Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Everything matters.

When I first started going to the races, the harness races, I had this crazy idea. It went like this.
I noticed that most of the horses that won on the first few nights I went had the fastest last quarter on the program page. When I say most that won, I mean most that won that I bet to win. I was locked onto that, and I made the leap that this was the most important angle. So, when I would get the program for the next card, I circled who had the fastest last quarter, and who had the slowest ones. Whoever had the fastest one, that is who I bet. And if they had the fastest overall mile time, I might bet that one too. 
As Dr Phil says. How's that workin for ya?
Well, as you can guess, it didn't work. It took me a year at least until I figured out there was more to a race than just the fastest horse, or the fastest closer. In the meantime, I lost races I would surely win today with what I know.
What is it I know? The fastest horse doesn't always win the race, there are many reasons it can lose and others can win. Its a factor to consider. Speed wins races. That only makes sense. But, fast cars only go fast if they aren't in a traffic jam, or, have a flat tire, or run out of gas while the slower car saved some gas for the entire journey. Again, that is just common sense. Speed wins races, it doesn't win every race.
Similarly, good jockeys win races. Many races. But, they don't win every race, and they don't always win when you think they should. Sometimes they don't have the best horse, other times they ride a poor race, and other times, any number of things can happen to get that horse beat.
Do jockeys matter? Of course they matter. They control the horse from the time they mount them in the walking ring to the time they pull them up after the race, and every moment in between. Every decision they make contributes to victory or defeat. To say otherwise indicates a lack of understanding of racing horses.
But you know what else indicates that? Saying they are the most important factor. They are not. You know why?
Because there is not just one important factor. There are several at any one time.
Trainers matter. Breeding matters. Class matters. Fitness matters. Trip and pace of the race matters. And most of all, speed matters.
No matter how good the jockey is, how sharp and skilled the trainer is, how much class relief the horse is getting, if the horse is not fast enough, or in some cases, not sound enough to use that speed to full advantage, the horse will not win.
There is a saying on backstretches. It goes something like this:
The jockey can't win the race with the horse, but he can lose it. In other words, he can get max performance out of the horse, but most jockeys that get to a level at any track aren't that much better than the other 7 or 8 guys they race against every race. In fact, they aren't that much better than the next 20 guys either. Sure, they are slightly better and can make a difference. But, even the top guys, a bad ride, a bad decision, a miscalculated rating of the horse, that can get them beat. Some would argue Stewart Elliot did that with Smarty Jones in the Belmont. I wouldn't. I think the horse just couldn't go that distance. But, could a higher level jockey have nursed him to that win? I suppose. We wont know that because it can't happen now.
At the end of the day, everything matters. All factors matter. Its a very poor bettor who locks onto just one factor and ignores all the rest, or most of the rest, or any of the rest that are relevant to the entirety of the race.
A race is a big puzzle. The one who puts the puzzle together correctly wins the money. The one who puts more puzzles together than the guy who happens to get one or two puzzles right wins more often. Anybody can get lucky and throw the pieces of the puzzle on the table and have them fall together by accident a few times. Its the guy who sorts them one by one, with no luck or chance that wins the most often. And when doing that, that person considers all the pieces and how they fit together. As well, many races are complex puzzles, and no one factor will solve them. But the more complex, the bigger return if you can figure it out. Anybody can figure out a 1-9 shot is going to win unless he falls down or breaks down. That is not a puzzle. And the jockey likely doesn't matter. Those are not the races we speak about in a blog like this.
There are many factors in complex races. If I put this piece with that one, what is left? If I start at this end of the puzzle and put a few different sections together separately, will that give me greater insight on the pieces that are left that are tricky to fit together?
If I solve just one part, is that enough to finish the puzzle? If I only consider the jockeys, do the horses and trainers and conditions even matter?
Well, do they?
Of course they do. Here is why.
If they didn't matter any simpleton could do it, and pick the winners. The price would be so low that the profit and value would eventually be negated. If it was that easy to only consider one factor, or say just the jockeys, any idiot could do that. If the highest percentage jockey wins the most races, then he will get bet to the highest degree and the price wont bring return over time when it doesn't work out that way. Put another way, if the jockey wins 30 percent, which is very high, that means he still loses 70% of the time. Or, 7 times out of 10, he is going to lose. That is 7 winners you can get if you figure out who is winning those races when that jockey isn't winning those races. Some will be won by other high percentage jockeys. A few will be won by other jockeys on the pecking order. Usually, there will be some kind of price value attached to that winner, as the public will latch on to the high percentage jockey, and in many cases, trainer, and also probably excellent form and overall speed of some horses they ride. That is because those types of horses do win many of those races. But not all of them. Or even a majority. It just seems that they do. They win more than the average horse, or jockey, or trainer, but not the majority.
If you are a 300 hitter in baseball, which is considered top notch, you are going to make an out 7 times out of 10. Fail, 7 out of 10 times.
Now, what it really boils down to is being consistent, but not being too rigid. If you truly believe that your system works and will bring you ROI, then play it that way. Prove it works. To yourself, and to others. If you are so rigid that you think only one thing matters, but you still make a profit of some sort, I would suggest you are not making as much as you would have if you had considered all the factors. If you are okay with that, then go with it.
Most successful bettors don't see it that way. They consider all the relevant factors, and they have a system. There are few that have the same exact system. We can learn from all the players who play the way they do. I study the losers, and I see what they do wrong. I listen to the winners, and see what they do consistently right. I have unique skills which I rely on and give me an edge, in addition to the basics I have an understanding of and others do as well. I am always looking to learn what others know, what they have figured out, and why it works. But most of all, I want proof. Statistical proof that it works that is significant to the standards we all learned in year one of University if you took that course. If you can show me that, you have my attention. If you make a strong case, back it up with results and sound logic, I am more than willing to give you the proper credit for what you do.
But, if you are just going to yap and sound like a yapper, with no facts, and no real system or ability to solve puzzles, you will be discounted as nothing more than what you are...which is....all talk and no results.
In a race, you have a horse, a trainer and a jockey. And then 8 to 10 others all with those same variables, and other variables that you might consider. They all matter. Everything matters. Figure out what matters most in that race, and then make your call. If you just consider one variable, you are very likely to lose over time. Just like I did when I only considered fastest overall final quarter speed. That was foolish. Don't be foolish.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

WEG Handicapping and Betting, Notes and Comments: March 16, 2017

As I go forward, any race I make picks in will only be done if I think I am beating the favorite. Will I beat them all? Of course not, and I do not expect to. But, I know the percentages. Favorites win about 40% at WEG, and less than even money favorites win about 55%. That leaves a lot of room to beat them, and as well, I can't just beat 60% of favorites and 45% of less than even money shots. I have to do better than what others can with those to derive a profit over time. That is what I attempt to do, and I will list on each blog, starting with this one, where I am at on that. 
If I think the favorite has a very legit shot to win, then I pass the race. If I think I can beat that favorite, but can't reasonably come up with value plays below him or her within the number of picks in that race I deem the right formula, I still pass the race. By my count, that leaves me somewhere between 5 and 6 races a night to make plays from. Some nights that might be 9 races, other nights it could be 2 races.


Alexas Hope looks solid in here. She was locked in last time and looked to be very live. These are soft, she will draw a fairly short price, and I wouldn't go against her. I wouldn't single her either, but its not easy to find one or two behind her to pick from. Pass on the race for me.


