Since it's getting to be Belmont time, I feel I have to post one of the greatest photos in horse racing history.
Anyone else playing the Belmont Card this afternoon? Grabbed a program on a whim at the convenience store this morning. Thought I'd play a few online. Seeing as it's a Thursday, and there's only so much handicapping you can do when you're talking about 3 year old and up, losers of last two, running with a 10k tag for a 26k purse, I thought I'd see if anyone cared to share some insight.
(Photo courtesy of Wayne Nagai/Emerald Downs) From the WTOBA press release: "In a highly contested "race", the nearly perfect Noosa Beach was named Washington Horse of the Year and Champion Older Male runner. The 2010 Longacres Mile (G3) winner faced his stiffest competition for the title from R.E.V, Racing’s Atta Boy Roy, who won the Churchill Downs Stakes (G2), on Kentucky Derby Day, from his midwest base last year."
I played a little hooky from work today, as my children were off from school for Columbus Day. I took them to see Disney's film "Secretariat," which I found moving for much the same reasons that I did Lawrence Scanlan's "The Horse That God Built." It is a story about other-worldly greatness, about the horse-human bond, about perfection that occurs in a span of 2:24. This movie is "suggested" by Bill Nack's book on the great horse, which, unbelievably to me, I have not read. Even though there are a couple of things I might have done differently, were I directing it - such as spending a whole lot more time with Secretariat's groom, jockey, and trainer, and going for a little less schmaltz and more historical accuracy - it is still a wonderful film for the fact that it presents these moments of grace: the love of horses - caring for them, contemplating their eyes, watching them in a full-out run - just might be a connection to the soul of a happy world, one that is beyond words.
Del Mar's free Online Contest starts Wednesday. You get a mythical $100 to play each day of the meet on one race. You can use the money to make any kind of win, place and/or show bet on any number of horses in the race. Which brings up a question I would like to discuss. What is the best strategy for approaching a tourney such as this one? I know how I like to approach handicapping contests that use the win/place format of the National Handicapping Contest, but tournaments that use live-money formats still find me shaky in my approach. You are only allowed one entry in the DMTC contest, but I am going to track a few different options. I sometimes employ what I call the 2-6-12 wager, which is based on the fact that the place and show pools are usually a third, and a sixth of the win pool. Hence, the ratios. So, on one mythical entry I am going to bet $10 to win, $30 to place, and $60 to show on one horse. On another, I am going to bet $25 to win, and $75 to show. On a third mythical entry, I plan to employ another tactic - two-horse win betting, also called dutching - in which you place wagers of $40 and $60 on two different horses with the lower wager going on the longer-odds horse of the two. And then finally, I am going to play one mythical entry in which the whole $100 will go on one 8-1 or longer horse to show. I will be intrigued to see which entry winds up ahead after the 37 races of the contest. Any thoughts on strategy, because this is something I would like to hash out enough to come to a position where I would be comfortable playing in actual live-money tournaments (which is further complicated by the fact that most of them also allow exotic wagers!)? This is necessary, because it seems the live-money format is gaining in popularity. I much prefer the NHC format.
Good news...at the Breeder's Cup site, under Breeder's Cup Challenge, there is a "Breeder's Cup Betting Challenge" listed. Hopefully, that means a contest coinciding with the win-and-you're in races is in the offing. Also, my wife is in 310th place in the Survival at the Shore contest, and earned back a life-preserver by staying alive this long. Also, are any of you playing in the Colonial Downs online contest? It is free, and it has a very interesting format. Contestants make four wagers each day, usually on races 4 through 7. The first wager is a WPS, the second a 3-horse exacta box, the third a 4-horse tri, and the fourth a 5-horse super. Highest bankroll wins, so even though the contest is a couple of weeks old, one big exotic score can skyrocket you to the top. What makes it interesting is that everyone is playing the same kind of wager in each race. Naturally, my wife is crushing me so far in that contest as well! I trained her well...
Pictured above, Sweet Goodbye with jockey JD Acosta aboard, my key horse for leg 1 of the Pick 3, races 11-13, on Black-Eyed Susan Day. Ticket 1: 2 with 1,4,5,6 with 1,2,5,11 Ticket 2: 2,6,8,9 with 4 with 1,2,5,11 Ticket 3: 2,6,8,9 with 1,4,5,6 with 11 It's a tough little sequence. I had difficulty narrowing down to just four horses in all three races. Thoughts?