Saturday, July 29, 2006

Update-Results: DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Qualifier

Well it was a mixed day of early elation, tempered by an inability to pick more than one winner and ultimately finishing 51st in a field of over 400 but well out of the money.
I hit my first race of the day, an optional race on Saratoga's first race for a nice $43.60 with Planets Aligned. But I could only manage 3 Places the rest of the day and ultimately my $68.80 total was smashed by a few who hit Like a Gem in the 9th at Woodbine for a $93 win. That catapulted many looking for a late longshot (I was looking but not at Woodbine), ahead of me as I had been hanging around hoping for that 25th spot for a while. Oh well, it was fun, all the handicapping printed material a human could possibly want, banks of montiors with feeds to all of the Challenge tracks every few feet, two buffet lines with a really great lunch, mass quantities of iced tea, and a Keeneland tote bag to stuff all of this into (and ultimately nice swag for my daughter). This was definitely fun and added a different aspect to racing for me as I have never really attempted to play that many tracks in a day. One thing that kind of screwed me up is that right before the third race (I think it was the 3rd--it was early) the skies opened at Saratoga and the track became muddy and the turf yielding in the span of a race! My handicapping I had so carefully prepared last evening, with my focus on Saratoga, quickly became suspect with the change in track conditions and I scrambled from there. I hope that Ruben over at Average Horseplayer has a better showing tomorrow at his Qualifier.

Friday, July 28, 2006

UPDATE #1: DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Qualifier

The plunge has been taken, I am signed up for the contest tomorrow at Keeneland. I am also armed with the DRF and my belly is full as they fed you at the track this evening when I signed up, all completely free which was a nice and unexpected perk. As soon as I get organized I will begin trying to find some nice prices to get me at least in the top 25 although I have no illusions or expectations but I gotta shot! Here are the contest tracks/races:(in case anyone wants to chime in with their picks, I am not heading out until Noon)
Full updates promised!

Keeneland Handicapping Challenge, Saturday, July 29, 2006
DRF/NTRA Handicapping Championship Qualifier

Contest Tracks, First Posts and Playable Races

Delaware Park (First Post 12:45 p.m. ET) Races 1 - 9

Saratoga (First Post 1:00 p.m. ET) Races 1 - 8

Woodbine (First Post 1:10 p.m. ET) Races 1 - 10

Ellis Park (First Post 1:40 p.m. ET) Races 1 - 9

Arlington Park (First Post 2:00 p.m. ET) Races 1 - 8

Players note: Although the contest tracks were selected due to favorable Saturday forecasts by, Friday’s weather may have an adverse effect on track conditions.

Mandatory Contest Races and Post Times

Saratoga 2nd Race (1:35 p.m. ET)

Delaware Park 6th Race (3:00 p.m. ET)

Arlington Park 5th Race (3:56 p.m. ET)

Ellis Park 7th Race (4:36 p.m. ET)

Saratoga 8th Race (5:12 p.m. ET)

Woodbine 10th Race (5:29 p.m. ET)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Qualifier

Probably a frivolous waste of $150 but who knows, maybe beginners luck will prevail! I am seriously considering entering this contest at Keeneland on Saturday.
  • The contest will consist of twelve (12) different races from five racetracks simulcast at Keeneland Saturday, July 29, 2006.
  • Six (6) races will be mandatory races. The Handicapping Challenge Director will select the six (6) mandatory races. Each contestant must make selections in the six mandatory races or be disqualified from prize money.
  • Six (6) races will be optional races. The contestant will select the six (6) optional races from contest-eligible tracks being simulcast at Keeneland that day with a scheduled post time up to and including 5:45 p.m. (EDT)
  • The races are posted at Noon on 7/28 giving me ample time to overanalyze and screw this up!

    If any readers (those few of you) have ever entered a contest and have any words of wisdom (like save my money) let me know but I am thinking it might be a fun day, you get a buffet lunch for your effort and there are prizes for top 25 and drawings every hour for $100. The top 3 (and this would be a truly inspired and miraculous effort if I were to even dare to dream of getting in that company) go the National Handicapping Chapionships in Vegas in January. If I don't lose my nerve I am going out at lunch tomorrow and plop down my entry fee and commit myself to a Friday evening of handicapping!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Where the surf meets the turf....

For the past couple of years that I have really been following this great sport of Thoroughbred Racing, I have identified a couple of tracks that are on the "must visit" list and every year about this time I make many "virtual visits" to old Del Mar. They have a great website and being just north of San Diego, I just am not sure there is a better location for a track in the world and this is coming from someone who has the good fortune of living about 10 miles from Keeneland. I visited San Diego about 6 years ago but that was mostly for business and I didn't even know about Del Mar (sheltered life and all) but it just looks like such a great place to wear some shorts and the loudest Hawaiian shirt you can find, grab a racing form and just hang out for the entire that would be a vacation!
If you read this and have been to Del Mar, feel free to either confirm my suspicions that it is a great place or burst my bubble and tell me why it isn't all that it appears to be. Meanwhile I will be singing that Bing Crosby tune from time to time over the next month and planning a real San Diego trip for next year (I hope)!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Leparoux takes Kentucky!

At age 23, Julien Leparoux became the second apprentice in Churchill Downs' 131-year history to earn a leading rider title when he finished the 2006 spring meet with 87 winners on July 16. He also shared the jockey title in the Keeneland Spring Meet and won the title at the Turfway winter/spring meet. Pretty safe bet to play this jockey! More on the story all over the web including the NTRA site. He is headed for Saratoga next so we will see if his luck/skill holds outside of the BlueGrass State!

