It was a great holiday weekend for the Turk, closed out by a workmanlike Pick Three win at Belmont. May has been a disappointing month for The Turk as the lack of a real Triple Crown contender always saps my faith. I handicapped, but my usually race-centric mind was distracted and unfocused. I had to follow my own advice which I dole out to other horseplayers: When you don't feel like handicapping, don't! I've had a relaxing month of analyzing race charts and watching race replays without the pressure of betting or blogging. This week, with the Belmont Stakes sizing up to be a snoozer, I broke out of my funk and handicapped like mad, playing Hollywood, Arlington, Woodbine and Belmont. I felt invigorated thinking about the second half of the racing season, with Belmont and Saratoga, the Monmouth Millions, Arlington and Del Mar all on my horizon. I'm going to forget this Triple Crown season and keep it positive. How about a Quality Road, Zenyatta, Rachael Alexandra Breeders' Cup Classic to make you feel giddy about the future. Let's thinker short term then: Who's going to The Haskell, who's going to the Alabama,Travers and Woodward, who's looking for an Arlington Millions win? All good stuff without the pain of a Triple Crown setback. Ok, let's go!
Belmont Park Race 9 - Race 10 - Race 11 (Race Charts Hyperlinked- Google Doc Inserted)
I kept my betting simple today: My goal was the Pick Three anchored around Quality Road being a single choice and I hoped for a price to take either the first or last leg and pump some value into the bet payout. It didn't really happen like that with the exception of Quality Road keeping his end of the bargain.
Before I placed my bets I realized that Strike it Rich had raced the day before at Monmouth so obviously was scratched here. It made my bet fairly straight forward; three choices in Race 9, one choice in Race 10 and four chances in Race 11. I plunked down a $4 Pick Three Bet for $48 dollars and thought I'd let it ride, no pressure, just fun.
In Race 9, prerace I thought Negligee was the best runner but included Check The Label in my Pick Three. The betting public saw this race about the same way I did and most of the money laid out was on one of these two fillies. Check The Label entered off a 92 BSF and a 1 Mile Turf win at KEE. No surprise in the win but a bit surprised that Crescenda came up for Place. Trainer McDonald was clipping along at 5% winners on turf and he had yet to win a race when teamed with E. Coa up. The lightly raced daughter of Bowman's Band has now won twice and placed twice in four starts and is 3 of 3 in the money on Turf. Not bad indeed.
Race 10 saw another dominant Quality Road victory and I stand behind my statement of believing that he is the best colt in training currently in the World. As I said prerace, if anyone would challenge it would be Musket Man, and he ran his typical solid race. Tizway was a bit of surprise to me but he shouldn't have been; Came in off an N3X 102 BSF win at 7 furlongs in which he ran a final 1/8 in :11.72 and has been training 5 furlongs in :59 3/5ths. Trainer Bond/R. Maragh win about 23% of the time and Bond's won last start is 29%. All good stuff but I valued Tizway further back. I backed Le Gran Cru to finish a bit higher. He ran a strong race and really pressed the pace but that wasn't the race I was hoping for from him. Fractions of :22 2/5, :45 and 1:08 2/5ths sizzled this group and the quality (no pun intended) Grade I talent of Quality Road and Musket Man rang the bell.
As for the Maiden Special Weight I had four choices out of 12 runners I handicapped (two scratched) and the shortest price on the board won, Lisa Jean.
The Pick Three returned $40.60 for $2 and my $4 variety netted $33.20. All in all a fulfilling weekend of handicapping and a nice Pick Three win without much risk.
The Turk has been traveling quite a bit and has had an opportunity to smoke cigars in many different cities lately. A friend of mine handed me a Drew Estate Java, a coffee infused stick, and wow was it good. I don't like flavored cigars but this was really good and it went well with my morning coffee as well.
Enjoy life, it's too short. Turk Out!