Friday, January 31, 2014

Demands & Balance (and Preview of the Arcadia G2)

"There's always more demands than there's time to meet them, so it's constantly a matter of trying to balance them." - Marc Andreessen

Happy (belated) New Year!  It has been a while since I blogged last. I had been ready to post a "Resolutions" themed blog, but then it hit me - it would once again be more words than action.  Seriously, how many people honestly stick to resolutions every year?  If we did, would we really need to keep making them?  Why do we set unattainable goals for ourselves only to lose interest in the first few weeks of the year?  Instead, this year, I am making changes and am working to keep everything in balance.

Our lives are never the same each year and we must adapt to the dynamic nature of our lives.  I have made commitments to myself this year to continue to be healthier by working out more and harder (getting up an extra 20 minutes early to really kick it in the ass every morning); by improving my diet more (cutting down on the empty calories even more); be a better role model for my kids; a better and more supportive husband to my wife (as she has her own more pressing demands to attack); trying to have a more positive and 'live in the moment' attitude (less stress); and focus on what is good in my life and eliminate the things that drag me down.  Changing my attitude or approach to all of the above creates the need to seek a balance of all the demands each of these brings and there are only only so many hours in a day.

The demands in life are always changing between work, family, friends, community, and personal growth - finding balance is never easy.  Over the last few weeks my focus has been less on racing and more on other aspects of life. While I have the Monmouth SSC and Favorite's contests on my radar, I have been working on a few other 'pet projects' which needed a kick start, spending more time with my family, getting healthier, and focusing on being more successful at my 'day job' - all of which have gladly come at the temporary expense of my handicapping.

So here I sit on a Friday afternoon - ready to pounce back in with two feet as the Public Handicapper Prep contest starts this weekend and I did even manage to look at the Saturday Aqueduct card in preparation for the tracks the SSC will feature.  I approach this with a renewed enthusiasm this year - this is the year where I make positive strides in the contest setting as I work to rebuild the confidence of my handicapping after taking some time away from it.

Back to the action....

Santa Anita - Race 8 - 1 mi TURF - Arcadia - G2 - 4yo&up

Most likely, the early pace here won't hold up as I expect 9 Winning Prize (3-1) to bolt out early and find some pressure from 10 No Jet Lag (5-1), 7 Tom's Tribute (6-1), and 5 Regally Ready (5-1).  I expect the #7 to fade away from the pack by the stretch, but expect to see 8 Suggestive Boy (7-2) making a solid run late.  Alternate pace models have #9 holding on by a thread late and #5 handling an early duel and the step up in class.

My most likely contender here is 8 Suggestive Boy (7-2).  The layoff doesn't scare me - he has a solid work pattern coming back after almost 11 months off and has been sharp off the bench before.  Normally I would question a G1 winner out of Argentina, but he does appear to be the class of the field being the most consistent over the grass in stakes company (toss the BC Mile - did anyone really think he would beat Wise Dan???).  All of his wins are against a fast pace at this distance and I expect him to be a repeat winner of this race on Saturday.

Based on my analysis, I would go with a win bet on #8 and maybe throw a small exacta on 5,8 - 5,8,9,10 if the payouts look decent.

Good luck to all!

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