This Turk took the month of July off from blogging. My five readers wondered what I was up to, at least I like to think one of them did, and what started as just a break to recharge the batteries turned into deconstruction of my handicapping and bet construction tendencies. Self analysis has always been something I believed made me better and I have always been a big fan of quality handicapping and post race analysis trumping quantity.
As any handicapper can attest, the race is always easier to predict after its raced. OK Turk, WTF do you mean? I mean, post race I take the race chart, watch a replay if I can find one, and let the race unfold backwards from the finish to the starting gate. I study the race within the race to spot horses with strong quarters that had bad trips along the way and I study my pre race handicap and see where I got it right and where I got it wrong. There are some races you just throw out and don't lose sleep over. Two weeks ago I stood at the rail and watched Golden Moka beat a very talented Big Red Mike and another strong runner Hotep in the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie. This horse hadn't been past 5.5 furlongs and went out and shocked these route runners. Hard to fathom from the past performances.
Most of the time, most of the time, when I look at the race chart and then look at my handicap, I can see clearly what I did or what I should have seen pre race. That's what I mean, if you are going to be successful, you have to be able to look post race and make sense of it from the past performances. I digress.
I was successful this weekend because I built a good base handicap, I worked my base handicap, and my bet construction stayed true to my base handicap and I didn't over spend and under produce.
Also digressing, the above picture is Looking at Lucky meeting Cocco Puff. Very cute! Alright, let's get after it.
I wasn't that emotionally wrapped up with the results of either of these races, another good key that I sometimes struggle with. In both races I identified what I thought was the best two horses, Looking at Lucky and Get Serious, discounted them into second place and chalked the two horses I thought were at a good point in their training form and poised to strike mild upsets, Trappe Shot and Violon Sacre. It didn't happen but it doesn't mean the thought process was flawed and if I don't mind saying so myself, the bet construction addressed it perfectly.
The Daily Double bet was a simple 2 picks by 2 picks valued at $2 for an $8 total bet. It would have been a much better payout had the order been flipped, but not enough to retire on.
I had the exactas in both races as well, boxing my base handicap top two entries. My boss is a CPA who also holds an MBA. He taught me to never negotiate against myself when dealing with a counterparty. The concept is pretty simple; I offer you $5,000 for your used car, we talk for awhile and you tell me how good the stereo is and before you counter offer me I'm telling you I'll pay $6,000 for it. In this case, I have a base handicap I believe in, so why place too many contradictory bets; If I have a horse fifth in the bas handicap he shouldn't be part of my bet matrix in the superfecta in the Win or Place spots.
This thinking paid off with the Haskell bet and almost hit in the Oceanport. Taking my base handicap, I boxed the Win and Place horses, and then for horses 3-5 I boxed them for Show and 4th. Both bets were constructed identically for a five horse matrix that cost $24 dollars for a $2 super ticket. I cashed nicely on the Haskell and overall I did well for 1 hours work.
I had a line in my pre race analysis that I ultimately erased. It said that Looking at Lucky was the best three year old in the United States right now. I believed that before the race but I was hesitant to say it so boldly. I am most impressed by the way he trains on poly and then ships and looks great on dirt. If he races as a four year old I'd love to see him on turf, and the son of Smart Strike has a decent enough Tomlinson number you would think this horse could win a Grade I on all three surfaces. We could use more of that in the gene pool. I don't want to praise Lucky by knocking the rest of the class of 2010, what some may call mediocrity may just be parity. I'm leaning toward mediocrity but that doesn't mean Looking at Lucky isn't a very good, short of great, horse. The pairing with M. Garcia is unfortunate for Go-Go, but Gomez is a wildly good rider who didn't really give Baffert much of a choice.
Sister Turk and I had a wonderful day at the Spa on Saturday, taking in the Jim Dandy and the Diana. I bet A Little Warm, a horse I liked all spring, who I think can give Looking at Lucky a good run at the Travers. The thing about this group of three year olds is that I'm not sure all of them don't need just the right pace scenario and then just the right trip to win. Nobody is going out there four wide at the top of the stretch and winning on overwhelming talent. Don't be surprised to see Golden Moka crash the Travers party this year and who the hell knows what a win by him would mean for this crazy Eclipse Award category.
Have Fun, Turk Out!