The NHC is over and so is my “reign” as the Champion. I was the handicapping champion now I’m just another horseplayer looking to qualify for next year’s event.
What a whirlwind two weeks this has been. Traveling to Miami with my family and then heading to Vegas a few days later makes it so much more difficult to repeat or even contend back to back years. When someone does it believe me it will be the greatest achievement.
My performance at the NHC was awful. I can make excuses all day long but the bottom line is I didn’t pick winners. Sure, I had a lot of 3rds – but so does everyone. Santa Anita cancelling turf on both days and running sloppy track had an effect but everyone plays the same races so no excuses – bad handicapping to blame only.
That being said, it was again a really fun time and experience. This year’s tourney went off without any apparent hitches. Plenty of room, betting windows, machines and the TI really wants us there and that is evident. The NTRA folks did a great job and I even saw Eric Wing, Keith Chamblin and Michele Ravencraft smiling and having a good time which meant smooth sailing.
Congrats to Jim Benes for winning the contest. A lot of good handicapping and a sprinkle of game theory at the end put him over the top. As many of you may know he trailed by less than 3 bucks going into the final race and chose the favorite – which was actually a risky move because the leader could have also chosen the favorite but didn’t. When the favorite ran 2nd Jim was the new NHC Champ after the leader picked a 25-1 shot. I’ll have to get the explanation for that later but I couldnt have done that.
Which brings me to decompressing from the NHC. It is a emotional roller coaster and takes a mental and physical toll. I got back on my horse though and won Derby Wars qualifier for their big game on Saturday and promptly nearly blanked. Played the NHC qualifier and did poorly. But Sunday was another day.
I played the BC Qualifier and did okay but my brother won the contest so we are heading back to Cali for the Breeders Cup. He did it nearly all on his own but I nudged him to pick the 5 – Formative – at Gulf in the last contest race and thankfully for me and him, Formative won easily at 11-1.
I also played the Horsetourneys Big One and contended all day and led going into the final race by a few dollars. I posted a 131 score for 9 races which is usually enough to guarantee winning but these cappers were hot too. I picked the favorite in the last on the premise that I couldn’t let the favorite cost me a spot and I liked the horse as well. I also figured that at least one of the 2 challengers would pick the favorite and that meant I could take that person out of contention. Alas, the two challengers both picked the 2nd favorite who promptly won and I ran third and out of the money.
Which brings me to my point. I was alive in the Pick 5 at Gulfstream to the 1-3-11 for 10,000/10,000/75,000. Yes, 75,000. And, the 11 ran a tough beat 2nd to not only cost me the contest but a year making score.
That will decompress you in a hurry.
Now it’s on to the Horse Player World Series in a few weeks.