Some days as a handicapper you are out seeking to strike the gold. Other times, well, you just get tin. A pick three win is a pick three win, and I never turn them away, but today's affair at Gulfstream Park was a walk through the land of obvious. That said, there is still money to be made stringing chalks together into sensible bets and I found a way to double my investment, so let's stop rambling and get after it!
Gulfstream Park: Race 9 - Race 10 - Race 11
I picked the three race series at Gulfstream Park along with a three race series at Santa Anita on Thursday and started noodling on it during coffee breaks Friday afternoon. Looking at it with morning lines and scratches, it seemed to be a challenging collection of races with some nice horses competing in three graded stakes races, one of which being one of the early season highlights for me, The Donn Handicap. Once I started to handicap the races in earnest a completely different picture emerged.
In race 9 a smallish field of six at first glance with one runner, Adiago (GB) there only to provide a rabbit. I thought pre-race that this was a two horse race with Court Vision my expected winner and I thought Take the Points would run very strongly. While on paper Never on Sunday appears to be an imposing force, he was a mess in the paddock and needs a bit more time to adjust. This just wasn't a betting opportunity and I'm glad I didn't throw money at the trifecta and superfecta as I had planned too, as the risk/reward just wasn't there. I don't really have an opinion on the take down of Take the Points. A straight exacta win wouldn't have been possible without the DQ. I was alive in the Pick 3 and I moved on to Race 10 in which I had a single runner.
Race 10 was a thing of beauty for Quality Road. When he reached the top of the stretch, in that short 23 second ish burst to the wire a year's worth of frustrations and unfulfilled promise faded away. This is a horse of the highest caliber and the Older Horse and Horse of the Year campaign has gotten off to a very fast start. Can either Rachael Alexandra or Zenyatta beat Quality Road right now (or at the Breeders' Cup Classic) is the question that is now more interesting to me. A Track record for the beast from Virginia. There was a bunch of very like-abled horses behind Quality Road and I took a stab at a five horse Superfecta that didn't work out but I was alive after the second leg of the Pick Three.
And then in Race 11, the Grade III Suwannee River Handicap my strongest opinion was on Tottie (GB) whom I dropped a rare win bet on early today when I thought he'd be like 8-1 only to find him the bettor's top choice. His win secured my Pick Three which paid a paltry $15. I seemed to have liked Cable more then the bettor's did and wrapping him into an exacta with Tottie proved to be lucrative.
Take The Points and somebody other then Tottie would have made the payout a bit more palatable but it is what it is.
I'm glad to hear that Eightyfiveinafifty was not hurt too badly in the bizarre incident at today's Whirlaway Stakes at the Big A.
Enjoy! Turk Out.