Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Decent Last-Place Finish

Is that an oxymoron or what?

I wanted to blog about finishing tied for last place in the Sept. 16 Monmouth/Woodbine handicapping contest with a $0 bankroll, and instead of wringing my hands about how awful it and/or I was as per usual, I've gained some perspective over the past several days and I feel reasonably constructive about my effort. Hence the glass-half-full title.

Rewind to 3:07 p.m. on Sunday, when Barefoot Lady won the Canadian Stakes at Woodbine at a $16.40 mutual. My $10W bet produced a $72 profit, boosting my bankroll to $218 (from $100 starting bankroll) and putting me somewhere between 15th and 20th place in the 185-person contest.

This was a fine spot to be in, as I had ammo to take some shots and try to break into the top 10, the higher-up the better of course. And take some shots I did.

I liked Forte Dei Marmi a bunch in 8WO, and I put down $50W; at 5.25-1, this represented profit potential of $262.50. He ran decently, but got kind of a weird squirrely ride by A. Solis and only managed 3rd.

My next meaningful bet was in the Mth cheapie finale, where I put $20W$10P on Stephanie's Girl at 21.40-1. She ran okay and was in the hunt at the top of the stretch but weakened to 5th. The profit potential on the combined win-place bet was about $500. 

I then put down $40W$20P on Dance and Dance in 10WO. I respected Wise Dan, but he's only flesh and blood and his 1-2 odds made for some juicy prices on some other pretty good horses, including my selection who went off at 16.70-1. However Wise Dan ran like a 1-2 shot shot and my horse finished off the board. Profit potential was about $800 for the combined WP bet.

Then with my last $68 I went all-in on Total Bliss to win in the WO finale. It would have been total bliss if she won and I profited $581.40 on the race, but she inexplicably finished last, so instead of total bliss it was total bullshit. I flung my betting card across the near-empty simulcast room (you can get some good air on those things), and I was out the door with little more of value than the clothes on my back, a few dollars in my pocket, and a digital image of NJHorseplayer eating soup.   

So there you are, and there you have it. I accept that sometimes horses don't win for me despite my best efforts to will them to do so, so I try to focus on the process rather than the product, on the premise that the right process (decent handicapping and sound contest strategy) will eventually deliver the right product (contest glory). I have no real problem or regret with my process from Sunday, as I was in contention and taking shots late, which is all I can ask. If I connected with even one of the four big late-day bets I would have most likely finished in the top 10; if I won on two bets, I probably would be going to Vegas.

Maybe next time on the product.


  1. Good post, Terry. I'll have some, probably by tomorrow. I'm far less bummed than I was on the drive home Sunday.

  2. Terry,

    In live bankroll contest you either win or finish in last if you are playing the right way. Its only a matter of time before you put it all together and win one of these things.