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Location: Stockton, California, United States

Some call me OlRailbird.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Random Santa Anita

I haven't written for a while because everything I previously said is still true. Santa Anita still sucks. The results seem only slightly beyond random. There is a Pick Six carryover nearly every day, including today. Thanks to a $115 horse, there is a $169,000 carry into Wednesday.

Still, I continue to make and publish selections everyday at www.horsecalc.com.

Most experts will tell you to avoid minor tracks because the animals are sore and cannot be counted upon to give their best effort. They insist you limit your play to major tracks with valuable horses as their "class" makes them more consistent. Steven Crist, Publisher of the Daily Racing Form, adheres strictly to the class track theory and only plays Southern California and New York.

Well, I can't speak for New York, but the artificial surface at Santa Anita can make a Grade I Stakes the functional equivalent of a $4,500 claimer at Retama. The footing negates track class and we are left trying to profit from as few "right run" races at Santa Anita as anywhere else.

The only advantage Anita now has over the smaller tracks is larger pools. Sometimes, larger pools can be a disadvantage -- I once swiped $2,550 on a $1 exacta from a small US pool bet on Australia because I had the only winning ticket (and the horses were only 12-1 & 25-1.)

Some of you may be thinking I'm full of sour grapes because my top selections haven't been winning. I don't keep close records, but I can say that my top picks are winning at a clip consistent with my past performance. I would even bet that Santa Anita will record winning favorite percentages close to the norm of 30%. Most of that number comes from short fields and of course no record is kept of how often rude longshots finish in the money to screw up your exotic bets. The favorite can win one in three while unhandicapable horses win the other two.

All in all, I'll be glad when Santa Anita closes.


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