Friday, October 30, 2015

The Nomination Is In: The Breeders' Cup Classic

Tonalist: image by Travis Lindquist

First of all, thank you to The Thorofan for allowing me to hack my way through the handicap of the richest race in North America, the Breeders' Cup Classic.  I am clearly not worthy!

The Turk's been on a blogging holiday since mid summer.  Sometimes I need a break from the game, and after a very emotional Triple Crown season, I needed some racing downtime.  At the same time I took a handicapping break I worked more on completing my MBA.  I've learned enough to know that handicapping and gambling on horse racing is a horrible investment, even for most of the best handicappers, so if you are reading this handicap and you lost more money than you should have this weekend, stop, this isn't a panacea for what ails you.  Seek Help! That's The Ol' Turk's public message.  I handicap because I enjoy the mental exercise and I've learned over the years I am good enough to stay near break even over the long run, punctuated by periods of incredible success and incredible failure.

Not much handicapping is really needed for a race like the Breeders' Cup Classic .  We have a Triple Crown Winner, American Pharoah, six million dollar plus earners, and no real wildcards like a freaky good filly such as Beholder, a scratch.  We have a classy 3 YO son of Galileo, Gleaneagles (Ire) who has never run in North American, never run on fast dirt and hasn't been past 1 mile.  I call this noise, a distraction.

Let's stop rambling and get after this!

I'm not as hung up on American Pharoah's Travers Stakes loss as I am that he's had a grueling year and while class and skill could still carry him to a win, a 4-5 odds or worse, do I really want to back that as a gambler?  If you want to be a fan, great, and we need more of them, but I'm a gambler, a race track investor, and I don't see much reason to risk capital on a bet like that.  All that said, I still think he's due to regress and it creates a real opportunity to find some value.  I like the work tab Baffert has put him through and I think he's still top 4.

Unfortunately for me, I've identified Tonalist as my chalk, and he'll most likely be bet down below 4-1.  I've made some very good money on Christophe Clement's turf runners over the past several years and I love the ride he's had with the 4 YO son of Tapit.

Stepping back, I have a group of five horses that I think are are possible for Place or Show.  I think Frosted, along with American Pharoah and Tonalist is the only other I may cover in the win spot.  Expecting 10-1 or worse, the 3 YO son of Tapit, this maybe purely a value insertion and most likely I will flip flop Keen Ice and Frosted in my actual bets.  I like Keen Ice better actually, with a good finish at the Haskell and the win at the Travers. I'd like to not see him drop to under 5-1.

Smooth Roller is my looney tunes idea.  A very raw 4 YO gelded Hard Spun, he ran a beautiful Awesome Again in late September and I'm willing to entertain him pulling of Show or the exotic 4th spot.

Did I skip Honor Code?  No, but I can't cover everyone.  I've got him in the RED/TOSS group but again in full disclosure, if his odds lengthen past 7-1 I misght be inclined to cover him in Show and 4th.

Who will screw me up?  Frosted and Effinex.  I like Effinex an awful lot.  His Suburban Handicap, beating Tonalist, was very very game.  His Woodward and his Jockey Club Gold Cup were both regressions for the New York Bred 4 Yo son of Mineshaft.  Back to Frosted, he hasn't won past 1 1/8 miles.  I think I have him too high and I have to put some thought into my final bets.

So I don't this very often, in fact I've never done it in 8 years of blogging, but I've got an alternative universe handicap I might actually like better than the one I led with.

What's different and what's the same?

I brought Keen Ice up to a share of the Win Spot.  I brought Effinex up to Place or Show, as well as Honor Code.  I dropped Frosted and Smooth Roller outside of the Top 4 and I left American Pharoah right where I had him.

Whatever you do, have fun with it!

Turk Out

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