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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

VLT Time Approaches

The Head Chef does some work in the NYC public school system for the Wellness In The Schools program. Based on the hostile tone of some of the comments and even private emailers (who at least have the courtesy and respect to make themselves known) I've gotten to razz me about the Republican winning in the 9th CD on Tuesday, I guess some of you are thinking that's a typical liberal to be so concerned with something like healthy eating, environmental awareness and fitness as a way of life for kids in New York City’s public schools. I mean, I know that all of us, of all political stripes, surely agree with the worthy goals of the program. You don't have to worry, they get no government financing. That money is free to go instead towards compensation for some of the corporate loopholes that Bob Turner, my Congressperson, has met and likes.

Anyway, the main point here is that the manager of school lunch at the school that the Head Chef was at on Wednesday announced that she had given her two weeks notice in order to take a job at a fancy restaurant at the Aqueduct racino. She starts there late this month. And though I imagine there's some kind of training program before the restaurant opens to the public, it surely means that the promised land is not far off. After all these years of false starts, it seems hard to believe that it's really going to happen, for worse and, for the New York Racing Association and, by extension we all expect for its horsemen and fans, the better. We know the racino will wow; we'll see what improvements if any are made on the racing side in time for next month's opening. We've been told that Genting will contribute some resources to that effort, but NYRA itself has identified other priorities for the initial inflows at this time.

- Contessa took the 4th, on the turf, at Belmont on Wednesday with Salsa Mambo ($35.20). This barn starts so many horses that it rarely has a high win percentage, so its five wins from its last 12 races is a pretty good run. In the Jazzy Stakes, his Battingstar led into the stretch at 20-1 and lost by only three lengths.

The 5th was the race I discussed in the last post, and morning line favorite Smokin Star ($9.80) ended up being the distant third choice. If I was there, I probably would've figured he was dead on the board and thrown him out. Maybe however he was just a legitimate overlay with all the money bet on the two horses coming off layoffs and running first time for a tag. Unprecedented was claimed by Chatterpaul Naipaul for $35,000. Must me a trustful man to take that horse from Dutrow dropping in for 35K off a 13 month layoff. The horse had trouble here and ran pretty well for 4th; be interesting to follow the progress of that one. Assuming he runs again.

In the 6th, well-bet first-timer Undaunted Ella ($6.20) won for Bruce Levine and owner/breeder Gus Schoenborn, who also bred and owned her half-brother, the successful NY-bred Metro Meteor. Two-year old is a daughter of the rookie sire Half Ours, the one-time $6.1 million purchase while in training, now standing in Louisiana for $4500.

- Have some time for Thursday's card, but I dunno, this reader Johnnie is making me feel bad about my picks. Haven't exactly been lighting them up lately. But hey, I've had my moments to be sure. Don't make that many picks on the blog, so it can be a long-time calendar-wise between successes. And I like to think that someone can get something out of many if not most of my handicapping posts even if they're losers - an alert to a hot trainer, a key race, a track bias (occasionally), a particular handicapping angle, or even just inspiration to use Formulator, so you can have all that too-much-information, get away from the basics and see your results decline. (Or not.)

I thought there was some really thoughtful and worthwhile discussion on the trials and tribulations of handicapping in this comment section last week. Figless talks about discipline, jp about handicapping as a science (and about discipline as well), and wmcorrow laments that he's "no better at picking winners today than fifty years ago." I've written about that before (and other than the fact that I feel that way myself most of the time) (though I'm not quite at the 50 year mark). The rate of growth over the last two decades in the amount of information available to us through more data and better technology is staggering. Yet there's no evidence that I've ever read that the proficiency of horseplayers as a whole has increased at anywhere near that pace, if at all. Sometimes makes me wonder if the investment of time is a waste. Or maybe it's really not and I'm just in a quarter century-long slump. In which case, I'm due.


wmcorrow said...

