Saturday, October 29, 2005

Breeders Cup Picks (Live Blogging)

My picks (this will be updated before each race). If you have no idea what I'm talking about - here's a link.

My handicapping approach - I like to look at trainers (if I ever retire, I'd love to spend time trying to figure out owners as well) first, track condition, horse condition (workouts, last race - I'm not great at post parade watching) and post position last. I create a betting line where I take up to about 6 horses and try to divide 80 percentage points between them and then look for overlays and bet them. I try to ignore Speed/pace and "race shaping" (trying to determine rider strategies and horse running styles in the race ). I think speed and pace figures are unreliable and I figure if I am factoring the trainer-owner into my calculations that he or she will take care of the "race shaping" and riding strategy. But they can't control post position, track conditions, etc. My philosophy is to bet to win because a) most of the data I use is based on winning not coming in second or third and b) the track takes the least amount of money off win bets. I did dabble in Pick 3s when I was active and an occasional exacta or trifecta if I'm feeling foolish.

1:22 PM - Juv. Fillies - Sensation - Diamond Omi - Adieu (not neccesarily in that order). The big news will be that Folklore will be out of the money. Or maybe I just hate D. Wayne.

Ms. Chapel's "hunch" is Along the Sea and I agree this is an overlay but I want a horse that's going to win not just in the money. Maybe put 'er in there for your fantasy trifecta but not to win.

Post-race: Oh well, Folklore proved better than I thought. Wild Fit may have been the better horse, though. Glad I'm not betting money.

1:53 PM - Juv Colts - First Samurai - Private Vow - Sorcerer's Stone - Stream Cat. I'm thinking First Samarai is an underlay here as there are some questions about his form. Stream Cat is an interesting longshot horse who got in trouble last time but has shown some talent and has great connections. The speed boys like Sorcerer's Stone in case 1st Samurai craps out so who am I to argue with them. I'm betting against Steve Wonderboy as not being up to the challenge of a long layoff. I may be wrong though as I heard he had a stellar workout this week. Does anyone else get the vibe that Merv Griffin wants to eat the jockey?

Post-race: *Sigh* I'm now 0 for 2. Private Vow broke a rein and pulled up! 1st Sam got the show. Stream Cat never a factor. Merv Griffin and the convict jockey have won (and who else hates those maudlin TV segments about druggy jockeys?). Maybe I should just make my picks and then select every horse but the ones I like. Glad I'm not betting...

2:41 PM - Filly/Mare Turf - This is a wide open race. The overlays are Luas Line - Film Maker - Megahertz and Intercontinental. The underlays are Ouja Board and Wonder Again. Luas Line is the biggest opportunity here and hence going to be my pick but Intercontinental has reportedly been a beast in morning workouts and that seemed to be the biggest factor for Stevie Wonderboy. I'd throw them all into a Pick 3 with one or two sprinters and Leroidesanimaux in the Mile. Pulling Hair is going with Sundrop and he may have a point as well. Like I said, Wiiiiiide open....

Post Race: Well, one of my top picks finally won and decisively. Intercontinental was at 15-1 when I last checked which means that if I bet $2 win on all my picks ($6 in the 1st race, $6 in the second and $8 in the third for a total of $20) then I'll be around $12.00 ahead. Yes, I'm a $2 bettor - well, I used to be - now it's just fantasy play. Filmmaker came in the money and Ouija Board (not a pick but an identified underlay) were also there.

3:16PM - Sprint - I would put Lost in the Fog in a Pick 3 ticket but he's a big underlay here and I'd never bet him to win as such. I would prefer 8-5 on him and he's at 3-5. The overlays are Taste of Paradise - Silver Train and Lion Tamer. They are all at 13-1 in the betting right now and that's too much of an opportunity. Part of the reason for this opportunity is that Wildcat Heir is also seriously overbet.

