Monday, November 19, 2012

Sunday Crummy Sunday

I finished 56th of 224 in the Aqueduct Handicapping Challenge this past weekend. While I'm trying to be positive and revel in my (barely) top-quartile placing, it's a tough pill to swallow given I was 13th with high hopes after Saturday. And in these contests, it's all about finishing in the Top 20, as high up as possible -- finishing 21st is no better than 224th (well, 21st or 22nd would mean a few NHC Tour points, but whoop de damn doo).
Saturday, Sunday

So as Pat Riley might say, there is finishing in the Top 20, and there is misery.

I had a good day on Saturday -- started slowly, but nailed winners in three of the last four Aqueduct races -- Seal Cove ($19.40) in the 6th, Called to Serve ($9.60) in the 8th, and Barrel of Love ($19.20) in the 9th. It wasn't a perfect day (no such thing at the track), but my decision-making was good and luck was good. My only real regret is not deploying my double ($40) bet more wisely -- I coulda/shoulda used it on one of my winners rather than on 9-1 I Fly High in WO9, whom I didn't especially like but I double-bet it because it was the last race I was staying for and I hadn't used my double yet. 

Anyway, I was in 5th place when I left on Saturday, and I slid to 13th on my trip home after a bomber in the WO finale. 

But alas, it was all downhill from there, as Sunday just wasn't my day. The feeling of limitless possibilities I had in the morning dissipated as 0-1 became 0-2, which turned into 0-3 and then 0-4. As it turns out, staying home and watching football would have produced the same notional $0 that I generated by showing up and making my 11 bets (nine plus double), but without the retro fun of using the Big A's 1980s-themed bathrooms. I finished 0-11 on the day, making for my second straight Day-2 collapse in an NYRA contest (Belmont in June, where I dropped from 5th after Day 1 to finish 32nd, was worse).

Whereas my decisions and luck were good on Saturday, I'd rate my decisions just fair on Sunday, and luck was not good. I took my chances and had a few close/close-ish calls, but a couple shitty bets somehow snuck onto my wagering log too, and overall I just couldn't connect with anything. 

A couple notable misses that would have changed the complexion of things were Sex Appeal, who finished a decent but non-threatening 4th at 15-1 in Aqu7, and Wee Freudian, also decent but non-threatening, 3rd at 17-1 in Aqu8.     

But it was the Aqu finale that really killed me as far as landing in the Top 20. I used my precious double on 8-1 Belongs to Dixie -- he had a nice inside pocket trip but got in a bit of traffic at early/mid-stretch; Castellano tried to get him outside but couldn't, then tipped back inside; the rail did open up, but he had lost momentum and meanwhile 5-1 Katie Malone (my original selection in the race) was rolling out the outside with a free and clear run, game over.

Belongs to Dixie "woulda" added 368 and got me to 850, which "woulda" been good for about 16th. For fun, if a photo I lost earlier on a 7-2 horse at WO went my way too, that "woulda" got me to 942 and about 11th. That was my ceiling really, as I think going any further out hypothetically stretches plausibility.

But, of course everyone who missed the cut has a story, just like Mitt Romney had a bunch of theoretical paths to 270. It's a tough game.  



Thursday, November 1, 2012

Want a FREE* $375,000?

Steve Martin had an old stand-up routine that started with
"You can have a million dollars and never pay taxes.
You say to yourself, Steve (which is a funny thing to say to yourself), how can I have a million dollars and never pay taxes?
First, get a million dollars..."

In that spirit, I invite (some of) you to participate in the Red Rock or Bust/HorseTourneys Free* Breeders' Cup Handicapping Contest, which could result in you winning $750,000 (and bringing home $375,000) in the DRF/NTRA 2013 National Handicapping Championship, to be held in Las Vegas in January.  

Here are the specs:

Contest is open to all NHC Tour members who have not yet qualified for 2013 NHC.

Minimum five players.

You must make your selections in the comments section of this blog post by 2:00 PM Eastern time on Saturday, November 3.

This is a bit of a freeform contest -- simply submit your best six plays (plays=single horses) from Saturday's nine BC races, specifying one of the six as a best bet, and one of the six as an alternate.
The horses may be from any BC Saturday race. You may select more than one from the same race.

Each player gets a notional $4WP bet on his/her best bet, and $2WP on each of his/her other four non-alternate selections. The alternate will only be used in the event of a scratch and will always be a $2WP bet -- if your best bet is scratched, the first selection after the best bet will move up to be the best bet. In the event of more than one scratch, the post-time favorite will be used after the alternate.
If a best bet and/or alternate is not specified, the first horse listed will be the best bet, and the last horse will be the alternate.(This contest is really simpler than I'm making it out to be, I'm just trying to cover all bases.)

It's BC day, so let's go with high payout caps -- $75 to win ($150 for best bet) and $30 to place ($60 for best bet).

The winner gets a credit to an upcoming $30 HorseTourneys contest (thanks to HorseTourneys for generously providing this purse). The credit must be used soon, as there aren't many weeks left to qualify for 2013 NHC, especially via HorseTourneys.

If the winner advances to a $140 HorseTourneys contest through the $30 event (1/5 chance), and advances to 2013 NHC via the $140 event (1/60), my oh my won't that be a good story. And it gets better, as the final rule of Saturday's contest is that if the winner of Saturday's RRoB/HT contest gets to the 2013 NHC via this path and goes on to win the 2013 NHC (1/450ish chance), the winner must donate half of the pot (which is $750K I believe) to charity (seriously -- hence the $375K in the headline). Honor system.
So say we get five players on Saturday, add it all up and each player has a (1/5)*(1/5)*(1/60)*(1/450ish) chance of winning the NHC via this path.

That may be microscopic but it's a lot better than the 0% chance you have if you don't play. Good luck!  

*This opportunity is "free" for those who have paid $50 to join the NHC Tour, so in good faith I had to asterisk the word.