To Your Advantage
by Kaye Childs
I closed out my last blog with the words “handicapping is a journey, not a day trip”. True enough. But as anyone who’s ever taken a journey knows, the road may be unexpectedly full of pot holes and detouring may be necessary.
So it’s been the last week, thanks in part to the absence of Belmont tournaments and the untimely demise of my washing machine. The two incidents affected not only my choice of tournaments, but also my method for making my picks.
With Belmont temporarily out of the picture, I decided to have a go at Mountaineer, where I am at least passingly familiar with the riders. So far, so good. However, the death of my washer made even the purchase of a pack of gum seem extravagant and I wasn’t armed with some of the “tools” I’d hoped to have.
I was wondering how to proceed with making my picks when I had an “aha”moment. I distinctly remembered reading Michael Beychok’s blog “Go With Your Gut”. Thank you, Michael!!
While his gut is much better at this than mine (no need to compare our respective wins!), I decided to put my gut to the test.I’ve heard much about “blocking” your opponents with a higher odds horse that everyone else may have overlooked, but still being a bit hazy on it, I’ve never tried it before. Until now. I leaned heavily on what I knew abut the riders at Mountaineer, but this time I concentrated on the riders with a good winning average in combination with a horse at odds of 4-1 or more. In other words, a horse who may have been overlooked, but still had a shot at winning. A horse that I call a “Legitimate Shot”.
Time doesn’t allow for dissection each race. Sufficient to say that a 4-1 pick put me on the board. Two races later, a 12-1 catapulted me into 3rd place with his 2nd place finish. If only he’d won!!!
Also sufficient to say that I did not win the tournament, finishing 3rd overall. I enjoyed my measure of success. And I came away with something of value. I will remember this tournament as the one that finally made clear to me the strategy of a well picked long shot to prevent an opponent’s advance or to strengthen your own position.
At this point I find myself more anxious than ever to continue on with my journey…..and work on my gut!