Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Eager to Test New Strategy on Saturday

Perhaps the logic is as exciting as watching paint dry, but I am getting antsy about testing a show-wagering handicapping contest strategy touched upon a few weeks back here on

Nothing fancy about
NJ Horseplayer
Admittedly there's scant glory in picking a thoroughbred that finishes second or third as opposed to a well-place win wager on a hefty long-shot, but heading into Saturday Simulcast Series Challenge #3 at Monmouth Park, finishing in the Top 15 is the primary goal en route to a spot in April's SSC Invitational and a 2-in-45 shot for a seat to NHC 14 in Las Vegas next January.

Tuesday evening I handicapped and made selections on 10 races in advance of a Wednesday contest on, adhering to strict guidelines in shadowing that tournament as if I were perched in the Monmouth Park Clubhouse restaurant across the table from Red Rock or Bust playing in SSC #3, rather than participating in an online tournament.  The parameters were simple: a notional $10 show wager only on horses in fields of at least 8 and with odds greater than 5-to-1.  Races 2 through 5 on the Aqueduct and Gulfstream cards comprised my "shadow" tournament.

Three races were automatically eliminated (5- and 6-horse fields), leaving me with seven hypothetical selections.  I would have lost on three races but scored in four of the seven that met the standard, with horses 8-to-1, 10-to-1, 21-to-1 and 25-to-1 all cracking the top three and yielding show payments (on a $2 wager) of $4.80, $9.80, $9.40 and $6.80, respectively.  The outcome would have been an $83 profit on the $100 starting bankroll -- far better than I fared in SSC #1 and #2 and decent powder for a sizable late-day wager (win bet, in all likelihood) to perhaps crack the Top 15.

One can debate the merits of such a strategy or the appeal of show betting, but citing my analysis of my performance in SSC #2 in February, in addition to the outcome of my Derby Wars test run, I would argue that I stand a much better chance of meeting my objective to advance to the SSC Invitational in April.  Sure, this no guts-no glory approach is ultra-conservative, but I need to remember to convince myself on Saturday that a capital preservation strategy could pay dividends in lasting to day's end and advancing.

Of course, first I'll have to get cracking on my handicapping to identify some potential long-shots in advance, which I hope to address in print before Saturday's big contest at Monmouth Park.

Speaking of which, if you have not yet seen the piece, I was invited a few weeks back by Monmouth Park's Sophia Mangalee to guest-blog in advance of SSC #3.  Similar to my blogging hobby, I had a lot of fun with that piece, and was honored to be approached, let alone published, on a "professional" website.  Anyway, here's the link for interested readers:  Enjoy!


  1. what!?! I thought your new strategy was just to use Margo's picks at Tampa?!?

  2. Margo is usually an excellent source of picks, as you know, though I'm also toying with the idea of gauging TVG and HRTV commentators' selections and picking which ever horse they DO NOT pick; I've yet to hear some of those hosts pick a winner that isn't 3-to-5

  3. Your strategy is flawed and you will be lucky to qualify. May I suggest a show parlay instead. Just trying to help. HandicapperX

  4. I understand parlays, and am not opposed to the concept. The idea, and maybe I wasn't explicit about this, isn't to win the contest by making all show wagers (it'll never happen, plus there'll be races with short fields I don't want to touch or where do not think the big favorite will finish out of the top 3).

    Rather, it's a concept to a) preserve bankroll, b) meet the contest requisite of at least ten $10 contest wagers needed to qualify for the top 15, and c) identify a spot later in the contest where I can make a big win or WP/WPS bet on a higher-priced horse that I like. Perhaps flawed, in your view, but in two of the last 3 SSC contests where I participated, either the winner or runner-up went into the final contest race(s) with $150-$200 bankrolls and came out on top. It's not out of the realm, "HandicapperX"