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Location: Stockton, California, United States

Some call me OlRailbird.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hollywood Opens Tomorrow

Let's take a break from the Pro Ride at Santa Anita and mosey over to the Cushion Track at Hollywood Park! This synthetic crap is made in England instead of Australia. Cushion Track is composed of silica sand mixed with synthetic fibers, elastic fiber, and granulated rubber. The material is coated with a blend of wax.

Sounds a lot like the junk at Santa Anita, let's see how it plays with a plethora of favorites selected to win tomorrow!

As usual, the free picks are at www.horsecalc.com.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Paint It Green

No, it's not an old Stones tune, it's the "dirt" at Santa Anita.

Curlin's trainer blamed the Pro Ride artificial surface for his horse's 4th place finish in the BC Classic. When you get beat by a three year old turf/synthetic specialist in the biggest race of your life, it's easy (and probably true) to blame the track.

Let's just paint this crap green and call it the outer turf course -- that's more accurate than trying to pass it off as dirt. No, it's not turf but it does play more like turf than dirt.

Congratulations to all the European (turf) winners (on "dirt.") I expect you'll all be back next year for more free money.

Speaking of free money. The 7th and 9th races were nearly textbook results for my picks. You should have made money today!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Forecast: 89 degrees for BC Saturday

Sorry to miss a few posts, but I am in the process of moving from Cool to Stockton -- a distance of 100 miles. The move is slow, tiring and a real impediment to horseplay!

When the Breeders' Cup moved from broadcast television to cable last year, viewership dropped by 53%. At present, I have neither cable nor satellite or the time to attend off-track betting for Friday's card. Of course, the races were blacked-out on the internet so other than the first two races of Friday's undercard, I didn't see anything that happened at Santa Anita today.

Only 3 BC races were run on "dirt" Friday. No real surprises for the win but exotic players had to dig deep to find longshots for the lesser placings. The undercard stakes also held a few surprises.

Zenyatta and Stardom Bound were both coming off wins over Anita's Pro Ride surface. They had both proven they could handle this odd surface.

The big question for tomorrow is whether or not Curlin will like the going. His connections worried over the surface enough to request an afternoon work before committing to run in the Classic. Apparently, all went well enough to risk the horse's last race over a course made up of greasy little ball bearings.

If you followed my advice Friday, you probably made your day in the first race. First to 3rd exacta paid $169 for a buck. You could have cashed the trifecta for $857.10 by playing a $6 1 over 2,3 over 2,3,4,5 (numbers are ordered selections, not program numbers.) A ten cent superfecta of $356.77 could have been yours for $1.80, and you missed doubling that or more had #1 not missed 4th to the favorite by a neck at 39-1!

After the first, the weirdness of Pro Ride slowly took over the tote board except for the two aforementioned favorites with an affinity for the artificial.

As for tomorrow, visit www.horsecalc.com for my selections.

With the forecasted heat, there are bound to be some inexplicable results. However, the old adage of "Champions can win over any surface" still holds true, I believe. Not that I suggest betting the farm on Curlin, he actually looks to be a huge underlay to me. Not that I'd bet much against him, either...

Friday we had long doggies from 25-1 to 64-1 sprinkled into the exotics and I expect more of them tomorrow.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Will Short Fields Mean Low Prices?

Today's Oak Tree has short fields and my handicapping places favorites at the top of most races. This combination usually does not bode well for making money, so I am limiting my plays today.

One thing I'm doing is taking minimum $1 pick threes in the first six races. With all the scheduled favorites, I might hit three winners in a row. I'm also playing pinpoint $4 trifectas 1/2,3/2,3,4. There are superfectas in only the 4th & 6th, but the 4th has no value and I'm skipping it. A simple 4 horse box in the 6th is as much risk as I'll take. The best value race for me is the 8th, but no superfecta due to the dentists' demand for a high payout exotic only they can afford to play (Super High Five.)

Trackside, it is 84 degrees. That's a bit warm for Pro Ride, I think. Maybe the long shots will take everyone's money by beating all the favorites we all think should win. The rest of the week will cool down by 10 degrees so I think we can play with some confidence Fri-Sun.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Blogger Stats

Let's forget about Santa Anita's Pro Ride artificial surface for a minute and concentrate on how to become a blogging phenom.

A few minutes ago, I was #6 when searching for profile/interests/horse racing. Suddenly, I'm
#7! Argh! Keep in mind, this is #7 of over 900 horse racers, but still...

How did I drop so fast? Anyway, why aren't I number 2 or 3? Most of the people above me have little real interest in horse racing, or if they do, they only want you to sign up for their handicapping service.

I'm not sure which of the six above me existed before, just that one got added. What makes them add? I thought perhaps I was #6 just because my ONLY listed interest is horse racing. Some of the people have so many interests they are hardly interesting! What is their purpose in life, anyway?

To heck with this. My goal now is to become #1 on blogspot for profile/interests/horse racing. If I got to #6 or #7 without even realizing it, I must be doing something right! What am I doing?

