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Sunday, August 16, 2009

The $64,000 Question

Saturday's late Pick Four at Saratoga paid over $64,000; and that with favored Cops Fever winning the finale. I can imagine that, on some day, under a certain circumstance, in a particular frame of mind (or state of consciousness), amongst a singular mix of horseplayers (or by myself), with a high degree of recklessness, emboldened perhaps by a recent score or some other financial blessing, with the planets aligned in a precisely defined manner and the weather invigorating the body, soul, and an especially creative nook somewhere in the folds of my brain, I might have had that. Just saying.

I'd started to handicap the sequence for a post and a wager, but abandoned the effort when it became obvious that the bet would be too expensive for my taste. I'd included Ninth Client ($18.40) off the big drop in class....and I'm a bit surprised that Eliot Spitzer didn't claim this horse and put it out to pasture. Telling ($68) was in my mix for the Sword Dancer; problem was that so were five others. This son of AP Indy had pace excuses when a close 5th in the Arlington Handicap, and had raced quite well at a mile and a half in the past. And I eventually came to settle on Cops Fever as my key in the 11th (though I came otherwise nowhere near cashing a ticket), so I can deduce that I could have ended up singling him had I pressed on.

The horse that would have beaten me was actually Expansion ($14). I tend to look at a horse like that and go 'no way,' coming off five consecutive losing efforts at short odds since graduating to this class as he had - the last four times as the favorite. However, that first impression is generally based on the assumption that the horse is going to be short odds again, and be worth a bet against on an established propensity to somehow come up just short. But the fact is that, at 6-1 (and, of course, with the benefit of hindsight), this son of Maria's Mon needed to be seen in a completely different light. He had competitive Beyers, legit excuses in his last three, and hailed from the sharp McLaughlin barn (which broke that little slump with first-time juveniles with Liston ($5.90) in the second. At 6-1, he goes from money burner to fair value, if not an overlay.

And that's one of my problems betting the multi-race wagers - lacking the crucial context which the tote board provides. With a horse like this, it's necessary to cast aside any assumptions or conclusions based on what odds a horse has gone off at in the past, or what it might be today, and judge it on a single, simple criteria - is it a contender? In the case of Expansion, the answer was clearly 'yes,' and it would have been a shame if I lost the bet basically by being a wise guy.

- Sean Avery ($14) won for fun for Hushion a little over a year after making his debut at Belmont (for Alan Iwinski). Tom Durkin is obviously either not a hockey guy, or one of those bitter Islander fans. My call would have been: "And here's Sean Avery, he's in all alone......HE SCORES!" For Hushion, that's three wins out of just eight starters, and at prices of 4-1, 5-1, and 6-1. (He has horses entered in the first and last race today.)

6 Comments:

Anonymous said...

Alan I nominate this as your best intro ever. I have had that discussion with myself and whoever may be around me more times than I care to admit. Couldn't have said it better

steve in nc said...

Are you hot on this George Weaver firster in Saratoga's 6th?

jk said...

Bitter Isles fan? I would think Rangers fans, with all of the epic high payroll failures would be bitter. So bitter, they cling to blogs and horse racing! On the other hand, the Isles do have a horses ass for a GM.

It will be interesting to see if the Rangers latest makeover of players and coaches has any impact.

The Isles will use the rebuilding excuse to have another miserable season.

El Angelo said...

Elisha Cuthbert would have taken umbrage with that race call.

jk said...

This guy ahd a rough afternoon at the races.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/16/nyregion/16hole.html?_r=1

Now You See Him, Now You Don’t
by AL BAKER
Published: August 15, 2009

There are untold ways that gambling can put you in a hole, and most of them are predictable. They are usually economic, social, spiritual or familial.

About 1:30 Saturday afternoon, Vincent Riggio stepped out of an Off-Track Betting parlor in Lower Manhattan and wound up in a hole no horse-racing aficionado could ever have foreseen: a literal one.

He left the betting parlor on Murray Street to smoke a cigar, stepped a few feet east, away from Church Street, and suddenly vanished in a cloud of brownish dust as rotted metal doors over a store’s cellar gave way, according to officials and witnesses.

“He just fell,” said Freddy Chew, 55, who saw the accident. “He disappeared.”

The distance? Roughly 30 feet.

Mr. Chew, who had also been enjoying the afternoon in the Off-Track Betting parlor, which is jammed between a women’s clothing store and the Remix Lounge, said he ran over and peered through the broken cellar opening in the sidewalk and into the darkness below.

There, Mr. Riggio came to rest after having fallen in stages, apparently hitting several uneven surfaces on the way down.


snip

alan said...

>>This guy ahd a rough afternoon at the races.

And people laugh at me when I go out of my way to avoid walking on those things..