11/16/2007 1:35PM

Q&A 11/16/07


arazi says: You stated that the Red Smith was the toughest race of the card and yet, surprisingly, you went only 4-deep in that leg -- something which is hard to acknowledge or approve knowing it was a double carryover and time to unload.

I'd feel a lot worse about only going four-deep had Dave been my fifth or even sixth choice in the 12-horse Red Smith, but if I'd had to rank the entire dozen he would have been in my bottom four.

The bigger question is what you do in a pick-six with a race where you're utterly baffled. Hitting the All button looks good in retrospect in this case, since Dave plus five easy pieces combined to pay $21k, but I don't think that's a realistic or wise approach. My unease about the Red Smith made me want to put in only a smallish play, and I invested $240 going four-deep in the Red Smith. If I'd used all 12, I would have been spending $720 on a ticket that began 1x2x1, effectively making a pair of $360 pick-3's.

Hitting the All button in a big field eats up way too much money while also reducing your play to a spin of the roulette wheel.

brian says: Do you think the rail @ AQU on the turf course this weekend was dead? I do. . .

I can't think of a reason why the inside path of a grass course would be "dead" and I've never factored that possibility into my handicapping or analysis. It can happen on dirt due to uneven maintenance and drainage but there's no equivalent to scraping (or not scraping) the rail on turf.

I can see how it might look that way on a soft and tiring course, though. Horses who establish early position or get first run are likely to be saving ground, while last-move closers are likely to be flying down the middle of the course. What you're seeing might look like an advantage to the outside paths but is in fact a case of tiring conditions.

davey700 says: I am an annual subscriber using formulator 4.1. The print version of DRF has a page for each track just before the PP that lists a graded handicap and a box of "Selections" with four columns and a consenus column. I know that information would be difficult to display in the formulator format...

Difficult, but not impossible. It's there. On the Formulator menu bar, click "Go" and then either "Selections" or "Analysis/Graded Handicap" to get there. You can also use Control+A or Control+S from the keyboard.

michael says: How about today's pik-6 being hit Steve? I'm talking about 11/14. Something appears very strange, very strange indeed.

There was one winning pick-six ticket in 11/14 at Aqueduct, worth $34k, which struck a few people as odd given a $27.80 winner in the third leg and a $60.50 winner in the finale, and on a non-carryover card. I think the red herring is the $27.80 winner, who I'm guessing was a much, much shorter price in the pick six pool.

The race in question was a statebred maiden event where most of them had already run and those who had were highly unappealing -- no one had run close to the winning par for the race. There were four firsters in the field, two of whom stood out because they were purchased for $100k at 2-year-old-in-training sales last March and were trained by Contessa and Clement, both very capable with firsters.

If I had played this pick six, I might well have made just those two my A's, and I think both of them were used by anyone who went three or four-deep in the race. Remember, the pick-six began two races earlier, before anyone saw that there was little enthusiasm for the Clement firster in the win pool. So the $27.80 winner was probably more like his 6-1 ML odds in the pick six, maybe even shorter.

easygoer says: Man, you had to post the Preakness, didn't you. Not the Belmont? The Travers?

I know, I know. The 1989 Preakness is one of the greatest horse races ever, but 18 years later it still is clearly a source of pain for many. Here's the antidote: