Wow, four months since my last post... it's not like I hit the Mega Millions and have been sipping cold drinks in a warm destination. Work, life, the holidays, the failure of Rutgers football against Connecticut have all been keeping my busy. The future of Monmouth Park for 2012 is in doubt, Aqueduct is doing well with the new casino (Hello NJ, see the writing on the wall yet - we are now surrounded by Aqueduct, Yonkers, Parx and PA, Delaware, etc.). I can't help but thinking after the breakdown in negotiations this past week that my last trip to Monmouth (simulcast series qualifing event) may have very well been my last.
This weekend offered the hail mary of NHC freebie qualifying... three free events (TVG and Brisnet on Saturday & the NHC Freebie on Sunday). Trying to take these chances somewhat seriously has been a huge mental drain (along with entering my selections at Public Handicapper) - 7 different tracks for Saturday (Haw, Aqu, Hol, GP, FG, Tam, TP) makes me feel like Gaylord Perry's confused jersey when he was elected to the Hall of Fame; plus ten races for Sunday from four additional tracks (FG, Aqu, GP, and Hol). While realizing the odds of being forced to play mandatory races (of which I would have only played two of the 20 Saturday races with real money) against about 3,000 of my closest friends - I am wondering why I just put myself through the time and effort.
As the opportunities for qualifying for the NHC finals are winding down due to the inability of NJ Residents to play in twinspires or DRF Bets event - it is time to start reflecting on what went right and where I need to do more work for next year. This year saw a lot of positives. I finally was able (with the help of my good friend Jake) to get my old 'system' and homemade figures/pace system automated; I discovered a couple more profitable angle plays to add to the arsenal with a few more very close to being added to the list; established a profitable and winning Pick 4 strategy when targeting guaranteed pools (state of NJ has already sent me my paperwork so they can take their share of my winnings as well); and have gotten to know and interacted with several other good online handicappers/bloggers with similar interests and goals (Terry from Redrockorbust; Bill from NJ Horseplayer; and the Knight Sky... just to name a few).
I look forward to 2012 and trying to qualify for what sounds like more of a circus for the finals in 2013. I am optomistic that as long as there are people that are passionate about racing that I will be watching a late Friday afternoon card with a cooler of ice cold beer this summer at Monmouth Park (which is a mere 5.4 miles from my office) listening to Sinatra sing "Summer Wind" at the end of the day, that I will be able to bring the kids to a place I have loved going to and learned a lot about racing (and life) from my late Uncle Dutch, that Rapid Redux will make history again this upcoming week by winning his 19th race of the year, and that I will be sitting in a sportbook in Vegas in January of 2013 winning the top prize and having one hell of time doing it with my good luck charm and biggest supporter (my wife) by my side.
Now it's time to finish up my Sunday NHC Freebie picks... who knows, maybe I'll be sitting in Vegas in January of 2012 instead.