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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


On Twitter the other day, a horseplayer was lamenting that he was running into hard luck recently, that every move he made was the wrong, that whatever he did, nothing worked. So he asked the Twitterverse for advice.

There were many suggestions, many of which were sound and interesting. Now while I have confidence as a rule, it’s been a rough fortnight since Breeders’ Cup weekend for me, too, and it hit my personal fan yesterday.

While it’s not my style to tell others what to do with their betting dollars, just to try to help them make solid, informed decisions, I remembered the words of an old-schooler which I passed on to the troubled handicapper.

“Start making show bets until you get your confidence back,” said the old man, “lower the degree of difficulty until your analysis starts clicking.”

Good advice, so we’re going to do the opposite.

We think horizontals are traps. The Pick Whatever forces players to spend money that should be reserved for their best opinions. Above all, remain liquid, stay off tilt.

In addition, today’s three- and four deep race conditions brings many class levels together creating chaos, which of course is the whole idea. They even have their own terminology for when horseplayers are forced to spend more money that they might ordinarily; “spread races.”

Finally, human nature wants to keep the dream alive and given the tricky conditions, these are the kind of races that races that racetrack bean counters love. And as Gordon Gekko taught us in the ’80s, greed is good and these pools are pimped everywhere

I’ve decided to punish myself, for not pulling the trigger on Mrs. Danvers, City Man, or Hog Creek Hustle with authority, taking “safer” risks instead, those and other no-guts-no glory-no money-back decisions I made Friday afternoon.

And so, I’m going to take a swing at the 50-Cent Pick 4 today–not one, but two; one in New York, the other Kentucky.


Race 9 G2 Golden Rod: Simply Ravishing (1-1) lost any chance with poor start, was never comfortable, and still showed courage in deep Juvenile Fillies. Not convinced she’s a need the lead type. Consistently fastest and you have to single somewhere.

Race 10: Logically, it’s between Chad Brown and Brad Cox, the two favorites and consistently fastest, Founder (3-1) and Mandaloun (5-2), respectively, but Pico d’Oro (8-1) looks very live and is a must inclusion if we want to blow up the ticket–in a good way, of course.

G2 Jockey Club Stakes: Keepmeinmind (6-5) will be singled on many tickets and for good reason; has never taken a backward step in three starts (a lot of fast development, though) but mostly because he was an excellent third behind Essential Quality in the Juvenile despite a roughed start and a sustained rally, impressive for such a young horse. And it is Diodoro…

But we’re including two other who have impressed us early on–check the video if you don’t trust me–Sittin On Go (5-1) and King Fury (6-1).

Race 12: Bigger bankrolls likely to spread here but we’ll stay close to the form and these three have a better than 50-50 chance to win this: Outasite (3-1), Runway Magic (4-1) and Group Hug (5-1). And just to spice things up, one mystery horse, who comes into this off a 5-furlong turf debut, Nitro Time (15-1). Talk about blowing up a ticket, what’s this about Mr. Lynch?

8 // 4.6.10 // 1.4.7 // = $18


Central Park Stakes, Race 7:

Two year olds going a mile and a sixteenth around two turf turns? Damn right we’re spreading out. Breadman (8-1) brook his [turf] maiden going a mile on debut and improved figure next time on dirt. Third time the charm in a big way for Scarlet Sky (6-1). Besides, does Shug lose anymore?

Hard Love (3-1) won on debut for Jonathan Thomas; thought he was only supposed to win with second-time starters? Never Surprised (5-2) exactly, we’re never surprised when Todd comes out running fast on debut; owns stretch-out pedigree. Royne (5-1) ladies and gentlemen, Sir Michael Genius Dickenson!

Race 8: Of course, turnback Critical Value (5-1) and Undine (6-1), a Brad Cox breakthrough last out, have their appeal. But Center Aisle (3-5), a $1.5 million purchase dropping from consecutive graded stakes, last one key, is supposed to win a preliminary allowances, even if Mr. Brown is not quite having a Chad-like season. Singling.

Race 9 Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship:

So what’s in a name? Sayaaaf (3-1) is going the right way with Todd having something to prove. El Tormenta (10-1) because why would Gail Cox being shipping down here off a six-month layup? Right, Canada’s currently closed. Archidust (4-1) because he’s fast and it’s Asmussen. Therapist (7-2) because Christophe is having a career year and even he’s playing 2020’s most popular angle; the turnback.

Race 10 G3 Long Island Stakes:

Let’s just say Mutamakina (7-2) was unlucky last time out and leave it at that. Theodora B. (6-1) because Dickenson doesn’t lose genius status in less than an hour’s time. And, of course, everybody’s got a Hungry Kitten (6-1) because she loves the trip and it’s Shug, Part II. // 8 // // 4.9.11 = $30

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2 Responses

  1. Just wanted to mention that today, Saturday, is Calder’s or Gulfstream West’s (what?) last day after almost 50 yrs of track horse racing. The only thing that’s on my mind about this track is how many times Long Islanders, and many others, called it Caldor which was a department store specializing in electronics, appliances if my memory is not wrong. Yes, even that one is long gone. Casinos, racinos with their one arm bandits keep on taking money from the ever growing retirees with nothing better to do than getting scammed by the odds of (not) winning. Never thought that loneliness, idleness would. be so costly ! Those blind games were never for types like me. I only waste a few $ on Lotto, only when it gets over the $350,000,000 odds to one, and just 4 bucks! Hey even that crooked “game” of Jai Alai has it’s clueless patrons playing “their” numbers without paying attention to the game itself. Boy, not even Rasslin’ fans are that empty headed, at least they know that it is a non event. Wonder if MacMahon & Co. Would be interested in such a scam… Years ago there were some in Connecticut. So there was Teletrack, so was Roosevelt, so was Calder, Timonium, Bowie… Who’s next?… Not that I’ll miss any of them. Today’s Japan Cup, over $5 million purse, a quiet race, with Contrail, a young phenom horse as the horse to watch since I never have… Sushi for dinner 🍣… well, as an appetizer… Sayonara !

    Ed. Note: Out of respect for the HRI audience, this comment has been edited, but only the most egregious spelling and punctuation errors

  2. Thanks for the corrections as I write without spell check. Anyway, coming back from Iñakaya Sushi I noticed that Churchill Downs was on its 8th race and after checking the board # 5 sticks out as my XR$, that is hidden bet horse. After listening to the telecast’s four or five “experts” I put my $ choice on top and box it with them. Mind you no one mentions the 5 horse. Race starts and ends with 5 over 2 4 which are two of four horses used with the 5… Why do I say this? Because, dear readers, the experts only mention the top choices, and that is NOT enough! ✌️ Happy 2021 .

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