Saturday, September 12, 2009

Post Race Analysis for Race Day September 12, 2009: The Garden City Handicap Grade I on Turf at Belmont

There was a determined Turk at work today. My process for handicapping is long winded to begin with, and tiring, which often limits me to no more then three quality handicaps per day. I looked at the Belmont card on Wednesday night and took the advanced Past Performances with me on my business trip. I wanted to take a trip back to IRS ticket cashing window in a big way, a handicappers happy place.

The Turk has waxed poetic before about being a humble handicapper. You have to be as horses make fools out of good horseplayers daily. When you are a public handicapper, be it a big media type, or just a small lil' ol' blogger like the Turk, you are going to make handicaps that don't work. Just last week I had a horse dead last who finished first. What humbled me more was he attracted lots of action on the tote board and I just couldn't see it. Like a cornerback burned by a deep bomb to Terrell Owens, I let it go and went back on the field. Now I said, stay humble, but I said nothing about being confident and determined. I don't think you can be a good horse player if you pick scared. You might as well just either stick to show bets or bet the track handicappers selections verbatim.

In today's Garden City Handicap at Belmont I created a handicap based solely on the past performances. I was familiar with just a few of these horses and that helps me to focus on the information in the PPs only. My pre race chalk, Maram scratched early in the day. A reader and fine horseplayer tipped me off that it was being reported in the Form, which I would have gotten to. I get some head scratching for this part of my process when I explain it to people, but I almost never read about the races I am going to bet on before I handicap. I found that I was susceptible to pre race hype. I found myself shading my handicap towards things I read or heard and for me, that just wasn't working. There is a time and place for research, and because I bet mostly Graded Stakes and because I bet so few races per raceday, I do circle back to the media and blog stories, mostly to see if my handicap choices are completely contrary to opinion or right in line with what others think. I like Maram and she'll be back.

It's important to prepare a handicap that becomes a betting tool. When Maram scratched, I didn't panic. I built a bet strategy using the next horse down in my handicap, Miss World. I wasn't shaken when Gomez came off the mount either, I just dealt with it and decided to roll the dice.

I typically never exceed $20 dollars wagered in a race and I limit my losses in any given day to $40. I have rules and those are mine, and you should have yours. You can't spend your way out of a slump, at least it's never worked for Turk.

I took a stand with Miss World, Shared Account and Gozzip Girl. As I said pre race, if certain runners went to post at odds I considered very favorable I would bet Win and Exacta, not typical bets for me. I was rewarded with $231 in a Win and an Exacta Bet.

I swung for the fences though. I generally build my Superfectas in a matrix. I take all the horses that I think can finish in the top four and assign them values. I then eliminate all the combinations that are not likely or low value returns. The risk/reward factor is very important as betting the Tote Board favorites 1-2-3-4 just doesn't return enough for risk. I settled on nine straight Superfecta choices, a small percentage of the combinations my choices would have generated if using box bets. I was rewarded with $2,687 when I realized that I liked Keertana more then Katara and inserted her into a combination.

Race 8 BEL: The Garden City Handicap Grade I; 1 1/8 Miles on Soft Turf for 3YO Fillies.

It was workmanlike and a bit lucky, but luck has a place in a horseplayers arsenal.

Good Stuff, Turk Out!