Ramblings of a weekend handicapper's bid to qualify annually for the $3 million National Horseplayer Championship in Las Vegas. Flamed out in 2015, 2016 and 2019 NHCs...and looking to qualify in Feb. 2020, still with an eye toward playable long-shots.
Friday, March 1, 2013
TVG Now Live in New Jersey
OK, TVG, you can start advertising NJ Horseplayer as a new account holder!
(And "welcome home," former Monmouth Park handicapper Tom Cassidy!
It took two minutes to sign up for an active TVG account in the wee hours Friday -- a fresh break from the painstaking snail-mail process of registering for my short-lived 4NJBets.com account about a year ago that fell just shy of submitting to blood testing, fingerprinting and DNA testing. (However, as a Board of Education member in my borough K-8 school district, I'm used to such treatment.)
OK, TVG... you took Cassidy; now leave us Brad Thomas!
Setting up an account was simple, and TVG offers several deposit options (i.e. credit card, direct bank transfer, on-track, etc.). I was able to enter a promotional code for a $125 New Account Signup Bonus, which would get me a $100 credit if I wager $200 within 30 days of signup, though I'm not sure I'll hit that watermark, considering I'm not a daily player; but, we'll see (maybe time to roll out some show bets).
The conditions also make clear a key point that legacy 4NJBets account holders might find interesting: no fees until June 1, when I figure that account holders will thereafter be subject to either TVG's $19.99 per month subscriber fee, or the $0.25 per wager fee. Stay tuned.
As minutes of Wednesday's meeting of the New Jersey Racing Commission are not yet available, I can only speculate that Darby Development LLC, the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority'soff-balance sheet operator of Monmouth Park and supervisor of TVG, included this as part of the agreement. Legacy 4NJBets account holders may not like this, but if the signup process is any indication, TVG is a marked upgrade in terms of technology and member benefits over NJ's old ADW operator, SportTech.
I'll likely dabble with TVG in the weeks ahead, but hope to cast my sports journalism hat aside and return to writing about thoroughbred handicapping contests. Speaking of which...
Simulcast Series Challenge #2 Tomorrow, Monmouth Park
The card for tomorrow's SSC looks much more difficult than the February 2 affair, which was marked with some pretty short fields at the three contest tracks -- Aqueduct, Gulfstream and Tampa Bay Downs.
After guiding my daughter's rec basketball team to a convincing 12-4 playoff victory last night, I settled down with my past performances and tackled Aqueduct first, where six of the first seven races are deep but unsavory, but gets interesting from races 7-11. In all likelihood I'll pass on the Grade 2 Top Flight Handicap, which is the least-bit intriguing to me as a bettor, but am considering some prices in the Grade 3 Tom Fool (Race 9) and Grade 3 Gotham (Race 10).
On Public Handicapper, I'm siding with 20-to-1 Be Bullish and 8-to-1 Transparent in those respective races. I may change my view for the Monmouth Park contest (or have squandered my $100 bankroll by then), but can poke a lot of holes in the favorites for those races, namely the Tom Fool, where Comma to the Top (3-to-1) ships in from Santa Anita off 7 days rest and I expect will be pressed early. I just think that's a lot to ask of a horse. The second choice, 7-to-2 Smash, is another California shipper, but I'm speculating it may take a race or two for this one to acclimate to running under cold conditions on a hard dirt track for the first time.
There's just better value elsewhere, and I think the line is WAY too high on Be Bullish, who is jumping up in stakes class but is 16-for-21 in the money on the Aqueduct inner dirt and, in my view, will have plenty of early pace to run into from Post 1. In the Gotham, meanwhile, I see Transparen't respectable fourth-place showing to Orb and Revolutionary as a key race, with 8-to-1 too good to pass.
Surprisingly, I did not have nightmares in my sleep after getting 3-4 races into the Tampa card, but will finish handicapping those and Gulfstream sometime this evening. The 13-horse Grade 3 Swale Stakes is the clear highlight, though, again, sticking around to that point (5:35 p.m. post) will be difficult in SSC#2.
My goals, outside of winning, are to finish in the Top 20 to advance to the SSC Invitation in April, where 60 qualifiers will compete for 2 spots to the 2014 National Handicapping Championship (NHC XV).
If you're at Monmouth Park tomorrow, stop by the first row of the dining terrace and say hello. I'll be there, playing alongside Red Rock or Bust, who had better do well after taking three weeks off to handicap tomorrow card.