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HRN Original Blog:
Head Heart & Hooves

Revisiting Wednesday's Pick-5 at Del Mar

Strong WindThe inside runners dominated the first at Del Mar on Wednesday. Eileen's Dream led most of the race before giving way to All on the Table, who was the second choice. She proved to be the one to beat, but was not beaten this time out. I tossed Cosset because I wanted to use three horses here, but considered him for exactas, which I did not bet. $36 goes way beyond my daily wagering limit, so I only played the pick 5. Unfortunately, that cost me a nice exacta, but so it goes. I liked Cosset due to Hector Palma's good first-off-the-claim record and his nice recent workouts. The 20-1 morning line was tempting as well. Blackie's Crown ran evenly, but was simply a bit overmatched. She is one I will look for going forward, as she made a good account of herself shipping in from Lone Star.

 

I thought the third would be the one that got me, but it was the second. Itsphun went straight to the front and did not look back when the low-priced favorites came calling. Instead, she simply drew off, to the detriment of Unusual Darling, who got off slowly and closed well for second, despite being well-beaten. The chart says "clearly second best" and indeed she was. Unfortunately, second best does not win one a pick-5. My chalky picks went 2-3, with my top choice Lady Shazzam fading in the stretch for a well-beaten thrid. Nothing in the form suggested to me that Itsphun would go for the lead and not look back. She ran decently in her last race (and first try on the synthetic) and she did indeed improve on the stretchout. Matthew Chew has now won 3/6 when putting the blinkers on.

 

Nine-year old gelding Star Nicholas looked like he was knocking at the door in the past performances and he proved them correct. He made up ground last time and ran very well today. Far back at the start, five wide in the turn and six wide in the stretch, Nick took over at the end and won one for the old guys. This was the most difficult race of the sequence for me and I was happy to see Star Nicholas run well, in spite of my wager having already gone by the wayside. I never really bet the "Warren's", but Warren's Concept ran well, as he was also stuck wide around the turn. Closers filled the exacta here. Siempre Mio was in a good spot throughout, as expected under Bejarano, but could not get it done when the time came. Sir Hamilton was simply not a good bet, as he faded badly in the stretch. As I did not have a handle on this race prior to the start, I do not have much more of a handle on it now. As such, I cannot disparage nor recommend any of these going forward.

 

Sometimes, you just have to chalk out. It's nice when done at the right time. You're Joking was clearly the best here, taking over atop the stretch and drawing off. I could have saved myself $18 by singling him, but felt dirty eating that chalk. So, I subbed second-choice Solana Soleil (scratch) for A.P. Corsair. Bad idea. I have Neil Drysdale's 3% (from 60 runners) sprint record circled in my form. Sometimes you have to chalk out; sometimes, you have to single. This was clearly one of those times. My lack of confidence in my handicapping cost me $18 here. Oh well; it has cost me more in the past and will surely cost me more again.


Strong Wind (pictured above) had the lead by the 3/8 pole and kept widening the lead thereafter. I preferred Just Call Me Al, who was last throughout and barely made the place. Lovmeister took thrid, completing a trifecta of horses with stakes experience for a $47.80 trifecta. I felt good about tossing Law Dog here. The 9/5 morning-line (and post time) favorite did not like the polytrack and was eased. Fortunately, he is alright. Unfortunately, my pick-5 was not. I'll be back for another on Friday.

 

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Older Comments about Revisiting Wednesday's Pick-5 at Del Mar...

Alten furtz here again. I hit the enter button twice aiming for shift. Again, the point is that time is on your side, all winning horseplayers side. It is much more satisfying to me to walk out of the track as a winner, even small, knowing I made mostly right decisions and I am not beating up on myself. You can still have fun, watching the races, correlating the running of races you don't wager on into what you see in the form to what you see in the race. It eventually all begins to make sense. "My lack of confidence in my handicapping cost me" If you are not sure, if EVERYTHING is not right, if you have not slammed the form shut after looking at the race, knowing who the winner is, then just pass and enjoy. Del Mar is a hard place to leave.
More unsolicited suggestions from an alten furtz. If you were to invest $100 a month for the next 40 years into a mutual fund which averaged a 10% return, at the end of 40 years you would have over $630,000. Since 1932, the stock market has averaged 11.1% return, 7% in price appreciation and 4.1% in dividends. What I am getting at is that time is on your side as a young man, but time's a wastin too. Investing at the racetrack is very much the same principle. If you only have $36 to invest, then invest wisely. On just your two or three races you like the best and just bet WPS and not the exotics. Even a $10 show bet on a horse that pays $4.00 will now get you $20 to bet to show on another horse paying $4.00 and suddenly you have a $30 profit. Just an example, not necessarily the way to wager a race.
More unsolicited suggestions from an alten furtz. If you were to invest $100 a month for the next 40 years into a mutual fund which averaged a 10% return, at the end of 40 years you would have over $630,000. Since 1932, the stock market has averaged 11.1% return, 7% in price appreciation and 4.1% in dividends. What I am getting at is that time is on your side as a young man, but time's a wastin too. Investing at the racetrack is very much the same principle. If you only have $36 to invest, then invest wisely. On just your two or three races you like the best and just bet WPS and not the exotics. Even a $10 show bet on a horse that pays $4.00 will now get you $20 to bet to show on another horse paying $4.00 and suddenly you have a $30 profit. Just an example, not necessarily the way to wager a race.
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Meet Alex Fawell 

Unlike many, I did not grow up with horseracing. My first time at the races was the 2008 Kentucky Derby. I bet on Colonel John. That fall, I had the good fortune to go to England, where I visited Ascot and Kempton. When I returned to the U.S., I was hooked. I started reading handicapping books, studying historic sire lines, watching races and going to Portland Meadows regularly. While the purses there were small, I was able to be close to the action and see firsthand the day-to-day operations of an average American racetrack.

 

Last year I moved home to Chicago. I went to Arlington for the first time this year. In the interim, I have devoted my time to understanding all aspects of horseracing  I hope to provide unique isights on handicapping perspectives and multifaceted analyses on the state of horseracing today. I will strive to write with an open mind and a willingness to learn through the writing process. I will not claim to be an expert, but I will read thoroughly, write carefully, and be honest.

 

To me, the all-time greats are Kelso, John Henry, Round Table and Yeats. Horses I like because they have won me money include Raven's Pass, Alternation, and I'll Have Another. The greatest horse I have even seen live is Zenyatta. I also enjoy the Bears, the Bulls, the White Sox, the Blackhawks, Mexican food, good Bourbon, and old-time music - specifically that played on the 5-string banjo. Thanks for reading!