Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Nomination Is In: The Grade 1 Cigar Mile at the Big A

Secret Circle:  Photo by Breeders' Cup Ltd
Thanksgiving week is one of my favorite racing weeks of the year.  Obviously not because the weather is ideal, or that there is much left to settle in horse racing prior to year end, but I'm off of work and I force myself to do something other than work for a few days in a row.

My job is very analytic, much like my approach to horse racing.  At work I may spend time thinking about average total costs or marginal costs as they relate to diminishing gains, but it's analytical numbers that help me make the best decisions possible for the physical mechanical equipment I'm charged with running optimally.

In horse racing, and in horse racing blogging, I choose not to bore my readers with the exact analytics I'm employing.  I've read blogs that are very analytical driven and I don't want to be that blogger.  In business at least I can do analysis in hindsight of my decisions and learn something that is typically concrete in nature.  In horse racing, not so much.  You can apply hard fought analytics to these 1,200 pound animals all you like and about the only thing you can be sure of is the overall general horse betting public will still hit 33% winners applying no analytics and if you are honest with yourself, you'll be hard pressed to not incrementally beat that figure.  This blog isn't interested in picking winners primarily, we are building exotic bets, un-boxed, built on a matrix of horse order of finish possibilities.  The goal of my horse racing activity is 0% ROI.  0% Turk, WTF?  Yes, if I were to break even I'd be happy because at this point in my life, I'm not gambling horses for economic profit. Do I want losses?  Absolutely not, Mrs. Turk wouldn't put up with that nonsense.  I'm a positive ROI guy who applies analytic, really statistical and mathematical possibility analysis, to my bet strategy after developing a base handicap of possibilities.

This blog is a reflection of my passion and also my ambivalence to horse racing.  A sport that is teetering on irrelevance, with no real plan forward, while physical capital like Hollywood Race Track is watched to be sold off as scrap, where the beautiful Hialeah can't get thoroughbreds back on the track, where for all but a few days Arlington is irrelevant, I find it hard to care.  It's a defense mechanism not caring because there is almost nothing an individual or a collective group of racing fans can do.  We aren't what drives the sport and we have no voice.  This blog lives because no matter what happens, these animals have been under my skin for almost my entire life and I find true relaxation staring at a past performance.  Why isn't Trackus available at every track?  Why is access to data so expensive and almost off limits to the casual fan? No one person cares enough to move this sport forward.

I digress.  This has never been a popular blog.  It's a labor of love done by The Turk for diminishing numbers of readers.  I can't remember the last time I received a legitimate comment.  Outside of the Triple Crown season, my blogs numbers are putrid.  I leave the deep issues for others and I will continue to do what I do, not because I give a hoot about web traffic, but because this beautiful mathematical game still thrills me and because my ROI stays positive.  Good days, bad days for sure (namely any Thorofan Handicappers Corner post) but relaxing and stimulating nonetheless.

I'm going to add some new features to my blog next year.  I may even add more topics of interest to me: a late 40's gentlemen's fashion choices, hardware selections, watches, everyday carry, electronics, whatever may interest other socially disinterested, work-a-holic bald fellas who like horses and fine craftsmanship.

Anyways, let's get after this!

Lots of options in this one.  I'm going with Vyjack on top, but what I'm really saying is even if Baffert is shipping in Secret Circle, I'm betting against these Breeders' Cup contestants.

Vyjack is 3 of 4 at the Big A, and his Wood Memorial Show was against some solid class.   Won G2 Kelso last time out.

Rodriguez/Ortiz 31% at Aqueduct on 113 tries.

Itsmyluckyday, a  4 YO Lawyer Ron, one of my favorite horses ever (Rest in Peace), has been training regular and steady since a Show in the Kelso which followed a win in the Woodward.  First Big A effort.  2 of 4 at this distance, 8 of 16 on fast dirt, 13 of 16 in the money on fast dirt, 4 of 7 in 2014, 6 of 7 in the money in 2014.  Trainer Plesa 16% off the break.  Plesa/Lopez are 26% together in 333 tries over past year.  Lots to like and will be within 2 lengths the whole way.

Private Zone was 33-1 last year when he almost shocked the race.  He is boom or bust here but I think he'll run well to hit the Show or Exotic spot.  I guess I'm being a hypocrite as I have him higher than some BC runners I'm penalizing.

Bourbon Courage and Secret Circle I guess have a reason to call me a hypocrite.  Secret Circle, 5 YO already, has won two Breeders' Cup Sprints and Placed a third.  Not too shabby.  5 straight efforts at 6f but he seems to want to stretch out.  Interesting that Baffert brings him in for this with options at Del Mar.  Bourbon Courage has 1 win in last 12 races  but is 8 of 12 in the money as well. No wins in 3 starts at the distance, rang off a :46 4/5ths at 4f bullet last time on track.

Regally Ready (Can he really be 7?  I find myself exclaiming that alot this week!) is a really versatile horse. 6 wins in 9 2014 starts.  Only 3 of 37 career starts on dirt.  He may be in a great spot on the track to come hard and free at the end.  Beware!

I'm tossing three: Big Business, the other Eddington son along with Secret Circle, who I respect but you can't cover all in my world, Transparent and Noble Moon.

As the race is two hours to post, I'm going to publish these thoughts and keep thinking about bet strategy.  The track should be good and the weather OK albeit cold.

I'm thinking something along the lines of this:

$1 Super:  2-4 OVER 1-2-4-6-8-9 OVER 1-2-4-6-7-8-9 OVER 1-6-7-8-9 for $168.  It's too rich and I have to make some harder choices but its a starting point

Good Luck

Turk Out!

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