First off allow me to apologize for being a lame-ass blogger and not showing up for almost two months now. My excuses are: busy with work, cannibalization by twitter (I once read a tweet that said "86% of all blog posts start with 'sorry I haven't been blogging...'"), and the sun got in my eyes.
Long story short, I'm still unqualified for the 2012 NHC, so in a hail-mary attempt to rectify that I'll be participating in the Aqueduct handicapping contest this weekend (Sat-Sun). It will be my last live contest of 2011. I'm taking the 9:57 a.m. NJ Transit train from South Orange to NYC, then switching to MTA and A-training to the Big A. I should be there at about 11:30, plenty of time to sign and settle in for a 12:20 first post.
I can't say I'm totally amped yet but I am looking forward to it and I'm sure my pulse will quicken once I get there. It's a full-immersion weekend (2 days, 3 cards per day) to be sure, and NYRA does it right, with a decent food spread and a comfortable and fun atmosphere that includes draft beer by midafternoon.
I haven't been following the races worth a damn recently (maybe a 3 on an earnestness scale of 1 to 10 at Aqueduct; 2 at Churchill; and 1 at Calder) so I am kidding myself if I think I can effectively cover 60+ races over two days by straight-shot past-performance and replay analysis. Instead, I'll be relying on my usual short-cut angles such as trainer recency and odds-movement patterns. Trust the angles, baby.
A couple general observations on playing these NYRA contests: (1) having at least some measure of early speed is critical, given the stipulated # and amount of bets. There's no coming from the clouds with an all-in thing like you can do in the NJ contests. As Yogi Berra would say, it gets late early at these things. (2) Some of my more "angle-y" plays are at CD and Crc, so I'm guessing I end up playing on the conservative side at Aqueduct (maybe as low as 7-2 or 3-1) and try to nail prices at Churchill and Calder.
That's all folks.