"Players Up" blogger Indulto is a retired computer programming residing in SoCal and has been betting Thoroughbreds since the days of Kelso, cashing his first ticket at Saratoga while in college.

Indulto is well known in racing's cyber world as a participant on the Ragozin Sheets message board, the PaceAdvantage Forum, Paulick Report, and has made important contributions to the industry's audience as an HRI Readers Blog contributor.

Indulto was active in the formation of the Horseplayers Association of North America and with former HANA colleagues worked on the Players' Boycott of California racing when takeout rates were increased by the legislature there.

Taking his nickname from the King Ranch color-bearer of the 1960s, Indulto now devotes his time to advocate for the recreational player and hobbyist, but prefers lower takeout rates for all rather than subsidized rebates for the few.

Indulto supports the creation of a centralized racing authority to establish uniform rules for racing and wagering and for those standards to be enforced consistently.

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Friday, August 30, 2013

At Del Mar, Beach Blanket Stinko

LOS ANGELES, August 29, 2013—Like a stopped clock that’s right twice a day, my handicapping of Grade I races for three-year-olds tends to be right twice a year. Both times this year, D. Wayne Lukas provided a vehicle of value that helped overcome my inconsistent wagering strategies.

And that ship might have sailed when Oxbow went to the sidelines and Will Take Charge will take lots more money now that his profile has been raised several notches.

This was a weekend when even the highest of high-profile trainers served up longshots; Todd Pletcher in Saratoga’s King’s Bishop and Bob Baffert in the Pat O’Brien at Del Mar. I caught neither, having exacta-boxed the four survivors from the Amsterdam and only watched Goldenscents complete the Pat O'Brien exacta with hands that never reached into my pocket.

Perhaps what we need here at HRI is a wagering clinic where hapless handicappers like me can get some diagnostic assistance in turning red ink into black before our fingers turn blue from pinching dimes. Indeed, opening my wallet for week-end wagers looks more like a moth–release program given my recent inability to isolate singles at the top of my superfecta tickets.

Even when my analysis is reasonably accurate, financial reward is too frequently interrupted in vertical exotic pools when the right horses finish in the wrong order. Sunday’s Pacific Classic was a perfect example.

I figured that the draught might end because Game On Dude appeared a most logical winner since his previous conqueror made several disappointing efforts since their last meeting. But a Single-All-All-All superfecta would have involved 990 combinations which was unlikely to produce a profit, especially when the single is the favorite. Some trimming in the middle two slots seemed appropriate.

The battle for place appeared to be between dead-fit Hollywood Gold Cup Runner-up, Kettle Corn, and a resurgent two-time Pacific Classic winning Richard’s Kid. Even though I had my doubts, Dullahan, the 2012 winner, was impossible to ignore. It was reasonable to assume that one of my choices would finish second; probably third, as well.

Parenthetically, I always use All in the 4th slot, efforting to give myself at least as many chances to get third or second money. So I added Holding Glory, a 10-furlong graded stakes winner in Brazil, to the 3rd slot. He rated to improve off his fast-closing 2nd at one mile over the track. That play took 98 combinations, compared with 270 if I used All for third.

The bottom three superfecta finishes were decided by noses. If the 3rd and 4th placings had been reversed, I would have cashed. A 40-1 shot, You Know I Know, finished 3rd behind more highly regarded stablemate Kettle Corn. Both had outfinished Richard’s Kid, resulting in a Dime Super worth $226.04. The odds were 6-5, 6-1, 40-1 and 14-1, respectively.

Ironically, You Know I Know also happened to be an optional-claiming miler who narrowly defeated a freshened Holding Glory. The racing gods insured that my 33-1 longshot would finish a troubled fifth beneath Sutherland-Kruse, a head behind Richard’s Kid.

I know, I know: If I liked Holding Glory I should have liked You Know I Know, too. It would have taken only nine more combinations to get it right. All I can say is that I’m more inclined to spend a little more when my top selection isn’t the favorite.

(Maybe I would buy 10% more combinations if I were subsidized with the 10% rebate that goes to racing’s 1 percent, even though we bet into the same pools).

Jay Hovdey’s entertaining recap at was more forgiving of Chantal’s ride than either the DRF charts or replays indicate. See for yourself. I’ll be revisiting my own drawing board.

Written by Indulto

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