Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ky Derby: a look ahead

So I hear there's some horse race or something or other coming up a week from Saturday?

No but seriously, I have liked Eskendereya since last fall (ahead of the curve as usual), but I will bet against him on May 1. I expect him to be way overbet (I guesstimate he'll go off at 9-5 in a 20-horse field), so there will be plenty of value elsewhere. I doubt I'll be betting to win, but in multi-race exotics I'll consider using Awesome Act, Stately Victor, and Rule, among others.

I'll be out in Phoenix for work next Thu-Sun and I should be free Sat. afternoon so I am planning to go to Turf Paradise to catch some live racing ($3500 AZ-bred claimers, anyone?) and for Kentucky Derby betting. I've never been to AZ so I am quite looking forward to it.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Opportunity missed!

I liked Stately Victor yesterday. I didn't blog about it on here, unfortunately, but in e-mails sent to a friend (with the subject line stately victor) last Thursday April 8, I wrote:

"I may like him a bunch in the Bluegrass. No ML yet but I'm guessing he'll be reasonably priced as well, perhaps 6-1 ish."

Then I followed up with:

"geez I see stately is listed at 30-1. Guess I should look a little closer."

When he asked why I liked him, I replied:

"trips, mostly. That race he had from the 14 post last fall was a total throwout and he actually didn't run that bad. The GP turf was speed-favoring for much of the meet, at least what I saw, so I'm willing to give him passes for his recent races. So I just think his chances are nowhere near as bad as they look from the PPs -- Obviously he's gonna need to step up big-time on his figs, but as an early -year 3yo and with a surface change, its not entirely implausible."

So when my one highlighted horse going into a big contest day wins at 40-to freaking-1, uhhh...I probably should win the contest. But alas, I didn't. Here's my story, it's sad but true:

I couldn't pick my nose all afternoon. Lost 9 consecutive $20 bets. Mostly Kee, some GP and Aqu. No bombers, odds were mostly in 8/5 to 6/1 range, maybe a couple 7/1 to 10/1. Had a range of results -- a few I thought might win as late as deep stretch , a few were reasonably in the mix, and a few ran crummy. On the 25-person leaderboard I was mostly low 20s, then actually fell off the leaderboard (meaning bottom 5) - it was that kind of day. Meanwhile someone had apparently played >$100 on a 23-1 debut winner at Kee and was pretty much locked into first all day with about 2800-2900, so the race was essentially for second.

So with my $200 bankroll 90% depleted, I put my last $20 on Stately Victor, shocked that he was 40-1 (earlier in the day I had projected he'd go off 16-18 ish to one, 30-1 ML be damned), and lo and behold he wins going away and I vault from off the leaderboard into 2nd place with $822 in one fell swoop. Incredible. But it wasn't by much, there were probably 5-6 guys within $150 of me, 4-5 contest races left, and I had a big target on my back.
And alas, I went right back to my losing ways, dropped two more $20 bets, and I'm at $782 and in like 7th or 8th place, before the last contest race , the Kee finale. I say what the hell and go hell-bent for leather, put $500 W on the 1 horse (who was 9-2 when I bet him a few mins. to post, went off at 7-2) in an audacious attempt to take down the whole thing. The horse never really ran a lick tho, and I cashed out $282, up $82 on the day, a booby prize if there ever was one. Funny I'm almost certain that $500 was the most I've ever bet in a race, but it felt like monopoly money, the time between 530 (bluegrass) and 615 (last contest race) was so fast and furious, just a blur.

So that's my long and sordid tale. I'm kicking myself for not setting aside more than $20 for Stately Victor, obviously. I didn't stick around to see the final leaderboard, I guesstimate 2nd place finished with 1200-1400 ish, so even just $40W on Stately Victor could have punched my ticket for Vegas next January.

As far as losing the 9 pre- Bluegrass bets, there are shoulda woulda couldas of course, a couple of which are gonna linger in my cranium: (1) in a GP maiden race late in the afternoon, there was a 2-1 fave and two 5-2 shots, I didn't like the fave and pretty much decided on one of the 5/2 shots, though kind of inexplicably I changed course between my seat and the bettting machine and went with the other 5/2 shot, and of course my originally selected 5/2 shot wins. That was the difference between having $70 left for the Bluegrass and having $20 left. (2) there were two longshots I was intrigued by in GP turf races: Highland Cat (12-1) in the 3rd and Scorion (30-1) in the 5th. Both finished 2nd to the chalks, paying $9.40 and $20.60 to place, respectively, but I had talked myself out of both and laid off those races. I'm not a big fan of place betting but there is a "place" for it (pun intended) in certain situations, and arguably, one or both of situations qualified. Even one $10WP bet on Highland Cat or Scorion could have meant more money for Stately Victor.

Oh well. Onward and upward I guess.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Am I back? Maybe

OK it's obvious that RedRockorBust hasn't been the most frequently updated blog in the blogosphere in recent months. I kind of faded out toward the second half of last year simply because I wasn't really playing in any contests. I've played a few this year, but been very very busy with work so I haven't had the time or motivation to give the blog much attention. I'm thinking I will now get it going again, at least once in a while.

Anyway, here is a quick an' dirty update on my 2010 contest playing.

I participated in all three contests in Monmouth Park's Simulcast Series Challenge -- January 16, February 14, and February 27. The main goal was to finish in the top 10 in at least one of the contests, in order to qualify for the 30-person invitational contest on April 11 (from which the top 2 finishers qualify for the DRF/NTRA contest in Vegas in January 2011).

The Jan. 16 contest was a big shoulda-woulda-coulda for me, as I came close to betting on a 30-1 winner at Tampa, which probably would have been enough to put me in the top 10 even with just a small bet. But I switched to another horse shortly before post time, and that was that. Cashed out $6.50 from a starting bankroll of $100.

The Feb. 14 affair was a bit of a bust, as I never really was in contention. Had a brief thrill when a 18-1 shot made the lead in the stretch in the Gulfstream feature, but she couldn't hold on. Turned my $100 into $0.

But I finally broke through on Feb. 27. I had a couple smallish winners early in the afternoon -- $10W on 3-1 and 6-1 winners -- that kept me in the hunt, then I turned it on late at Gulfstream. I had $10W on a 10-1 winner in the one stakes, then $100W on Amen Hallelujah at 2-1 (loved the relative value on that horse versus the way-overbet Bickersons, and sure enough she ran like a 1-2 shot rather than 2-1). I then lost a bet or two and was at $361/13th place heading into the final GP race -- hung a little fire and played $140W on First National, a 5-1 Pitts/Maragh winner in the off-the-turf finale, and he came running late to get past a drifting-out longshot by 3/4 of a length. Finished 5th of 219 with a $1,089 bankroll -- usually that fig is enough to win these contests, but I guess the blues were running that day so to speak, I ain't complaining.

Now onto tomorrow.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Not to brag or anything, but...

...I'm a pretty big deal.

Actually I think is more accurately categorized under "even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while".

Either way, Saturday should be interesting.