Friday, February 7, 2014

Road to Kentucky - First Contest of 2014

Last week I took step one in reaching one of my goals for 2014: playing in some tournaments.  I signed up for the Canterbury Park "Road to Kentucky" contest - well, Heather pushed me into a good way.  I had actually forgotten about it and she was the one to remind me and then made sure we entered.

The contest is relatively straightforward.  You play a single horse across the board in the designated races for that week.  Double points are awarded for "bonus" races that are the Kentucky Derby 2014 prep races.  Like I said, pretty straightforward.  There are winners for the week and there are overall winners as well.

Full disclosure before the recap: This was my first "live" contest.  I have played some online stuff, but never a live contest like this.

Last weekend the races were at Tampa Bay Downs and the bonus races were the Sam Davis and the Withers from Aqueduct. 

I'm not going to go through and recap race for race, but if you recall that my handicapping goal for the season was to score 40 percent winners at 7/2 or better, I am pleased to report that at least part of that goal was reached.  My Saturday winners were:

Race 1 - Arctican Breeze ($11.60)
Race 8 - Please Explain ($4.00)
Race 10 - Guys Reward ($31.60)
Race 11 - Stormy Pacific ($17.20)

My average win odds was 7-1 but the winning percentage was 30%.  I only missed the board in 3 races while the other 5 races I finished 2nd.  A $20 across the board wager on each of my selections would have yielded about a $700 profit (oh, if only I did...).  I'm okay missing on the win percentage if I can double my average win mutual!!

While proud of my showing, I only finished 13th out of 507 for the week - out of the weekly money.  I think this points to a couple of things:

1 - The handicappers at Canterbury are a pretty sharp bunch.  I don't know if I can do much better than that and I still couldn't crack the top 5.

2 - The bonus races are huge.  I only managed a 2nd in the Withers and with a very low price so I only doubled 48 points.  Not much of a help.  The winner of the Sam B Davis, however, was worth 780 points total and I missed it completely.  Even the place horse would have been worth 160 and would have moved me from 13th to 6th.

Now the overall contest is a marathon and not a sprint and consistency with the above results (admittedly hard to attain) would go a long way to sealing a victory, I'm just not sure if I can do much better than this!

Next up: Santa Anita tomorrow.  No worries, I won't recap every event and with Ellie back in training, a new claiming group almost full, Bourbonology looking to get started in about a month and Tabby foaling out in about 3 weeks, there will be a lot of horse action to get caught up on!

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