New Year's Horseplayer Resolution #1 by entering the HorseTourneys.com qualifier tonight, with races being held at Turfway Park, Delta Downs and Charles Town, all three tracks I rarely play.
Rules are made to be broken, no?
The contest is a ten race affair that rolls through all three tracks and is mainly made up of low level claiming races. This should be fun. It's been a while since I've done a live blog, and the Space Gal is taking care of the kiddos tonight so I received the green light to play the tournament.
It's my first foray trying out HorseTourneys.com, the site seems fairly friendly and the $35 entry fee and the timing (Friday night) is perfect for someone who is chasing rugrats on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. It is a HorsePlayer World Series (HPWS) qualifier, limited to 200 entries. So first post is the 8th at Turfway, a 5 1/2 furlong $12,500 claimer. Let's get this baby rolling....
8:50pm: We're 3MTP and I'm already off last night's selection of 8-Lumpy's Ace, who now is the favorite at 5/2, instead I am jumping on a 4-year old Ghostzapper colt, 6-Z Appeal, who was 3-1 on the ML, and is up to 5-1. The next race whips back at us at 9:03 at Delta, so will need to be quick on the feet and fingers...ok, ready to turn to TVG...
8:55pm: Almost. Z Appeal made a really nice late run, but ran out of track as 15-1 Hancho split Lumpy's Ace and held off Z. Ok, it's early and we pick up place money, but some folks certainly have an early big score with Hancho. We pick up $5.20 for the placing, but need to make up some big ground on those on the Hancho wagon.
9:00pm: In DeD06, I'm on the favorite who looks to be pretty solid, the 6-Winding Road. It's still early to take chances and my second choice is 4-Sarah's Man who is 2-1. So is this the type of race to take a shot? Sure, why not...we're going to switch off the two favorites and jump on 7-North Goal (5-1 ML) who has drifted up to 11-1. Jockey is 21% and good stats second off the claim (21%) and second start with trainer (16%) and in claiming races (23%) for the trainer. Roll the dice!
9:06pm: Looks like Delta is running behind, so CT5 should go off two minutes before the Delta race. Man, this is kinda hairy, blogging, selecting, handicapping. I haven't even looked at the last three races. Figure I'll be way out of it and will be swinging for the fences by that point. Speaking of Charles Town Race 5, I'm on another long shot here, 4-Proof's Repar (10-1 ML), who is up to 15-1 on the board at post time...wish me luck. He looks to be a horse for the course!
9:13pm: Well, Proof's Repar trailed too far behind early and while closed well late could do no better than fifth. My alternate, Legendary Ridge won the CT race. On the other hand, North Goal in the Delta race finished second at 7-1 behind the even money Winding Road, so depending on prices, that might have been a pretty good deal. So after three races, I have two placings. North Goal paid $5.80 for the placing, so we have $11 through three races in the bankroll. Winding Road's win only was worth $6.40, so I still think I made the right move there. Currently sitting in 46th, the leaders are at $53.40. Lots of work to do.
The next two races will probably be going off around the same time again as CT is 17MTP and Delta is 20MTP, at least I can go to the fridge and grab a cold one. Bud Light tonight, if you're scoring at home.
9:27pm: Ok, we've settled on 6-Saladin, a Lion Heart gelding, in CT Race 6 who has had success at the distance and on the Charles Town strip. He's at 5-1, down from a 10-1 ML and hopefully will give the favorite, 5-Cape Tribulation a good race. This race features horses that have gone 1/24, 1/19, 1/21, 1/14, 1/15 and 1/17. Wowsa. Thoroughbred racing....it's fannnnntastic!
Over at Delta Race 7, I've been on and off about three horses, but settled on 1-Ide Whistle Dixie, who has two solid seconds at Delta in his last two races. My only hesitation is his jockey is 2/117...yikes! He gets a couple pounds of a weight break.
9:38pm: Damn! Was sniffing it big time there with Saladin at 10-1 who was closing like a freight train late, but couldn't catch Cape Tribulation, the 3/2 favorite...another placing that paid $7.80 (same as the WP on the winner), so we're at a $18.80 bankroll.
9:42pm: Direct Appeal, my second choice (ugh!) at 10-1 looks to have won the Delta race. I guess I probably shouldn't have played the 2% jockey there. Lesson learned and some folks just added $30 to their bankrolls on the big overlay, as Direct Appeal was 9/2 on the morning line.
