This Turk loves this time of the year; from Thanksgiving until New Years Day I just feel at peace with the world, in tune with my friends and family, and renewed to start the grind of another year. Life's grind does get me down, as this Turk works his arse off, and just before Christmas I invoked the time honored tradition of retail therapy and I bought myself a Mac Mini.
I liked the idea of a small computer attached to my audio-visual gear for a long time, a perfect place for streaming and storing. The lure of a full sized HDMI plug that would connect right into my TV was too much to pass up. With that, I took my HRTV Subscription and I had graduated from watching the races on my laptop to having it on the big screen with fantastic sound. I'm not a tech guy but I love when I add some modernity to my life and it just fits in with me and not the other way around.
This Turk could barely contain himself on Sunday when I settled in with the Santa Anita opening day Past Performances. I had the all Graded Stakes Pick Three targeted for handicapping, which I did, but I had two serious problems; the surfaces and the competition. The dirt track not only is brand new, but it was sealed and I had no idea what it would be like at show time. The turf Sir Beaufort I suspected would end up in the dirt, and then the real killer was my handicap, it was very very chalky. Sidney's Candy, Twirling Candy, Switch, was there really any doubt? Just a little, not much.
So what to do? Without much fanfare I dumped the Pick Three idea after seeing the scratches flow in and the turf races moved the main track. In response I spent my budgeted $24 on The Malibu Superfecta and I was locked in solid, dropping Noble's Promise to 5th and nailing the other four for a cool $445.70.
Santa Anita December 26, 2010; Race 6-7-8
The track was incredibly fast, and Trainer Baffert thought it was a full second fast. Regardless, Switch was very impressive and took Spectacular Bid's name down off the track record. Sidney's Candy continues to impress and is the perfect example of why you shouldn't just judge three year olds based solely on the Triple Crown races. Sidney's Candy also reminds us of why sound three year olds that get retired aren't getting a fair shake to become the best they can be.
I took my $24 and boxed my base handicap for the Malibu. I had Twirling Candy/Alcindor at the top and Alcindor had the lead at the 1/2 only to have to dig in and finish exotically. Noble's Promise, the bettors top choice, lacked a kick when a kick was required. Smiling Tiger continues to impress and Twirling Candy was very game. The sprinters are well represented heading into 2011.
The bet was only possible because of the handicap. I believe, and say here regularly, that if you do your homework and build your handicaps, you'll be prepared to be nimble when it's time to actually hand money over at the window. It takes discipline, but handicap the races in advance and not the 30 minutes in between races and you will add crispness to your betting and be a clear headed gambling fool like the hard core players that read the Turk.
Have Fun, Turk Out!