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Today's HandiGambling race is the eighth at Calder, a $32,000 maiden claimer at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Past performances can be found in the previous blog entry. Remember that you have 100 mythical dollars with which to play the race.
I found this to be a fascinating event. If I played multi-race gimmicks, I could certainly see myself going six or seven deep. It's that tough a race! Let's go over the contenders:
If you get a chance to watch the sixth race at Calder on November 9, you'll have an opportunity to get familiar with several of the horses in today's heat. Ada Clare had a little bit of trouble on the turn that day, but I was more intrigued by her subsequent start on November 22. She made an extremely premature mid-race move while four paths off the rail down the backstretch, and might have won the whole she-bang if she changed leads sooner in the stretch. She didn't switch until right before the wire, and wasn't able to fend off a fellow closer. She doesn't have much early speed, and there isn't a lot of pace signed on so that's a concern this afternoon. Still, she may go off at a solid price, and is certainly worth consideration.
Another that ran in the November 9 trip from hell race. Shoshone Girl was in a pretty good spot during the backstretch run, but was shuffled out by an exhausted pacesetter, and ended up desperately searching for a clear path in the stretch. She altered course a couple of times in the final quarter-mile, but ended up switching leads back and forth in the drive. She still showed a bit of late resolve, and I really like to see maidens with recent five-furlong workouts on the tab. I wonder if the wise-guys jump all over her considering the high-percentage connections involved.
The deserving morning line favorite, Jackie's Causeway almost reeled in a loose leader two starts back. If she repeats that 76 Beyer Speed Figure, she'll be tough to down this afternoon, but I didn't like how she was drifting out during the final eighth of a mile in that September 26 affair. I maintain that she wins that day if she keeps a straight path. Last time out, in the November 9 race, Jackie's Causeway was mugged while in between horses going into the first turn, and raced five wide on the far turn and into the stretch. Exhausted, she switched back to her wrong lead in the final sixteenth of a mile. She's very logical, but may be bet to underlay status.
If any horse needed blinkers, it's Jack's Grace. This Northeast shipper was extremely hard to handle while three wide on the first turn two back at the Meadowlands, but kicked it in late while in between horses to only get beat three and change. Last time out, she broke from a terrible post position (the story of her career on turf), and was hung out against three next-out winners. John Kimmel adds the rogue's badge today, and you could certainly argue that Jack's Grace was facing tougher competition in New Jersey. Don't be surprised if she runs well here.
She may control this thing from the get-go, and well, you know that pace makes the race. In her first start since February, Grandeza was extremely eager, and eschewed a nice pocket spot to press the leader from the two path. It turned out to be a wise move from Ariel Smith as the pacesetter soon backed up while clogging up the inside. Grandeza inherited the lead after only five furlongs, and immediately faced pressure. She battled on gamely to only lose by three+ lengths, and can move forward off that effort. The rider switch to Elvis Trujillo signals serious intent, and if Grandeza can relax on the lead, she'll be tough to run down.
Goes out for a low-percentage barn (only 1 for the last 27), but draws a good inside post position, and makes the second start of the form cycle with improved Beyers on display. It's possible that this daughter of Bernstein is beginning to figure the game out, and she may work out a nice pace-tracking, ground-saving trip behind moderate fractions. An interesting longshot.
One March was the pacesetter that stopped to a walk in the November 9 race, but she had to go very fast to secure the lead (22 and change for these is quick). Last time out, she was hung out three wide going into the first turn before finishing evenly. She gets a trainer change to the hot Steve DiMauro, and may be in closest attendance to the leader going down the backstretch. I don't love her, but there is Super Hi-5 Wagering on this race, right?
The only three I haven't discussed are Gaily Couture, a dull seventh behind Ada Clare and company last time out, Change the Storm, sixth in that race despite some trouble, and Frisky Pj's, a first-time starter marooned in a tough post position. Now, watch that triple box come in!
