need to be 100-1 for me to take him.

#5 AL’S BEST (8-1): He’s been beaten 20 lengths in each of his last three route tries. He’s got a win sprinting four back, but that does nothing for me. Pass.

#6 CAMPION LANE (15-1): One for 31 lifetime with seven tries at this distance, what’s different today?

#7 I WILL (5-2): The horse’s last race going two turns was pretty good. He’s projected to be forward in a race full of cheap horses that obviously don’t like to win. Ran better than the logical Gallant Pursuit last time. Two back, he was three wide on both turns, and the first- and second-place horses came back to run respectable races. He’s the type of horse I love in a contest like this because he’ll be a short price, and hopefully I’ll be in a position where he protects me and I can play someone else. If not, I have no problem taking him to secure a position.

#8 PHILIP (30-1): So slow he’s in danger of losing to two men in a horse suit.

#9 STAY DETERMINED (8-1): Ownership/trainer change four back to a sharp outfit. They sprinted him four wide, not asked. Two back, he missed the break, stumbled, checked, and came flying late. Last time, he had another eventful trip. Now, they’re trying him two turns in a type of race (non-winners of two lifetime) where I love to see horses trying something different. Only negative is the barn has negative stretch-out stats that aren’t strong, but all in all, an appealing option.

#10 GALLANT PURSUIT (3-1): Coming out of the race with I Will. Ran well first-time dirt off of a pretty big class drop. Was claimed that day by a high-percentage trainer and makes total sense, but closers in cheap two-turn races at short prices often are dicey propositions.

#11 TOTALLY EMPRESSIVE (10-1): Second off a layoff since March. Retains the services of Daniel Centeno. Last out, he missed the break and was steadied into the first turn. Considering the layoff and the two trouble lines, he probably ran just about as well as My Uncle Sam here, and that one is 4-1 on the line.

#12 MY UNCLE SAM (4-1): He has been facing better in his last five starts, except for the common race with Totally Empressive. He ran second that day, beaten five at a short price. He makes total sense, but I prefer others who might offer better value.

#13 TORMENTA FIERA (9-2): Tries dirt for the second time, and I’m not convinced it’s what he wants. Wide draw doesn’t help matters. Only option from out there is to take back, eat dirt, and try to weave his way through traffic. I’ll pass.

SUMMARY: This is a classic contest race where the board and my position will determine who I play. I’ll write 9, 7, 11, 10, 12 at the top of my paper and work from there.

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