|NJ Horseplayer as "moron"|
Instead of increasing my bankroll to ~$260 ($51.80 to win) and easily a top-10 spot (the top 10 of 134 participants split cash prizes, while the top 15 earn 1 of 45 spots in the April SSC Invitational for two spots in the 2013 National Handicapping Championship), I wasted my final bullet in Tampa's 9th. Game, set and match.
Typically I give myself a "cooling off" period before blogging my contest performance, but hosting a little shindig for tomorrow's NFL Championship round I wanted to pound out the unhappy recap and air some grievances. In short, I was close with my first $10W wager, 6-to-1 Fly South, in the opener from Gulfstream, where Javier Castellano gave the horse a perfect trip before succumbing to the clear favorite, 2-to-5 Don Missil. Even in hindsight I'm satisfied with my play against severe chalk.
My only other close call was 2-to-1 Mobilizerin the 4th from Gulfstream, who lost by a head and who took a lot of late money. I put $10W while the horse was hovering around 7-2 with a minute until post; Mobilizer lost to the even-money favorite by a head. I skipped out on $7 winner in 5-to-2 Red Orchestra when my top choice, Lady Whimsical, scratched from the gate in the 7th from Tampa, but other than perhaps a slight confidence booster, I'm not sure that "miss" ruined my day. Pepe's Valentine ultimately did.
Gulfstream was ridiculously chalky (the three biggest win payouts were $11), which bodes poorly for horseplayers like me seeking prices, but I have no excuse at Tampa, where my five selections were generally awful but 5 of the 11 winners paid $30 or more for a $2W wager.
It's back to the drawing board, I suppose, and proof again that I've got a long way to go before even approaching the higher echelons of handicapping and bankroll management. Until SSC#2 in February, I anticipate sitting tight on the contest front, maybe staying fresh with a few efforts on Derby Wars and maybe an NHC Tour freebie, assuming the Tour is offering five again this season to tour players.
A few side notes...
- Kudos to the Monmouth Park staff for getting a) the facility open under some icy conditions in the region and b) 134 contest players to turn out even on a day where Aqueduct was scratched because of weather; Sophia Mangalee does a great job spearheading these midwinter events. I can only speculate that the turnout would have been upwards of 200 had the weather been more favorable, and anticipate a much deeper field for SSC #2 on February 18.
- Credit to Red Rock or Bust for toughing out the road conditions from the Oranges to participate. At one point Terry found the leaderboard with ~$150 bankroll after a nice win on 9-to-2 Tarpy's Goal in the 7th from Gulfstream but went scoreless thereafter to join me in the basement.
- Good luck to anyone from the NJ Horseplayer blogosphere involved in the National Handicapping Championship this week in Las Vegas! After a full season as an NHC Tour player, I have the utmost respect to those who gained entry into what is sure to stack up as a difficult two-day tournament where the pot is worth more than $1.6 million, with the first of roughly 500 contestants taking down a cool mil.