7 Ohello Blue Chip showed flashes of speed at 2, and was aimed at some better prospects at times. She comes off the shelf here, and with Drury. I will take a shot with her on top, but in reality, I could see any of my top 3 as the one to take down American Sara, if that plays out as I suspect it could. She has missed a month, and that is troubling, but I will take my chances she has been trained in the interim.

5 Stonebridge Honey has gone 3 qualifiers now for Hudon, each one better than the one before. Hudon is old school, and that is the way you like to see it done. She is a filly prepped and ready to race. I generally don't like to play first time starters at this track unless they look like top stakes colts that tower over a field. I don't see many other places to land in this race if you are going against the obvious chalk, which I intend to do. She could easily use that gate speed and be sitting on American Sara's back turning for home, and that makes her very dangerous. Not my top call, but she is possible and I'd use her in the exotic horizontals.

6 Two Sides of Love showed a decent progression to get her first win, and was first or second 5 out of 6 at 2, twice however not getting it done at very short odds. That is not her fault though, as its a reflection of bettors who expected more of her at that stage than she was ready to give. Now, after a short rest, she is back off one qualifier at Flamboro. She might need one, but a 57.2 back half at Flamboro suggests she could just be ready to go off that effort. Another to use if you are going against the chalk.

2 American Sara broke her maiden in her 2nd start. The 2nd and 3rd place finishers have both come back to break their maidens, both fairly impressively. In that race, Fillion looked like he wanted to sit a pocket trip, but she was very grabby and he had to pull her and cut it. She also bore in badly coming out of the last turn, being completely inside one pylon and hitting another. In any event, she dug in and fought off the pocket sitter. She seems to have some future upside, but she has young horse holes at this stage. She gets another shot at this class, but missing 3 weeks plus is a red flag to me. She still probably brings a short price, and I will take my shot against her.

4 Roselily has 2 under her belt now, and looks to me to be a filly with a bright future. She travels well and is willing when asked to pace faster. Last time she took a tuck, stayed in, took a shuffle and had to keep edging up, checking mildly, then angling to go forward. Either her driver is not able to drive at race speed with the pros at this track, or he is just teaching her and being safe, but in either case, it doesn't matter. It adds up to poor value at this stage when she is not a bombs away type. I keep watching, and I might latch on to her at some point, if some of the variables change.

1 Double Down Jo qualified over 3 weeks ago,  but then came up sick for her career debut. In that qualifier, she stopped badly in the lane. Perhaps it was a sign she was getting sick, and that played out right after that. In any event, she did come home poorly and the one that beat her has not really impressed to this point. I will watch her once to see what she brings to the table. It could be 2 or 3 starts before we see what that is.

3 Northern Lauren won a couple of times at the B tracks, but at this track she has trouble going the last quarter the way the better ones do, even off easy trips. She barely raced until this year, and appears to have multiple issues that cost her at the big track when she needs max performance to achieve. I will pass on her.


7 Bustingattheseams went the mile you would expect last time, and one I expected to see. Leave a bit, get around, go forward at the end, take the time down and get experience. Back half in 59.1. Will she go forward? I have no idea. She could, and she will get some play. Shifting from post 1 to post 7 is a plus. I will add her to the mix of possible ones.

6 Travel Lightly stayed trotting last time and took his time down. Just another one of many who could step up...or blow up. Only one of them has to step up. The rest could blow up and you won't care. He shows consistent good back half speed in his last two. Post 2 has been horrendously bad for any horse to leave or win with the last 6 or 7 cards. In fact, its 1 for 73. This is a much better post. That is a consideration. That is good enough for me to add him among the other suspect ones.

2 Majestic Marvel raced with trotting hopples at 2, but made breaks anyway and was shut down. He qualified without them, but ran in the race and now has qualified again, with them back on. He shows flashes of fast quarters at times, and while he is extremely chancy, he is worth playing if you think the favorites in this one have enough issues to look behind them. I do, and this is one I would add with a shot if he pops into gear and figures it out. He could also easily be up in the air and distanced.

4 King of Magic has missed 5 weeks now and has a low percentage, infrequent WEG driver. He does have one thing in his favor: from a good post like this, he can leave fast and get the kind of trip that avoids the traffic and breakers that do many of these in. His performance overall is not good enough, and his finish is suspect. A couple of times, he has been near the money anyway in spite of that. He has also won a real race, and in pretty good time for Flamboro. He is another that is usable, but not reliable.

3 Forte drew the 8 hole last week and that cost him a bit. He did stay trotting this time and was in the mix. His last quarters are still consistently slow, and that is a concern. He might develop speed and steadiness as he goes, but getting that combo at the same time in the same race is Per's task. One he is up to I'm sure, but it's a process and that can take time. He is an Ontario bred, so I'm sure the goal is to have him sorted out when the Sire Stakes start, so he can earn against softer competition overall. At this stage, Per seems careful to not put him in a position to take a hard hold of him, and he might be one of those hot Angus Hall's you don't want getting any ideas that he can be the boss of you out there. I keep my eye on this one as he goes.

5 Dobee seems to be progressing. On the positive side of the ledger, she is finishing well and keeping her gait under control. Part of that is the way P Mac is driving her and managing her, and he is well known to be very good with young trotters, which is one reason why Bax goes to him with many of those. On the flip side, she needs to be floated away slow to keep her steady, and while she seems willing enough, she bears in sharply at times, even cranking her head, which is not a big deal if you are getting a price on her, but not something you want to accept if you get odds-on like last time, and a short enough price this time. The field was wafer thin last time, and although she passed those very easily she was no threat to the winner, not really gaining on him while the last quarter of the race was very slow. I like others for now. I will watch to see if her issues resolve. They seem to with Bax trainees and you can get the long price if you wait for that sweet spot.

8 Road Light at first glance, as I touched on yesterday in a blog, she appears to be a professional maiden in the works. However, last time she was mowed down by what appears a very legit green horse, who will be on to bigger and better things. It wasn't a bad effort, and she could once again get out on top and control things. I don't like her tonight, but she shows slight improvement, and I will keep my eyes and mind open on her. On the right night, with the right group and trip, she could be a value price play.

9 Blameitonthewhisky left out last time but was bearing in badly in the turn and blew up coming out of it. Post 9 tonight and there are some leavers inside of him. He appears to have some ability, but has not put it all together yet. When he leaves, he tries to go all he can go and stops like he did in the qualifier to get ready for another try. I will watch. There is something there, but the setup is not good tonight for him. Pass on him as an include.

1 Jayport Sport was tried early at 2, but was making breaks consistently and shut down. He has kept it together twice upon return, one in a qualifier where he had early interference but stayed to task, and then in a real race at Flamboro where he did again and bagged 2nd. He needs more speed now. I'm sure that will come, but post 1 for a green trotter who has issues with a driver who isn't a top guy would lead me to take a wait and see attitude.

10 Royal Intrigue is marginal to begin with, and draws another bad post, which she has shown not able to handle. I can't use her with all the strikes against her tonight.


