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Monday, December 19, 2005

Say Goodbye to Hollywood

- I was checking out the final race of the day, and thus the meeting at Hollywood Park on TVG this evening. Santa Anita will open with a bang with the Malibu on the day after Xmas with the G1 Malibu and the grassy Sir Beaufort, both restricted to three year-olds. The finale at Hollywood was a $10K claimer at a mile and a sixteenth, and I was checking out the 10 horse, Mambo Dancer. He was taking a steep drop from 20K to 10K after being claimed by high percentage trainer Mike Mitchell for 16K. Seemed a bit suspicious, but he showed speed against better and figured to be prominent here. Then they interviewed the trainer on TVG, and he spoke about how it was a really tough field that he faced for 20K and that he’d be facing easier here. When the interviewer pointed out that there was speed inside of him in this spot, Mitchell replied that it was “cheaper speed,” and emphasized again how much better the horse faced in his last.

Think about the drop – if he wins 60% of the $19,000 purse, that’s $10,400; and even if he gets claimed (he did), the 10K puts them a tad ahead for the game (plus any betting proceeds). So I was going to go with Mambo Dancer. Until, that is, Frank Lyons, who did not include Mambo Dancer among the three horses he needed to hit the Pick Four, pointed out that all six of his lifetime wins had come on off tracks.

Hmmm, good point. Something that I definitely should have noticed myself, but I’d just missed it. It changed the equation, and I went off him and over to the 3 horse Golden Bonus at 5-1. Golden Bonus was badly impeded around the first turn and later was pulled up and vanned off. Mambo Dancer didn’t get the lead to himself, but as his trainer predicted, he was this time able to deal with the cheaper speed and went on to a two length win at 7-2.

So, this was perhaps another case of too much information. Again, it was certainly something I should have seen, and usually would, but sometimes it pays to not notice something. There’s a random factor in picking winners; a decision can turn on a specific thing that on another day, in another place, in a different mood or state of consciousness, you might not notice or interpret the same way. Sometimes just a little tidbit that I may hear from a handicapper on the P.A. or from a bettor standing nearby can change my perception as hard as I try to shut it out, and it seems as if my original opinion is usually best.

So I can personally do without all the various opinions we’re fed at the track these days. It’s mostly all just babble to me. No disrespect at all intended for those who provide this commentary nor for those who do like to listen, but it’s just not for me. Why should anyone's opinion be better than yours? I not only don’t really care who they like, I don’t even want to hear it. If I’m going to go down, I want to go down on the merit, or lack thereof, of my own opinion. There are exceptions; I recently mentioned Brad Thomas at Monmouth/ Meadowlands, who does a great job providing relevant facts and figures. But for the most part, I think silence should be the rule. Must have been nice at Keeneland when they used to have no P.A. at all – not even a track announcer, which all too often is the only thing I want to hear at the track that I can’t!

1 Comment:

Walter said...

...Point of Impact worked again this morning @ Santa Anita, five furlongs in 1:00...with a five furlong breeze coming 6 days before the day after Christmas, it appears Point of Impact is on target for a start on Opening Day...incidentally, My Miss Storm Cat was out for a spin as well, though she went six furlongs in 1:13 and change...i'm thinking she might turn up in the La Brea, which if the female version of the Malibu...i guess that'd be on Wednesday the 28th...first and foremost, however, i wanted to wish all you guys a very Merry Christmas...hope everyone has a happy and healthy holiday!...