With only 200 yards or so to the finish of the mile-and-a-quarter Grade 2 turf race, I honestly thought I had an excellent shot, with Casino Host benefiting from a nice ground-saving trip before poking his head in front down the stretch, only to be surpassed by Air Support and Banned to burst my hopes for a Top 30 finish and a spot in next week's 90-player championship for two NHC Tour Championship seats.
Instead, I finished 221st with only $9.80 in mythical winnings, with two second-place finishers and a few others that ran gamely, which amounts to nothing, really.
Outside of putting my contest eggs in the Casino Host basket, here's a brief recap of Saturday's plays:
- Arlington 6: Cantonic (6-to-1, down from 8-to-1 M/L) - decent fourth, ran to the lead as expected but gunned down by the 4-to-5 favorite toward the wire
- Arlington 7: Charter Class (11-to-1, up from 10-to-1 M/L) - finished about an hour after everyone else; never got to the lead as needed and started running in reverse after about four furlongs
- Arlington 8: Capitol Appeal (10-to-1, up from 8-to-1 M/L) - trouble from the word go; never close
- Colonial 4: Ancil (7-to-2, down from 8-to-1 M/L) - finished second, paid $4.20 to place; perfect trip and appeared to have it late, but lost by a head to Major Magic
- Colonial 5: Jazil's Song (3-to-1, down from 10-to-1 M/L) - really slow start, but finished 4th, but probably a contest-changer for anyone who had the winner, 30-to-1 Softly Lit, who I never considered in handicapping the 10-race card on Friday night
- Colonial 6: Rules of Honor (7-to-1, down from 20-to-1 M/L) - good mid-pack trip and covered up well along the rail, made up ground at the top of the stretch and flattened to finish 5th
- Colonial 7: Summer Savory (9-to-2, down from 8-to-1 M/L) - great rail trip and was easily good enough to win, if not having to delay twice along the rail down the stretch, with Mystical Star in the way; finished second by a half-length and paid $5.60 to place
- Colonial 8: Casino Host (20-to-1, on par with morning line) - simply beaten late by two better horses and finished third, but convinced the win could have put me within the top 30 and yield roughly $60 of notional win/place money; sample showed only two of the top 60 finishers picking this one, suggesting few others likely made this call; moot point, though
- Hollywood 7: Ambassy (13-to-1, up from 12-to-1 M/L) - never a factor
- Hollywood 9: Fund Raiser (16.9-to-1, up from 8-to-1 M/L) - late switch from original pick Tanda (7-to-2, up from 4-to-1 M/L), looking for a big price out of desperation in the final contest race but never really factored finished 6th; Tanda finished a game third