After yesterday’s debacle of a Pick 5 at Del Mar, I have come to the conclusion that, I am in fact … an idiot. Carryover Wednesday at Del Mar was created by a perfect storm of circumstances that saw a parade of longshots hit on Sunday. With two days off for everyone to handicap or salivate, every ‘capper in the nation wanted to be in on the enormous Pick 5 and Pick 6 pools sure to be in play, and I was no different.
My initial foray into the past performances of the first five races on yesterday’s card (I was strictly looking at the Pick 5, as the 50 cent play is much more reasonable than the $2 minimum of the Pick 6 for a bettor with a budgeted bankroll) left me a little underwhelmed. I really did not see much that I liked, meaning the ticket could quickly become unmanageable. My Gal Candy in the fifth race looked like the lone horse I knew I would be betting. After the handicapping struggle, I put the pp’s down and decided to refresh and do some more later.
Then the email from a good friend and fellow racing fanatic came in very early Wednesday morning … “If you're putting in a pick 5 ticket today and need/want any partners, I'd be up for buying a piece up to $50. I haven't looked at the card with trying to get out of town, so it’s all you bud.”
How could I say no now? After getting the scratches, I went to serious work. The fact that my top pick from the early analysis, My Gal Candy, was scratched only made things tougher. While I could not find any confident singles, I at least felt good about eliminating non-factors in several races.
My original list of horses, that I would not be surprised winning, came to a 3 by 5 by 4 by 2 by 6 combination. As fate would have it, this would be a winning combination, but I knew $360 was too much for my partner and I. Normally I would create several smaller tickets, with my top choices used more than my lesser picks, to lessen the overall cost. A good approach, but I was just having too much trouble in identifying horses that I would be able to put more faith in for the multiple ticket approach, so I knew what I would need to do. To create a ticket cost that both my partner and I could live with, I would need to bite the bullet and single my best bet in the five races.
After much deliberation, I decided on Hoorayforhollywood in the 3rd. The Baffert trainee was the fastest horse in the race and had drawn the rail with leading rider, Rafael Bejarano. I figured he had a great chance to go wire-to-wire. The single in the 3rd race brought the ticket down to $90 total, or $45 a piece. As fate would have it, it would be a winning combination, but one that still worried me.
I was scared by a potential speed duel, and I was worried that Hoorayforhollywood had blown too many leads late for my taste. I stewed in my own juices for a while, and I eventually added the other three identified factors back into the ticket, and I once again arrived at that too big a number of $360.
As we got closer to the first, I painfully arrived at my top pick in the 1st, Slammer Time, as my single. This shaky single brought the ticket down to $120. My friend agreed to go in for $60 a piece, and I told him the 1st race would likely tell the tale. Of course Slammer Time was pinned down on the rail most of the way and rallied belatedly for third. The horses that beat him were: the horse I was most scared of, narrowly holding off my top long shot. Both of them were on the $360 ticket, and both were on that $90 ticket that I backed out of. We knew right away that the dream for Pick 5 glory for the day was dead, but still I watched.
An easy win by one of our horses at 9-2 in the 2nd did not improve my mood. I felt better briefly when I saw Hoorayforhollywood get involved in the exact speed duel that I feared, but ... then he won anyway.
I really felt bad when the 4th race produced another winner, and we went to the 5th with ALL. I felt sick when I looked at the will pays for some of the longer shots, but thankfully the heavy favorite, who I thought was vulnerable, won. What could have been a gigantic blunder only turned into a $474 ($237 a piece) blunder.
I could think of nothing else to say to my betting partner, “I'm sorry, man!”