Sunday, January 22, 2012

Inauspicious '12 Bow

Came up snake eyes in yesterday's Simulcast Series Challenge Invitational at Monmouth Park: $0 final bankroll, tied for last place.

I had a brief run at contention in late afternoon, when my $20W bet on Tarpy's Goal ($11) in GP7 pushed up my bankroll up from half-the-starting-point $50 to $140. This put me about 18th place in a 134-person field where the top 10 finishers won prize money and the top 15 qualified for the April SSC Invitational, which sends 2 players to the 2013 NHC.

But alas, that $140 proved to be my high-water mark as I didn't hit another bet, the biggest of which were $30W on 21-1 Navy Wings in GP8 (ran evenly in mid-pack) and $50W on 5-1 Chosen Heir in GP9 (finished dead last, yikes).

I did make some questionable decisions with my last $50. Rather than concentrate on one price play as I would typically do, I went $25W on 7-2 Canadian Mistress in Tam10 and $25W on 2-1 Cozzetti in the almost-concurrent GP10. My plan was to hit both, or at least one, of the 'safe' plays and boost my bankroll enough to take a bigger shot in the final two races.

But as Mike Tyson said, everybody has a plan until they get hit. Both my 'safe' plays lost (Cozzetti was especially disappointing for a horse who opened at 3-5), and NJHorseplayer and I took an ignominious exit out into the frigid winter landscape.

I have no real regrets from this day. I liked both the Navy Wings and the Chosen Heir bets. I did sort of dodge a bullet in the sense that even if I had played my last $50 better, the outcome would have been the same as I most likely would not have had the winners in the 10th and 11th races at either track, including the $35 winner in the Tampa feach.

Onward and upward, next stop SSC #2 at Monmouth Park on Feb. 18.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I'm Not Going to Vegas (After All)!

Kind of old news but I wanted to update the blog.

To recap: I was gonna go to the Last Chance NHC Qualifier in Vegas on Wed. Jan. 25 because I won what I thought was a $500 entry into the contest and a $500 travel voucher in a Dec. 26 contest. I was totally there.

But the $500 entry + $500 "travel voucher" (is there such a thing?) showed up in my mailbox in the form of a plain old $1,000 check, which prompted me to reassess my plan.

I was still gonna go, last week I even went as far as booking a flight ($340 r/t, Newark to Vegas). BUT just a couple hours after I booked, I learned that NHCQualify was having a last chance, $400 online contest on Sunday Jan. 8, that offered about the same or a slightly better chance to qualify compared with the Vegas Last Chance.

So at that point I said ah screw it, cancelled my flight, signed up for NHCQualify, and tucked the $600 into my proverbial pocket to deploy for future contests.

Ultimately I opted out because the Vegas trip just felt like a goose chase. As I said previously, I totally would be in if they signed me up and told me to just show up. But when it turned into a discretionary decision, my thinking went along these lines:
1. The specs of the last-chance Vegas contest-- $500 ante, 5 NHC spots, max 150 field, 30% back in prize money 70% to NHC pot -- are nothing special.
2. I dislike flying, so the idea of night and redeye flights was not appealing. Granted there would be some adventure to going to Vegas, but for me that would be trumped by (probably) losing in the contest followed by a 7-hour full flight in the middle seat, culminating in a 6am arrival at Newark airport. I would be dirty, tired, and cranky -- no thanks!
3. When I won some coin back in March at a Monmouth contest, I didn't use the money to start flying to contests all over the place, so why would I do it this time (with just 1/6 of my March winnings)?

So that's my story and I'm sticking to it. There will be no NHC for me in 2012 (I finished up the track in the NHCQualify Last Chance this past Sunday).

I am looking forward to the long journey towards the 2013 NHC, which I hereby GUARANTEE I will qualify for. If I fail to qualify, I will give all readers a free one-year premium subscription to the RedRockorBust blog.

The fun starts next Saturday at Monmouth Park.