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DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Contest XII - Day 1 Live Blog

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The first mandatory scoring race for today's National Handicapping Contest  takes place at Aqeuduct with race 7 (3:17/12:17  post time).  Below are the mandatory races and the tracks selected for the today's seven optional plays, as provided by the Daily Racing Form (post times are Pacific):

Post

Track

Race

Class

Surface

Win

Place

12:17

Aqueduct

7

17.5K Claiming

Dirt

$10.20

$5.60

$3.80

12:40

Tampa

8

5k Claiming

Dirt

$6.80

$5.00

$9.40

1:09

Fair Grounds

6

5k Claiming

Dirt

$5.20

$3.20

$5.20

1:23

Gulfstream

8

32k Claiming

Turf

$27.80

$13.60

$6.00

1:52

Gulfstream

9

6.25k Claiming

Dirt

$5.60

$3.80

$6.60

2:44

Oaklawn

8

40k Claiming

Dirt

$5.80

$4.20

$5.20

3:15

Golden Gate

6

10.5k Claiming

Synth.

$9.20

$4.80

$6.20

3:36

Santa Anita

6

40k Claiming

Turf

$5.00

$3.20

$5.00


$20+ winners at optional play tracks

Track

Race

Win

Place

Tampa

1

$20.80

$10.00

Aqueduct

2

-

$19.60

Gulfstream

2

$42.00

$13.80

Oaklawn

1

$20.20

$6.40

Gulfstream

6

$20.80

$10.20

Fair Grounds

5

$23.80

$11.60

Aqueduct

7

-

21.40

Aqueduct

9

$21.00

$8.20

Tampa

9

$89.00

$31.20

Tampa

9

-

$21.00

Turf Paradise

2

-

$22.00

Golden Gate

5

$19.80

$7.00

Optional play tracks:

Aqueduct
Tampa Bay
Gulfstream
Oaklawn
Fair Grounds
Santa Anita
Golden Gate
Turf Paradise

As usual, the committee picking the races has chosen a variety of mid-to-low level claiming events, ensuring a number of challenging races to .  But while the mandatory races are obviously important for positioning it's the optional plays that separate the contenders from the pretenders.  

Today's first race at Aqueduct is schedule for 9:30 Pacific and will be the first opportunity to play an "optional" race, should a player so desire.  

I will provide a somewhat Live blog throughout the day of the scoring races.  I'll update the above chart with the prices from the mandatory races as well and make note of any big prices from the optional play tracks.

The official leaderboard can be found at the NTRA's NHC site (LINK).

.......................

3:38 PM - The mandatory plays are now complete for first day of NHC XII following Sassou's victory in the 6th at Santa Anita.

Golden Gate Fields and Santa Anita each have a couple of races left on their card and then Day 1 will be in the books.

I'm off to the pub for a couple of cold ones and some handicapping.  

3:27 PM - Golden Gate 6, the penultimate mandatory race of day 1, saw Russell Baze brought home a short priced 4/1 winner (it's nice to see him pick up a win...it's so rare!). 

Fair Grounds finished up their program with a one-two chalk finish.  

3:16 PM - I'm guessing there's at least one pissed off player at the NHC right now.  The 5th race at Santa Anita saw the 2nd place finisher, Cremedelagold (15/1), taken down and replaced with the 3rd place finisher, Primed (7/5) following an inquiry.  While the place payout might not have been huge on Cremedelagold, it would have undoubtedly been bigger than that of Primed.

2:58 PM - Only two mandatory plays left on the day after It Happened Again won the 8th at Oaklawn at a chalky 9/5.

Over at Golden Gate Fields, Validara scored at 9/1 to win the 5th race.  She paid $19.80 and $7.00.

2:50 PM - Sunland just had a $248.20 winner in their 9th race.  It's got nothing to do with the NHC but you don't see too many 123/1 horses in the winner's circle.

2:33 PM - Inthenickoftime in the 7th at Oaklawn gets up for second and pays a nice $17.80 to place.

Gulfstream, Tampa and Aqueduct are done for the day leaving us with Santa Anita, Oaklawn, Fair Grounds (for a little bit), Golden Gate and Turf Paradise as the active tracks.

2:13 PM - The leaderboard has started to take shape over at the NTRA's NHC XII website.  The top two have put up over $150 each.  Three more players follow with just over $105.

1:41 PM - Looks like things got completely out of control with the 9th at TAM: and $89 winner (will be capped at $42 and $22 for the contest) and a $21 place horse.

Aqueduct squeezes out another $20+ in the 9th and final race of the day.

The fourth mandatory saw a $27.80 winner at Gulfstream 8.    

12:44 PM - The Fair Grounds gets into the act with the 5th race, won by the 9-Speedy Perilloux at 9/1 odds.

I gotta grab some lunch...the next update will probably be in a half hour/hour.

12:36 PM - The races are now rolling in one after another and Gulfstream comes up with another $20+ payout; in race 6, Rockin Robbie wins at odds of 9/1. 

12:24 PM - The first mandatory play of the day is in the books as All County wins the 7th at the Big A at odds of 4/1.  

12:07 PM - The prices have slowed a bit over the past ½ hour. The 5th at Gulfstream had a couple of mid-shots come in but nothing too significant.  Aqueduct, outside of the second race, has been extremely chalky.

11:37 AM - Oaklawn gets into the action as Garnet Crystals holds off the 7/5 favorite in the opener to score at 9/1.  Garnet Crystal pays a nice $20.20 and $6.40.  

11:25 AM - It might not have been a $20 horse but Tampa has kicked out another good payout in the 5th race.  Harborplace used a long stretch drive to wear down the 6/5 favorite to score over the lawn at 7/1.  Harborplace paid $16.00 and $6.60.

11:09 AM- A bomb rolls home at Gulfstream in the 3rd race - Dug In scores at $42.00 and $13.80; the win payout is right at the cap.

11:05 AM - The fourth race at Tampa produces another decent payout - $15.20 / $6.40; there have been prices available early on.

There always seems to be this debate about when to use optional plays in a handicapping contest - do you save them until later in the day so you've got a chance to make up ground based on the scoreboard, or do you play them whenever you feel you've got a chance to bring home a price?  Personally, I've always fallen into the category of play them when you think you can bring home the price as opposed to saving something for the end.  The fact is, you don't know when are where the prices will come from; if you think you have an edge, take the shot.

10:18 AM - A heavy favorite (3/5) goes down in the 2nd at Aqueduct; the winner didn't pay a whole lot but the place horse returned $19.60.

9:32 AM - I was mistaken when I wrote that Aqueduct kicks off the day; Tampa was the first potential scoring race of the day and Race 1 went to Vikette at 9/1.  I doubt anyone was firing a bullet on the first optional race of the day but there's our first $20+ winner.

Aqueduct 1 was all chalk.