Here’s where we are at this time of great global freshening, shorts and t-shirts coast to coast, in the middle of March.
Expert pickers, which is to say people who get paid for their opinions on who will win what, see and hear basically the same things and come up with similarly flawed and predictable selections, favorites due to flop, sucker-play long shots, and inside information any halfway decent handicapper could see through a beer glass. The screens on which the expert pickers frequently appear seem to be a burden. It’s as though some of them think they could be discovered by the production company of the next “Luck.” They spend more time on looks than guts, style over strategy. From what I know, you don’t want to encourage horse race groupies.
The “All” button was quite the play for the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park. As discussed here a week ago, the only thing worse than taking a stab at some exactas is old barbecue. When the favorite looks fine and you’ve already played it in the Pick 3 and 4, and when the second and third possibilities look about like the ninth and tenth runners, the “field” button can pay off like one of the slot machines that helps to make horse racing what it is today. In the Rebel, Secret Circle figured to win. It was doubtful that anybody could have picked second, had the opportunity to wager again presented itself halfway down the backside, around the turn, even halfway home. As it turned out, Optimizer, which couldn’t finish second, finished second. It’s what deep closers do for a living, they come from nowhere to finish second and break your heart. The exacta pairing the winner and the field, which sounds better than all or etcetera, paid $123.
Concerning the Derby, the members of the big three from last year’s Breeder’s Cup have come back even bigger. Union Rags has Monster written across his rump for all to see. Hansen appears better off on the lead. Secret Circle has a winning stalking style and plans to come back for the Arkansas Derby. But I’m already exhausted for him. And whereas you can’t blame a horse for winning, the “All” button at Oaklawn wasn’t all that contentious. The horse with the best chance to join the group of top contenders is Gemologist, who appeared to have a gear left in his Gulfstream Park race. But he needs money to bust into the top 20 in graded earnings. Sabercat may not be all that fast but he is smart, having hit the big slot pot.
c, it’s simply running.
The bobbing numbers that show exactly who is where on the TV races at Tampa are great.
When a rotten trainer wins a race, odds are he or she is apt to hit another long shot soon for reasons best left to the authorities.
And the “value” losing streak continues. Some people treat horse racing like the discount store where you can find most anything for a buck if you don’t mind dropping in class. Shopping for “value” in horse racing is like wearing a sign around your neck that says: “I don’t particularly know what I’m doing, but I’m sure having fun losing.” The plight of the “value” shopper at the track has almost reached full-out jinx proportions. Mention a “value” pick and it’s an automatic loss. Say you’re sitting there with a 6-5 horse that you can’t bet because it’s too short. Then if it runs up to 3-1, you love it. The odds should help tell you how much to bet, and what kind of wager to play, not which horse to use. One more thing, the odds that point to your “value” bet could have been set by somebody who could cancel a big wager at any moment.
Originally Posted on ESPN