My first shot on camera publicly talking about my selections for an entire race card is now in the books. If I had a copy of the video, I would post it here for everyone, but I gather that these are not something that Canterbury archives so my debut may be lost for the ages!
I spent quite a bit of time time prepping for my maiden start and I learned a few things. When you are in a position to tell 5,000 people (plus the folks who may be on-line watching) who you like in a race and why, you tend to be a bit more careful. I noticed everything: speed, pace, class, time between races, possible trainer intentions, you name the angle and I paid attention to it. It’s also tough to have a solid opinion on every race. As a bettor even though you would say, “This is a race I’d just as soon pass than bet”, but as a public handicapper that’s not what you’re there for, so you soldier on and give your opinion.
So how did things turn out? The stat line was pretty good for my top choices:
8 races, 4 wins, 1 second, 2 thirds or, in horsespeak, 8 – 4 – 1 – 2
A flat $2 wager on each of my top choices to win would have cost you $16 and returned just a touch over $30. My winners were odds of 8/5, 3-1, 5-1 and 1-1. Whether you measure your wins in percentage or return on investment, this is a pretty good day.
How did the TV side go? That could use some work. The only copy I saw was one my wife took from her iPhone of the computer feed, not the greatest copy in the world, but I was able to pick out that I had too many “ums”, way too many “you knows” and I used the phrase, “keep out of the exotics at your own peril” twice – one time too many.
I was pretty nervous on the approach to the show but once I got in the “hot tub”, as the box is known at the track, that all disappeared as KQRS personality Mike Gelfand and I got started. Of course it helps that Mike is a consummate professional, though at one point he threw it over to me as I was drinking water! I calmly finished my swig and continued on gamely. In the moment, the silence felt like it lasted forever, but on the replay it didn’t come across all that badly.
The moment I’m most proud of was warning the crowd against what would be the prohibitive favorite, Bigdaddywarbucks, in the sixth race. The horse was dropping to $5,000 claiming after winning a maiden special weight in his last start. I’d never seen that before in a horse that did not have an extended layoff. He was my third choice and I told the crowd that even though he was coming off a nice win from a leading barn, that drop had me concerned enough not to play him on top. I went with Waverly Charmer, who ran like a champ, won by 2 ½ and paid $13.80 for the win.
In the fifth, where my selection Speedy Butterfly won, my two choices underneath finished off the board BUT I did say that of those two Prairie Meadow shippers I preferred the one that had been running in claiming company rather than the allowance horse because the claiming horse had actually made something of his starts rather than just getting dragged around the track. Don’t Tell Dad did indeed finish ahead of Friendly Emma. No money in that, but I was happy that the analysis panned out. Having the top choice win didn’t hurt either.
The presentation needs some work, though I think not bad for a maiden effort. Thankfully the analysis was pretty good. I wonder if the “Ken Rudolph Replacement Search Committee” caught the show?