Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Post Race Results for The Beaumont Grade 2 at Keeneland

"Past Performance is NO promise of future performance" said the bald handicapper
My last blog focused on a completely bias free handicap. My point, and quite honestly, my complete outlook on handicapping is "'s just numbers." Give me a Past Performance filled with horses who have some history, eliminate the hype and the bias, and I can usually do some good things with the handicap.

I'd add another layer to it; Give me a race where the track is fast, there are no European Invaders, and where I don't know anything about the horses, including their names, and I'd be at my best just analyzing the numbers. I don't pretend to be normal, so what works for me doesn't work for everyone, but I admit it, as hard as I try, bias creeps into my handicaps. Sometimes the race fan in me overrules the heartless and analytic handicapper in me and I find sentimentality having some role to play in my bet.

I wanted to find a stakes race last weekend and demonstrate my long held theorem. I choose the Beaumont, a Grade 2 3 YO filly sprint at Keeneland. I pay almost no attention to 2 YOs, especially fillies, and I'm not that into 3 YO Fillies until the Kentucky Oaks so when I say I knew nothing of these gals, I knew absolutely nothing.

I've been doing this a long time. It's not often you see a straight trifecta picked by a handicapper. My long time readers know I refer to myself as a "range handicapper", I predict the range (win, win-place, place-show, show-exotic, exotic, also rans) the horses will fall in within the order of finish and I don't get that hung up on picking winners. I'm an exotic player and it's a lack of emotion and bias that I credit my success with as a bettor.

It was a good handicap: On paper, the pace and the best horses seem to be evident, and red herrings like Renee's Titan and Premier Steps (Ire) didn't fool me.

Past performance is no indication of future performance. I am lucky to hit about 4 out of 10 Superfecta's. I sometimes go 0 for 10 and then turn around and hit 6 of 10. The only reason I eck out a positive ROI is by making good investments. I told my readers I wasn't going to bet The Beaumont: it was an exercise more than a betting opportunity for me. Betting my handicap cold would have won you $400.50 on a $2 bet. I never loose sleep over the money I leave on the table in situations like this. I am starting to hit my handicapping groove again and when I'm ready to invest real cash I'll let you know.

Have fun friends, Turk Out!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Nomination Is In: The Beaumont Grade 2 at Kee and Remembering Maram

Readers of the Turk know that one of the key things I preach is not to allow outside influences, horse hype, to interfere with your handicapping. It's a very difficult thing to do, as race fan's, we want to read and follow the sport, but to do so injects bias, other's opinions, into what we think.

Sometimes I like to handicap races where I don't have any preconceived notions of the runners. A 3 year old filly sprint race for example, like the Grade 2 Beaumont at Keeneland, provides me that opportunity.

It's just numbers to me. My handicapping of horses like this has to be, as I've seen very little video of the races these fillies have been in, nor have i seen any in person that I know of. The gals have an average of 5.45 career starts, a mix of dirt, fake dirt and turf, and plenty of work on the work tab. Numbers: as long as I have em', I'll handicap em'.

I have never done well as Keeneland since the switch to the fake stuff. the combination of limited knowledge of the runners, and a track I don't handicap well, doesn't encourage me to invest my betting capital with confidence, so I'll build a handicap, build a bet strategy, but in full disclosure, my not plop down real money.

I keep track of theoretical bets, something I have done for years. My ROI is higher on theory bets than actual bets and I think the reason is pretty obvious: The fear of losing isn't there with theory betting and it makes you a bit more daring, perhaps more reckless, and I know that some of my biggest real strikes in life is when I am a bit reckless.

Anyway, I'm not sure If I'm betting for real, but let's get after it!

Training at Hollywood for weeks now, Ciao Bella Luna returns to fake dirt and cuts back in distance, a 21% angle of Hollendorfer's.

Perhaps two safer top picks, Magical Moon and Judy in Disguise (GB) break in the middle of pack. Judy in Disguise likes to be right on the pace and has strung to very good races together, with Mike Smith up this time, third pilot in three races.

Al Stall's Magical Moon cuts back and switches from turf. As a 2YO, raced at KEE in a Grade 1 and was a game Show.

Chad Brown's Premier Steps (Ire) switches from turf, something Brown has a goose egg with in 11 tries, and Brown's fake dirt record is a goose egg as well. Brown is a wonderful young trainer, and I'd be remiss to not mention Maram, Breeders' Cup Juvenile Filly Turf champion, who passed away last year, far too young. Rest in Peace Maram.

Irish Presence is one I may have wrong: Gary Stevens up, the Midnight Lute gal had a bullet at Hollywood this past week and is 3 of 4 in the money on fake stuff.

Renee's Titan comes in off a poor dirt effort at 1 mile after winning on the dirt at 6.5 panels. Only 1 win in 5 tries on fake stuff. A closer, will have to navigate traffic too. I'm not sold.

Have fun with it friends, Turk Out!