From a gambling standpoint, I'm completely perplexed. It's an interesting Superfecta race, but alas, it's not in the wagering menu. I'm not sure I'm ready to jump into the Super Hi-5. It's more of a "make lemonade out of lemons race," and I prefer scotch.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that discretion is the better part of valor. Sometimes, the best bet is no bet at all, even with mythical funds.
Of course, I could simply be a yellow-belly.
SR Vegas, Thanks! I grew up in your town and attended Valley High School, class of 19 2 ( oh, one of my digits is out on my laptop, lol ). I grew up loving the Tark and his "Running Rebels" and went to most of the games ( that narrows my age down some, but, Tark was there quite awhile, lol ). Sorry, but when ever I think about Jerry Tarkanian I can't help but say how corrupt the NCAA is. The whole organization should be abolished! In what other walk of life can a man ( coach ) give kids with very little going for them ( financially ) a chance at a college education and maybe much, much, more and be called a crook. That's what the country thinks of one of the best and most caring coaches in the land. It's a damn shame! The NCAA pretends to care, but, there actions show differently. They don't truly investigate all programs, but, pick and choose who they will "crush", under the guise of trying to protect and preserve the whole. Hogwash! It is my opinion that 99.9 % of all division 1 schools, if thoroughly investigated, would be dirty by NCAA standards. Yet, the NCAA goes on picking and choosing, and then holding up a head every once in awhile for effect. Either clean up ALL the programs or or SHUT IT DOWN and start over with 21st century policies. Sorry, once again, wrong forum, but so much more to say.....dang!
I do believe that the owner Alex Solis is the son of the jockey Alex Solis. It's been my understanding since forever that jockeys can't own horses.....just way too much of a conflict of interest.....
Annie, Playing multiple tickets IS one way to drastically reduce the cost of the bet. The drawback, as you said, is that you could spread the winners out on 2 separate tickets. But that's why that approach starts with a ranking: if 3 backups or marginal contenders (as you see it, of course) win, you probably won't have them on the same ticket, but you may still get 5/6 at least once. In the "caveman" (or cavewoman) approach, you almost certainly wouldn't even have that. Advantage multiple tickets. I actually don't know that EITHER approach is best for the P6. For the P4, multiple tickets is typically the only way I go. Having 4 legs instead of 6 and a $1 minimum makes it affordable enough for me, even though I'm weighting my tickets differently (usually go 4A x3, 3A1B x2, 2A2B/3A1C x1 or something similar). But in the P6, even the A-B-C thing gets pricey with 6 legs and a $2 minimum. I've laid off the P6 for some time now, and have instead been trying to figure out a better way to bet it (Steve and I share the space in the handicapping basement lab). A while back, I read about another approach by Gibson Carothers (father of TVG's Matt). It centers around singling 1 good-value overlay which is intended to separate you from the masses and any no-brainer "locks" and crushing the other 3-5 legs. The advantage is that the singles cut down the cost. Of course, the play basically hinges on the overlay selection. When it wins, you're going to have a great shot. If it loses, you're fighting for 5/6. There must be a better way... I'm working on it!
Vicstu, I appreciated your posts about Pistol Pete Maravich. It’s a shame that he died so young (but you know the saying: only the good die young). A little known fact about Pistol Pete, not only was he one of basketball’s greatest players of all time, he was also a lifelong Christian and those values helped to mold and shape him when he grew up and began playing professional basketball. If you would like to see a good “family friendly” video (on VHS and DVD), I would highly recommend “The Pistol: The Birth of a Legend”. It’s a video of life of Pistol Pete when he played basketball in high school and every time I watch it, I cry my eyes out. Pistol Pete was truly talented and just like the Triple Crown winners in horse racing, every once in a few years are we blessed to witness such greatness.
