One of my favorite things about horse racing is the selection; You would think the weekend after the prestigious racing meets at Saratoga and Del Mar close that there wouldn't be anything that could interest you: How wrong you would be. I'm a horse racing fan first, handicapper and degenerate bettor second. Sure I love Grade One racing on the biggest stages, on national TV, but there is some good stuff out there almost every weekend of the year, and that's what I am, a weekend horse fella.
I debated what I wanted to handicap today and that debate always starts at the stakes schedule. I had alot of options but I settled on handicapping two tracks I seldom work, Louisiana Downs and Presque Isle Downs. Why? Big fields and the PP's just looked fun. I'm easy (relax ladies, I'm not available).
There were some nice turf events at Belmont, Kentucky Downs and Woodbine, and some nice fake dirt events at Arlington, but I printed The Super Derby Grade 2 at LaD and The Masters Grade 2 at PID and I got the red gel pen out and got engaged. No excuses if I don't have fun, I picked my pleasure.
I received my Breeders' Cup purple 2011 Breeders' Cup ball cap in the mail yesterday.
I am such a geek and I'm completely unapologetic about it. I am so excited about the Breeders' Cup this year and I look forward to meeting more of the great folks I've had the pleasure of getting to know through Facebook, Twitter, and the various racing blogs. It's a nice community of fans in horse racing, eclectic to say the least. One of the things I like about horse racing is the passion of, and the acceptance that women receive as turf writers, bloggers, fans and handicappers. What other non female related sport is that accepting? All good stuff!
Anyway, lets get after this!
I've had some intense handicapping sessions over the past few weeks. They have been lucrative to me but also draining. In the past I may have taken a handicappers holiday and put the red pen down for a weekend, but I've decided this year to handicap every week but only ramp up the effort (and the cash I'm willing to lay down) three or four more times between now and Breeders' cup weekend. My goal is to stay sharp and stay engaged with my PP reading skills.
I learned to handicap in an era before You Tube and Google; I use to handicap whole cards on the night shift of my job (I don't advocate this behavior generally, it was just a 12 hour shift and not much to do). I did not trip handicapping and seldom got any feedback on the races that I handicapped except the WPS results in the next days paper. I feel pretty good just looking at the PPs and nothing much else but the funny thing is, no matter how long I've been doing it, if I don't do it regularly I get sloppy. I'll take a bit of a break in November after the Breeders' Cup but for right now, I'm going to keep workin' it.
I checked the weather at Louisiana Downs. Hot but dry. I'm not much worried about the fake dirt track in Erie, PA, about 90 minutes south of Turk.
Lets start with the Super Derby: Prayer for Relief, the Baffert trainee for Zayat Stables and two time graded stakes winner, appears to be a heavy duty chalk in this spot; two late turns of foot on dirt at 8+ furlongs, two Derby wins in West Virgina and Iowa, Baffert 25% off a 30-60 day break, 25% winning last starts, 33% on dirt. Heavy duty expect 6-5, 5-6 something not worth betting; Let's bet against him!
I'm putting Trubs on top; The Al Stall runner is 2 of 2 at LaD, has 4 wins on fast dirt and is very game. Stall has Sellers up and they combine for 32% wins. Stall has stats that stand up to Baffert: 28% off 45-180 day break, 28% off 30 to 60 day break, 33%winners of last start, 32% graded stakes.
Don't want to throw caution to the wind like the ol' Turk? There will be some legitimate prices that should be considered. Alternation with R. Dominguez up, is a strong runner with 4 wins on fast dirt and 1 win at the distance. The Distorted Humor son is off to a fresh start after abandoning Triple Crown dreams and winning the Grade 2 Peter Pan before coming up a bit flat in the Jim Dandy.
10 cent Super's and fifty cent Tri's are on the menu; I like some exotic possibility here with the value coming if Prayers for Rain falters, even if just to Place.
At Presque Isle I'm hunting for value too and I've settled on Ariana D: 16 of 20 in the money on fake dirt, winless in 2011 with 4 Place finishes and I love the running lines, " gamely...all out inside....detirminedly...up late driving". Desormeaux is up, not exactly my favorite rider but a big fish in this pond. Sweet Lorena is a horse for the course but may not be classy enough to win on a track she generally owns: 15 of 15 in the money at PID, 16 of 18 in the money on fake stuff for the 7 YO NY State bred mare from Langfuhr. Beat the Blues should only be ignored at your own peril.
I'm layer handicapping both races. I will be building exotics and who exactly wins is a bit moot and only matters to drive the value of the bet higher or lower. A nice betting menu is available for the PID Masters;$2 WPS, $2 Exactas, fifty cent Tri's and ten cent Super's.
I'm going to sit back and have a bit of fun with these nice sized fields and beatable chalks (at least I hope).
Have fun friends, Turk Out!