Saturday, July 15, 2006



Calder 10 $2 PL 1,2,3,4,5,6
$12.00 $42.40

Churchill Downs 8 $2 WP 6
$4.00 $36.60
Okay so not such a brilliant bit of handicapping but you gotta like my strategy on the Princess Rooney. Short Field and Dubai Escapade completely overbet. My only regret is not taking Show on the rest of the field and I would have really made some $. Not a bad pick at Churchill either. Anyway, not a bad Saturday of TVG wagering online in the A/C!
Glad to hear Barbaro is having better days but when life begins imitating art, well you gotta question the quality of life issue for the big guy when you see him in the sling. Hope it works but hope the horse is not completely miserable...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Hang on Barbaro!

Some very interesting parallels with Secretariat's losing bout with laminitis and Ruffian's failure to respond to surgery. Check out this article on DRF site:
Stopping treatment a complicated choice
Dr. Dean Richardson & Barbaro
Sabina Louise Pierce / Univ. of Pennsylvania
Dr. Dean Richardson said Barbaro's comfort level and long-term outlook are foremost.
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Thursday's news that Barbaro's prognosis had darkened because of acute laminitis in his left hind leg does not mean, his surgeon said, that the colt's destruction is imminent.

"I think you always have to weigh whether the treatment is going anywhere, and obviously you don't want the animal to suffer," said Stuart Janney III. Janney's family campaigned the champion Ruffian, who suffered a catastrophic breakdown in 1975 during a match race with Foolish Pleasure at Belmont Park. The Janneys agreed to surgery, a new and unusual option at the time, but the effort failed and Ruffian was humanely destroyed on July 7, 1975.

"We felt we had to do it," Janney said of the surgery. "But it had to be with the understanding not to put an animal through senseless suffering for a result that wasn't going to be positive."

"It's a gray area," said Gus Koch, manager of Claiborne Farm in Paris, Ky. Claiborne stood 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat, who died in 1989 after battling laminitis for several weeks. "In Secretariat's case, we went into it with the attitude that we are not going to let this horse suffer needlessly. He started to recover, and we thought he was improving, and then he regressed. It's a painful condition, and when he regressed, that's when the decision was made to euthanize him. He was in pain. The main decision was that the horse was suffering and it looked hopeless."

Veterinarians could tell objectively that Secretariat's condition was worsening, Koch said, because they could measure the rotation of the coffin bone, the main bone inside the horse's foot, which rotates down and eventually through the sole of the hoof in severe cases of laminitis. But it wasn't just the X-rays that indicated Secretariat was in trouble; it was his general deme anor, including a decreased appetite, weight loss, and general discomfort.

"He had pain, and he showed it like any horse," Koch recalled. "He was sore, and it was hard to keep condition on him."

"If we can't keep him comfortable, we will not continue," Richardson said.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Who speaks for the Race Horse?

All fans who enjoy the sport of horse racing should. There is a VERY impressive article in the Final Turn column in the latest issue of the BloodHorse by Christine Janks. She takes an important stance in holding the trainers responsible for the health of the horses they send to post. She has a very realistic vision of the profit-driven motives that drive some to send horses that are less than healthy to race and too often to their untimely deaths. The recent rash of breakdowns at Arlington, the drug-related suspension of one of the leading trainers, Steve Asmussen, really begin to appear connected. Baloo over at The Bug Boys had already raised our awareness to this issue but I am surprised and disappointed if this is widespread. Maybe it is naivete but I like to think that most people are basically honest, even with money on the line. I wonder what everyone else is thinking about this. Who does speak for our equine athletes? I know those in the TBA have put their money where their mouth is by pledging annual donations to Old Friends in support of ensuring our retired thoroughbreds a good home. But how many of the horses we love will never make it off the track due to greed?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Great week tempered by bad news on Barbaro.

Wow, after a near perfect week spent at the Kentucky Horse Park in some really picture perfect conditions (80 degrees, blue sky, light breeze and zero humidity) and some really great results, Reserved Champion in classes with 25 riders (aren't they a nice looking team!), but then to check the racing headlines this evening and it looks like Barbaro is once again fighting for his life following surgery to fight an infection. It also sounds like the leg is not healing well in the pastern joint. Hope ths somehow works out but it sounded pretty serious.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Independent Thoughts

Like Patrick over at Pulling Hair, I cashed a nice ticket on Bushfire this past week-end and then went crazy on the 4th with a Pick 4 at Hollywood Park (something I had never played before) which I missed by one race when my selection finished second and that was on a $2 just pick 4 winners in 4 consective races ticket! Bizarre, near beginners-luck story of the year, but close again but no cigar! Well you gotta love Lava Man in the Hollywood Gold Cup and looks like Point Determined will run in the Swaps so another solid week-end of racing coming up, looks like this "second season" may prove to be a lot of FUN!

From the Random Notes Section:
Summer Reading: "Racing My Father" by Patrick Smithwick, great book, still about 100 pages to go but it has been great. Well worth the read with a lot of insight, especially from the jockey/trainer point of view.
Interesting websites: Thoroughbredia, a wikipedia-inspired site that some in the TBA might be interested in helping get going.
The Final Turn, has some great photo galleries and some thought provoking forums

Well, my daughter is riding in a horse show this week at the Kentucky Horse Park so my groom duties may prevent many posts but I will return!!!!