Rest in Peace Maram

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Turk and Little Turk at 500 Posts

500 Blog Posts!  
Sometime in the late summer of 2008, I was sitting in the Chicago Airport, a Friday evening, on a flight delay, when I found a horse blog called Equispace. The Japanese have a word for it, Satori! Sudden Awakening. I knew what I wanted to do. I have been handicapping on or off since 1986 when I found myself living in Saratoga and spending more time at the track than I should have. I love to handicap, and I enjoy writing out my thoughts. I've never proclaimed any special skill or knowledge, as humility is a key handicapper trait I've always tried to retain. I'm passionate when inspired, and since this blog came to be my inspirations have been the animals I write about: Rags to Riches, Hard Spun, Curlin, Zenyatta, Tuscan Evening, Quality Road, Einstein, Rachel Alexandra to name a few.

As life has it, Equispace is the blogchild of a fellow Western New Yorker, Geno, and not only was a blog created, but a friendship was forged as well, often in cigar smoke. I think what I have most enjoyed about writing The Turk and the Little Turk is the people I've met because of it. Sometimes strangers write me, just to talk horses. I get tweets and comments and Facebook messages, but I've never had a bad experience. My Facebook friends list is populated by greater horse fans, and much better handicappers, so I do my best just not to be an ass clown.

In honor of my 500th Post, I am guaranteeing a $500 donation to a charity very close to my heart, the Tim "Tiznow" Reynolds fund. Win or Lose on Kentucky Derby Weekend, the first $500 is already spoken for, a legacy of this blog and the positive feelings you can generate by connecting with like minded people in an honest way.

I wish to thank Mrs. Turk, a good sport about wrapping family vacations around Grade 1 racing. I'd like to thank my co-author, The Little Turk, the keenest-eyed natural I've ever meet and Sister Turk for the wacky road trips on Woodward Day. I'd be remiss for not thanking my Dear Aunt Rosie, who loved the horses and with who I spent so much time before I was ten years old and so much time missing her since.

Thanks for reading friends, Turk Out!

The Kentucky Derby Standings and Race by Race Results

"....and they're off!"  
With this weekend's Stake Races, the Arkansas Derby and the Blue Grass Stakes, we will have come to the end of the prime point gathering races. The standings are below as well as a race by race look at the action. Over the next three weeks the Turk is going to go back over the last several prep races, complete video analysis, and we'll watch the workout tabs very closely. The Turk was humbled and honored to be given the Kentucky Derby to handicap for the Handicapper's Corner at The Thorofan, and I tell you right now we have two key targets, The Oaks-Derby Double and the Super High Five. Two bets, two handicaps, a centerpiece day in my handicapping year and I love the challenge.

In case you missed it, I posted all of the Championship Series race videos and it can be found here.

Have fun handicapping friends. Keeneland, it must be spring! Turk Out!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wire Players Kentucky Derby Derby Poll Volume 5 and Video Recap of Key Races

Revolutionary winning The Withers
Friends, we are getting to about that time: With 23 days and 20 hours to go until The Kentucky Derby, we know just about everything we need to know about the runners from their body of work racing, sans the Arkansas Derby and Blue Grass Stakes combatants, and now it comes down to pedigree analysis, workout tabs and manic clocker reports, and idiot bald bloggers, specifically yours truly, ye' Ol Turk, to wax poetic about the runners and to try and make sense of twenty or less horses running farther than they have ever run before. I'm not sure it gets any better than this!

It's been a few years since I have enjoyed the Derby Trail as much as I have enjoyed this one.  We've lost a few good runners to injury: Violence looked so impressive winning the Futurity at Hollywood, and we lost Shanghai Bobby, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile champion, who in the new system was forced to run and his form exposed. I think overall we've seen parity, what some may call mediocrity, but not I.  Too often in our society we call things brilliant.  We are quick to label things as great.  We should be more frugal with the term or it becomes watered down.  Those stooges at ESPN that follow the ball sports label something as special or brilliant every day: its thier business to hype things, but at the same time they do that, they dilute the previous things they labeled the same. None of these runners are brilliant, special, or amazing yet.  As one Stephen Patrick Morrissey once said, " just haven't earned it yet, baby."

Win the Kentucky Derby, then I'll consider you elite.  Win the Preakness and you will win horse of the year.  Win the Triple Crown, I'll call you brilliant.  I'll label you magnificent.  You'll be the next horse on my wall of fame. 

All that said, Revolutionary has impressed me.  I like the way he has handled traffic and shown a killer instinct.  Oxbow and Goldencents have impressed me for thier guts. Verrazano and Orb have answered the bell when needed.  I like Normandy Invasion with the extra route of dirt in front of him.  As usual, I have no clue who will win the Kentucky Derby, but I am starting to see the race unfold, the pace, and I'm feelin' the Super High Five, my favorite bet just calling my name. 

The Turk is headed to The Preakness this year.  I'm bullish on the rest of the racing season and I'm looking forward to following these horses the rest of the year.

Let's get it on!  I present to you the latest Derby Dozen Poll.  Thanks to Steve and the gang, it's a real pleasure working with this group. 

Santa Anita Derby: Goldencents

Wood Memorial: Verrazano

Louisiana Derby: Revolutionary

UAE Derby: Lines of Battle

Florida Derby: Orb

Sunland Derby: Governor Charlie

Spiral Stakes: Black Onyx

Rebel Stakes: Will Take Charge