8 Gillys Boy broke his maiden February 9th as a 13-1 longshot. He was on the move last time, and when I say on the move, he was flying, but made a wild speed break. It looks like he hit himself up front and almost went down. Fillion caught him and kept him going, but he was mostly in the road from there, and all over the track in the stretch. He appeared to bear in and hook wheels with the leader. In spite of all that, he still paced in 55. He comes right back on 10 days and hopefully, with some adjustment. I would keep my eye on the changes to see what Brethour tries. Shot in with this bunch if he can keep it together and use his speed to his advantage, not disadvantage. He is a big rangy type, and as Cams Card Sharks go, he reminds me a bit of Four Starrrz Shark, who had big ability as well but took time to come to it and be able to control it.

9 Lawrencetown Beach is a full brother to Melmerby Beach. If you recall that horse, the connections were very high on him as a colt, aiming him at the NA Cup and some other big dances. He did show that type of raw ability, but was prone to making breaks, as this sibling appears to be as well. I would think P Mac takes the careful, sensible approach tonight and keeps him pacing, only moving late on natural ability. Could that be enough to take this bunch? It looks like it could when you look them over, but I'd only add him to the exotics if you have extra room, and otherwise I'd roll the dice against it being tonight for him. He needs to be watched closely to try and time when he clicks in and delivers on his apparent potential.

6 Bettor Jin is a 3yo first time starter who comes in off one qualifier, where he did little but brush late. That is all he is required to do, and I'd be fairly certain there is lots more to work with. His half brother Jins Shark impressed me the first time I saw him at Mohawk, and their dam was a topnotch solid mare in her day. He came a back half in 57.2. I can use him and think he is very possible right out of the box. McNair sticks with Hermanus, and that is curious, but I still like the chances of this one.

3 Go Like a Pro has a license to have a shot. He drew the rail last time, and has 1's and 2's on almost all his lines. He knocked his time down to 55.4 last week, and while he didn't do much, he did that. Second off the shelf, better overall post, decent connections, suspect probable contenders, I can see where he is one to stick with on the chance he steps up and they step back.

2 Hermanus goes for his 3rd start back and McNair sticks to him when he appears to have had a viable option to go with. He has established he can pace a solid 55 mile, even slightly better the time before, but can he go forward and get near 54? I'm sure he can as he comes along, but he would need to tonight to probably win this race if the weather holds to what it looks like it will. I have enough options in this one that I will leave him off the exotics. Your call. If you think you have room, he is one to add. I'd certainly play him if my choice is Undrafted or him. I am leaving both off.

7 Undrafted was on top at the half last time, in soft overall speed, and turned for home with the lead. He had a first up horse all over the track, blocking traffic and hindering a live one who came right back this week and blitzed a similar group to this. All of that was not enough to get him to the wire. He was interfered with in the stretch, and that could be a reason to give him an excuse. J Mac has now given him two legit chances to win with very good steers and he has been outpaced by others. He could simply be developing, but I will go against him here and try others. He has to show me some grit and finish.

1 Mckinley can be terribly ugly gaited and even dangerous at times, but JJ got him around in the qualifier with a big, fast 3rd quarter move. Lets see how he stacks up for next time. Not tonight for me.

4 Secures Jetstream needed 3 practice runs to get back to the races. He doesn't show anywhere near the speed of most of these, and based on his breeding ( Jeremes Jet onto a The Panderosa dam) I am skeptical he is much stock. Lets see how that plays out. Adams has the gas, but you still need an engine to make a car go fast.

5 Southwind Savage will race for the 4th time in 14 days, and second time off very short rest. He didn't look sound at all parading on Monday, but raced okay. I like others and can't see him taking down a few of these. He will have to prove me wrong.


I will pass on these. Got to pick your spots and this one doesn't look like a good spot to try and get value. I do have my eye on Weslynn Dancer and  Zorgwijk Rocket, so I will be watching them closely.


Another race I will pass on. Mixed bag that can go many ways. Take your shot if you think you can find something. I don't see it.


7 Weatherly is an angle play for me tonight. Sure, he is the ML choice, at 3-1, and I'd hope to get close to that. 5-2 would be the lowest I'm willing to go, and even that is pushing it. I am of the opinion that the night he raced, post 1 and post 2 for any leaver was a big disadvantage, and few from those even tried it. Of the ones that did, he was one, and the energy he expended to leave, and then retake, cost him late, as he collapsed near the tote board. He has never been the grittiest type, but that was flat out a poor result and poor effort. I can give him a pass and give him a potentially valid excuse to bounce right back up from. He isn't meeting Cam Fella here. I won't take a penny less than 5-2 to find out though.

3 Counter Strike was shrewdly taken to Flamboro last time by Cullen, who took the 3k first money, put it in his pocket and comes back here to face the same bunch he was a "one of many" type before that. He beat the usual also ran types we see in this class here, being Dredyl Hanover and Blue Chip Sunshine, and whoever was behind them. These are tougher, but Cullen has showed me he can turn a mediocre form horse and get them going again within reasonable time. If my top choice bombs again, he is a viable option with his confidence restored. The winner of his race 2 back daylighted and bottomed out the field in crazy time, so the amount of lengths he got beat that night is deceptive. He did give up ticket money, but that was partly because he was chasing that one in vain. We often see those types come back better when they don't work so hard in the middle of a race. Like he did last time.

4 Hidden Potential is 1 for his last 42, and if I looked up his 2015 performance, I recall it wasn't any prettier. Lets be frank: he shows no grit, and any reason to give it up late, he will do that. Luckily for him, he is among friends here. These are so bad, I could make a case this is his night to have a shot if my top 2 both decide they don't feel like working for it tonight either when others come to them. J Mac seems to win with this kind every now and then. He is possible, but needs others to hand it to him. If you go back far enough, he has won this class at boxcar odds at least once, and possibly twice. Every dog has his day, and so does every rat.

5 Shoe Shine clearly was missing something last time on the move to Heard from Johnson. He was all done at the quarter and JJ eased up on him wisely. He came right back on 7 days and paced a decent 56 mile, behind an old class horse who qualifies great when he is forced to do that and a FFA bearcat from earlier in the winter. Another option if you don't like my top 2. I'd only be willing to go 3 deep here, so I'd use the 4 over him. His trainer is 0 for 24 this year and has never been high percentage. That is the tie breaker for me.

6 Koultons Rocket comes back to this track at the lower level he won at when last he won a race. He also draws the right post for the style he likes. He is also 4 for 50, or an 8% winner. I have to make choices here. I will go against him. He has competition for the front, and he isn't the type that works for it and wins many doing it. His 55 mile at Flamboro 2 back certainly stacks up here, so he isn't a toss if you want to go deep here.

1 Big Bang Boom for a while at 2, he looked like a decent prospect. He even dominated a few times, but he did show troubling signs, and when those surfaced, he was NFG. He never even won at 3 in 18 tries, and now he appears as an aged horse looking for a resurrection and spot where he can find a level and get his confidence back. He did pace in 52 in a Sire Stakes at KD, and that has to be respected. He isn't a slug, but he has to perform. I will watch tonight, and see if he gives me reason to back him going forward.

2 Sierra Madre is 2 for 42 the last two seasons, and shows that by hanging most nights in the lane. He hangs not because he doesn't try, but mostly, because he isn't the soundest thing and drifts out badly. He did close at Flamboro last time to bag 3rd, but, most of those are much softer than these, albeit these aren't world beaters either. He did come a very fast back half last week, and thus, he can make the bottom of the ticket picking up the bad trippers and non triers. I don't view him as a logical win candidate.

