Saturday, June 27, 2009

Signs of Life

Since losing my life preserver last week, I have had a very strong week in the 'Survival' contest, including two $41 days, and I now sit in 556th place.  I know, it don't sound like much, but given I had been languishing in the low 4-digits, it's a nice improvement in a very short period of time.

Of course it will only take one day to knock me out of the box for good, but on the other hand, I need only another day or two go my way to at least move things in the direction of being legitimately interesting.  By my quick-and-dirty count, fewer than 200 of the 687 remaining survivors have life preservers left, so plenty of others share my precarious position, and one day of longshots in contest races may chop survivors down to 300. 

Being that this contest has been the focal point of my blog in recent weeks, I obviously ain't been doing much in terms of really attempting to qualify for the 2010 NHC.  I do plan to enter at least one or two real contests later in the summer.  For now, for this discretionary-income-challenged hopeful, 'Survival' has been a lot of fun.  

Friday, June 19, 2009

(glub glub)

Yes, that sound you are hearing is the sound of the dinghy ZazaFreakingPachulia officially taking on water in Monmouth Park's Survival at the Shore contest. I lost my life preserver today, when Hello Andrew, Ay Papi, and Discreet Interview all failed to hit the board.

I do still survive, which is more than 2,985 other contestants can say. But, my survival is tethered to the slenderest of reeds, as my $264.70 bankroll has me in 1,199th place, and my precious life preserver has gone the way of Wilson the volleyball in the movie Cast Away (come on, raise your hand with me if that scene made you tear up).

On the plus side, there are a whole lot of eliminated playas in front of me, so if I can stick around for a while longer and/or have some nice-priced winners, I should rapidly propel upwards in the standings.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Surviving, But Hardly Thriving

I'm hanging in there in the Monmouth Park Survival at the Shore contest. After 16 racing days, I am in 1,213th place, with a $235.90 bankroll and my lifeline intact. I have had one $40 day and a few other decent $20+ days, but most days seem to fit the same pattern: any price horse(s) I pick run out of the money, while my chalk(s) hit the board, but only for 2nd or even just 3rd. In other words, I'm doing what it takes to survive, but I'm not generating much cash and I have yet to make any headway in the standings, even as more players are eliminated.

Speaking of eliminations, there have been 2,731 so far, while 1,495 remain alive. That's a lot of people still in it, but it looks like as many as half have lost their lifelines, so even just one day of chalk biting the big one should lop 1/3 off that number.

Realistically I'm still a huge longshot in this thing, but somebody's gotta win, and I'm sure many people ahead of me in the standings would trade places with me for my lifeline. Win or lose, the contest is a lot of fun and it keeps me out of trouble, as I have even found it to be a decent substitute for going to the track.

Monday, June 8, 2009

NHCQualify Attempt #2: The Autopsy

I finished with a $21.40 bankroll in Saturday's NHCQualify.com contest, good for 185th place in a field of 300. This is a material improvement from my $12.40/236th result from the April contest, but it's still a long ways off from cracking the top 30 (which cut off at $62.50). I started the day well, hitting the second (Scibelli, $4.40 $3.20) and third (Munnings, $9.00 $4.80) contest races, but I put up a freaking goose egg the rest of the way, going 0-fer the last seven races.

I have a couple things to second-guess.

First, sticking with Interpatation was probably a dumb bet given the 20-1 odds cap. I didn't love him, but I did think he was a decent speculative play at boxcar odds. However, he went off at 38-1, so as a contest play, his odds appeal was essentially halved. I could have found another horse at around 15- or 20-1 that had a better chance to crack the exacta without being subject to the odds cap.

Second, sticking with Western Connection at 5-1 in the last contest race was definitely dumb, because given how much ground ($41) I needed to make up heading into that race, a win would have done nothing for me. My only chance would have been to side with a horse like Johnny Be Angry ($17.50-1), Globemaster ($16.40-1), or Monastir ($13.90-1)....THANKFULLY, the winner Brave Soul ($22.40, $9.90) would not have put me in the top 30, because I did like him a bit, and the self-flagellation would be severe if he had paid enough to advance me.

At any rate, 'twas a disappointing day to be sure, but if I like to think I'm learning from these experiences and becoming a better contest player.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

NHCQualify Attempt #2

I haven't done much recently in my quest to qualify for the 2010 National Handicapping Championship recently, but I'm back in the game today with my entry in the NHCQualify.com online contest.

I did one of these back in February without any luck, so hopefully I do better today. Specs are the same: $100 ante, 300 contestants, no cash prizes, finishing in the top 30 is all that matters because that's what advances you to a direct qualifier for the NHC.

My picks are as follows:

Bel7: Carribean Sunset
Hol2: Scibelli
Bel8: Munnings
Bel9: Funny Moon
Hol6: Gorgeous Goose
Bel10: Interpatation
Hol7: No Ka Oi
Bel11: Chocolate Candy
Hol8: Star Nicholas
Bel12: Western Connection

I won't be online in the afternoon like I was for the previous contest, so for better or for worse, these are probably my final selections. I certainly picked enough prices to give me the needed firepower (Interpatation is my biggest bomber), but of course a couple of those prices gotta crack the exacta to do me any good.

Worst of luck to all my competitors!