|NJ Horseplayer all about feeding|
the Pokemon GO frenzy; $100 to
win on Pikachu & Ash
It's a free spin (Del Mar even provides past performances for each day's race), so there's no better time to sign up than now.
Registration closes on Friday.
Make no bones about it, this is a difficult contest to win, but at no out-of-pocket cost, it's one certainly worth playing, especially for NHC Tour members since Tour points are awarded to the Top 10% of finishers. (On the latter, I picked up Tour points in 2015 via the (separate) November contest, so signing up here can only help those trying to qualify for the NHC by accruing Tour points.)
The premise is simple -- build the highest bankroll by Labor Day -- as are the rules:
- Make at least 20 mythical win, place and/or show wagers of $100 (the daily bankroll).
- Del Mar selects one race per day, generally that afternoon's feature.
- Enter selections before the post time listed on that day's contest race.
- The goal over the course of the 39-day meet is to make as high a profit as possible.
- A successful $100 straight "win" play on opening day on a 10-to-1 shot would, for example, put you atop the leaderboard at $1,000 ($22 win mutual x $50 minus $100 bet).
- A losing $100 wager puts you at -$100; 5 days of losing $100 bets = minus $500.
- The win "cap" is 30-to-1 (i.e. $3,000 of notional winnings).
- Starts Friday, July 15 and ends on Monday, Sept. 5.
- Top 2 finishers get 2017 NHC seats plus a $1,000 travel and hotel stipend.
- Top 50 finishers receive prizes (TBD),
- NHC Tour points to the Top 10% finishers.
Keys To Success
Hitting some long-shots is a necessity. In the year I finished second, my $7,575.00 bankroll was about $800 below the winner but $1,125 ahead of the third-place player. Other season-ending leaders had $6,500 (2015) and $5,068 (2013) for the summer contest, and $7,870 in the 2015 fall contest -- extremely solid returns on investment.
If you have the time to make your pick closest to post time, seek value. In the 2014 contest, I hit "cap" horses (39-to-1 and 29-to-1), but these were generally totally dismissed by the betting public (contest odds and mythical payouts shift as they would with real-money wagers). In one such win, Meinertzhageni was an 8-to-1 morning liner who drifted up to 29-to-1 at post time.
Remember that California bettors hammer the favorites. If you do not watch the California circuit that much, be aware that your 5-to-2 morning line favorite from trainers Bob Baffert or Phil D'Amato will be bet down to 3-to-5 by post time. See "seek value" just above. Either play another horse where there's more value or just skip the race if you cannot make the case for a rival. Recall that you need to "bet" just 20 races to qualify, so a one-day pass at least sustains your bankroll.
Avoid "chasing." Say you end this coming weekend 0-for-3 and tied for last at minus $300. Your inclination might be to ditch rational handicapping and take fliers on bombs in hopes of hitting one at the 30-to-1 cap. Remember that, with a $100 daily bankroll, you can make up a lot of ground on the field with back-to-back 5-to-1 and 8-to-1 winners that make sense to play. Stay patient.
Stick to "win" bets. The spreadsheet on my September 2014 season recap taught me that I left money on the table in splitting my $100 bankroll into $50 win and place rather than going full bore with $100 to win on each day's selection. Now, if you're way ahead of the pack in late August and are looking to sustain bankroll, I would endorse the more-conservative strategy or sticking to the sidelines. Otherwise, $100 win is the way to go to move more quickly up the leaderboard.
Use the contest for practice. The chances of a Top 2 finish are slim, so take advantage of the free past performances, access to free race video and replays (via www.calracing.com). to increase your contest handicapping and playing skills.
Have fun, and see you at the finish line!