8 Southwind Razor has been with his current connections for as long as I can remember but now goes to Waxman off the claim and picks up Roy. I will stay away, as I suspect he will be wildly overbet on that angle and I'm not sure a class jump like this wont equalize that, even assuming the chemical potion he gets tonight will wake him up. If he was back in for 6500, and drew the rail at Flambingo, I'd probably take a shot.

9 Big John Houn is an Ohio purchase that has not worked out so far. He made consecutive breaks and had to requalify, which he did well. He will need a lot more speed here to take down Weatherly and a few others, and post 9 certainly dooms him to coming from behind, which is not something he has shown he can do at this track to this point. He does get a class drop, but he was outclassed before, so he is not dropping, he is searching.


Girl Drama is out. I will pass on the rest.


Terrible bunch to sort. Not for me. Cundalini finally draws a post that helps him not hurts him, if you are inclined to search for an angle here.


8 Queen Ideal according to Brealey, he thought she would need a start off the long layoff last time, and she was raced that way, closing late for a share. These are there to be taken and she has stakes experience and success to lean on, which most of these do not. She only has 1 lifetime win though, so, buyer beware. I could see her and use her here. One of a few who need the trip.

3 Itsallabouthebass has longshot upside potential. She has post 10 last time, post 2 the time before that as her current form off the shelf. She doesn't appear to be much stock, but if she can get away 4th to 6th, pick up decent flow cover and use the speed she showed last time for the back half, she is possible at a big price. Usable.

4 Tearful of Happy has the look of a beatable favorite, if she holds the ML assessment of that. For starters she has missed about 3 weeks, and she won by a nose last time. That was her 2nd win, the other being a maiden score. That means she is a nose away from being a 1 time winner in 14 starts. She is always around, but not the kind you can rely on at a short price. These types go down all the time. Last time, McNair tattooed her a couple of times to get off the wings, and was lucky to get the 2 hole, then came out and went back in, forcing another who was moving to back off and then come out later when she didn't want to. Deep in the lane, she was done, hopelessly locked in but the leader both caved and went right just in time to allow her to slip up the rail. A lot of luck went her way that night. I will bank on that evening up a bit tonight. She seems to need all of that to take these.

5 Greystone Ladyluck goes to Weller from Oliver, who claimed her from Belore, who had her probably since she first saw a harness. Its a potent angle, but I find with Weller it takes a start to figure these out, while he can do it faster with older more experienced types like 15 claimers. I will roll the dice against her and watch to see. I don't get any inside info otherwise, so I have to call it based on how he has performed in the past with this type.

9 Strike a Chord is the unknown here, on the trainer change to Boyd, new track, sparse racing as of late, and a tough post. Pompano is cheap speed, so her 54 mile there is meaningless. If I had a 3rd one to add, it would be her on the off chance she has more ability than she shows and Boyd turns her. Its a monster longshot type of angle.

7 Windsongmagnifique had nothing last time at Flamboro. I will give her a pass and suspect she couldn't get around, as she comes here. That's not a move you make unless you think that was the only reason she bombed out. She has had trouble lasting with these, so the win is hard to list, but she could make the bottom of the ticket.

6 On the Minute Mark is 1 for 27 life, and isn't getting it done with these. Trevor goes to Weller as you would expect. I will pass. She has to do a lot more to get my interest back.

1 Ok Jewel got a free spin with maidens last week and did well with it, coming late for 2nd, no match for the winner, and beating a kamikaze front ender and another who looked bad sitting a loose pocket the entire way. She meets tougher again, and doesn't look viable when she meets others who have done more than she has before. I could see her sneaking on the ticket if they battle and come back to her late.

2 Alliwannadoisplay is 2 for 41 life. Not good. Win number 2 came last time at Flamboro in a conditioned claimer. I don't see anywhere near the speed of many of the others in here. Can't back her on a lot of variables.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

I admit it. I was lazy. And it cost me.

"I have sinned."
We have all seen that Jimmy Swaggart confession when he got caught with a New Orleans prostitute. I was never a big fan of his or any of the televangelists, but I thought it was interesting that he chose this way to try and worm his way out of trouble. Trouble only he caused for himself. Do I believe he was sincere in the way he repented? I'm not sure, and it doesn't matter either way for this blog. The fact that he copped to it, and could be sincere about it, is the reason I start there. It came to me that way when I was pondering this blog last night. 
Admitting you have an issue, or that there is a problem and moving away from denial is a key step in making progress, in anything. 
I have preached before that in any race you play, if you truly are a serious player, you must fully vet out and analyze any horse on current form and variables. That might only take 1 minute, it might take 10 minutes. But what you can't do is have a built in bias and discard them based solely on what you think you know about them from some past performance that isn't terribly relevant now.
Bias is a very tough thing to overcome in betting. The reason for that is that it is very easy to fall back on that type of playing. We do it in real life too. We think it simplifies life and how to deal with the barrage of daily facts and situations we encounter. I will give you some brief examples.
-He is on welfare, he is just lazy. Or does drugs, or lacks motivation like the rest of us do.

-She is pretty, and has a great job. She should have no problem finding a man.

-All Muslims are terrorists, even the ones not doing anything currently. They will if given the chance.
I could go all day, but I wont. This blog is about betting on horses. Safe to say those statements are way too general, uninformed, and mostly will be false in the vast majority of cases.

One of the reasons I do a very thorough blog when I do it is not to pick winners. That is important too, and its the goal, but the true benefit of what I do when I do those is to step back every couple of weeks and see what I got wrong, in many cases horribly wrong, and take a long look at that. I will do that here. I already know where the problem is, I just want to be specific about each example to make my overall point.
Clearly, my bias is hurting my ROI and will continue to do so until I correct that. For all I know, it has for as long as I have been betting. The easiest way for me to see the mistake is to list all the horses that won that I picked last or second last,  look at what I said about them and think about what I thought about them overall.
"The quick glance" 

This was my first blog back after a short break. I did that because I am moving towards playing mostly T breds, and I have a lot to learn to play those at the level I like to play. I simply didn't have time to do a blog up for WEG harness, do the research of the T breds, and live my life otherwise as I wish to. But, I also developed a few new playing strategies, and I wanted to test them out with real money and handicapping on a product where I already know plenty enough to do well if I do the work. So, I took a lot of time and did this blog up. I did my homework, and I got the first 3 winners out of 4 races right, two of which paid very well (Pop Goes The Weasel in the 1st ($11.00) and Casimir Overdrive in the 4th ($6.90 ). Finish Line in the 2nd was a pretty easy play for me, but he paid only around even money. I expected higher, but the smarter bettors were on to him and bet him down.)
Anyway, 4 races, 3 right, and they were very accurate comments if you watch the races, the replays are available on You Tube under WEG replays. I gave the other winner, Resistance Futile a good shot, he was viable and was a use in the pick 5 if I had played that. Then we arrive at Race 5, and here is where I made a mistake.

