The first rule of Showvivor is that there are no rules. Well, that’s not exactly true, there are a few rules, but the basics of the game could not be much simpler. Select one horse each day from the entire card at Santa Anita Park that you believe is the most likely horse to finish in the top three. If that horse does in fact finish first, second, or third, you move on to the next day. If not, you go home. Seems pretty simple, right? Not so fast, my friends. Plenty can go wrong in any given race, on any given day, so to showvive day after day is not nearly as easy as it sounds.
Showvivor is a free contest run by the good folks at Santa Anita, and offers $5,000 in prize money, with $3,000 to first, $1,500 to second, and $500 to third. It’s nice of Santa Anita to pony up the five grand for the players, but on the other hand, it is also a stroke of marketing genius. So far in the first seven days, I have never been so tuned in to every single race at any single track. It almost seems a little silly I know, as the prize money will not make me rich, and my odds of winning began at 4,388-1, but you know how it is; when the competitive juices start to flow, you cannot help but to go all in. Well done, Santa Anita.
So here I am, all in. After seven days, my daily selections have managed four wins, and three seconds, and I find myself agonizing over the wait of three off days before I get the chance to showvive again when racing resumes on Thursday. Using a simple strategy of not trying to get cute, not worrying about odds, or what others may be selecting, and only picking the single horse that I consider most likely to be there at the finish, I have done only one thing, and that is showvived. There have been a few days where each of the final few horses I considered made the top three, and there have been a couple days where one of the last horses I considered finished off the board, but in the end, I showvived. And that, my friends, is all that matters.
The good news is that due to attrition, my odds of winning have dwindled down tenfold from where they began. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a gigantic long shot at odds of 385-1, and I'm obviously in against some serious competition, (three players have picked seven straight winners) but at the very least, I’m enjoying the ride!