Sunday, September 16, 2012

Final NHC Contest at Monmouth

There's still a lot of time and opportunity to qualify for the National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas in January 2013, but today is likely my final "on-track" effort.

Monmouth Park is hosting its final live-money contest of 2012, featuring races from Monmouth Park and Woodbine and with first post schedule for 12:45 p.m.

Two NHC seats, cash up for grabs
There is no change to the format: $200 entry fee, and only win, place and show betting (combinations of these allowed; i.e. $5WP). The wagering minimum is $10 per race. Players must bet at least five races from each track, which is sort of interesting in that Monmouth only carded nine races today, so less picking and choosing which races to include.  Note that in MP's last contest, one of the top finishers was disqualified from NHC contention for betting only four races from Monmouth, so be careful to follow the rules.

I have yet to really handicap the card, but 6 of the 20 contest races are for maidens.  Monmouth's leans heavily toward bottom-level claimers, in contrast to Woodbine, where Sunday marks the return of two big Grade 1 events - the Northern Dancer (featuring 60-year-old Al Khali, who comes out for anything at 12 furlongs or more on turf) and the Woodbine Mile -- a 9-horse field headlined by Wise Dan, perhaps the greatest horse in the world at present but probably unplayable at a 6-to-5 morning line.

Monmouth ran a contest on the same day last year under similar conditions -- low 70s (probably cooler at the track, so pack a sweatshirt) and clear.  The Woodbine fields for today's Woodbine Mile day are shorter than last year's, though Riding the River returns in the Woodbine Mile after almost providing NJ Horseplayer a major thrill in last year's contest.

Perhaps I'll see you around the grounds at Monmouth (I usually play around the 3rd-level bank of TVs)!

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