Friday, March 11, 2011
Big Contest Week Ahead
I'm heading into an unusual two-contests-in-one-week horizontal strip of the calendar, as I'll be playing the NHCQualify online event tomorrow (Sunday, March 13) and then the live Simulcast Series Challenge #3 at Monmouth Park on Saturday, March 19.
First things first -- tomorrow's NHCq. Specs are $100 ante, 300 players, top 30 move on to the second round. I haven't played one of these things in almost two years, when I finished a piss-poor 236th of 298.
I need to study some Gulfstream, Tampa, and Oaklawn races by tomorrow afternoon, that's for sure. I don't think there is a whole lot to say about contest strategy in this affair, as the races are picked for you (Tam 5, 6, 8; OP 6, 7, 8; and GP 6, 8, 10, 11), as is the wager amount ($2WP notional). So my main strategy will be to pick some dang winners and placers!
I do think there are a few strategy nuances worth mentioning:
(1) I'm not thinking of any target I need to hit, i.e. $60 or $70 on the day. I'm just gonna evaluate each race one at a time and try to figure out which horse offers the best value in that particular heat.
(2) I strongly believe that the 10-1 and 15-1 horses in the last few races are crowded trades, as many players in also-ran land try to catapult themselves into the top 30. Conversely, I suspect that 10-1 and 15-1 horses in the first couple races are comparatively underplayed, as many players who plan or hope to have many winners on the day try to put some early points on the board with safer selections. So I'm thinking I'm going to give the 10/15-1 shots a little extra consideration in early races, and lean slightly against those same price plays later in the day.
(3) I also believe that contestants who are off the board start looking for bombers too quickly, say maybe around races 5 or 6, when they don't necessarily need to do so at that still-early juncture. So I'm gonna try to keep that in mind and lean towards the more likely placer, rather than the more attractive price, at about that point in the contest.
Anyway all that mumbo-jumbo plus $1 gets me a small coffee at Blimpies if I fail to pick any winners. But I do think following that strategy stuff could mean the difference between say, 25th place and 40th place if I make some decent picks.