In finishing tied with two other players for 40th-place, I realize in hindsight my misstep was discounting American Blend in the fifth at Santa Anita, a $56k maiden special weight at 6.5 furlongs. This was the eighth of ten races on the tournament card.
|On to Vegas!
The 324-point payout (HorsePlayersQualify.com gives contest players 10 points for each win and place dollar paid at the window; $23 to win plus $9.40 to place equals 324 points) proved the difference, for me, between winning a spot in the Treasure Island Last Chance and nailing the final stake in my 2012 NHC coffin. I hit for 346 points on 12-to-1 Growl in contest race 8 (the 11th from Gulfstream) to give me a puncher's chance in the finale (6th from Santa Anita), but Rainbow Goose (18-to-1) stumbled out of the gate to end my hopes.
Still, the HorsePlayersQualify.com contest was a ton of fun for $50 on a relaxing December 26 afternoon, and I could not be happier for my friend to have one last shot at NHC glory. In the weeks ahead I'll dabble in "for fun" contests (i.e. Santa Anita winter meet contest and Derby Wars, plus Public Handicapper's Winter of Discontent Challenge) and look forward to the release of the 2012 NHC Tour schedule. I am especially eager to see whether Monmouth Park continues with its Simulcast Series Challenge. We'll see.