I liked the favorite, Brilliant Strike N, and so did everyone else. I did watch his previous race replay, and I was confident that he was ready to go, and only needed to show up. However, I did list reasons he might be suspect, based on things I know about his sire and the nature of overseas horses coming to this side of the world and dealing with weather and class they never have before. That played out, and he bombed out. That I am okay with. I weighed all that and made my call. Some of those will bomb. But, what I'm not okay with is how I viewed J Eagle Feather.
My comment on that horse was based on two things. I had remembered that two races back, he was a heavy favorite but didn't look good in the race, hanging badly and bearing in terrible most of the way. That race was a class below this. In his next start, a race I never watched, he dropped a level from that and was only 4th. At first glance, a quick glance, he looked outclassed and my bias memory was now that he wasn't good enough and had physical issues. But that was one race, and one race does not a horse make, good or bad. In fact, when you look at his last race, and the last race that Brilliant Strike N went, on the same night, J Eagle Feather paced a faster back half than Brilliant Strike N. In terms of effort, he raced harder and performed as well or better. I am still of the opinion Brilliant Strike is the far superior horse and will prove that out, and in fact his next start he finished 2nd and raced up to the potential I thought he would actualize this night. But, on this night, J Eagle Feather was not an automatic toss, as I listed him. It was a lazy, quick glance mistake. Lesson learned. 

J Eagle Feather finished 2nd, and almost won. The payoffs on him were very large, as listed below. Brilliant Strike was a well beaten 7th, never involved in the race and hanging badly in the stretch. I was on the wrong horse, because I didn't handicap the race properly.

Quick glance handicapping is what losing bettors do because they don't have the time, or don't care to use it even if they do have it.

"I have a read on this horse, No need to look at current form"
I did well on the next card and then for the most part, I did very well on this card, getting many right and turning a profit because I was very thorough, except for one mistake. Again, I focus on the mistake. I am already doing the other stuff well, I can just keep doing that. The mistakes are where I have to improve. This is a mistake I have made for years, and it costs me weekly. 

I had a clear bias here. I used the word "appears" which indicates I didn't even look Andovers Choice over. That is correct. I did not. I made a comment about him not being good enough and likely to be shipped to a lesser track and circuit by spring. That has been my view of that horses ability since he broke his maiden. He made me pay on this night for that comment. 

First off, he is a young trotter. They can turn on a dime. You have to look at them currently to make any call. That is a huge mistake to make. Either you pass on playing any race they are in, or you do the work that will pay off if you do it. Its very similar to the Maiden Special Weight, Maiden Claiming variables in T breds. It's not like playing older, established claimers. In his case, he was making breaks in stride, and when he didn't, which he didn't in his previous line, he performed up to what was needed in this race. In fact, he did exactly that on the bottom line on his page, when he got exactly the trip he got on this night, and won, as he did then too.  Secondly, he has the top trainer at this track for many years, and the best percentage post by far at the track, one he didn't have on any of the lines on the page. Thirdly, he has the top driver currently at this track, and it was his first time driving him. Those are ALL reasons to consider this horse. To top it off, it was a very weak field, he had shown the speed needed before, even on the page, and his qualifier wasn't bad. He had improved a bit. He was still very chancy, but in no way should I have viewed him as an easy toss. I did. He won easy, and beat me. 

You should get beat when you make as many mistakes as I made here. It's hopefully the way you learn that the game isn't as tough as you think if you do what you know how to do well. If you don't, you will lose, and should lose. Others are doing the work. Hard work should be rewarded. Its the foundation of how we view our society.

"If a horse beats you, its likely your fault, not his or hers. Don't hold that against them."

The next card was the next night. I decided part of the issue was the amount of time I had, and to do 10 races the way I like to do it was not reasonable or necessary. So, I narrowed it down to 4 or 5 where I was positive I could beat the favorite (which is how I play if you know anything about how I play) and get value that way. I found 4 races where I thought there were bad overbet favorites and I had viable options to beat them with. I listed all of those races with how I was going to play them. I had the outright winner in 2 of those 4, which is very good handicapping, and both paid well.
Donna Party paid $12.80 and Wrangler Magic paid $19.30. In another race, I was confident I was beating the two I thought would take most of the money, I Wish You Well and On The Minute Mark, and both of those missed the ticket. I had the top 3 finishers as my top 3, but the favorite turned out to be Evangelin Seelster, so, the bettors got this one right when she won. My top 2 were both 11-1 longshots who finished 2nd and 3rd. I didn't actually bet the race, as I realized I had read the odds on the race wrong, and the favorite won, so its not a race I probably should have played. My friend Garnet Barnsdale did. He read the race as I did, had the top 3 in a triactor and cashed a big ticket. I'm not really a triactor player, so that isn't something I would play. In any event, I was thorough in this race, and I got the race right. The 4th race I listed this night is probably the most important lesson of all the ones in this blog, as its the one mistake most of us make the most. I don't know any handicapper who doesn't make this mistake. It gets back to the real world examples I listed at the start of the blog.
"When Barockey wins, I lose"
I have a friend who say that all the time. In fact, the same guy who cashed the triactor. I don't say it, but I could, because I bet the races that way when she is in them. Why is that?

Well, for a time, Barockey was a very nice mare. She was even a tough Preferred level mare about 3 or 4 years ago. Shortly after she lost that form, she plummeted down the class ranks, but in spite of that, she would continually lose at odds on or lower, many times with very easy trips. She just appeared to be no good any more. And for a while, she was no good. But then, she got a longer layoff, and somehow, she returned to be a decent class moving mare who won her share. Sure, at times, she would still blow big leads, or fail off pocket trips she should win off of. But, she did win her share. For me, and others, we already have a mindset on this mare. She will lose when you think she should win, so, never play her.
In the race earlier in the blog where I hit Pop Goes The Weasel, Barockey was the 2nd favorite. She was coming off a win and moving up in class. I didn't like the favorite either in that race, for the reasons I stated, and it played out exactly as I said it would. Barockey stopped badly, as she is prone to do. 

But you know what else she is prone to do? Come right back and race better the next time. That is her history if you look up her past performance. She is just one of those that can be very bad for a race, or month, but turn it right back around for no reason that any of us can figure.
The handicapping angle we miss on her is that she is consistently inconsistent. That will bring big odds, and she delivers on those odds. As she did on this night. I tossed her, because she had bad current form. That was a mistake. I tossed her because I have played her in the past and lost bets on her. I played her, however, when she appeared to have good form, and then went bad. She performs on the bad form--race good angle. Some do that. It's not for me to figure out why, if that can even be figured out. Its for me to figure out she is that type of horse, and play her if the odds are right. My comment on this night reflects I had already decided she had bad form and was not going to win, no matter what. 

Here is the reality of Barockey. She has made 370k lifetime, has a record of 1:50.2 and 35 wins. She is a very talented and fast horse who knows how to win races. She just doesn't care to do it when we think she will. That is our problem, not hers. Unless we make it our problem, which I have.

Losing a bad bet on a horse once, or even twice, isn't the horses fault. It's your fault, and if you hold a bias against that horse because of it, you will lose more bets because you didn't figure out the reason you lost the first time.

On this card, I got almost everything right and made a very nice profit. However, I should have made more. Being happy you did okay when you could have done better is what losers justify as luck or the way it goes. I don't. I want to be the best I can, and make adjustments when I see they are there to be made. The fastest car in the world will not be as fast as it was made to be if the timing is off and needs to be adjusted.
"As Britney would say, Oops, I did it again."
No need to go into much detail here, except that I view Paparazzi Hanover in the same way I view Barockey, and also with a dose of Andovers Choice. So, I tossed him, and he beat me. Its probably the point where this blog started to develop in my head. A repetitive mistake I could see 3 nights in a row.

