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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

First Post of 2006

- Back after a brief hiatus, and hope everyone had a nice holiday. Glad to see the lively discussion in the comments section, and that Walter and others were able to cash in on Doug O’Neill’s first timer Totally Gone on Saturday. And totally gone he was, sprinting away from the field with an :11 4/5 eighth leaving the half mile mark and drawing off by six. This son of Gone West is closely inbred, 2x4, to Mr .Prospector and is out of a mare by Dayjur. As I wrote the other day, his pedigree is full of European turf stakes winners, but I guess he likes the slop as well.

As for Point of Impact, Walter was again right on, as his debut effort was extremely similar to that of Baffert’s Monarchos colt Royal Legacy last Monday. He was off very slowly, and has every right to move up big time at longer distances, on a dry track, and with a good start. When they came into the stretch, you caught a glimpse of him extremely wide before disappearing out of the shot. The fact that he was able to gain enough momentum to get up for third was mighty impressive.

Pussycat Doll (Real Quiet) was a big surprise to me in the La Brea; I thought she was a clear cut below Grade 1 caliber. A look back shows the fast workouts that Baffert was referring to when he bragged about heading to the winners circle at the eighth pole and saying that "She ran like she'd been training." [DRF] She must have liked the slop, I say. Besides, Baffert often works his horses like that, and his disappointing My Miss Storm Cat was blazing in the A.M. too. Thrilling Victory rallied for third at 22-1; her trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is on an incredible streak having won the last six stakes races to be run at the Northern California circuit of Golden Gate and Bay Meadows.

I had a light weekend of horseplaying; I missed the races on Saturday, having gone to our friends upstate for New Year’s Eve. Got back too late Sunday afternoon to get into it, but had plans for some at-home phone betting on Monday. However, I was distracted shortly before first race post at Calder by a plumbing crisis that resulted in an unspeakable mess and a $350 holiday visit from the plumber. Then it was off to Manhattan to take my daughter to Penn Station, and by the time I got home, all that remained were miserable maiden claiming finales from Calder and Turfway. The continued rain made Santa Anita unappealing so I was left with nothing.

Went out for dinner with the Head Chef, but it didn’t quash my appetite for some action. I’ve been going well lately. The Xmas break at Aqueduct came at the wrong time, and this weather in California put a damper on the weekend of racing there and left me feeling unfulfilled. So I was planning on taking in some harness action from Woodbine; but when I turned on HRTV, I saw it was cancelled due to bad weather. That left me with two harness tracks: Northfield and Pompano Park, and I went with the latter, a racetrack that I’ve actually been to many times on Gulfstream trips of years and decades past.

Passed a couple of races and got down with the last two on the card. In the 10th, I bet 7-1 Hearthrob on top of three horses in the exacta, throwing out the top three betting choices. Those favorites ended up out of the money, and Hearthrob’s rally for third fell about a half-length short of topping what would have been a $186 exacta. In the 11th, I bet favored Goldstar Melvyn on top of a cold exacta with Barberville Kid, at 21-1 one of the longshots in the field. In this one, the Kid swept to the lead at the top of the stretch with a three wide move, and seemed to be clearing the rest of the field as the favorite was poised to show his late kick. I was looking like a sure winner at midstretch as Melvyn kicked in. But the Kid hung a bit, and dropdown Visitor Parking, who had sat on the rail all the way, found a seam, steered out right into the path of the three horse, and rallied to nail me for the place. I don’t know what it takes to get a rise out of the stewards at harness races; perhaps a horse that presents a threat to our national security may get a look? That would have been a $97 exacta that I had enough times cold to make the memory of the morning’s plumbing mess a thing of the past.

Tough beats, but man, if you’re correctly identifying overlays and underlays, selecting horses that turn out live at good prices, and not only avoiding false favorites, but correctly taking decisive stands against them, you’re five steps ahead of the game right there. There’s only so much you can do; the rest depends on the fates of racing luck, and more times than not, that’s not going to go your way. But this is no time to get down; but rather to take encouragement about the things that you're doing right and keep plugging away - things will go your way at some point. I’m pretty psyched about these races even though I lost. And they satiated my urge for some action too. Maybe for a day.


