Well dear reader, sit back and enjoy reading about a classic meltdown. Remember Van De Velde at the British Open, this story makes him look clutch and heroic. This is the anti-How You Do It story, an epic of impotency. It is only day 2 of the New Year and I broke all the rules of the wagering lessons I’ve learned over the years.
I wrote much below in real time to ‘capture the fun.’ Oh my, how sad.
So the ‘Beat the Host’ contest is:
Races 3, 5, 9 and 10 at Fairgrounds
Races 1, 3, 5 and 6 at Santa Anita
Jon White is the host … and now the enemy.
Recall the goal is $150, and conservative is out.
3 at FG [$45,000 Mdn F & M 6f]
My first pick #2 is scratched, so I reach for #1 – Double Stuff - with one start to date, looking for her to improve. She is by far the best 5.5f horse in the field, sadly it is a 6f race and she comes in 4th. Winner is 9/2, so not a big price.
5 at FG [$43,000 Mdn F 6f]
Wicked Uno is the best on form, but at 4/5 who can take her in a contest – I soon learn the host can. Reach again for a first time runner – Southern Strike - @ 12-1 with ma producing 6 winners from 8 starters and pa a 3.37 spi. Wicked Uno tromps home.
1 at SA [$32,000 Mdn C 1 1/16 mile]
Worth a Punt is the 1/5 favorite, so once again looking for a price. Nothing much to choose, so go with a one time starter getting 9 lbs with an apprentice jockey. Drama? – don’t look here as Punt crushes field by 10+ lengths.
After three of eight races, the chalk is scoring so it is still anyone’s contest. This will end up being decided by 1 or 2 races that come in with a price. Right now a guess is ~ $110 to $130 could take this and the $1,500 prize. Jon White had Wicked Uno – his total is $6.50.
3 at SA [$48,000 4&up F&M 1 1/16 mile]
Nothing dominates in this race, the first race of the day with many contenders. The favorite is #4 @ 2-1. I like this nice little filly with the best kick, so I plunk down on Joe Talimo to wake up – Lullabytime – in the stretch for a late run win. Want to guess the results … you are right, Lullabytime sleepwalks and it’s chalk again. The #4 Miss Silver Brook wins at 2-1.
9 at FG [$50,000 4&up 1 mile]
Two horses to play here, the 3 and 11. With the better post position due to the quick turn and better odds, #3 – Sea the Soldier - gets the nod. The favorite in this race – Twilight Ross – goes off at 7-5. Want to guess the winner – Favorite time again. #3 sank at the ¾ pole.
A closer look at the leader board reveals the Host – Jon White – has posted all his picks for the day. How could I have overlooked this? Eureka, I have the enemy’s battle plans. Three races left and his total is $6.5, I REPEAT $6.5! An even money favorite beats him AND I know who he is picking in the final three races.
[This section is written after the races]
An uneasy feeling has swept over me in the last hour as I have been getting crushed at the window. It is an uneasy feeling like a gargoyle is perched behind and watching over the shoulder. I haven’t cashed a single ticket all day and that includes place and show wagers. Now though unusual, it is nothing to fret about as I usually don’t make many plays during the course of a day, and they are very rarely on favorites.
What is unusual is I don’t wager during tournaments except in rare instances – there are plenty of days and races to play for profit. Also, I follow the Kentucky circuit and rarely play outside of it. I always watch the paddock and post parade, and if I don’t like what I see, I pass. I’m not addicted to ‘action.’ Finally, my strength as a horseplayer is discipline – I don’t chase, and I follow the plan.
However, now I find myself playing two tracks – Santa Anita and Fairgrounds – at my normal bankroll, without a plan or review of the PP’s. As I said, tournaments and wagering are different, so I’m looking for wager overlays and tournament scores which are conflicting strategies, much like smoking and exercise, or cake and dieting, Congress and honesty. How did I get in this mess? As usual, my mouth is the culprit.
I’ve been chatting during the tourney with Jeremy Plonk from ESPN.com and Horse Player Now as well as Joe Kristufek who is Arlington Park’s Morning Line maker. Another thing I don’t do is chat during tourney’s – I told my friend Bug to quit calling me earlier in the day as I was concentrating on this event … I think I may have said ‘lose this number’ or something equally pleasant. Anyway, feeling I had the contest races scoped out, I start jawing with these guys. Next thing I know I’m backing up my opinions – and sad to say, there’s too – with real dollars – and losing... often.