I could also note that J Eagle Feather and Paparazzi Hanover have the same trainer/driver and maybe I need to get a better read on that guy, which I thought I had, but I clearly do not. 

"The worst kind of mistake to stomach, You are right, but you still get it wrong."
 I got this race right. I had a bad favorite tabbed and she was very beatable. I had a live contender, at 35-1 in Total Knockout, who I even noted is the Barockey type, but not nearly as talented. I had her on top. She raced pretty good, was right there, but was short at the end when it mattered. 
You know who wasn't short? Phoenician Gal, who is a similar type, and also another of Travis Cullen's who beat me on this night. When somebody beats you enough times, you stop saying hit me baby one more time, and start thinking about how not to get hit. Cullen has convinced me. Tossing him on an inconsistent horse is a stupid thing to do. Whatever the issue is, he finds a way to fix it eventually. I don't have to know when that night is going to be, I just have to make sure I have him on that night. The two track hosts that night even touted how she was wildly underbet, had a legit shot, and finally went off and won at 16-1. I had the race figured right, which was a longshot was coming, but didn't cover all the ones that could be that longshot. It's the worst beat to take when you play the way I do. 

If you are certain the favorite is beatable, you don't short out any longshot that has a legit shot in your mind to beat that favorite. I had tabbed Three Pink Bows as a no chance type. I didn't like Donna Party back at shorter odds this week. Other than that, and the favorite, Case Dismissed, I needed to use the other 4. I didn't. I lost. Lesson learned. 


When people you have respect for, like my friend Garnet and track handicapper Chad Rozema pick a horse on top, and you are tossing it, you should take a second look at why you tossed and they tabbed. I didn't. I stuck to my stubborn guns, and I got shot by the bullet I should have seen coming. It didn't feel good around midnight, when the card was over, and I realized my bias handicapping was really a serious issue.

Odds On Amethyst is a combo of just about every mistake I described above. Like J Eagle Feather, he has a very good last race, but I ignored it. I figured he was outclassed and he raced poorly the times before I had actually watched him. He is inconsistent, and a trotter, so, he was likely to blow up either way, and I could toss him based on that. He has done it so many times as it was. The Andover's Choice angle that bit me. Like Barockey, he goes very hot and cold, and generally is bad as a favorite but turns it around when the odds float up. His inconsistency is a plus, not a negative, from a betting perspective. His trainer. Pat Hudon, is someone I know, and I know he is a hard worker and very skilled horseman. He will keep working at it to figure out this horse and make him perform, to the talent the horse clearly has. I know all that, but I still tossed the horse. I figured this race for a price horse, but I didn't look over carefully every possible price horse. 
At the end of the day, the common theme of this blog is that I was lazy, and used a bias that isn't valid to justify not doing the work I know I should and have to.

Strictly a bias issue.
Should and would I have gotten all of these horses if I had done more work? No. But, I wouldn't have gotten beat by all of them in less than two weeks. One mistake, or beat I can take. A second one I can understand. Racing and race horses are not an exact science. But when a clear pattern emerges, and you can see why you are not performing, you cannot ignore that.
You can have tons of years of experience like I do. You can have a specialized skill set that I have gathered over those years. You can have valid knowledge and really understand the game. But, you can never beat a bad bias mindset and think you don't have to work for it. You cannot. You will lose if you insist on doing that. It cost me, as it should have.

Monday, March 13, 2017

WEG Handicapping and Betting, Notes and Comments: March 13, 2017

As I go forward, any race I make picks in will only be done if I think I am beating the favorite. Will I beat them all? Of course not, and I do not expect to. But, I know the percentages. Favorites win about 40% at WEG, and less than even money favorites win about 55%. That leaves a lot of room to beat them, and as well, I can't just beat 60% of favorites and 45% of less than even money shots. I have to do better than what others can with those to derive a profit over time. That is what I attempt to do, and I will list on each blog, starting with this one, where I am at on that. 
If I think the favorite has a very legit shot to win, then I pass the race. If I think I can beat that favorite, but can't reasonably come up with value plays below him or her within the number of picks in that race I deem the right formula, I still pass the race. By my count, that leaves me somewhere between 5 and 6 races a night to make plays from. Some nights that might be 9 races, other nights it could be 2 races.


 4 Passport to Art broke his maiden 3 back, but while he is trying hard, doesn't seem to have enough finish when he meets level or tougher competition. Luckily for him, this class is very soft right now. He comes back on 3 days rest, but if he is still lively and sound, and blasts out like last time, he has a reasonable shot with these. No cinch though.

6 Dream of Luck beat maidens off a sweet trip but those have not come back to race well at all and he looks like he is in for a long stay in this class as he has to develop now at this level. He will become something as the season progresses and make some kind of Sire Stake horse. For now, he is more likely to be a bit player.

3 New Talent  could not have gotten a sweeter trip last time. He floated out from the 2 hole, angled down the backside, picked up advancing and willing cover, followed him to early stretch, then tipped off his cover but could not pass him and let another by late. The leader was long gone, and doubled up Saturday night, but he showed a trend for him...a lack of grit and desire to get it done. The cheque he got that night forces him to move back up the ladder and he shows that they have been tough for him. He has 2 lifetime wins and only raced sparingly last year. He came out guns a blazing at 2, but has leveled off after that season. There isn't much to choose from underneath him but, I will go against him.

2 Blue Fox made a break and put in some ugly steps behind the gate on Thursday night, but he was back pacing on the gate when it pulled away. He went an okay mile, but was not good enough when it mattered. He doesn't strike me as one that does well off short rest, although that is a tactic Weller uses often and has had some success with.

8 Fancourt sat way out of it last time while the pretenders battled, then made a wide stretch move to pick them all off. He was more controllable with the martingale, and he did pick them off, but he was rocky most of the way, which is probably his way of traveling, but bearing in many times as he tried to gain momentum in the stretch. They came home in 30 seconds, so that gave him a reason to get away with it. Some of these are just a shade tougher and more seasoned. I will pass on him tonight, but he can go either way going forward.

1 Only Half Bad finally broke his maiden after many starts, in part due to a first up horse who was all over the track and dangerous, thus stalling the progress of the logical and live contender. He meets winners here, and coupled with the rail, I can't see him at first asking, and have a hard time thinking he can handle nw2 at this track if and when he gets a shot at them.

7 Windsun Gotham wisely double dipped on maidens, but looked sore, steppy and borderline lame last time. He was bearing in horrible in the last turn, but they staggered home and came back to him, so he was right there with the pack. He looks like one that will not take well to consistent winter pounding and racing. I will take a pass until he shows me otherwise.

5 Get Decked looked terrible pacing in the backfield all the way last time and didn't cut into the pack in the lane. I can't see how he goes with the better of this bunch.Early scratch.


3 Think Again had little chance for the win last Thursday when he drew the 10 hole, but he did float out and not work very hard to get away a closer up 6th. That left him enough to pick up 3rd money against the old seasoned, veteran open claiming types. He gets back in tonight with the not so sporty conditioned claimers, and that helps on some level. Post 3 doesn't hurt his chances either. This will be his 3rd start for Weller. I like that he went forward as the pace picked up late. That bodes well in with this bunch.

