fantasy stable: week 20 (final) postmortem

We’re twenty weeks in, and the Derbyologist Triple Crown fantasy league has now drawn to a close.  I joined the league with no expectations other than that the league would give me a distinct reason to follow the three-year-old class more closely, and become a better handicapper.  The league served that purpose admirably, and was a lot of fun for me.  I also somehow managed not to finish last despite being so new to fanatically following horse racing, and despite a big mid-season slump for my stable.  In an eight-person league, I finished fifth: not too shabby for someone taking their first crack at fantasy horse racing, and for someone for whom this was their first year following the Triple Crown trail so closely.

In the final weekend, five of my eight horses entered the gate, and two managed to hit the board to score a few final points.  Life In Shambles set the fractions in the Easy Goer, faster than I would have expected thanks to longshot Howl pushing him along.  He got nabbed by Kid Cruz and Legend late, but the promising gelding managed to hold on for third.  I had two in the Woody Stephens, Derby Trial winner Embellishing Bob and recent stable addition Top Fortitude.  Embellishing Bob just didn’t have it down the stretch, and finished seventh.  Top Fortitude, near the back early, had enough to pick off everyone but Bayern at the end.  Bayern ran away with it, but the Arizona-bred still acquitted himself well, and showed that his performance in the Laz Barrera was no fluke.  My stable had two in the Belmont Stakes, Ride On Curlin and Wicked Strong.  Ride On Curlin didn’t have a good time of things.  He bled, and jockey John Velazquez eased him late.  He’s getting a well-deserved break before continuing.  Wicked Strong chased the pace from a bit closer than I was expecting, and made up some ground late.  However, he only got within 1 3/4 lengths of Tonalist at the wire, good enough for a fourth-place dead heat with California Chrome.

A big thank you to Craig for running the league through the winter and spring.  I loved it, all the way around.  I was a little shy to throw my hat into the ring at first, both because I was relatively new to following racing so closely and because I didn’t know anyone in the league all that well when I joined.  Still, I’m glad I shoved aside my fears of failing and of feeling like an interloper.  It was both fun and educational to just dive in, and I’ve gotten to know some seriously awesome people as part of the league.

I can’t wait to do this all again next year.

fantasy stable update: week 19

We are nineteen weeks into the Derbyologist Triple Crown fantasy league, and the day of reckoning is near.  There’s just one more day of points races left, this Saturday, and then the league is over.  Just in time for this final day of points races, there are a few new faces in my stable, who I introduced last week.  As Murphy’s Law would suggest, however, I made what may possibly be a crucial mistake in my claiming strategy.  I stand behind all three horses I claimed last week.  However, I set up my drops based on the best information I had — and the best information I had included absolutely no scuttlebutt that General a Rod would be headed to the Belmont.  He was fairly late in declaring that he would go to the Preakness, but at least there were people whispering about whether he would be headed out there or not.  I heard no rumours, and I saw no works back since the Preakness, so I assumed he would not be Belmont-bound.  Saturday?  He worked a five-furlong bullet in 1:00.20 over the Churchill training track, and his connections proclaim him Belmont-bound.

Oops.

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fantasy stable: week 18 update

This has been another fairly slow week for my fantasy stable in the Derbyologist Triple Crown fantasy league.  We’re making it down the home stretch, though — the final claiming day is this Thursday, and the final points races (the Belmont Stakes, the Acorn Stakes, the Woody Stephens, and the Easy Goer) all unfold on June 7th.  Nominations for the three-year-old Belmont undercard races (Acorn, Woody Stephens, and Easy Goer) came out today, and most of my stable appeared in at least one of those nominations lists.  With the next claim coming up this week, though, I am hoping they proceed from “nominated” to something more definite shortly.  Even a definite “no” would be useful, since I still have a good amount of claiming budget in order to try for some horses who are running in the big Belmont races and not yet owned by any of my competitors.

Let’s see how my stable is doing!

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fantasy stable: week 17 update

This past week was a huge one for my stable in the Derbyologist Triple Crown fantasy horse racing league.  Three of my horses raced for points: Stopchargingmaria was in the Black-Eyed Susan, and both Ride On Curlin and General a Rod ran the Preakness.  All three of them ran big, and two of the three of them brought my stable points.  Alas, that only puts my stable back to about mid-pack after a dreadful mid-season stretch, but there’s still a chance I can hit the board if I have some horses run big Belmont weekend.

