Every sport offers choices, and horse racing is no exception. When I sit down on Thursday night each week to target my handicapping and betting targets for the weekend I look at my options and try to identify races and sequences of races I think I can beat. I know, not a hard concept, so obvious but important nonetheless: Why bet something you don't know jack about? Why bet something you don't do well with?
1. A person's specific area of interest, skill, or authority.
2. The office or district of a bailiff.
[Middle English bailliwik : baillif, bailiff; see bailiff + wik, town (from Old English wc, from Latin vcus; see vicinity).]
My boss is fond of talking about what's in someone's bailiwick. My nephew's bailiwick is hockey, money and ho's. I digress, My horse racing bailiwick is a bit less, ummm, interesting. My criteria is generally:
1. Graded Stakes or High Level Allowance
2. No 2 Year Olds
3. Limited 3 Year Olds before May
4. Turf at > 1 Mile but less than 1 1/2 Miles
5. Santa Anita, Arlington, Woodbine, Churchill, Hollywood and Saratoga primarily
6. 4 Year Old and Up Dirt at >1 mile and less than 1 3/8s mile.
7. 3 or more of these races, strung together, preferably Pick 4, not P6.
When I can't find what I'm looking for, or when I just want to enjoy a few races at different tracks in the same day I'll grab bag it and today that's exactly what I'm doing. To folks who know me best, they know I'm a Superfecta player and a Pick 3/Pick Four guy, but that sort of action takes a bankroll of disposable income that you must absolutely be prepared to loose as well as the right sort of horses and field sizes. Yes, it's gambling, and gambling involves guessing correctly at a number of variables coming together to make a correct answer, but my thought is why not eliminate some of the variables by staying in your bailiwick. Nothing wrong with trying to expand your bailiwick, just understand you'll loose money doing that unless you can just be disciplined enough to handicap without betting. Thanks to Papa Turk and the US Navy, discipline isn't any issue for The Turk.
My grab bag today hits closing weekend at Santa Anita, where I have had a meet to remember, Keeneland and Aqueduct, two tracks I have lightly bet over the last few months. I'm going to handicap all three races and if I feel like I can find value, I'll build bets, and if I can't, I won't.
No matter what your approach to the races is, have fun and stay within your entertainment budget. If you think you have a gambling problem, stop. If you need help, seek help. Turk readers are a disciplined bunch, I'd recommend you push away from the past performances and try something less destructive, like crossword puzzles.
Let's get after it!
While I'm grabbagging, that's no excuse to cut corners and not pay attention to the details. The weather in New York , Arcadia appear to be dry and clear while it will rain in Lexington early and may be dry by later in the day.
Scratches and changes, as well as track condition should be more apparent in the next few hours; The plastic stuff at Keeneland should not be an issue, Aqueduct will be fast and Santa Anita should be firm turf with a 24 foot rail.
The Lumber Guy gets back into the Aqueduct swing on a two week turn around, shuffling back one panel for a one turn mile. This is a race I'll really need the tote board to help me make my value betting decision on.
The Lumber Guy may end up being overbet or fall to a value spot
>3-1, and I just can't tell. Baffert has two very nice horses in the gate, a Flatter son, Brigand, with Nakatani up and Stirred Up with Garcia up. Both have something to prove, but it seems that Stirred Up will still be extending at the wire while Brigand may be tiring. Worth looking at is Term Loan: Class would tell you maybe not, and I don't think Win is a possibility, but a juicy Superfecta is often fed by strong value in the Place hole.
A phat field in the Lexington will most likely provide nice value. I'm leaning towards a Clement runner, Summer Front, who will most likely be third or fourth on the tote, to make a name for himself. 3-3, Clement goes off a layoff he's 19% with, and a turf/synth switch that he's at 20% with. Dominguez and Clement win 31% of the time together, quality meets quality.
Another guy with some value to him is Holidays Promise; Pletcher's Harlan's Holiday runner is training sharply over the KEE fake stuff and made a nice late run in the Grade 3 Spiral. News Pending and Baffert's Castaway are both looking to rebound after failing to step up.
A seven girl, international affair, nightcaps my handicapping day in the Grade 2 Santa Barbara. I've had a really good Santa Anita meet on dirt, but they've been monkeying with the sand/dirt mix for safety reasons, which is fine, but not something I wish to wade into on the last weekend of the season. After reviewing the field, I doubt I'll bet and this will be a purely handicapping/horse homework exercise. Camelia Rose (FR) makes her third start, most likely third time as chalk, and is still looking for first win. Trainer Callaghan and Rosario combined for 35% wins on 17 tries this meet. Cambina(Ire) is the veteran runner in this group. Vamo a Galupiar with Mike Smith up has a powerful closing run style as does, but maybe with less upper end potential, Bauble Queen.
Have fun with it. Turk Out!