Happy Fathers Day to all my horseplayer friends, readers and family. That handsome collection of fella's are all the fathers in The Turk's immediate family, taken on the deck of the Turk household where we enjoyed each others company, great food, fine cigars and spirits. There are plenty of fathers no longer with us anymore, and I can think of some wonderful horseplayers that taught me that the races are so much better when you can enjoy them with your family, so no matter where you were today, I raise my whiskey glass and salute all the men who share the fraternity of fatherhood with me.
There were some lovely races to pick from yesterday, and some thrilling stars competing as well. Who can't look at Blind Luck and get excited? For me as a player, I wanted to pick a sequence of races over turf to have a go with, and I settled on the Colonial Downs Colonial Turf Cup day as my weekend target. While I ultimately passed on the Pick Three, I had some success and doubled my money with good handicapping and a reasonable, if not conservative bet strategy.
Let's get after it!
I passed on a Pick Three bet. The sequence seemed really chalky to me and I couldn't get excited about it. I made a mistake too and I wanted a pick four and assumed there would be one from race 6-9 but that wasn't the case; even experienced players make assumptions and mistakes and I wasted time handicapping a 5 furlong maiden two year old filly race, yawn! The lesson is pretty self explanatory and I urge everyone to double check the race conditions before planning bet options.
After my mistake, the Da Hoss didn't go well for me. My chalk was also the bettor's top choice, Mikoshi, who finished a length back in Show. 9-1 Followmyfootsteps took the wire with 12-1 Action Andy for Place, with 15-1 Vanquisher fourth, a combo that powered a $3,650 $1 Super and a $3,700 $2 Trifecta. Nice payouts, but I wasn't in the right zip code on that one. Moving on...
Race 7 was the Edward Evans All Along Grade 3. With heavy duty chalk Aruna singled, I crafted a cheap-o superfecta bet that cost $24 and paid $77. Workmanlike and a reminder that you don't have to be afraid to play with heavy chalk.
The the Colonial Turf Cup I returned to the same bet structure I used on race 6, a five horse superfecta box. I was a bit surprised at the action Rahystrada captured as I had the former claim fifth on my chart, but he made the final cut and powered a $490 superfecta win, with my strong move placing Dark Cove high while the rest of the betting public had him 6th.
All in all the results were better than a sharp stick in the eye even though it wasn't what I'd consider a good betting card. Doubling your money is not some automatic process, but by sticking to sound handicapping fundamentals and then practical betting strategies, you can learn to string good days together. Today's key was identifying contenders from pretenders and then slotting them into the top five, regardless if I thought they'd be under or overlays. I handicap without morning lines and I encourage horse players to do that: Don't let any bias interfere with your handicapping and morning line odds are just that, another players bias. After you handicap and before you prepare bets, take a gander at both the morning lines and the tote board; it's a thrill when you have a horse high on the board and others aren't as bullish, and it's also important to know what to expect if you do win. In Race 7 if I would have done a 5 horse superfecta box for $120 dollars I would have pulled the worst magic trick in racing, turning a big pile of money into a small pile of money.
And finally, the reason why I work crazy hours, why I travel my ass off, put up with a Blackberry that never stops ringing, is also the greatest gift a man could want, my son, Little Turk. He's quite a fine young man and I'm proud to be his dad.
Happy Fathers Day All, Turk Out!