I usually joke at work that when faced with a 50/50 decision, you have an 80% chance of being wrong. That sums up how my day ended at the Monmouth Simulcast Series Challenge #3 yesterday.
Entering the 32nd and final race of the day, I sat perched in 22nd place and about $30 of bankroll out of qualifying for the finals. While not a race I would have normally played, I knew I had to add to the bankroll if I wanted to have a chance to advance. I had the finale at Gulfstream down to two choices... #3 Eclipticalspraline 3-1 and #10 J. R. Porsche 6-1. My gut told me to go with the #10, I liked him stretching out after a poor effort going short on the grass, positive jockey switch to Jersey Joe Bravo who rides well for Romans, and the drop from MSW to a 35k tag. Conversely, #3 had already run well at this level once with what I felt were lesser connections and turned back in distance after running well against a sluggish pace. My old software had the #3 pegged and even said it was value playing this one down to 4-5.
I chose the #10. I think he may still be running. #3 won and returned $6 on the win bet. I had gone all in. The net result would have been a bankroll of $522 which surely would have secured me a spot and likely a paycheck.
Overall, I cashed on 6 of 14 wagers I placed. Looking back at the day, I saw 4 wagers that were not in my best judgement.
First, after starting 0-for-3, I elected to go with a show bet on one of my stronger plays with the rational that it would keep me moving in the right direction and save some ammo for the middle portion of the contest - horse won and paid $7.60 ($3.80 on the show) in the 3rd at Gulfstream. I was gun shy after missing two of my top plays earlier in the card.
Second - in the next race, 5th at Tampa, I had lukewarm feelings about the #11 and figured I could make up the difference on my botched show-instead-of-win bet by playing this one to show... and finished out. This race wasn't even on my radar for the day. Ugh.
Third - in the 29th leg, the 11th at Tampa, was my original 'hail mary' play if I was down to my last $10... #4 Wana Play was a morning line 15-1 shot, my value odds had him playable to 10-1... opened at 3-1 and floated up to 8-1 by post time. Being later in the day, I threw 20WP at him and watched him burst to the front, only to gimp home after losing touch with the field by the top of the stretch. This race was meant to be my last ditch effort to take a swing for the fences, not a play I was feeling too good about. Had he fired back in his old form, he could have taken this field wire to wire... not the case today.
Lastly - in the final race as I described above, I went with a bet on what I thought should have been the most value, but in the end, I should have followed my old tried-and-true software's pick. Why mess with a good thing?
Overall, I pleased with my performance yesterday. After peaking at 10th place through 28 races, I made two bad decisions, but otherwise my handicapping was fairly sound. On the Equibase weekly contest, I ended in 42nd out of about 2,950. At the freebie NHC online contest, I managed a 40th place finish out of 1,623. The Meadowlands Winter Survival challenge now finds me sitting in 29th place overall out of 4,895 players. I am even still alive in the Remington Quarter Horse Survival Challenge. While please with the direction my handicapping is taking, I realize I still have a lot of work to do and find confidence in some of my newer revelations as well as putting my trust in my old software that I have been making money with for well over a decade.
Lastly, kudos to Monmouth Park for hosting another great event. I had the pleasure of meeting fellow handicappers / bloggers Terry from Red Rock and Bill from NJ Horseplayer. Complimentary soda and water coupled with a $10 food voucher (and a decent off-season menu) made sure everyone was fed and happy. Sophia Mangalee was through the crowd stopping to talk to just about every table offering words of encouragement. Fellow horseplayers swapped stories, advice, and were a far cry nicer than the crowds I found on recent trips to Atlantic City casino racebooks.
Next live contest for me will likely be the Monmouth/Woodbine contest on site in June... until then, I have some work to do!!!