The second of 40 sessions of Horse Player Now's "Night School" fan education series seemed to flow more smoothly this week and provided valuable insight to new and experienced horseplayers. No big revelations for me as this Monday night's session focused on handicapping for "class" and provided interesting insights; a replay is available at the link above, and here are some useful study materials from DRF.com. Kudos to Joe Kristufek, Jeremy Plonk and Jill Byrne for conducting what I deem a worthwhile foray into fan education.
Separately, I found this column Monday from Andrew Beyer very interesting for perspective on the durability of Chilean horses versus those in the U.S., if for no other reason than sharing an observation with other horseplayers not to discount horses from places like Chile, Brazil and South Africa. One of the trainers I always keep an eye on, particularly with turf entries of Brazilian horses in California, is A.C. Avila, who seems to do decently with that angle. And Graham Motion has done very well with South African shipper Gypsy's Warning, winning the Grade 1 Matriarch at Hollywood and the Grade 3 Eatontown at Monmouth (I had Gypsy's Warning at 7-to-1 in my 7th-place contest finish that afternoon). Perhaps my perspective is askew, but it seems that players put a ton of value, particularly in turf races, on U.K. horses and often understate the value of shippers from elsewhere.
Congratulations to Bob Farah for taking down the $13,900 top prize in Saturday's SSC#2 at Monmouth Park, besting a record-high field of 279 contest players. Farah scored big in the final contest race and turned his $100 bankroll into $1,392.50 of winnings, edging out the second-place finisher by $14. The top 15 from SSC#2 (along with those from the January and March 19 SSC) move on to the April 9 SSC Invitational, where the top two finishers will win seats to the NHC.