Friday, September 30, 2022

The Rulez

It's a fun day on the twitter today, because of a rider named Christophe Soumillion, who, with his best Tom Wilson impression, decided to elbow another rider off a horse. Not while they were hanging around the paddock, or behind the gate. No, while they were going 35 miles per hour. 

Seeing this in some states would be considered attempted murder, one might expect a lengthy suspension and fine, and I guess that's kinda what he got - a two month ban. 

However, this two month ban starts after the biggest meet in France, including the Arc. 

Meanwhile, over in another sport, it was tough to watch Dolphins' QB Tua Tagovailoa spun to the turf with the force one would expect when a 320 man who can bench press several moose spins you to the ground. It appears he's okay, like our rider friend above, but that was scary, and could've been career ending, or worse. 

In Tua's case, what happened was something the league cracked down on a few years ago. When a lineman grabs a QB, he can not, under any circumstance, spin him around to the ground with any force. It seemed to work, and linemen were careful in those particular situations, avoiding the 15 yard personal foul. Then the league and refs, bowing to coaching and fan pressure, pretty much stopped calling it. 

In racing's case, we have yet another, in my view, complete joke. In a sport where riders take days over winter vacations with the fam, or Christmas, the powers that be let this man ride for millions, then he can take his vacation. For potentially killing someone. 

People complain about the rules. But we are not complaining about the rules, we're complaining about the rulez; this muddy, inconsistent, sometimes maddening morass of what, we do not know. It'd be nice if they stuck with it, and called things right, because not calling it right can have terrible consequences, but I'm not holding my breath. 

Have a nice Friday everyone. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Looking Deeper Into the Mail-It-In Race

For those of us who like to try and scope out pick 4 and 5 tickets, we all know the mail-it-in race. It's a race where nothing particularly catches our eye, and the logicals look, well, logical. In our mind we convince ourselves we can get by with the 2, 3 and 5 and we're done with it. We have bigger fish to fry in the other legs where we have strong opinions. 

Sometimes these races can bite us, because we did just that - the same thing everyone else is doing. 

Recently, I loved a sequence at Gulfstream, where two horses looked like strong keys. When I reached the 5th leg of the pick 5, I saw the quintessential mail it in race. It was one of those Gulfstream maiden claimers, with three first time starters, two from a well known barn with nice works, one from a mom and pop barn who looked okay, but meh,, and one horse who looked to have decent figs, with the rest of the field dreadful. 

Looking for other ideas I decided to check the track cappers. But they were mailing it in too, with comments like, "this barn doesn't fire with firsters, but these two firsters worked well" and they picked them one-two. 

Maybe I needed to mail-it-in, too. But, thinking about it, I thought I should do a little more work and look deeper for opportunity to zag while everyone zigs. I decided to look at the mom and pop firster. This barn had one first time starter earlier in the meet who was 30-1 and didn't hit the board. Yawn. However, it was probably worth watching a replay, and what I saw was definitely interesting. The colt showed strong speed from the inside rail post, made the lead, and carried it right into the lane, at times looking like a winner. Then the horse just stopped, coming 6th or 7th. Interestingly, he was not back in two months later, so one could assume something may have happened to him to make him stop. 

Their current FTS's works were fine, spaced well and the horse looked fit. 

In a mail-it-in race, is this not a strong A horse at 15-1 morning line?

Typing this you can assume what happened - the horse engaged all the way around the track, was asked at the top of the lane and won by a widening 5. He was the sixth choice in the pick 5 and other serial bets. 

He was a perfect horse, in a perfect race. The modelers and teams couldn't be on the horse, and everyone was mailing it in. 

Mail-it-in races are sometimes exactly that - a race to get by with three or four logicals. But when we have to convince ourselves the logicals are the winners, after we see hole after hole in them, they aren't so logical at all. This type of race can often present us with an ideal chance to dig deeper and strike. 

Have a nice Tuesday everyone.  

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Analyzing Mistakes, Even if You Win

I got a cool piece of advice many years ago about watching horses. I was told to watch them jog back to the winners circle after a win. Picture the way that horse looks, and apply it to your analysis before the race. If you haven't tried it before, give it a shot, I find it works. 

Normally it's custom for us to look at tickets after we lose; to grumble, be miserable, or dream what might have been because we left a horse out. It's a rite of passage in this game. 

However, like with watching horses, I often analyze what could have been, after I win. 

Yesterday, I nabbed the pick 5 at Kentucky Downs - one of my favorite tracks to play, but also the hardest. I was happy to win, because I had not hit much this meet, but after looking at what might have been, I realized I made an error. 

In leg three, I had three A-type horses. The two, the Diodoro barn change with the three, and the Maker chalk. When I constructed my tickets I did something I sometimes do - I left off the least likely winner to keep things more affordable, or maybe it was simply an oversight; in this case that was the two horse. 

Fortunately, down the lane the two was moving like a winner at 22-1, until he wasn't, and the fresh Diodoro got the job done at 4 or 5 to 1. 

Two races later the pick 5 was mine. 

But, this game has a lot of variance, and I could've easily lost that third leg, simply because, well, I messed up. Leaving off a 22-1 horse I consider an "A"? This is brick to the head dumb. 

Consider the horse holds on. I have just given away a ticket that would likely pay $75,000 or perhaps even $100,000. I'm not happily jogging to a winners' circle with my ears pricked, that's for sure. 

Instead of a good day, with the 3 surging to that long neck win, I am complaining on twitter, or if I was important enough, leaving it for a chapter of a memoir, titled "what may have been."

Ticket structure is so important. But it's vitally important at places like Kentucky Downs. If you're not playing your strong opinions, you are bringing a knife to a gunfight. It's only variance, or dumb luck, that can save us. 

Have a nice Thursday everyone. 

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