|Silver Max: Photo by Reed Palmer|
Nothing like a handicappers holiday to refresh my handicappers mind.
The Turk hasn't felt very Turk-like over the past several months, as the demands of work have consumed any free time I may have previously had. I've added some efficiency to my job performance and realized that a little R&R, especially on my traditional handicapping and blogging day of Saturday could be possible.
But what to say? I found the time, do I have anything left to add to my handicapping? Of course! Ye' Ol Turk is always improving on his analytic skills and coming back off a layoff has done nothing but reinvigorate my mathematical mind. Math? It's horse racing Turk, what's up with Math? It's all math friends, handicapping to me is the numbers on the paper, the incremental times, the workouts, the breakdown of the runners over a long and short period of time. It's a crossword with 1,200 lb animals running about. Betting? Well that's just economics. I view betting as strictly an investment, an opportunity cost. I measure success solely in terms of return on investment, and while I'm OK with breaking even over periods of time, I'm also realistic to know that I have to hit on a certain percentage of my exotics or my ROI won't stay positive for long.
I've been blogging for six years and my one consistent message has been to preach consistency: do the same things, day in, day out, do what you do well more often than not.
For me it's about assembling a base handicap, tossing who I can, establishing potential winners and then developing an investment. I like to blog exotics, but quite frankly Win and Exacta are my bread and Butter. Not sexy, but I churn out positive ROI with consistency, allowing me to swing at the fences now and then. If you can't consistently pick winners or exactas you have no business making an investment on a Tri or Super anyhow.
So what to make of today's River City Handicap? Well, the track should be Firm. The weather is expected to be dry and cool. I like these grade 3 turf routes. The horses are the superstars of the industry, they are just honest animals grinding out a living on the edge of the big time. A horse like Silver Max is the type of horse I adore: modest background, consistent, long career, successful. 18 of 26 in the money, 2 wins in 3 starts at CD, 10 wins in 20 turf starts. He takes on the big guys in G1 matches and he holds his own.
Villandry is a bit of a stretch for me, but he's cutting back in distance, and I like his running lines of "gaining, gaining, rallied, all out, willingly" in his last five. I'm thinking he could upset here but his lifetime stats don't give great hope: 3 wins in 11 turf starts, $191,000 career earnings, 10% of Silver Max's.
Gentleman's' Kitten looks dangerous and has been training over the CD turf course since mid October. Trainer Maker is 24% of the break and 25% over the grass. Hernandez up and has won 30%of his races in 2014. Freshened this summer after a few clunkers, last two encouraging.
Canadian Aldous Snow is first back off a break since mid September, something Trainer Pierce wins 24% of the time. A grade 3 winner at 1 1/12 miles over grass, he's been no threat in subsequent step ups in class to Grade 2 and 1.
Set the Sail I have too low in my base handicap. I bullet this week at 4f shows quickness and fitness. he's 9 of 17 in the exacta on turf and 5 of 8 in the exacta at CD on the turf. He was Place in this event a year ago. Lots to like, I'll be shading him up as high as Place.
Guys Reward is the definition of journeyman at age 7, with 40 turf starts, 21 of 40 in the money and 1 in 5 turf races a winner. I expect competitive and I expect him to be coming late. Show or Place not out of question but I'm gambling its no higher than Show or Exotic fourth.
I'm predicting Motion's Under Control (Brz) could be the one that screws up my bet. A nice horse that I'd like to see more of before I back him.
I'm not sure of the bet yet but I'm thinking some sort of Super with 4-6 OVER 2-3-4-6-9 OVER 2-3-4-5-7-9 OVER 2-3-5-7-9, a $2 bet for $248. That's too rich and I need to trim, so possibly I'll go 4-6 OVER 2-3-4-6-9 OVER 2-3-5-9 OVER 2-3-5-7-9, a $2 bet for $172. I'll think about that a bit more.
Have fun friends, Turk Out!