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Friday, August 20, 2010

Chester Super Stakes, Listening to Your Gut

Sometimes, you just got to listen to your gut instinct.  In yesterday's blog, I discussed The Moni Maker Trot at The Red Mile.  In the race review yesterday, I made the following comment about Christiana Hanover:

Outsider has drawn poorly but it may be a mistake to exclude from exotics.

In my selections for the race I had her listed fourth, 5-1-8-9.  What, made her intriguing?  First of all, Christiana Hanover won a PASS race two starts ago (at 42-1 as it was) and has been competitive against this caliber of horse.  Secondly, the driver Riina Rekila was spotting a .414 UDR average.  Rekila, who was featured in the July edition of Trot drives and trains her own horses only.  With 48 driving starts coming in to this race, the .414 UDR was something not to be dismissed.  Plus, being her first start in Kentucky, and one of only a few American starts, it was inevitable bettors would say Riina who?   So it was safe to assume she would be dismissed, especially against this field.

Truth be told, I had no intention on betting her to win.  Clearly, while a nice horse, Christiana Hanvoer appeared to be a step below this level of competition.  At her morning line of 15-1, and post position nine in a twelve horse race, I couldn't see playing her, even at 25-1.  But once her odds went north of 40-1, there was no way I was going to dismiss a driver with a .414 UDR at those odds. 

Did I really expect her to win?  Admittedly, no.  But there was no way I was going to let a horse I liked a little and a driver I liked a lot go at those odds.  The race went off and everyone learned why Rekila had a .414 UDR as she pulled off the shocker and paid $106.80. 

The point here is not to gloat.  I got lucky this time, plain and simple.  Knowing a lot about handicapping may improve your odds over the course of time, but each individual race still boils down to luck; this is why it is called gambling.  Despite all the systems and methodologies we all have towards picking horses, there are times you just got to listen to your gut instinct.

Sunday is Super Stakes Day at Chester Downs and it promises to be an excellent card of racing.  There are nine stakes races (including consolations) on the fourteen race card which  has a special post time of 2:00pm.  The big races on Sunday are the $350,000 Valley Forge, $500,000 Colonial, and the $500,000 Battle of the Brandywine.  The best thing about Super Stakes Day is there are no elimination races.  The top money earners get to race in the main event, with the balance of the entrants being seeded into two consolations.  Hence, bettors are getting races where everyone is seeking to cash in today because there is no next week with regards to these events.  

Here is my analysis of the big three events on the card.     

10th Pace - $350,000; The Valley Forge - 3yo Fillies
1 - Hula's Z Tam (P. Lachance, 5-1) - Has been dominating state-breds; takes on open company.  May land share.
2 - It's De Lovely (Gregory, 8-1) - Success has been coming in second tier events.  This group is tougher.
3 - Ruffle's Kiss (Campbell, 12-1) - Solidly trounced by #6 in last meeting.  Can't recommend.
4 - Put On A Show (Tetrick, 2-1) - Killed the bridgejumpers in last start.  Tailing off or one time event?  Your call.
5 - A And Gs Princess (D. Miller, 6-1) - Only one victory this year but has been holding her own this year.  Don't ignore.
6 - Panagler (Pierce, 15-1) - Has been somewhat disappointing this year.  Can't recommend.
7 - Dancinwiththestarz (Sears, 5-2) - Upset #4 in last but has the ability to repeat despite post draw.
8 - Rock N Soul (Gingras, 8-1) - Woke up in last race.  May land shares here.
Selections: 7-1-4-8

11th Trot - $500,000; The Valley Forge - 3yo Open
1 - Pilgrims Taj (M. Lachance, 4-1) - Never had a chance last week.  Expect better performance this week.
2 - Temple Of Doom (D. Miller, 6-1) - Another one doomed last week.  Toss and you have a possible value play here.
3 - Shaq Is Back (Schnittker, 20-1) - Early season magic has gone.  Pass.
4 - Lucky Chucky (Campbell, 9-5) - Is the horse to beat but you need to decide if you want to accept less than even money.
5 - Hard Livin (Gingras, 8-1) - This one is just in need of racing luck.  Lands a share.
6 - Wishing Stone (Brennan, 5-1) - Best performance of the bad trippers in the Hambo.  Possibility.
7 - On The Tab (Johansson, 12-1) - Gets off the mile track where he has been ineffective.  Still must see more before considering.
8 - Cassis (Tetrick, 8-1) - Will be leaving.  Just a question if he gets pressured this week or not. Don't ignore.
Selections: 8-4-6-1

12th Pace - $500,000; The Battle of the Brandywine - 3yo Open
1 - We Will See (B. Miller, 8-1) - Will be positioned nicely if the speed falters at the end.  Consider.
2 - One More Laugh (Tetrick, 9-5) - Has been the hot horse and put in a crisp prep here.  One to beat.
3 - Delmarvalous (Sears, 4-1) - Turned the tables on #2 in last meet up.  Took last week off; the difference?
4 - Rock N Roll Heaven (Dube, 2-1) - Has not been coming up to the big events with his A game.  No reason to think this week will be different.
5 - BG's Folly (Pierce, 10-1) - Impressive effort in the Confederation Cup.  Can be a shocker.
6  -World of Rocknroll (Brennan, 20-1) - Nothing to recommend here.
7 - Fred and Ginger (Morrill Jr, 10-1) - Tough spot with speed.inside.
8 - Versado (Gingras, 12-1) - Keeps getting bad posts at the wrong time. Pass.
Selections: 5-1-2

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