Monday, August 08, 2016
With all the tournament success that Craig Hom (Chestnut) has experienced, you would think there is a magic formula or theory that he applies to contests.
He keeps things as simple as possible most of the time.
That's not to say he doesn't put a ton of time into handicapping the races or that he selects obvious contenders.
"I use DRF Formulator and one of the most important things I use it for is to see how horses run coming out of specific races," Hom said.
He also prefers to use multiple entries in big cash games such as the $25,000 Saturday Contest he not only won on Saturday, but finished fifth as well with two of his three entries.
"Having multiple entries in a contest gives you an edge," Hom said. "Placing with two entries felt pretty good."
Making smart decisions like the one he made in the Jim Dandy at Saratoga also gives you an edge.
The fact that the featured race for 3-year-olds only had six runners and he considered one of those runners (Race Me Home at 15-1) to be a throwout, led him in the direction of maiden Laoban at 27-1.
"He was the speed of the race and everyone else outside of the horse I threw out was a short price that wasn't going to hurt me," said Hom, who played Laoban on two of his tickets.
"If I was in the lead or if it was the last race of the day I wouldn't have selected him, but the speed of the race where you aren't giving up much if the others win...it was a no-brainer."
Hom also admitted that Governor Malibu was his top selection, but he has learned countless times through the years of playing tournaments that best laid plans change quickly.
The next race at Del Mar following Laoban's upset win which drove two of Hom's entries up the ladder in the 114-man contest, was key.
Hom pointed out that his top pick was Rocko's Wheel, who didn't factor in the race, but having multiple entries allowed him to use eventual race winner Conquest Cobra at 11-1.
"He (Conquest Cobra) finished really fast in his last race. He was also a young horse who ran his race last time out and seem to be improving. I did think the favorite (Power Jam) was best, but he was even money," Hom said.
"If I had one entry I would have been on Rocko's Wheel and I would have struck out."
Despite Hom's success he will tell you that "it's really hard to pick a winner."
He's truthful that some of his success hinges on playing multiple entries so he can spread out his opinions.
"If I wouldn't have had multiple entries on Saturday, I wouldn't have won," Hom said.
Hom is hoping his hot streak from last week can spill over into his tournament at the Wynn in Las Vegas this weekend.
The tournament conditions will suit Hom well as its mythical $2 win-place wagering format opposed to the live cash format that he doesn't prefer.
And of course, he has earned multiple entries for the high stakes competition.
--- By Dustin Haluska
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