Unlike Johnny Cash, they didn't overtake me down in Juarez, Mexico.... it was more like overtaken in Del Mar, California.
Freebie NHC qualifer today, top three punch their ticket to dance... I managed a 42nd place finish.
Race 1 - Woodbine Race 4 - I took 5 Embur's Song 8-5 who won and gave me ($2WP) - 7.60... for a fleeting moment, I can say I was tied for first place with a ton of other people. I wanted to beat the ML favorite 3 Biofuel, just didn't like any other entries... figured I might as well go with what I think will win early.
Race 2 - Saratoga Race 5 - sprinting maiden claimers... I felt it was a wide open race, I was going to pass on the favorite here, who was weak to say the least. I took a shot with the 1 Lindell AC at 5-1 thinking the class move and maturity of his first start at three years old, coupled with some early foot would do the trick... insted the 9 War Colony won as a first time maiden claimer with decent connections... but i did net $5.10 here.
Race 3 - Monmouth Race 6 - claiming turf sprint - I liked the 2 Outstanding Hope and 5 Family Holiday here, so I took a shot at the solid connections of Volk-Lopez on the 5, who I thought would own the pace... managed another second and added $5.80 to the total.
Race 4 - Woodbine Race 7 - statebred allowance route on the polytrack - I was down to 2 Nicola's Nickers and 7 R Unpainted Dancer - thinking the race looked devoid of early speed other than the 7, I took a shot... came up empty as the 2 rallied to win... ouch.
Race 5 - Monmouth Race 8 - One mile on the turf for 30k claimers - Really liked the 8 Freshman Dorm for a tone of reasons - knew the price was going to be short, but felt this one was unbeatable here... was right! Added $9.00 to the tally (5.60/3.40) - at this point, I am sitting in a tie for 139th place and thinking that I need to make a move or go play Wii with the kids...
Race 6 - Saratoga Race 9 - Sanford G2 - 6 Overdriven - super chalk, was not going to play against, added that whopping $4.70 to the tally (2.60/2.10)
Race 7 - Woodbine Race 10 - I had no good feeling on this race and went with 9 Ideals and Dreams thinking that he had decent connections, could best most of this field and that the pace here looked weak - was wrong as a 11 Lucky Ned scored for a price... ouch. At this point was sitting at 213th... was ready to shut it down and move on...
Race 8 - Del Mar Race 5 - sprinting maiden claimers - I had one horse I liked... 11 Best Logic - who won at a nice price (22.80/9.60) - tacked opn a hefty 32.40 onto the tally (granted the NTRA site said the win was 22.00 - case for disputing 0.80....) moved me up to 33rd!
Race 9 - Del Mar Race 6 - ungraded stakes on the turf - I really wasn't feeling this race - the pace looked fast and weak and the field felt wide open... I went with the horse I felt could win... 1 Norvsky and he did just that adding 8.40 to the tally - now at 72.20 (NTRA) - really should have been 73.00; but in 20th place.
Race 10 - Del Mar Race 8 - San Clemente G2 - 1mi on the turf - The leader was sitting at 91.60, with third place at 84.00.... I was originally warm to 9 Mizdirection, but knew I needed a horse over 10-1 to win.... I narrowed the field down to 1 Up In Time, 2 Celestial Kitten, 3 Fifth Commandment, and 8 Rosehill Dew. I dismissed the 8, she just hadn't shown the improvement after a couple starts in the US. I tossed the 2, I don't like to play east coasters shipping west... I felt the same way about the 1 that I did the 8 0 she had a soft pace last out and couldn't get it done late and four back had a quicker pace and was flat... that left me with the 18-1 #3... two turns was in her pedigree and she ran well in her US debut despite a troubled trip on what appeared to be the first time she saw a firm course. She finised out and the 1 took the race... I added nothing to my final tally (although the 1 was worth 35.00). Even if I had played the 1, I would have managed 5th place... just short of the promised land.
42nd out of 1386 or so... not too shabby for a free-for-all like this. I did cash in 7 of the 10 races despite having to swing for the fences a bit in the last leg. This was the first time I had been able to use an automated version of my pace analysis, old point system, and all of my figures in parallel to my conventional handicapping. It was a huge asset to have this information available this easily - and the plays it created outside of the contest races proved to be immensly profitable - winning 4 of my 6 other wagers for win prices of 5.80, 22.80, 13.80, 18.10, with two plays out. A huge thanks goes to my friend in Kentucky, Jake - you kick started the process by sending me the way the import the data... a huge help and timesaver.
Lessons learned - while I used to really prefer this type of format (mandatory races with a fixed value); I think adding some level of confidence to my selections through validation of pace, speed, and other factors, really points me more towards a contest similar to my first shot at the Monmouth Simulcast Series - structure wagers on your pick of races...
Time to crunch more data, scrutinize more angles/figures, and come back sharper and more determined next time out... (hopefully it will also be more than one track that I follow regularly)!