The Turk uses a curious photo to kick off his Post Race Analysis today: Pictured to the left is a shot I took of Rail Trip nipping Dakota Phone at the wire in last year's Santana Mile at Santa Anita. Dakota Phone is a curious horse: 11 Place or Shows in 23 starts with 4 wins. On that particular day at the Santana Mile he closed furiously in the stretch and almost upset the unbeaten Rail Trip. He hasn't won in his last 10 starts but he's always around the action, finishing only a head behind the underrated Richard's Kid not even a month ago. He doesn't get much respect at the betting window, but I'm not the betting window. I know Dakota Phone likes to be near the action and this was a key in a very lucrative day for the Turk yesterday. Let's get after it!
The action began at Aqueduct with Races 4 - 5 - 6 and then 10 as well as Santa Anita Race 10
The day started off well in Race 4 at Aqueduct, a five horse edition of the Toboggan. My pre race analysis was pretty much dead on although I anticipated Custom for Carlos would be the bettors favorite choice but the savvy group that plays Aqueduct rarely miss a beat and rightly put Wall Street Wonder on the top of the tote board. An easy Tri and Exacta win came out of this race and I was alive in the Pick Three.
Did I say I was alive in the Pick Three? It didn't last long. Race 5 had my last toss out Goldsville winning and when I went back to the PP's I realized I dropped him for being a synthetic horse even though he had some dirt wins. No matter, I was dead and would have been deader in Race 6 as my first toss Spa City Baby won as a big longshot.
My Gotham handicap was pretty much junk too. I liked Wow Wow Wow but I knew breaking from the far outside meant expending alot of energy early. He did, took the lead and then got dropped like a stone. I always was surprised by Awesome Act being so highly regarded by the bettor's as about the only thing I liked was Leparoux up. As a handicapper, I study the carnage and then let it go.
After eating dinner I turned my attention to the race I was thinking about all day, the 14 horse Santa Anita Handicap with no clear favorite. To me that means big payouts. I've put together below the anatomy of how the winning bet was constructed. Betting is always a secondary thing for me. I build a base handicap which I list Pre Race and I assign arbitrary grades to each horse. I toss a certain portion of each field (In Red) and I try to build stratification layers of quality within the field. Generally the horses could care less and one RED Horse will inevitably break through and screw up the handicap, but if you are consistent and apply the principals week after week as your handicapping improves so will your bet construction. The two are symbiotic.
Anatomy of a Bet: Santa Anita Handicap
That is the type of bet construction I can only do in the peace and quiet of my own home or office and could never do at a track. I need solitude, I need my PP's and my google docs, and I need my handicapper's notes to remind me that I like Dakota Phone, that Neko Bay is never respected, that betting for the first filly in 73 years isn't a great bet and that I should build a handicap that could survive watching my first and third choices finish out of the money.
Have Fun, Turk Out!