7 Sports Vision had every chance to win last time, as Ryan gave him the perfect setup, but he didn't go forward at all. These types sometimes just don't show up, but show up the next time. That is why they are able to reside in a class like this. He doesn't leave at all, so he is another who will need some hot fractions and hopefully he brings his A game this time, whatever that is to one like this.

4 East End tried the condition types and did okay, picking up a solid 2nd once, and now can maintain protection with the tag as they up it enough that getting claimed is not probable. Roy takes over from Zeron, and that has to be considered a plus based on the results lately from Mr. Roy. He will need them to battle a bit in front of him, as he is not a fast leaver.

1 Six Before Seven was the victim of stretch interference two back, but last time took back off the gate, moved early into the flow, was 2nd over on dead cover, but that cover was at least keeping up with the leaders, and all he had to do was tip off of it and pick off a suspect bunch. These aren't much tougher, but a few are. I think the short price he brings tonight poses bad value. If he has to work a bit harder, he is likely to come up short.

6 Just a Thought was sold by Hudon to Allard, and he got one start with him as he was claimed by Holland out of that event. He never looked like he wanted to try in that race, but Roy convinced him to keep pacing, something he appears to be a master at. It was enough to save 3rd, but these look a lot tougher than the ones he faced then. I suspect Randy knows him as he was a McIntosh hopeful in his younger days.

2 Keystone Keen draws the ML top choice based on his class drop. He also is a month away and a vet scratch lame, which was a late scratch as he was programmed to go just a few races prior on that card. That suggests he warmed up poorly. He was inside the pylons in that last race he participated in, and he is very chancy, even in a race where many don't look very dangerous. I'd be very leery to take any kind of short price on him.

5 Notetoself Hanover is a 4yo who has done enough racing but only has 2 lifetime wins, many times blowing golden opportunities to mow down a suspect leader but coming up short. He now resides in the Ken Oliver barn, but his results and finishing prowess have not changed. I can't see him with these as is.


3 Tour De Lindy was moving up last time with the 10 hole and that did him in. He did well to get 3rd and draws better here. Fillion seems to be out of the funk he was in, and when he is in the right mindset, he can dominate and win with these types. He looks like he wants to be a good horse, and will develop into a higher end type as he matures.

4 Alfa Mersadies gets in light tonight on the inflated lifetime earnings condition. She has 8 wins in 25 starts the last two years, and an experience edge on many of these. She could wire these, or sit on the back of one who attempts that and pop that pocket late. Her versatility is a big plus in this race. Shot.

7 South Win Bax was coming along with maidens at this track, but went to Flamboro before winning that class, then doubled up there, and now has to face winners here. I wouldn't toss her, as winning is winning, and she looked okay even with maidens when she had the right post to work with. Minor shot if the likely ones don't perform.

8 Vasco Bi picked up JJ last time, as Per was on vacation and he skipped before the start and was never dangerous. JJ did good with him 3 back, so that can't be the only reason he bombed, and it isn't. He floated out just fine, but appeared to strike himself up front and that set him off galloping. He was up against it after that, parked the mile, and behind a runner mid backstretch, then simply was tired. In any event, JJ is available but Per will steer him tonight. He is a 1 time winner facing many who have 4 or more wins, and a couple of others who have 2. He might be the best long term prospect of this group, but for tonights race, I wouldn't play him tonight, but I might next time if he shows me he is sorted out, which most of us count on Per to do with his trainees.

1 Igocrazy Without U can continue to pick up slices with this class, but a win would require a lot of horses to do things wrong, and the chances off all the contenders doing so in one race is slim. Bit player in my eyes.

2 You Cant Afford Me had ambitious connections at 2, who aimed her at the Gold a few times and even the Champlain. She picked up shares in some of those and the grassroots, hence her 39k return. She was sold off to her current owners and has not been let down this winter. She got her lone win in the Autumn, and now comes back here looking for bigger purses, and likely will be a fringe Grassroots type as the summer progresses. Being an Angus Hall and from a Cantab Hall dam, you would expect her to be erratic and make breaks, and she does that. I think she has an outside shot with these, but others look a lot more viable and consistent. 2 of her last 4 racelines resulted in breaks, and she had very easy fractions when she won. These are tougher.

5 Noon Hour is another who is a high percentage winner, but that was mostly at Northfield, where the fields are not deep at all relative to what you get at this track. The way she finished her last two races, even with a moderate class drop here, I cannot back her. She looks like a B track horse.

6 Summit City Turbo was good a few weeks ago, but was raced on short rest, and now has regressed for 2 consecutive starts. I am off the bandwagon.


Pass and watch these, as I suspect Beyombo is the one and he will bring short odds. Brief comments on what I see. Not listed in order but by post position.

1 Devils Peak looks like the type that will get a lot of 2nd and 3rds in this class. Keep watching to see if he confirms that.
2 Kazimoto first time starter, has to be seen for future tries. Watch closely.
3 Sedona Seelster should be overbet on the last race. He doesn't always show up and perform. Beware.
4 Southwind Savage still not impressed with him. I'd leave him off the ticket.
5 Chummy Park hanging rat who teases with short bursts of speed. Roy isn't likely to get this one over the top.
6 Beyombo unlucky trip last time, but gritty to pace right to the wire. Improving and looks like a good one.
7 Sporting Life decent pedigree, nice progression, looks like a prospect, outside shot tonight if faves bomb.
8 Nascar Seelster one to watch for future plays, expect usual Randy sit and brush late first time starter treatment.
9 Mystical Sun well bred, looks like a player on this circuit, post hurts tonight, watch for future plays. Longshot.
10 Casimir Patriot too many strikes against him tonight, but might be viable as he goes along if he is allowed in with maidens again. 


2 Utopia left out for the pocket in a 5 horse field last time and looked to be sitting perfect when nobody pulled deep into the last turn. That turned into a trap and he never got out of jail, Roy never even asking him or driving him, just coasting along last but with no chance to go forward. He is possible if he can maintain that level of effort and get more racing luck this time. Roy sticks with Allard, so J Mac takes over, and he does well with Joe C anyway.

1 Finish Line is a former 8 claimer that Allard has turned into a trotter who is a win away from the Preferred. He is hard to go against here, but even with the rail start, he seems to be willing to work for it. Shot.

7 Marquis Volo is about as consistent a trotter you can find when he races. He has long gaps when he goes on the shelf, but when racing, he races, he tries and he wins his share. This is a deep group, so he isn't my top choice, but he is probably an add in the picks if you play that. I wouldn't want him to beat me.

3 Catch the Dream  tucked immediately last time and that is a strategy that works for him. He stays trotting and can finish if the trip works out in his favor, as it did that time. He moved up the inside when many went out, ran into a roadblock, but both in front of him bore out just in time to allow him to drive the plyons and get up for 2nd, to the sharpest trotter on the circuit who doubled up as well. He meets a few tougher ones here, but not terribly more so.

4 Major Athens was first up last time and 2nd best to Finish Line, whom he meets again and others who have a bit better form than him. I will go to them. Minor shot, but just not enough for me.

8 Fearless Man draws the outside, and he isn't carrying his speed like he did the last couple of years. I think he has lost a step and will pass on him. He looks to be entering the class mover, drop and pop type as he ages.