The question I have asked myself innumerable times upon departing the track or OTB is "why did I bother to purchase the past performances;" the answer is that without them to peruse I would feel that I have done a disservice to the 'game' and to myself: handicapping is what it is all about. Wagering without having made selections from study of the past performances is simply to sterile.

So, Alan, you are in a quarter century slump, as are just about all other patrons. An example of my success: I acquired a telephone wagering account around 1980 in Connecticut. In the mail I received ten deposit slips and ten withdrawal slips. What I should have received was 1000 deposit slips and two or three withdrawal slips.

Betting wrong? Perhaps. At one time the choice was Win, Place, Show along with the early double.
Exotics are now popular, but do they help? or drain the bank roll faster?

Steven Crist has gone so far as to refer to the Win wager as grandmother's wager. Hmmm? That so? A check of the pools at Saratoga suggest that the win wager is still number one.

I still prefer win wagers, but have also taken a liking to pick three wagers (which are basically win wagers with less takeout).
Going beyond the pick three to the pick four and on to the pick six suggests a move away from handicapping to simply using numbers. Can't deal with exactas, as jocks don't ride their horse to the finish if beaten in mid-stretch.

Well anyway, today we will try again. Can't think of a better way to start the day than a coffee on the edge of the Daily Racing Form.

Figless said...

@wmcorrow, I have often wondered the same after achieving a decent score picking from the entries in a newspaper, as often happened when I would wander into a NYC OTB restaurant after work. But even in those case I usually relied on one of my many "rules of thumb", or a trainer angle, to achieve that score, those derived from years of handicapping, not written down somewhere but rather burned into the deepest recesses of the mind.

I too have gotten away from single race exotics for the reason you mention, jocks simply do not care about place, show and certainly not running 4th in the case of a SF, making the outcome much more subject to random outcome.

I have added Place and even Show to my repetoire recently with great (and probably temporary) sucess, at the Spa meet, but only on longshots. Once a favorite is beaten it seems the jock is almost too willing to wrap up on the horse and bring it home safe rather than riding it out for the punters.

And yes, the first thing I did upon the official death of NYC OTB was throw away all those withdrawl slips they provided at sign up.

I am thrilled with my NYRA Rewards account especially so with the "historical wager" function that will allow me to track my ROI by wagering type, although I suspect that exercise may be quite depresssing.

I plan to print my Spa history this weekend, had a very succesful meet until the final week, may as well find out whethar reality of what did and did not work agrees with my perception.

Figless said...

@ yesterday's anon 730, everyone dislikes a bad economy, no Obama.

Not that I expect it to happen but IF the economey turns around in the next six months Pres Obama will have a decent chance at reelection. Little else matters.

Neither party expects it to improve, which is why both sides are positioning themselves to blame the other. Ultimately, as much as everyone hates Congress, the American people take out their frustration on the incumbent president.

My point is that Alan's district is unique in that many residents have priorities other than the economy and therefore this particular special election should not be viewed as a bellweather.

Figless said...

As for the Big A, I hope they put some money into the racing side, especially the bathrooms and food services.

First impressions mean everything, and many of the first timers arriving at the new sparkling casino will wander over to the racing side to look around, its only human to be curious, but if they dont like what they see they will never go back out those doors.

Johnnie said...

I was hoping for a winner today. I eagerly await your next selection.

Anonymous said...

So after you're done handicapping(?) and plan your day they scratch your horse and it's back to square one.

Anonymous said...

Glad you are concerned about loopholes Alan. How about 550 million Odumbo gave his money bundlers at Solyndra? Does that bother you? Message to witless - Odumbo is not only hated in Alan's district but throughout the country. It will be a bloodbath for Alan's party in Nov. 2012.

Figless said...

Anon 1012, 13.5 months is a long time in politics, way too early to predict an election. Here's a tip for you, drop the namecalling, it is unbecoming, you apparently find it clever but resorting to such tactics just weakens an argument. Stick to facts, such as your Solydra comment, which is a legit concern.