Without further ado, let’s see how my horses are doing!

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fantasy stable: week 16 update

This past week was a relatively quiet one for my stable in the Derbyologist Triple Crown fantasy league.  After so many of my horses raced Derby weekend, none of them hit the track this week.  However, this weekend will be a big one, with not one but two of my colts headed to the Preakness Stakes, and one of my fillies resurfacing in the Black-Eyed Susan on Friday.

Without further ado, let’s see what the horses of Iron Bard are up to:

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fantasy stable: week 15 update

This was a huge week for my stable in the Derbyologist Triple Crown fantasy league, in that there were five of my horses running.  This was a less-than-huge week for my fantasy stable, in that no one from my stable hit the board, and one of my fearsome fivesome didn’t even start her race — though she provided us with the scariest moment of the weekend.

With that, let’s see how it all unfolded.

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fantasy stable: week 14 (Derby week!) update

It’s finally here: Derby week!  In a sense, the entire Derbyologist Triple Crown fantasy league has been building up to this season.  There have been tons of points races over the last few months, but the biggest ones are still to come.  The horses in my stable have changed a bit since my last update, though they’re ready to hit the ground running: one of my new horses has already won a race, and two more are in the starting gate for the Kentucky Oaks this Friday.

I am still stressing out about how I ordered Please Explain, Stopchargingmaria, and Conquest Titan in my drops, which ended up meaning something because I only ended up getting three of my five claims.  I kept Stopchargingmaria and Conquest Titan, since I am so leery of Please Explain after the medication violation and then the poor run in the Fantasy that I thought Stopchargingmaria and Conquest Titan were less of a risk should either point to a minor race for the league.  I knew Please Explain was working at Churchill Downs.  However, I misunderstood how the points system worked, and thought points were required to enter a horse in the Derby or Oaks.  However, that isn’t the case: they’re preferred.  If not enough horses with points enter the race, anyone can.  If I had understood that, I’d have interpreted Please Explain’s Churchill works for what they ended up being: crumbs leading toward a surprise entry in the Kentucky Oaks.

For Please Explain’s sake, I’m still worried about this move.  I hope whatever was hurting her, whatever led to her being medicated, has been healed.  I hope she runs well, and strikes a long-shot blow for the awesomeness of Curlin babies.  For my fantasy stable’s stake, I feel really dumb for not understanding the points rule correctly, and may have ranked differently had I understood the rule.  That said, I feel I made the best ranking decision I could have at the time, given my assessment of the situation.

With that out of the way, let’s check in on my stable:

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Derby Trial weekend recap

Last weekend was a wrap for the Public Handicapper prep season, which was the reason why I covered many of the races I did in my weekend stakes previews and recaps.  It was the first time I ever played PH, and as difficult or frustrating as the win-only format felt at times, I feel like I acquitted myself well for my first time in such a contest.  I ended up in 881st place out of 3154 players for the season, and actually managed to finish ever-so-slightly ahead after submitting picks for every single contest race of the season.  I was a few cents in the black leading into the final weekend, and after hitting one out of four winners last weekend (Grand Contender in the Texas Mile), I finished with 11 of 52 winners, and $1.60 in the black.  It wasn’t a smashing result, but as only 962 of the 3154 people who played finished the season at zero or better, it was better than most fared, and better than I was expecting to fare.

What’s my prize for this?  More handicapping, of course!  Between a new season of Public Handicapper starting this coming weekend, the huge Cappers with Causes contest that Danonymous Racing is running through the Triple Crown, and one other exciting yet-to-be-announced handicapping contest I’ll be playing in this weekend, I will have plenty of reason to sharpen my pencils and get ‘capping!

However, before that’s drawn, let’s look back at the stakes races I previewed for this past weekend.

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fantasy stable: week 13.5 update

We had a claiming day this Thursday, and I had to get busy, since so many of my horses were off the Derby or Oaks trails.  I had Ride On Curlin and General a Rod who are in the Derby starting gate, and She’s a Tiger pointing toward the Eight Belles, but that was it as far as horses of mine who were clearly pointing toward races that could advance my standing.  I had to get my hands on at least a few horses who would be in some more points races, since my current point total in the league is nothing if not middling.  Fortunately, I had the most money left out of anyone: $468 out of the $500 in Monopoly money that we got at the beginning of the season for claims.

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