One mortal's quixotic quest to qualify for the 2013 National Handicapping Championship
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Lady Luck, Why Dost Thou Abandoneth Me (or Something)?
I reverted back to my losing ways in today's Simulcast Series Challenge Finals at Monmouth Park, racking up an 0-for-9 and finishing tied for last with a $0 finishing bankroll. The not-so-happy (and somewhat abbreviated) recap:
Bet #1, 2Tam, $20W Joshua Jet Fuel, 7-1. Finished 8th of 9, comment line of "no factor" says it all. Starting bankroll of $200 down to $180.
Bet #2, 3Tam, $20W Miss Ten Oaks, 6-1. "Trailed" comment line says it all. Bankroll: $160.
Bet #3, 5Tam, $20W Turbo Compressor, 9-2. There was a decent little odds bounce here, as my horse started at about 7-5 before drifting up to a price that I thought offered decent relative value to an overbet 4-5 favorite.
This horse was definitely live, but unfortunately it was the first (and worst) of three bum rides I got over the course of the afternoon, as apprentice Jose Alvarez got absolutely owned by Paco Lopez. Running second on the backstretch, Alvarez should have locked into the 2-path, but instead he let Lopez (on the chalk) come up from the inside and seize the 2-path, which resulted in my horse being fanned wide on the turn and then, predictably, losing the stretch duel. *%#@! Bankroll: $140.
Bet #4: 6Tam, $20W Wild Mia, 2-1. The absolute price was low but I thought there was some relative juice here versus the 2-5 chalk. Leandro Goncalves is a big gun at Tampa but I question his decision to not go to the lead in this paceless affair, instead getting boxed in and then fanned wide (again by P. Lopez) and falling a length short of the chalk. Bankroll: $120.
The arrival of NJHorseplayer dot com (and son) around this time was a welcome change of pace to the afternoon, though unfortunately even a ceremonial granting of a lucky penny by NJHorseplayer dot com Jr. would not change my luck on this day.
Bet #5: 7Tam, $20W Be My Candy, 7-1. Finished 4th, "failed to sustain bid." Bankroll: $100. I don't really remember this bet well, oddly enough -- maybe NJ Horseplayer dot com was distracting me with his inane yammering about the latest Dancing With the Stars. At any rate, this is beginning to suck.
Bet #6: 8Tam, $20W I'm Steppin' It Up, 10-1. "Rider broke awkwardly" and then never got involved, finished 8th of 11. Bankroll: $80.
Bet #7: 8Aqu, $20W Justin Phillip, 5-1. Ran an OK 3rd but was no real threat. Bankroll: $60. Really getting back on my heels here.
Bet #8: 9Aqu, $20W Laysh Laysh Laysh, 6-1. I thought this closer in a speedy field had an upset chance, but when he missed the break that was all she wrote. Bankroll: $40.
Bet #9: 11Tam, $40W Royal Hill, 10-1. I wanted to get back into contention in a meaningful way so I went all-in. I hated the even-money favorite in here and damned if Royal Hill wasn't live, stalking the speed and then drawing alongside or even ahead at the top of the lane, only to be outfinished, a neck short.
This was the last of the day's bad rides as I saw it, as Ricardo Feliciano (I'm not familiar with the guy but he showed an OK win %) had some kind of weird bobbing and intermittent whipping down the stretch, while it seemed Pablo Morales (on the 13-1 winner) was knuckling down with more of a straight drive. Admittedly I've never ridden a horse in a race so I can't say I know exactly how it works, but I have seen enough races in my lifetime to assert with some confidence that Morales got more out of his horse in the stretch than Feliciano got with his, and that may well have been the difference in the outcome. But alas, bankroll: $0. I stuck around a few more minutes to watch Uncle Mo get beat and I was out the door.
Analysis: It just wasn't my day, really. Despite going o-for-9 I think my handicapping was actually reasonable overall, as I had a few seconds with OK prices, plus a couple other seconds on horses I almost bet. And my contest strategy was OK too, though given I didn't have any winners on this day, strategy wasn't very relevant. It was really luck that eluded me, as 5 of my 9 losing bets featured either a bad (or at least questionable) ride or a bad start. If even a couple of those don't happen, my day could have had a different complexion. But, c'est la vie. In a bigger-picture sense, I cannot complain about luck. After all, I have now lost 42 of my last 46 live-contest races, spread out over five contest days dating back almost five months, yet I am ahead approx. $5K net over that time. How? Simply by virtue (or simply by dumb luck) of having my four winning bets occur on the same day. That, my friends, is a friendly random distribution.
This blog is about my quest to qualify for the (insert year here) National Handicapping Championship at Treasure Island in Las Vegas. (The NHC was formerly held at Red Rock, hence the blog name.) I have yet to qualify for the NHC, but I have racked up four top-10 placings in NJ contests and have had some success in online events.