You're looking live at the SpaceCapsule as we're going to take this ordinary ole' Sunday of racing and live blog our way through the NHC Tour contest. Top Four spots go to Vegas next January for the national tournament.
You won't find live blogging at this space during the big race days, Congressional Racing Hearings or even the Eclipse Awards, but the 6th of March? You've found your spot.
So what are we looking at today, besides the ocassional diaper change or bottle for the Space Filly? Ten contest races, kicking off at Oaklawn and the Fair Grounds, winding down to South Beach and Gulfstream Park and finally back to Oaklawn and wrapping up at little Sam Houston Park. The fifth and sixth races in the sequence are five minutes apart and eight minutes between contest races two and three, so that should be fun to navigate...
After reviewing the contest card last evening while watching a chick flick with the Space Gal (Love & Other Things - too sappy for my liking), I noticed a number of one mile turf races at tracks that I don't usually frequent. This could get really ugly. Not very high expectations for a wintry Sunday in Western New York, certainly not the 26th place finish last weekend in the Equibase tourney. Ok....let's get this show on the road...
2:45pm (all times EST): Today's strategies - 1) Don't get shutout. 2) Go big or go home. 3) See #1.
3:00pm: First race is up in 27 minutes from Oaklawn (Race 3). A 6-furlong optional claimer for 4-year olds and up. I'm taking The Elevator to the top of the leaderboard here, let's hope we don't need the emergency stop button. Won three straight at Hawthorne last year before being claimed by Jamie Ness. Has been on the shelf since last April so hopefully his odds will reflect same. Ness is 30% off the claim and 25% off the 180+ day layoff. Some dude named Birzer has the mount. Giddy up.
3:25pm: First curveball of the day - off the turf at Fair Grounds. Need. To. Pay. Attention. Plus Oaklawn is behind about 8 minutes so first two races are butting up against each other. Speed-capped the Fair Grounds races, but still have time to change my mind. Jumped on
Why Not Be Perfect, Sicomoro.
3:42pm: Swing and a miss. 0 for 1. Can't believe I didn't play the Asmussen horse that won at 7/2. Especially with the Space Gal taking the Space Kid to Sesame Street Live today, wouldn't Herecomesbert be the play to start off the contest? Duh. Space Filly watch: still asleep.
3:55pm: Ok, we're on the board, no shutout today. Sicomoro takes second ($4.40 to place) behind the chalk. Move on to Gulfstream Race 7 and looks like we're off the turf there also....which is three races to re-handicap. We're a little chalky here with Salary Drive to try and build some base for the later races which I think are wide open. Total = $4.40.
4:09pm: Huzzah! Budokan strike. Salary Drive ($6.20/$3.00) with the Double U at 2-1. Not a huge price, but like I said, need some base before going bombing. We'll head over to Oaklawn next for Race 5. My initial inclination last night was to go with Ready to Thrill with Jon Court up sporting matching Beyers, but I have some time to study the board. Total = $13.60. Space Filly watch: stirring.
4:24pm: Tried switching off Ready to Thrill with 7 minutes to post and forgot it locks on the NTRA post time of 1 minute before post (4:21pm in this case). Damn..was going to jump on Smarty Springs. Ok...stuck with the chalk..come on Court! Space Filly update: She just rolled over!
4:40pm: Never should have been on the chalk there. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. Not that I woulda had Nuckster, at least Smarty finished strong. Good-bye Oaklawn, we won't miss you. Back to Fair Grounds and another maiden race. We're on Chaleco, currently at 8-1. Still stuck on $13.60 (Tied for 611th place/1,815) will need to step it up. Space Filly update: 1 diaper change, 1 bottle...all is well.
4:50pm: Oops...looks like we have another race later in the contest at Oaklawn (Race 10, contest race 9). Looks like I have another shot at vindication at Hot Springs. Chaleco down to 4-1 as they approach post...one time, baby.
5:00pm: Swear to God, I was on Stold Da Gold and hopped off him for the higher odds (at the time) Chaleco, who took late money and went all the way down to 5-2..ugh. This is why I shouldn't change my picks. We're on the #9 horse Zister at Gulfstream at 7-1 (at the moment), not jumping off. We may go bombing from here. Live and learn.
5:20pm: Speed kills. Zister was cooked at the quarter pole. Well, it was fun while it lasted. Another slop race coming up at Gulfstream. I'm letting my dog pick the next race. Tanner Jones says Freedom Land, with an emphatic woof. I'm thinking about trying jai alai.
5:21pm: Chili! I forgot I made a nice ground chicken chili earlier in the day. Some nice peppers/onions added to crushed tomatoes and seasoned chili beans. Eat your heart out Richard Blais. Time to feed the beast and root my dog's pick home.
5:43pm: Even TJ doesn't have his mojo today. Freedom Land finished third, nothing left in the stretch. This chili's good though. Off to Sam Houston, he was a famous Texan, no? We have a 45 minute break in the action. The Space Filly likes Del Rio in SH2 and she also enjoys a good bottle of milk and savings bonds. Mired deep in the standings at $13.60.
5:47pm: On a more positive note, I'm not gambling today and haven't let this bad handicapping get in the way of my bankroll!
6:04pm: I lied. I figured since the contest is pretty much dead and we have two races left from Sam Houston....let's play a 50 cent Pick 3 from Texas! Easy single with Valid Performance in the first and we're 5x3 in the next two legs and hoping to catch a price on that huge $7.50 ticket.
6:07pm: It's a pillow fight for 1,315th place. I'm tied. It's time for a Bud Light. Maybe things will get a little more interesting...we have a Pick 3 to bring home now.
6:14pm: The Space Filly asked me to switch off the chalk and go with Oro Verdadero, which is ok with me as he is in my Pick 3 play, also. Touche. Was tempted to override her and go with the longshot, Demis Cleverchance, who has a win over the strip in an allowance, albeit on a muddy track. We'll stay with Oro and go bombing in the last two races.
6:47pm: Good news, bad news. Good news is Makin' Rhythm was in my P3...live to 5, 6, 10 here in Sam Houston Race 3. Bad news is our contest pick finished third. The family's home so here's the last two selections: Oaklawn: Private Offering and SH3: Catillac Cutie.
7:55pm: Last check in. Catillac Cutie led the whole way but surrendered in the stretch to finish second ($3.80) bringing our grand total to $17.40 (1 win, 2 places and a whole lotta nothin'). On a lucky note, my 6 horse (Blushed) scratched and I was put on the favorite in the P3 who beat my 5 horse and so we cash a ticket for $14 on a $7.50 play. So all is well with the world. Thanks for following along, we'll do it again someday.