Contrats to all who hit in Hdgm 113... Lesson learned here is-a newbie to this group with a good/great trainer merits respect, also the drop in class again pays dividends. Annie, just sick about the HLW P/6 today. Besides the two tickets I posted I bet another one, and hit 4/6 on all three. I don't play the P/6 except with carrys and Derby and BC Day. I really feel it is a good wager as it is the only one in racing that I am aware of that you can miss one and still get paid. Sorry I didn't get to interact more with your and, Steve T's picks. I am in the process of setting up a new corporation as I am buying my partner out in my restaurant. While there is no deadline, I really want to have all that is hanging done by xmas eve, so maybe I can enjoy the Holidays. Anyway, the next time there is a carry lets tackle it again. Alan, thanks for hosting a Derby contest, will be great fun for me. I would be glad to donate a prize. Albeit at this time I don't know if I want to send BBQ from the restaurant as I just got my bill from Fed-Ex, and they are charging me $87.00 to send a cooler of ribs. I will leave it with this, I will send the winner a 2009 Derby shirt (the company that manufactures Derby clothing is 30 miles south from where I live). If I can get Fed/Ex to drop their fuel charge where I won't have $100.00 in a slab of ribs, I will give the winner an option. BTW, Alan the 6th @ Fairgrounds tomorrow is a pretty talented group for an ALW race in December (2 yr olds). I haven't handicapped the race yet but, I hope Larry Jones prevails here.
Steve T, How about Awesome Annie? :) Annie
Steve T. If you hit the Megamillions for $200m, can I request the Azeri/Ghostzapper foal? Great, thanks.
Alan, Oh, no. We're not going to be able to analyze the 2 yr old race at Fair Grounds today. Races cancelled because of a snowstorm! Annie
Tinky, Believe me I understand the vagaries of works, especially those taken as a singular event. I also agree that 3F and some 4F works are chaff because as you noted anyone with four hooves can do it. What I am searching for is pattern recognition and to prove or disprove the theories and myths of works. Here is what I would like to accomplish: 1. To see if there is any identifiable correlation between the work times and subsequent races. In essence, does a fast work equal better odds of winning at the track. Yes there are those that point out those that "leave it on the track in the morning" - and there are some that do exactly that. But I want the facts, is there a tie? 2. I would like to build a "works" book for each trainer that gives the generalities and details of how they tend to work their horses - we know that Baffert works them hot and Shirreffs could care less. Without this data it is a lost cause overall to catalog works. 3. I would like to establish what the works range and medians are for all major tracks in the U.S. I have no idea what a good 5F work looks like at Keeneland, and I would like to know if they suddenly show up in SoCal. 4. I have used a handicapping hypotheses I created two years ago that I call "the live work set" which simply stated says ignore the last work, the work before should be the best work. So a live work set is a middle of the road to slow work last out preceded by a very good work. Although I can't statistically prove it (yet) it has been a real plus in handicapping for me and others. But I hate hypotheses and conjecture, which is another reason I am doing this. Even if all I get are proven generalities and patterns - and have a better understanding of how different trainers work their horses I will consider it a success. What you and the others with experience can do is keep me honest with my results. I understand that right now I only have a piece of the puzzle, and that the sampling I am using would make my Stats professor throw up, but it is simply a "quick and dirty" analysis to see if there is anything worth pursuing. I have a history of doing these kinds of things (okay everybody stand up and say "oh yeah, he does") but I have come up with a number of useful handicapping tools. Alan and I were the first out there to recognize that there were specific sires that got Poly loving progeny. Our initial list has spread all over the country. I also roger that 6 furlong works are far and away the best indicators of race day performance - yet they are certainly not the works du jour on the East coast. That is why I am using them exclusively to track works to performance. I am noting the date of entry (with odds)and then the results. This could go nowhere, lord knows I have been there before, but it makes me a better handicapper when I dissect something and then look for patterns. NOTE TO EVERYBODY Okay you know the drill, DO NOT place bets based on this very early data - it is only a hypothesis. Let's see where it takes us and then we can use the data to try and make us all some money if it pans out.
Good morning, Steve, You Californians are just thin blooded. Here in Minnesota, we just start thinking about breaking out the jackets at 22 degrees. What's the name of my horse? It can't be Hmmmmm. Speaking of works, I have noticed that Calif. works very seldom have the B for breeze designation. I have had very good luck with horses that do get this designation. It only works in So. Cal. I don't play No. Cal. Annie