The Turk believes in one overwhelming handicapping goal: Identify what horses can win and which horses can't. Sound simple enough? Don't depend on the track handicapper who sets the Morning Line, too often they are safe bets. Then again, as a handicapper, that's what we want, a segment of the betting public plunking down cash on horses based on what the logical winner will be. We are betting horses, real flesh and blood, and logic only makes up 70% or so of the equation. The other 30% is where the handicapper's art comes into play.
In Race 1 at HOL,a 1 1/16 Maiden race for 2 YO Fillies, The ML choice was Black Magic Mama. It made alot of sense. Black Magic Mama was coming off the Breeder's Cup Juvenile Fillies just a few short weeks ago. Her last two races were against some stiff G1 competition. The ML was 8-5 and the bettors sent her off with only a chance of winning 40 cents on their 1 dollar bets. This is the text book definition of a bridgejumper bet.
Pre-race, I thought there were only three legitimate winners in the race, Black Magic Mama, Vikkilee, and Box Office Queen. I didn't get the odds I wanted so I didn't bet. I considered a Trifecta with the three horses, but I would have gotten the second and third place finishers reversed on a straight bet, and the small amount this trifecta bet returned didn't justify boxing the three. I was happy to identify the possible winners and eliminate the also rans.
In Race 5 at WO, a 7f Maiden race for 2 YO's, I identified that I wasn't thrilled with the ML chalk, Airstrike. Pre-Race I liked a 12-1, lightly raced, Patena. Patena had a 5f bullet a week early in 1:00 2/5ths, and had been working regularly since September over the WO surface. The tote board odds dropped significantly just before the race, but I plucked my 2 bucks down and recovered $10.10 for my efforts. The bettors favorite was Red Wine, a $500,000 Distorted Humor colt trained by Steve Asmussen and campaigning in the Stonestreet Stables colors. It was an alluring choice, but the horse has done little in two races and had uninspiring works. It's a bettors dream, a bet magnet who you don't think will win.
My last handicapping adventure of the day was Race 9 at CD, a 1 1/16 Turf race for 3YO's, the GIII Commonwealth Turf Stakes.
The ML Chalk was Seaspeak, and this fine horse was the bettors choice as well. Seaspeak had a gaudy 96 Beyer on turf to hang his tack on, and I didn't think he would get beat. I was wrong. A horse named Nistle's Crunch coming off some mid 80's Beyer's on Turf closed like a freight train after getting stuck in traffic and nipped Seaspeak by 1/2 length. I wish I would have seen this coming, but i didn't. The horse was a 4.5-1 ML and the odds grew larger as the bettors looked elsewhere. A win bet returned a sweet 17.20.
Two weeks into the race year (Breeder's Cup to Breeder's Cup) and I now stand at ($3.40). That includes all expenses including PP's. As I said, I believe this exercise will show that I lose money each year willingly and it's not much different then the tomatoes I plant each year that cost me 10X what I can buy them for when my labor, money and time is factored in. I like horses more then tomatoes, but you get the point.