9:46 pm: Delta Race 8 is up next with five races in the books and I'm sitting in 43rd place, dropped around 17 spots with that last race. But it only takes one to make a big move up the board. Time to look for big value or cupcakes, which the Space Gal picked up at the Dessert Deli tonight...mmm.
9:52pm: I've been between 8-Zip Motion and 4-Lighter Fluid, two horses that finished 1-2 in their last, with Zip being DQ'd for bumping moving the Fluid into the winners' circle. Zip is definitely the class and will probably win going away based on class, but we're trailing and a 3/5 winner isn't gonna get it done. So we'll give try and light a fire with the Fluid. Ironically, the Zippo lighter factory is just a couple hours south of here in Bradford, Pa.
Better start looking at TP11, which is the next contest race upcoming and may need to alter course from my original handicapping.
10:02pm: Yum...gotta love red velvet cupcakes with cinnamon frosting. My keys are a little sticky, but when you're sitting in 43rd place, you need all kinds of mojo to kick in some good karma. Not a Country Western guy, but their twanging some tunes over the Delta feed.
Ok we looked at TP11 and settled on 7-Kenyafly, only cuz he has all kinds of things going on. Blinkers on, down one class, route to sprint. No Joke. Oh yeah, his sire is It's No Joke. She looks like she could do some damage, not sure she'll be such a hot price though. I was torn between her and 6-Imustbeperfect, who also looks to be pretty solid. Lot of dogs in this one though. The favorite looks very vulnerable and is not battle tested on the poly (10-Boozy Bird). Back with the Delta results in a few...
10:09pm: Took my eye off the board and didn't listen to myself, as Zip Motion drifted up to 7/2, which is much more playable than 3/5 as mentioned above at the 9:52pm entry. Duh. What a dope, the Fluid got doused when hooked early trying to hang with two horses on a suicide ride. Interestingly Jake Delhomme was a part owner in Zip Motion. Big mistake there, switched off my initial pick and an easy $14. Dropping like a rock, currently in 48th. Need something big in the last four races.
10:16pm: Charles Town Race 8 will be after the Turfway race and 8-Watkins Glen, looks really good, but only at 2-1. So thinking we need to look elsewhere now that we've dug a big hole. Thinking 9-Virginia Park, a Woodbine shipper, who has some nice speed figures on the poly, so maybe on the fast CT strip, she'll take off on these in this 4 1/2 furlong sprint.
10:23pm: This is a tough game. 1 for 25 5-Ommadon's Angel at 27-1, held off 6-Imustbeperfect, my original pick who went off at 7-2. This is where I usually start playing with real money.
10:30pm: Watkins Glen cruised at 3/5 to win CT8 and I'm done like dinner. Did I ever mention I helped put the draught system in at Watkins Glen race track back in 1984? I was a college intern at the local beer distributorship and assisted the draughtmaster in installing the system in the Glen Club on the main turn at the NASCAR track.
10:35pm: Ok, last two races, TP12, we'll go with 10-Stage Success and CT9 will be 3-Big M J (now that Dunkleberger is on board). Let's bring home some prices and finish respectably. Plummeted (love that I can keep using words that describe free-falling) to 61st place, stuck on $18.80. Back with a wrap up after these two races and another Bud Light.
10:40pm: I lied. Decided to change Big M J to 11-Windsor City, the AE who drew into Charles Town Race 9. Why the change? Well Big M J is down to 4-1 from the 12-1 ML and that's just not going to vault me anywhere. At this point, it's go big or go home. Bombs away. Realizing it was over when I made the Zip Motion mistake, but why not try and make a late charge for the top 20?
11:00pm: As Porky Pig says...that's all folks. Nothing from Stage Success, and a very nice late run going last to third by Windsor City, but ran out of track at 31-1. Sniffed it, as usual, but the strategy in playing these contests always seems to escape me. To be honest, my preparation was pretty poor, but it made it fun to blog it out there and I can go back and study my thought patterns (yeah right) and see where I went wrong (see 9:52pm). Moral of the story is follow your resolutions and only play the tracks you know. Although I did fairly well at Charles Town, I'll be back for CT Classic night.
Have a great weekend, and hope you cash a few tickets.