What in the name of dirt and worms is happening, I’m playing in a little $40 live bankroll contest, losing to the host with a cumulative bankroll of $6.50, and dumping two days of wagering bankroll on two tracks at which two hours ago I had no opinions other than contest races. Ummm, a little hint of panic comes knocking, as earlier the races were spread out by about a half hour each, now the next three races would all occur within the next 20 minutes.
[Back to real time]
OK, three races left. I can do this.
5 at SA [$60,000 4&up T 6.5f]
Again, two horses (#2 and #8) are intriguing but also very different in the ML odds. Must choose one. Go with #2 Noble Court the favorite 2-1 over #8 Cherokee Heaven @ 9-1. I’m ditching the high score strategy of trying to win this, now I just want to beat JW’s $6.5 total and Nobel Court is the class of the field. Oh no, say it ain’t so Joe! Joe Talimo brings Cherokee Heaven home wire to wire paying $20.20.
10 at FG [$15,000 Mdn C 1 mile]
I get shut out! My day is done. I am seeing stars from lack of oxygen to the brain.
[Real Time over - Recapping the Tragedy]
I get caught up chatting with JP, looking for a short odds horse for the contest, and forget a quirk of this contest. No entry means automatic disqualification. I don’t get my pick in before the bell on the 10th at FG. Normally, no entry equals zero, but here they show you the door. I lose to JW’s 4-5 odds SINGLE PICK AND $6.5 TOTAL!
Here’s a sample of our conversation:
JW still only has $6.5 but since I have $0 ....... if I lose to $6.5 watch for bridge jumper.
LOL don't do it, water is tooooo cold today
It only hurts when I laugh ... ditched the #8 and odds as it’s a chalk day right? and go #2 to beat JW's $6.5 ....... pulling up MapQuest for directions to nearest bridge lol
MapQuest might send you through a high traffic area, so give yourself extra time to make it to your fast death
Then this from a helpful fellow player
Vincent Thomas is the most picturesque bridge in the area, still has the holiday lights up.
brutal room! we give people picturesque places to check out
I have become the butt of jokes. I become caught up in chatting, wagering, and Tom Foolery and am DQ’ed from the season’s first contest. I lose to $6.5. Thus, begineth my lifelong dream and path to NHC Glory in a most inglorious manner.
Here are the official results:
Saturday, January 2nd
Track Race Post
(ET) Host Pick Host Results Winning Runner Winner Payout
Fair Grounds 3 2:28pm #1 Double Stuff $0.00 #3 Calliope Jane $19.00
Fair Grounds 5 3:26pm #7 Senorita Margarita $0.00 #2 Wicked Uno $9.50
Santa Anita 1 3:30pm #1 Worth A Punt $6.50 #1 Worth A Punt $6.50
Santa Anita 3 4:31pm #8 Pretty Unusual $0.00 #4 Miss Silver Brook $17.00
Fair Grounds 9 5:22pm #4 Augustus Macray $0.00 #7 Twilight Ross $13.50
Santa Anita 5 5:34pm #3 Mr. Cacht $0.00 #8 Cherokee Heaven $52.00
Fair Grounds 10 5:52pm #5 Time to Reign $0.00 #11 Cocoa's Knockout $26.50
Santa Anita 6 6:05pm #2 Top Seeded $10.00 #2 Top Seeded $10.00
Host's Total: $16.50
Prize Winners for Saturday, January 2nd
Place Name Mutuel Total Prize
1st Carl Baucom $138.00 $1000
2nd Fuguo Wong $119.00 $500
The Day: --
Across the street from the house is a shallow pond about 150 yards long by 20 yards wide. About three months ago a pure white duck just appeared paddling around, not sure how he got there, maybe someone just dumped him. See him every day and named him Donald – original huh? – but just call him the Don. His is often a solitary life.
"Money lost, something lost. Honor lost, much lost. Courage lost, everything lost? Better you were never born" ~ Goethe
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