|NJ Horseplayer does not|
endorse redneck surfing
A fifth-place finish (out of 82 contestants) in Friday's late-night HorseTourneys.com $20 NHC preliminary feeder yielded the best financial outcome -- $195 credit for an upcoming NHC event. I only had two (of a possible 10) winners of seven races from Hollywood Park and three from Lone Star, but both were prize-clinching scores on Cal-bred maidens where I thought two longshots made lots of sense.
My thesis was simple -- maidens with one troubled race who continued to run hard despite finishing out of the money in their first try.
- Full Dancer was 6-to-1 on the morning line in an 8-horse field of $50k maiden claimers in Race 2 from Hollywood Park, two of which were first-time starters and the rest who had run at least two races. Perhaps my logic was misguided, but two angles were appealing here:
- Dancer's connections gave this three-year-old colt two months off from racing after being (over)aggressively placed in a stakes event run in 21.3-44.4 through the first half mile, but still trained the horse six times since the debut (i.e. signalling a healthy horse); the works were nothing to write home about, but neither was Friday night's field.
- More-rational placement in a far-less distinguished field gave Full Dancer a legit shot to stalk a more-sensible pace and close late in the stretch, which is exactly what happened as Full Dancer officially won by 2.5 lengths but was probably 6-8 lengths the good, with Brice Blanc riding this one 4-5 wide into the stretch (replay)
- Payoff to NJ Horseplayer: $12.40 to win + $5 to place = $17.40 winnings
- Sibella was 20-to-1 on the M/L and drew even less interest in a 9-horse field of maiden special weights at a mile on turf -- surprising, in light of middling foes, including three with a combined 49 starts, including 4-to-1 third choice Vonn Nez (which begs the question: how long does it take to realize certain horses are just claimers?) I had three angles in mind:
- Post relief: Sibella's only start was a six-furlong turf sprint from the tough 12 hole, so placement in the fourth spot of a nine-horse field was much more beneficial
- Possible tactical speed: Maybe I read too much into one start, but Sibella's past performance reflected an ability to break well from the gate (she broke second from the gate first time out under upstart return jockey Vinnie Bednar), and even as she pulled back to eleventh-place at the first call, Sibella made up ground to finish seventh that race
- Lack of early speed in the race: The combination of factors 1 and 2 played out to perfection as Bednar guided Sibella to a relatively uncontested gate-to-wire score at 24-to-1 (replay).
- Payoff to NJ Horseplayer: contest max $42 to win (bettors at the track took home $51.40) + $13.60 to place = $55.60 winnings