Due to a previous commitment, I will not be participating in the handicapping contest at Monmouth Park this Saturday. I wish I could make it, especially as this is one of only three pre-qualifiers (top 10 of ~200 move on) for an April invitational contest that sends the top 2 of 30 to the 2010 NHC at the Red Rock. But c'est la vie, there will be other qualifying opportunities, I only hope that I can look at the results on Saturday evening and not get the sinking feeling that I may have missed something big.
I did take a crack at the Jan. 17 pre-qualifier at Monmouth, with no luck (I realize this is old news by now, but being as this blog didn't exist then, I figure it's worth a quick recap). I had $30W on an 8-1 horse on the Tampa turf that led all the way before being caught late by a 17-1 shot, which would have put me in the early-afternoon top 5, but nothing doing beyond that -- 4 losing bets and I was out the door.
I was amazed several days later when I read that the contest winner was down to his last $10 before parlaying 7-1 and 23-1 winners in the final two races at Gulfstream. I usually feel hopelessly behind the eight-ball when my $100 bankroll is down to $30 or $40 (at which time the leader may have $400 or somesuch). If I have $10 left, I'm pretty much putting on my jacket. Indeed, Nick Fazzolari's win was no mean feat: by my back-of-the-envelope calculations, the odds of hitting back-to-back 7-1 and 23-1 winners are approximately 1 in 192 (1/8 x 1/24).
Just goes to show that you always have a puncher's chance in handicapping contests, or at least those with no max bet.