9 Burnin Money does okay, but is generally more viable when the classes are thinner, he is down a level and draws a better post. Pass for me tonight.

6 Charlie Is a Joker wired a much weaker bunch last time by getting the 2nd quarter breather and trotting away from there. That party is over. Back to reality.

5 Odds on Amethyst needs careful handling to get away clean and stay trotting, and he doesn't need many reasons to give these an advantage anyway, as they have more class and form to him as of late. Pass.


6 B N Bad might, and I say might emphatically, have been better last time. Fillion took several looks over to his left leaving, and when he saw a few gapping and taking back, he decided to sprint out of there. Late Night beat him out, then two others filled the gap and he had to take back to 4th. That resulted in following one who stopped to a walk and he lost all momentum, then ducked to the inside and went as much as he could. Post 6 is the best leaving post, and if he can blast again and somehow find a 2 hole and save his energy, he is a decent longshot play. He has 32 lifetime wins and a record of 49 and change. That is ancient history, but he still has enough speed left to go with the bottom rung like this.

4 Rockabella goes to Carmen. Good enough for me. I'd use him on the chance he finds the key to make this rat try.

1 Late Night was gassed out of there last time by Phil, but a longshot who backed up at the half carried him all the way to the quarter and he was down to the half in 54.2, and spent by the tote board. He looked good doing it the whole way, and simply was a victim of post and trip. If he brings a more reasonable price tonight, I could back him.

10 Burning Shore was blasted out of there by Randy last time, for reasons I don't get, then backed through them sharply. He has never been the soundest horse, but if that race didn't hurt him, he can turn the tables here with the double class drop. I'd use him in the picks. An off the pace approach could work here. I could see many of these wanting the front and battling to get it.

2 House of Terror was in a live cover flow last time, but they went better than him when it mattered. He has lived in this class all winter, and I don't see him moving on up to the better ones based on how he races. Bit player and opportunist. Wont work for it.

9 K D Overdrive comes back on 3 days rest, loses post advantage, and isn't winning anyway. Pass.

5 Crocadile Canyon was distanced last time and got on the vets list. He qualified back, but he has not come back off the long layoff good this time. Pass and watch, but I'd be willing to say its more likely he is an 8 claimer than 20 at this point, and he doesn't look good enough to win even this class.

7 Team Edward is not one I've ever seen before, and he appears to have spent his career at the B's, most recently at Rideau. I suppose he has a shot, but I will go to others who show they can race for higher purses.

8 Mach It Big is tough to back on form and post. He has seen better days, but the odd time he pops back into gear. If you think tonight is that night, this group is ripe for the taking. I don't and will go elsewhere.

3 Hail the Taxi I don't know how soft a field it takes at this track for him to win, but I haven't seen one yet, and neither has he. 


I will pass on these. They are too evenly matched, with the favorites looking both probable and beatable at the same time. I will note I liked the way Cue Hall looked on the track last time and he is heading towards a big score, but post 10 tonight takes care of that chance. I will have my eye on him for a potential score down the road. 

Not a bunch I'd try to sort.

4 Top Dollar  drew poorly last time and was out the mile. He moves up in class again, but Roy seems to find a way to win with anything, and Allard's juice is still effective at this point. I could see him if the right trip materializes. Before he had the 9 hole, he had all 1's and 2's, and thus, hasn't had a preferable post in many races. That could indicate hidden form, and anyway, he won two of those and was 3rd in another. Medium level shot.

9 Mighty Nicky never performed for Alagna, but as we have seen many times, a barn change away from him and some of those turn right around. He has done that, winning 3 straight, and moves up again. J Mac takes him over the 2, one of his main clients. Post 9 isn't easy, but he is possible on continued improvement.

3 Lmc Mass Oak draws better here, but his slow starts from any post put him in a hole he rarely digs out of when he is up against this type of competition. However, he has blown up the tote board a few times, and I wouldn't toss him in a race where I am of the opinion the top 2 obvious ones are beatable tonight.

5 Honor Above All ships back with poor form, but he has competed okay at this level before. He doesn't always have the grit to win, a function probably of his dam sire, but he is okay enough if the top choices bomb.

1 Free Willy Hanover is a tough call tonight. On the one hand, he was compromised by having post 1 last week, which he gets again, and thus had to make a strong blast move to the top, and that cost him the win, while only being beat by a legit one. He beat the rest. On the other hand, he is in for that trip again, and also looked sore and bearing in many times in the mile, and that could be something that is accumulating now that he races on and meets level competition. He might have gotten away with it before, but others have more talent at this level and can make him pay for any flaw. I will go against him. Its a risk/reward play.

8 Sergeant Seelster is on a 4 race win streak, beat the one last time that beat the 1 last week, and adds Trevor in favor or Wray, who while he has done a fine job so far, is not Trevor Henry. Post 8 will also test him. He waits on horses and looked all out last time to just hold on. I am playing others in here and will roll the dice against him.

2 Keegan Ho loses J Mac to the 9 and gets Hensley don't think he can win, but he can hit the ticket if things go his way.

7 P L Jill beat a weak bunch 2 back, but now she has to face the next level up, and that looks like a tough chore for her until she develops more. She is a big strong mare, but she is meeting the upper echelon now of what this track brings. She can't boss around and outmuscle these. Pass.

6 Majestic Presence doesn't look to have the overall speed of many of these and when she gets headed, she stops. This is a competitive race. She is one I can toss and take my chances.

10 Major Muscle is not one I can see with a post like this in a field like this.

RACE 10 

 4 Barefoot Bluejeans is a 4yo homebred taking a tag for the first time off a long layoff. I could make a case he pops on this bunch. He shows 54 over Georgian, and that stacks up here if he paces back to that. Trevor can motivate him if that is needed.

2 Classic News has changed hands, and goes first time Etsell. His form and overall speed ability look as good as any of these, and I rate him a big shot.

6 Futomaki had every chance last time, but didn't seem to want to try. I'm looking for a pricey longshot for this race, and Carmen has been known to turn one like this week to week. I could use him on that chance.

7 Four Card Major is a logical play for the hot tandem of McNair and Marfisi, and he could even be the chalk over the 5. I am inclined to roll the dice against him, although I'm aware that is risky with his good form and the nature of the crappiness of this field as a whole.

3 Trigger gets a shot here tonight on the ride up with his more success stablemate. Why not? You are coming anyway. He moves up sharply and doesn't show me what I think you need to make the transition to this class. Wray has improved him since he took him from Weller, but not enough for me. Cheque getter in all likelihood.

9 Jump Jet will have to show me a lot more speed to think he overcomes the 9 hole and takes this bunch. He gets a pass for the 8 hole at Flamboro last time. He doesn't get a pass for the effort before that. They are trying to move him and I suppose this is a showcase to try and get that accomplished.

5 Flyin Orion is a horrible Northfield rat and I will be happy to go against him if he gets heavy play on the Roy/Allard angle. The horse that beat him last time caved in big time next out. He probably would have that night too if he had something to pass him. This one couldn't even get by him.

1 Lock N Reload has not been competitive twice in this class, and I see no reason he is here tonight. These are soft, but he is softer.

8 Dg Ramtough 5yo, 1 lifetime win and terrible form. I can't see him being the one.

10 Duneside Sport total pass. Ketros can start by trying to get him under control so he isn't so dangerous, if and when he draws better next time.