The Turk came as close as he's ever come to bragging earlier today when I discussed my handicapping knack: Identifying the top four. Now friends, I wasn't bragging, but I was pointing out that I'm less of a "winner picker" and more of a "layer identifier". OK Turk, WTF is a layer identifier?
While every field is different, within each field their are horses that are capable of winning, some capable of place and show, some capable of being on an exotic ticket and others that are just toss outs. Horses are wonderful animals but they don't read bald idiot bloggers like me, so there are factors like pace and traffic and sub-optimal surface conditions that sometimes blur the lines, sometimes wipe them out, but over time, over the mean average, results happen. I'm good at identifying which group each horse will fall into and with that, I'm disciplined enough to bet consistently, understanding I'll loose as many as 6 out of 10 boxed superfectas, but those 4 winners, those marvelous 4 winners, generally signers, more than make up for it.
A successful bet always starts with the handicap. It helps to have a field of sufficient size and quality. Regardless, the handicap is the key because without the ability to either "winner pick" or "layer identify", no matter how good a bettor you are, you just won't win. The Turk took down over $2000 on a simple 4 horse boxed superfecta, using the bettors least favorite horse, La Rocca as the Place horse, exactly where he ended up finishing. I don't get that hung up with "winner picking", I had the winner in my box and the payout is only a function of where the odds finish. La Rocca is the handicapping smarts you acquire after looking at Past Performances for multiple decades and the bet is the discipline that comes from, well, being disciplined (thanks Dad and the US Navy).
Arlington Park Race 9: The Chicago Handicap Grade III
So what did I like about La Rocca? Trainer Stidham is clipping along at 32% at AP, but he had two enties, the second, Lookn Even Finer, had Rosie Napravnik up, while La Rocca had 10% AP winner S.B. Martinez up. At first glance you may think the trainer is favoring Lookn Even Finer: look out for that angle, the weaker of a trainers two entrys. I liked the long and continuous AP track work, especially the 4F :47 and 4/5ths and 5f 1:00. I liked the 22% first time with trainer stat. The final sell for me, while Stidham is only 7% winner with >180 day layoffs the horse responded well off a long layoff from late 2009 into 2010. The last factor? Nobody else was that impressive as I rattled off the good and bad pre-race.
Home's the Best, the Illinois bred, was vanned off at the end of the race. Here's hoping the 7 year old mare is OK.
This is the kind of race that fuels my positive ROI and its a good example of what I try to explain to my readers and the ingredients to success: a solid pre race handicap, the horses slotted and fair odds gaged, and a consistent type of bet (at a bet amount I was perfectly comfortable losing and still being able to pay for Little Turk's braces).
Happy Fourth of July friends. I'll be back tomorrow with my fifth track of the weekend, Churchill Downs and the Firecracker Handicap over the grass tomorrow. Turk Out!