Teaman said...

OUCH!!...I feel for you bro.. Tough beats w/ the ponies AND the plumbing. Helluva way to ring in the New Year. Great post to read (for me) tho, about "taking encouragement from the things you're doing right" and "taking stands".
While just a "rook" I agree that you MUST take the glass is 1/2 FULL approach when you get those 1st + 3rd EX's. I started out whining about having "no luck" when a fat EX got nosed. But being a long time half-assed gambler (football) I realized that most of the time my "bad luck" was bad preperation. A little more study,analysis, research increased my "luck" when betting games. I know the same basic principal applies to horses. I'm a "pup"..but I'm getting better. The majority of my W's come in the mdn clmg races... so that's what I concentrate on. That proably seems absurd to the "pros" who post here..but it's presnently my preferred choice. Like everyone else I like to take my shots in the marquee
races.. but the results haven't been kind. But I'll keep pluggin',learning, betting within my modest means, and gain knowledge, and the "luck" will change. A special thanks to you (+others in the T B A) for sharing your thoughts + knowledge so "rooks" like me can gain perspective on a fascinating game + industry. AND for taking the time out of your busy days to post. I've been checking out the other T B A sites and I'm impressed with the passion you all share for the game. I hope your New Year gets better fractions than the one so far.


Anonymous said...

...there's nothing wrong with betting maiden-claiming races, my mentor told me a long time ago, "money you win on a maiden claiming race spends just as well as money you win on the Kentucky Derby"...truer words have never been doesn't matter HOW you win, just so long as you win...that's the bottom line...myself, i'm a big believer in specialization, which is why i concentrate on the SoCal circuit almost exclusively...and a large percentage of my play is directed at maiden races, specifically first-time starters...i just feel that's where most of the value lies...once a horse has run a few times, anyone can look at the Racing Form have a pretty good idea what to don't really have an edge on the crowd, in the majority of cases...but with unraced horses, you have a definite edge if you do your homework, and you can often find great value on prime contenders...even before i started subscribing to my workout reports, i would follow the worktab meticulously, and often could find unraced horses that had been working together (their names would show up together on the same day/distance repeatedly, with similar clockings) can generally figure out who's better than who, or if they're evenly matched...then when the first one turns up in a race, you watch him closely, and based on his results you have a pretty good idea what the second one is gonna do...or perhaps your unraced horse has been working with a name you recognize, and that'll give you a good read on him...also, in a couple of months they'll start having the big 2yo's-in-training sales (Ocala, Barretts, and Fasig-Tipton)...just keep tabs on which horses were the fastest workers at the under-tack shows, then wait for them to turn up on the racetrack a few months down the line (you can identify them by the mother's name) can often find generous prices on horses you KNOW to be fast...they don't always win, but they almost ALWAYS show speed, and believe me, they win more than their fair share...a good number of them even turn out to be stakes horses...i also had some success following the training races @ Fair Grounds, though the party-poopers @ Churchill Downs Inc. cancelled them last year when they took over the track...i was hoping they'd resume this year, but of course Hurricane Katrina took care of that...i'm still hopeful they'll return someday...anyway, to make a long story short (too late), there's absolutely nothing wrong with betting maiden races...go for what you know!... for "luck", i'm a firm believer that luck evens out in the long run...besides, it's like my mom always told me, "there's no sense getting upset over something you can't control"...

Alan Mann said...

I've written before about the idea of keeping detailed records which would include how you do on specific types of races. And if maiden claimers turn out to be the most profitable, then what's wrong with that? Personally, they're not for me, as I often waste time wondering exactly what the connections' motives are, particularly with first-time starters, or horses with nice pedigrees and/or good workout reports via Walter. But there are no right or wrong races to bet on - only what's right for you.

Teaman said...