Post Race: It's either Taste of Paradise or Silver Train or both! Either way, I win. ALL THE EFFING HYPE FOR LOST IN THE FOG... as Nelson would say, "Hah hah"... my thoughts about Wildcat Heir seem to have been proved as well - I just don't think Ben Perkins is world class trainer material and that's a big factor in my selections. Gomez has launched an objection against Edgar Prado and lost. Hope he doesn't go back to the drugs, huh? My investment of $6.00. They didn't show the prices but if Silver paid 13-1 - that's a $20 profit. I'm up $30!

3:49 - Turf Mile - My druthers are with the favorite but he's way too low-priced at 3-2 (he should be more like 7-2 in my mind). I'll instead go with the overlays in Funfair - Valizar - Host (again a two buck win on each). The latter (Host) has a bad post position & a so-so jock - but then so does Leroid. Leroid had a great work this week but so did Host. Funfair seems way under-rated here what with hot jock Edgar Prado (Ms. Chapel also prefers him) and Valixar, the multiple BC race winner Andre Fabre shipper, is also a Steve Crist pick and is going off at 8-1. There are two other horses here that while they aren't underlays, they aren't overlays - they are Artie Schiller and Singletary.

POST-RACE: Disaster. Fun Fair taken off the track in an ambulance and his vet said he'll probably be put down. Artie Schiller (one of my possibles) won. My current "win" count is $24.00.

4:25 - Distaff - I have four horses in my top picks and they are hardly surprises: Stellar Jayne, Ashedo (the presumed favorite), Happy Ticket, and Sweet Symphony. Stellar Jayne appears to be training well and may be the spoiler. The key race here for many is the Beldame which Ashedo won by a 1/2 length over Happy Ticket and several more over the young Sweet Symphony (Jerry Bailey chooses her over Ashado, incidentally, although this may be trainer politics at work - Bill Mott being the more established trainer of the two). My "line" is Ashedo at 4-1 (she's going off now around 2-1), Stellar Jayne at 9-2 (she's going off at 9-2), Sweet Symphony at 5-1 (the only real overlay at 9-1), Happy Ticket at 5-1 (going off at 4-1). So I'm also going to look at Pleasant Home (28-1!), the Shug McGaughey horse and the Nick Zito horse (In The Gold). But the latter trainer is very cold these days and the overlay is only slight in my mind. So my final selections are Stellar Jayne, Sweet Symphony and Pleasant Home.

POST RACE: Whoo-hoo. My last minute overlay selection Pleasant Home brings it home at 30-1!!! I'm up about $80!

4:35: Turf Classic - I always pass this race. Too many furrin' horsies for me. And my rule is that when I look at the charts and see 12 horses that could all win it, maybe its time to take a break. I'm gonna go empty the dishwasher and focus on the final race.

5:40 - The Classic - I'm looking closely at a number of horses:
  • Borrego - he's hampered by his post position but has been having good workouts. My line is 4-1.
    • Post parade odds - 2-1 (no bet)
  • St. Liam - Another 9-2 - Bailey's swansong? Well, at least that will be the NBC hype. But he's also supposedly having great workouts leading up to this and Dick Dutrow is not to be trifled with.
    • pp odds - 5-2 (no bet)
  • Choctaw Nation - Not my favorite connections here and a claimer but he's proven. 5-1.
    • pp odds - 13-1
  • Flower Alley - I put him at 6-1
    • pp odds - 10-1
  • Perfect Drive - 7-1 - again don't like the connections
    • pp odds - 15-1
  • Sir Shackleton - 7-1 - Zito is stone-dope (ahem) cold but this horse ran up good in his last.
    • pp odds - 34-1 (wow, this new york crowd is hatin' on Zito)
So my bets are on Choctaw Nation - Flower Alley - Perfect Drive and what the hell, Sir Shackleton

POST RACE: Well - St. Liam won after a pretty thrilling stretch duel with Flower Alley - one of my choices. So I feel pretty good about my choices even as I lost $8.

Final tally - I made $72 (of fantasy money).


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