Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time

So ends week one, as a handicapper I'm glad to see the back of it. As a fan I was glad to be a part of it in my own way. I don't live anywhere near Saratoga and I won't be visiting the track this summer but the Internet has so many resources that allow you to feel a part of the action even from thousands of miles away.

The first week was a tough one at the windows. My spot plays showed a -90% return on investment. Basically I blew it big time. I played 14 different exacta combos and hit just one. But on six different occasions two of my three exacta horses hit the frame, it's just that they weren't filling the first two spots.

Over the last week I singled out 15 of horses that I considered to be the most likely winners and just one of them won. In fact only three of them even hit the board. That's pretty much as horrendous as you can get. I'm looking for ways to reverse my fortunes a bit over these next few weeks but I am still enjoying myself. That's the neat thing about Saratoga it's like Christmas for me. Even when it's bad it's better than every other time of year. It's like the saying goes "If you can't learn to do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly" I think that definitely applies to my first week at the windows.

I have been a fan of Quality Road ever since he broke his maiden but somehow I always end up going against him for a better price. I really need to stop doing that because one thing that has become increasingly evident with each start is that he is an above average animal and the normal rules do not apply. It's generally a good idea to go with experienced and classy sprinters over a router who is just trying to get back to the races. But Quality Road is not a sprinter or router specifically he's just a good horse. Like Ghostzapper before him he seems able to simply win races impressively and in fast times no matter what the challenge seems to be. Breaking the track record on his comeback was a huge effort. This horse might be the only one out there freaky enough to challenge Rachel.

It was a bit of a rough week for favorites. They won just 16 of the 60 races held this week. 26% is just a bit low for favorites who generally win around 30% or more. Odds on favorites compiled a record of 10-5-1-1. Believe it or not but back in 2003 and 2004 you could have made a profit at Saratoga simply by playing the favorite over the rest of the field in exacta's. Those were strong years for favorites and the pool's were bigger back then. That angle has long since dried up.

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