Thanks guys!! As usual..quality info and encouragement. I've got to say this. You guys who post here are a CLASS act. I've posted in various newsroups and blogs about various things (not horses) and often found that there is an "inner circle" that rule the roost.
If ask a ? (that may've been covered a 100 posts deep) or go deep on a topic the "IN" crowd disagrees get slammed to the mat.
(FLAMED I guess it's called) I don't get that here and I appreciate it. I get a sense that "horse people" feel like they belong to a kind of brotherhood unlike any other and will help others join the 'hood if they want to rather than ostracize them. It's uplifting to me..I only wish I discovered it earlier. Oh man..another flashback to the "Keenland Tales" from Oct. The day after I met my "crew" at Keenland (Halloween Day actually) They invited me back and told me they'd show me around Lexington and the Kentucky Horse Park if I wanted. Whether or not the fact that i had $$$$ and a '05 Grand Marquis rental..and they were flat broke,thirsty,and no transportation.. had anything to do with it. I don't know..but it was all cool. So I pick up Charly and Schmitty (what a character he was..another time on him) and off we go to KY H Park to see John Henry and Cigar who are like the big tourist attractions. We get there and this place is HUGE! and Gorgeous!! I get a layout map..(this complex is about 1,000 acres. Maybe not but it'd take 3 days to see it all)
so we can find John Henry. But while the "free" area is get IN where John Henry + Cigar are stabled is $14. I want to see J H but I don't want to pay for all 3 of us ($42..these guys are FLAT broke) and I don't want to leave them sitting on a bench while I go stomping around the park. Just being courteous..although insisted I go, I declined. I'll get there in March maybe. Anyway...Schmitty says "Let's jump a fence" He and Charly are drunk as hell..I'm sober (Yankee boy in the Dirty South..) and Schmitty is one of these looney drunks (plus I suspect some other substance was at work) who spelling TROUBLE at this point. My great time so far is in I just walk off and tell them i'm gonna go take pictures of the Man O" War statue. THAT was cool..giant lifesize bronze statue over the actual spot where he is buried. And these granite stones w/ plaques imbedded in them of all his most prominent offspring circle the statue. I ramble or what.. I take some pics and go back and Charley has convinced Smitty we're not jumping fences. But Smitty decides he wants to renew his track-workers license (altho Charley says he can't until 2006) so off he goes into the main office. 2 mins later he comes out with his arm around this little blonde lady..maybe 40ish. It's Patty (or Patsy..forgive me) Cooksey legendary female ex-jockey.I found out later. I have NO idea (at the time) who this person is i'm just thinkin' Smitty is going to get me arrested before I leave this park. So now Smitty is telling me her impressive credentials (still w/ his arm around her shoulders) and the she Won a LOMBARDI AWARD (just like my Patriots...3 x L4 yrs..) as famous athlete who is a cancer survivor. Lance Armstrong W the most recent. He brought her outside so that I could have my pic taken with her (which I did) which I thought was a cool gesture on Smitty's part. Come to find out..Patty was just about to go to a meeting with these high brow titans of the KY T-Bred industry when a drunken Smitty stumbled into her office for his license. Shockingly!! she took 5 mins to come outside (while the suits are probably waiting around some big ass conference table) to give me a pic. Smitty had told her that it was my 1st x here and in KY...and she was kind enough to appease him, and ME. The fact that she kept titans of the T-bred industry waiting to meet some schmuck from R.I...hangin' around w/ 2 drunks from give me a photo op..totally blew me away! I'll never forget it. It speaks to the brother/sisterhood of the "horse people" and the quality type of people they are. Seriously..that whole weekend got to me. Living in R.I. I just don't meet people that genuine. It's the foundation for my renewed interest in all things T-bred racing. And indirectly led me to this Bloggroup..and MORE quality people!! It's refreshing to me..and I want desparatly to go back to KY. (Or maybe Gulfstream?) and have more adventure. Hope y'all enjoyed this chapter of T-Mans "Keenland Tales' Please forgive the spell errors as I haven't time to check 'cuz I have to go watch Texas pull off a HUGE upset over USC.