The change in handicapping strategy from my normal day-to-day routine is welcome and a little intimidating at the same time. I am trying to turn my normal handicapping upside as I prepare for the Saturday Round 2 qualifer at Monmouth Park! This will be my first in-person live contest event, the balance of my contest experience has been online with mandatory races or via the great website PublicHandicapper.com (who really does a great job - it has been amazing to watch how that site has flourished over the last several years).
I guess being a fireman in my former life helps me with my day-to-day handicapping... sort of a 'rapid triage' of the entrants and races... if I see nothing I like, I move on and try to find something that raises a flag. Faced with a minimum of 10 bets, thinking I will probably need to make at least 15, out of 32 races this Saturday. Aqueduct (inner) is really the only NYRA track I have historically done well at, Tampa Bay has always been a good place for spot plays for me (granted hit or miss on what I find that day), and historically Gulfstream has never been too kind to me.
So what is the strategy? Aside from my conventional approach looking for spot plays, I am bringing back my old software and over-analyzing pace (early thanks to Fraser for some insight on this one!) Besides pounding horses I know should win, or have a high probability of winning, I see the need to look for some value late in the cards since I think most entrants will be finding themselves 'swinging for the fences' at some point. Knowing that the first round was won with a bankroll of of $1,698; with the 15th place (last qualifier) in the range of more than $500; I think I will need the percentages on my side tomorrow.
We'll see if I can 'break my maiden' tomorrow... it has certainly been an interesting couple of days preparing for this contest! Good, bad, or indifferent, I will learn a lot from this experience tomorrow, and hopefully secure a seat in the April 9th finals!