|NJ Horseplayer on to Beantown
Personally, I am entering the tournament a bit apprehensive from a handicapping perspective, considering I could just as well stay home and save myself the time, but Suffolk is throwing in lunch as part of the $60 entry fee and offering cash prizes to the top 10, while I'm sure I'll come away with some fine stories and experiences. Rumor has it, too, that we'll be meeting Donna (@travelbyrv) and Susan from the Saturday Afternoon Horse blog (@asaturdayhorse), so fraternization with fellow horseplayers will be a big plus!
|Win or lose at Suffolk,
Ted's is a winning wager
For those in the Boston area or insane enough to travel far and wide like me, Saturday's contest will comprise 15 races in a "pick and pray" format, whereby players make a notional $2 win-place bet on each race and must enter all picks for the entire card before the first contest race (Suffolk Downs, Race 6). From there on out, the outcome is in the hands of the horse' connections.
The format is pretty interesting and mirrors that of some contests on HorseTourneys.com, where I hit on a minor award once but have not played enough to gauge my prowess. I will spend this afternoon and evening doping out the 15 races (which will conveniently wrap up by about 6 p.m.):
- Suffolk Downs: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
- Saratoga: 5, 6, 8, 9, 10
- Monmouth: 7, 8, 10
- Del Mar: 1, 2
Anyway, best of luck to everyone else headed out to Suffolk Downs on Saturday, and anyone looking to connect there should either reach me on Twitter (@NJHorseplayer) or call/text (732.322.0130).
Haskell Day Afterthoughts
I hadn't planned on making it to Monmouth Park on Sunday considering plans for NYC Marathon training (man, does it suck training in this humidity) and cleanup from a Saturday house party, but my man Chris Skurat from Tinton Falls had never been and asked if I'd be interested. It didn't take much arm-twisting.
|Chris (left) didn't need it, but I certainly could have used
Joe and Jeremy's (far right) insights on the Haskell
Because we did not show up until Race 9 on Sunday's 13-race Haskell program, we did not spend a lot of time at Monmouth and instead opted for the comfort of the grandstand, but in hindsight discovered that Joe and Jeremy were on hand to promote, yet again, fan education.
These guys have done a wonderful job as true ambassadors for the sport and deserve a lot of credit for educating fans in all aspects of the thoroughbred (and now harness) racing game -- from wagering strategy and horse ownership to horse pedigree and handicapping -- via their Night School program, held online every Tuesday night from 830p-10p ET.
Simply put, these guys get it, attempting to generate grassroots interest while educating the fans in a wonderful but fragmented and perceived dying sport. Certainly some tracks (Saratoga comes to mind) offer handicapping seminars and such, but most are under-publicized and probably turn many people off who feel too inexperienced to get involved at the track.
Night School welcomes fans of all levels, and I sense the online chat format makes even the newest of fans comfortable asking questions and learning online, as opposed to walking up to someone and admitting they have no idea, for instance, what to do with their racing program. I would recommend anyone who has yet to try Night School to give it a whirl, and check out the online archives for a flavor of what the guys present each Tuesday night. It's definitely worth your while!