Thursday, February 21, 2013

First a very quick introduction: I am in my mid 30's and live in the Chicago(land) area. I have been following horse-racing since Smarty Jones was covered in Roses. I pretty much live and breathe horses now and wouldn't have it any other way.
My intent with this blog is to talk about one sequence a week that I am going to be betting. I might also sprinkle in some other plays and opinions too. I don't really have a style to my handicapping. I just take it all in and base my opinion on what I think is going to happen in the race. That is to me the beauty of this game. You can have 10 different people look at the same race and chances are you are going to get 10 different opinions on the outcome.
One thing I need to talk about in this opening post is how the great state of IL has for now outlawed online wagering. This means a trip to an OTB if I want to bet which is a huge pain in the ass. Besides wasting gas and my time I also am not able to download past performances from Their Brisnet PP's are free if you wager at least $2 on the card which is now impossible. All is not lost though as this nifty little site does provide a lot of races: Life Saver. The problem which you can see if you click that is not all the races are there so I have to pick and choose my plays even more than before. I use Brisnet PP's for handicapping. The reason for that is simple: they are free. Hopefully the AWD fiasco gets resolved soon but with IL politicians I am not getting my hopes up.
I will also mention that I don't bet a lot of money. My plays are small. I am not the kind of bettor that is going to spread deep in legs hoping to catch some wild longshot that has no shot on paper. I do play against favorites but prefer more logical choices to beat them. I'll get into this more when I am going through a sequence.

Today's play is the early Pick 4 at Gulfstream Park. The sequence starts with Race 2.

Race 2

I don't add many horses to my Virtual Stable but did exactly that after watching Integrity break his maiden at 6 furlongs last month at first asking. He now stretches out to 7 furlongs and I see no reason why he won't repeat here. He is by Hard Spun out of an Unbridled Song's mare so the added furlong should be no issue. He has 4 solid works since his debut including a bullet work at 5 furlongs, best of 26 that day. Chad Brown who trains this colt has stellar statistics, Castellano stays up, what's not to like besides the price. The only horse that really scares me is sort of a question mark. Click here to see him.
Part of me wants to include this horse but that would mean doubling up on my ticket so I'm going to pass and hope he needs the race. Michael Mareina is an excellent trainer and the horse obviously has talent winning first out odds on like he did. If Integrity flops I won't be surprised to see him crossing the line first.

Selection: 4

Race 3

A mile turf race for 25k claimers. This is a race where I'm going to play against the 5/2 morning line favorite which is the 1 horse. Click here to see what I'm about to talk about. The only thing this horse has going for her is the cutback and she'll get an ok enough trip. I just don't think she's good enough, she doesn't like to win races. She's been at this level for too long not to come up with a win. I'll let her beat me.
The horses I do like are the 2, 2nd time turf, stretching out, has speed so will be forwardly placed. Might not be good enough but at 8/1 she's going on my ticket. I also am including the 4 at 6/1, this hard knocking 9 year old mare ran a nice race two back, a repeat to that should win this. I'm also including the 5 at 8/1, she wanted no part of 1 3/8 last out, but her race two back looks good.

Selections: 2 4 5

Race 4

Statebred allowance race covering 7 furlongs. I'm using 3 of the 7 including the favorite who I like but don't trust to win. This is him. My main concern with him is Catalano is only winning at 17% off a 90+ day layoff. He is probably going to be on the engine too and I just don't know if he's going to have enough left in the tank to cross the wire first. The 5 horse also has speed and I could see them hooking up.
I'm also using the 2 horse and the 6 on the cutback.

Selections: 2 4 6

Race 5

I hate these kinds of races. Cheap (12k) maiden claimers going a mile. These are the kinds of races where you do want to spread a lot because who knows how these horses are going to run. I rely heavy on recent form and trainer stats and with that am using 2 horses in the last leg. They are the favorites and on paper one of them should win. They are the 5 and 6. The danger horse is the 9 who is returning to the dirt after 2 disastrous turf tries. He sprinted on the dirt last year against tougher but didn't run a lick, I'll let him beat me here.

Selections: 5 6

Pick 4 ticket: 4 / 2 4 5 / 2 4 6 / 5 6

That is a whopping $9 for a $0.50 ticket. My ticket really revolves around the 3nd race playing against  not only the 5/2 choice I highlighted, but also the 4/1 second choice that I didn't talk about. I know I won't be going to the IRS window if this hits but I didn't expect that going in.