Anyway, there are still horses running at Oak Tree, so check my picks at www.horsecalc.com.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Heat = Randomness at Santa Anita

As the temperature dropped over the last couple of days, more of my top choices won. Long shots still tended to run in the money, but the top selections ran better than they did in the heat.

Sure, it could all be a coincidence. There is little data to go on, so my gut feeling about the Pro Ride surface is all I have.

Above 79 degrees, expect randomness to rear its ugly head. Above 89 degrees, keep your money in your pocket. I think Pro Ride is unsuitable for California heat. I think it turns to some kind of slippery mush that most horses don't like and can't handle, especially on turns.

The heat is about over as we head into Fall and Winter. I guess the next question is whether the artificial surface can handle the deluge of water that is coming.

The California Horse Racing Board mandated artificial surfaces to reduce horse injuries. I guess it is only fair to rate their success based on injury data collected over the next season or two.

However, if bettors don't feel confident risking their money over these new surfaces, then CHRB might well have mandated the horses stay in their stalls.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

87 degrees still bad

The first six races Thursday were absolutely unhandicappable. The temperature was about 87 for most of the afternoon, but cooled as the last two races ran.

Oddly, my top selections won the last two races...

Ok, maybe this post seems like sour grapes, I'll accept that. But the fact is that nothing has made much sense to me over the last "hot" week until the last two races on Thursday at about 84 Fahrenheit.

On top of that, it seemed to me as as the temperature at Arcadia dropped, the better my higher selections ran. I can't prove this, but it seems to me that heat is inversly proportional to favorites over the new Pro Ride surface at Santa Anita.

Hopefully, the summer heat is over and we can begin to handicap races without the artificial surface problems. If heat of say 85 degrees and above screws up the track, maybe the Breeder's Cup will go on without a hitch three (colder) weeks from now.

85F, that's my final answer. Anything above this temperature is like feeding Gremlins after midnight -- nothing good can come from it. Don't feed the Santa Anita Gremlins overs 85F!

As I predicted, there is a carryover for tomorrow of $62,119. My guess is that despite large fields, there are enough solid favorites to ensure someone is going home with all the money tomorrow.

If you want your share, I suggest you consider my selections at:


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Longshots to cool off?

The forecast is 12 degrees cooler for Thursday's card at Santa Anita.

At 87 degrees, maybe the artificial surface will seem less like greasy ball bearings and more like real dirt. Not that anyone has described how the Pro Ride feels to a horse, I'm just trying to imagine.

Ball bearings seems a bit hard. Maybe more like teeny little mushy balls of spongy plastic that slide out from under your hooves as you try to negotiate the far turn at 45 miles per hour.

Whatever it feels like, I suspect it feels worse the hotter the weather gets. Not to mention the heat itself and the way the dark surface absorbs it. If it was 99 in the stands, it must have been 125 or more on the track itself...

My prediction of a good chance for a carryover came true. No carryover, but one ticket took home the whole prize of $521K. No doubt the winner singled Simply Run on the turf in the 5th. Not only did she look good, but damn, it was a solid favorite on the turf, not the dirt!

Anyway, the dirt card was full of prices but I must admit most of them figured toward the top of my list and were not all that surprising. Not that I expected them to win, there were other horses with better shots if the footing were equal.

Let's just say the day wasn't formful, but wasn't so weird that I could point to the track and scream,"This surface is a piece of crap that should be shoveled onto a slow moving barge and used as monkey feed for any politician in favor of a Wall Street bailout during his or her excruciating journey through the plastic wasteland of the Pacific Gyre back to Australia where the whole mess can be composted into nutrients and airlifted to help save the endangered Tasmanian Devil."

I didn't say that, but it would solve three problems at once and probably make some entrepreneur a lot of money.

As for the immediate problem of trying to make any money at Oak Tree tomorrow, there will be more than full fields in 5 of 6 Pick Six races so think carryover again. I've got lukewarm favorites to win 3 of 6 with middling longshots for the other three.

In the third, I rather like CAPE HATCHET at 12-1 ML in a starter allowance for horses who have done no more than break their maiden. He's coming off a long layoff for Doug O'Neil, but both of his races are at Santa Anita (just not Pro Ride SA.) The favorite will likely be ACE HIGH HAND, but he's no shoo-in. Pro Ride will be a new experience for all, maybe the top pick will at least find the track view familiar.

Good luck and don't forget the free picks at http://www.horsecalc.com/.

Hot Pick Six today

It's 99 degrees in Arcadia, CA -- a little hotter than the forecast 94.

There is a $138,000 carryover heading into the Pick Six in ten minutes.

So far, the favorites in the first two races are 1 for 2, with the first race won by my 3rd choice, Storm Brave at 5-1 with the 3/5 favorite a disappointing second. The longest shot in the field ran 3rd at 29-1. Hmm.

Although the second race was won by the 9/5 co-favorite, the next few horses along set up a $95.65 ten cent superfecta.

So, it looks like the track really isn't all that formful. Given the heat and full fields, there is a very good chance this thing will carry over to Thursday.

Tomorrow's forecast is 87 degrees -- much cooler...