It's all a big nothing. -- Livia Soprano
I played two handicapping contests on Sat. Feb. 18. My results were as follows:
Monmouth Park Simulcast Series Challenge #2
Preparation: 1-2 hours beforehand, plus all Saturday afternoon
Resources: DRF past performances, Equibase.com race results, GradeOneRacing.com research
Result: Lost all 9 bets, finished with $0 bankroll, tied for last place
NHC Tour Online Challenge
Ante: Free for NHC Tour members
Resources: Used my phone to enter the contest and make random picks
Result: 2 winners including capper plus 2 placers over 8 races. Finished 9th of 1,638, five places and $12.80 away from qualifying for 2013 NHC
From these very divergent results, the only logical conclusion is that handicapping is a complete waste of time and money and stabbing is the way to go - all it takes is $50 (cost of NHC Tour membership) and a dream!
Okay I'm kidding, but it was a pretty bizarro day.
I went into the day all about SSC#2, as I'm not a big fan of the online free-for-alls and focusing on one contest with 3 tracks is hard enough. But the online freebies do qualify people for Vegas, and your chances are a lot better than hitting the Powerball, so of course I'm gonna get some picks in and hope lightning strikes. So after forgetting to enter my picks on Friday night and then again on Saturday morning before leaving home, I finally remembered and entered picks from my phone after visiting Belmar Barber Shop (be the first to review this on Yelp).
I got a chuckle when my stab Wachacha won GP3, the first NHCT contest race, at cap odds. Things got more interesting when my selection Con the Cat won Aqu5 at 6-1. I placed in 2 of the next 3 races, then lost 2 -- I was only paying attention a little because I was busy losing in SSC.
Around late afternoon I was in 8th place in NHCT, about $12 out of 4th place and an NHC13 spot. I also learned that FG7 and FG8, the 8th and 9th races in NHCT, were cancelled, leaving only SA5 as the final race in NHCT. Hot damn, I thought -- I would have one race to break into the top 4. All I ask in a contest is to be in it with a chance late in the day, and this opportunity is presented to me on a silver platter!
But in the day's biggest disappointment -- which didn't even happen on the track -- SA-freaking-5 scratches down from 8 horses to 4, essentially killing my chances. To leapfrog 5 people in front of me I needed to find at least a mid-priced horse in a race with a substantial dispersion of opinion -- in a 4-horse field, that wasn't gonna happen. In a fitting end to my day, the chalk won and I lost.
Not much to say about my 0-for-9 showing in the live event, it just wasn't my day. Outside of the capper that I had in NHC Tour contest, Gulfstream was very chalky, which never bodes well for my chances. I was distracted by the online thing starting about late afternoon, but I can't say that made a difference.
Not that it matters a hill of beans but I looked back and it appears that FG5, the 5th race in NHCT contest, screwed me. I had 5-1 Oh Whata Holiday, who finished 2nd by a neck to 6-1 Divine Lorretta. Give me the woulda-been $12.20 win price on Oh Whata Holiday, back out $15.60 from (probably) a few people in front of me that had Divine Lorretta, and I could have had my ticket punched for NHC2013 in most improbable fashion.