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.