12 September 2005

Exacta-ly right

Saturday was a beautiful, sunny day here in Western Pennsylvania, a fine day for a jaunt over the state line to Mountaineer. The temperature was perfect for viewing the races from one of the picnic tables on the outside deck, and the crowd was light (9,685), so we were able to snag a front row table.

My husband and I have perfected a system of alternating races: he bets the even numbered races, I bet the odds, so one of us is always able to save our spots. I got the night rolling with a loss in the first. What can I say? Just a Patton ... just didn't come through for me.

In the second, though, my darling wisely ignored the overwhelming favorite, Bar Lite, and played an exacta with Searchinfodacrown and C'Mon Josie. He bought me a gin and tonic from his winnings ($2 ticket paid $51.40).

They mix a fine drink at Mountaineer, and feeling mellow in the third, I boxed Kerricat and Dad Says Yes. Favorites, true, but I really liked the names. Then, in the 7th, I did it again, with Double Grace and Jump for Joyeux.

ML favorites again. But in 7th, I truly couldn't figure the race going any other way. And it played out exactly the way I expected, right down to Buckeye Bert stalking, but not quite making it to the money.

I suppose I'm a bit defensive about it all, because my picks went against the advice of Steven Davidowitz in Betting Thoroughbreds. His is an amazingly detailed book, touching upon nearly every factor of handicapping from class to track pars to dosage to workouts. It's all extremely comprehensive and well worth reading -- twice, if like me, you need time to digest it all.

In Betting Thorougbreds, Davidowitz points out that nowadays, the Morning Line "exerts an influence on the betting habits of uninformed bettors. Almost automatically, the average horseplayer will include the top tow or three morning-line choices in his double and exacta combinations. " The result: lower double and exacta payoffs on ML choices.

And he's right, my two exactas combined were less than my dear darling's single in the second, paying only $22 and $16. Still, winning is always better than losing, in my book. And really, could you expect differently of someone who plays quinellas?

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