30 April 2007

QQ conquers Keeneland

OK, conquers might not be the most accurate word -- but on this, our second trip to the high holy place that is Keeneland, we did discover:

1. Those Tomlinson numbers really are kinda helpful. I'm still not sure how I did it, but rolling around those parenthetical Turf, Distance, and especially, Wet numbers in mind while looking at the past performances seemed to help me pick some winners on the polytrack. And, I find the Tomlinsons are easier to use than Pedigree Handicapping by Lauren Stitch.

An aside about the book: I believe that Stitch's book assumes the reader has some basic knowledge that I, regrettably, still lack. Since there's no index to the horses mentioned in the book, I had a terrible time looking for certain sires. I suspect more sophisticated horseplayers who have been following races for a longer period than I have might benefit more than I did from Stitch's summaries and sire lists, since experienced handicappers might already have an inkling where to look for a particular sire. I found that horses with Danzig in their pedigree seemed to do well on the poly, though I never located him in the book.

2. With practice, you, too, can be a star. Last year, we sat in front of a couple that cashed a seemingly endless series of tickets and felt like total morons. Such classy horses, such successful trainers, such acclaimed jockeys -- and we were yearning for the familiar $5,000 claimers at Mountaineer. Perhaps we were dazzled by the proximity of greatness. This year, however, was another story. We walked out substantial winners both Thursday and Friday. And the women sitting behind us thought the King was some kind of god when he hit the exacta, the trifecta, and the superfecta (for a dime) on Race 5 -- in between my two win bets in races 4 & 6. They actually asked our advice!

3. Sometimes, being at the track can give you an edge. OK, I already knew this one, from my experiences at Mountaineers paddock, but when the rain began to pour for the 4th on Thursday, I figured only a horse with blinkers could actually see the track -- and the blinker-wearing Whisper To Me came in first at 7-1. (To my knowledge, this angle has not been covered substantially in handicapping literature.)

4. Win bets are just fine. Though I have a fondness for the exotics, periodically I remember William Murray's advice in The Right Horse: "When a horse you like is going off at 4-1 or higher, you must play him to win." This would explain how I picked up $54 on Jade's Revenge. And I was shocked to find that over the three days, I hit 60% of my win bets -- compared to 0% of those addictive 10-cent superfectas.

5. Magic happens at Keeneland. After the 6th on Thursday, a horse went down on the track, possibly while being loaded into the equine ambulance. I believe it may have been Rahoo, but really, that's just a guess, as I'm fairly unobservant. At any rate, the green screens went up, and the crowd turned quiet. Some long minutes later, the screens came down -- and the horse was standing. He left the track under his own steam, with a lead pony to calm him. Not quite a miracle, but definitely magical.

Clydesdales at Keeneland April 20076. Wherever the Quinella Queen goes, Clydesdales seem to follow. We've now seen the Budweiser brigade at Mountaineer, Pimlico, and, yes, Keeneland. And don't you know, I take a picture of them every time!


Neal said...

Glad you enjoyed your trip to Keeneland. What a great place to spend a day or two!

You did well there! I usually leave there shaking my head and rarely cashing a ticket. But then the same thing has been happening at Mountaineer also.

Rising Rainbow said...

I love the note about the rain and the horse wearing blinkers. I'd never thought of that before and it tickles me that it makes sense. Wonder if the horses care?