Chicago Race of the Day: Friday, May 17

In the latest episode of Chicago Race of the Day, I discuss Friday’s Arlington 1st. If you’ve ever been curious about how to use the conditions of a race in order to find good options for beating suspicious chalk? This episode of the podcast is your step-by-step guide on how to do so, in light of a condition that you see a lot in Chicago.

Listen to Chicago Race of the Day right here, or subscribe on StitcherGoogle Play, or through the RSS feed!

Chicago Race of the Day: Friday, May 17

a bizarre experiment in handicapping and memory


Usually, handicapping is the opposite.  It’s a game of information, and we have so much at our fingertips: past performances, race replays, the analysis of handicappers we know and trust.  It’s as open-book as it gets, thanks in such a huge part to the Internet.

But, I decided to try a little exercise in memory, and in my feel for the circuit: handicapping the card with only the overnight, the list of scratches, and the knowledge that we’re off the grass today.  I didn’t look at the past performances, and didn’t look at the morning lines.  It’s all based on what I remember about each horse, jockey, and trainer.

It may turn out well.  It may turn out to be a disaster, since my memory (as most people’s) tends to lapse at times.  If it is a disaster or I do miss an obvious horse, feel free to laugh at me, or harangue me in the comments because of things I got wrong in my notes or logic.

Here are my notes — after all, if I decide to write about this experience afterwards, it would be nothing but redboarding were I not to post something beforehand about my picks and my logic.  I also note my top picks in each race, and the horses I’m using in my Pick Fours.

Let’s see how this goes.

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Equestricon Blog: Women Horseplayers Stand Out at Featured Equestricon Seminar

Women handicappers are not a monolithic group, and the seminar highlights that. The panel features horseplayers with expertise in everyday live-money wagering, as well as structured contest play. Each panelist followed a different path to becoming a horseplayer, and has crafted their own style for analyzing races. This variance in perspectives makes the panel even more valuable.

This year’s Equestricon features a panel of leading female horseplayers: including Barbara Bowley, Emily Gullikson, Theresia Muller, Gabby Gaudet, and Megan Devine.  In my latest piece for the Equestricon blog, you can get to know the panelists, and get excited about their discussion this summer!

how to play Arlington Park

Arlington gets underway this Friday afternoon.  Over at Brisnet, I have a look at angles to keep in mind during the meet.

I discuss angles including trainers, jockeys, and running styles on both the grass and the polytrack.  I point out what angles tend to win a lot — and what angles to keep in mind because they work at nice prices.

Get your summer at Arlington Park started on the right foot by reading my preview of the meet!

The Tournament Edge: What About the Rabbit?

In my latest blog for The Tournament Edge, I discuss something that has become a hot topic after last Saturday’s Sword Dancer: rabbits.

However, much of the discussion has been around the ethics of rabbits: whether it’s okay to run them in the first place, and what they should or should not be allowed to do on the track.  On the other hand, I look at rabbits from a more practical perspective: what you, the handicapper, should be asking when there’s a rabbit in the field.

Head over to The Tournament Edge, read my latest blog, and make sure you’re ready the next time there’s a rabbit in a race you plan to play!

The Tournament Edge: Finding Condition Book Horses

In my latest piece for The Tournament Edge, I talk about one of the most useful tools in a handicapper’s arsenal: the condition book.

Some race conditions can seem complex at first, but learning to read and understand how they fit together can help you find winners.  My article starts with the basics of conditions, and then dives into a pair of recent races in which the condition book shined a clear spotlight on a live horse.

Head over to The Tournament Edge, and learn how to put the condition book to work for you.

The Tournament Edge: Finding Value in Extended Sprints

I’m excited to announce that I’m the newest blogger over at The Tournament Edge!

I’ll be writing there once a week, discussing handicapping strategy, tournament play, and the Chicago circuit.

My first article for their blog is live, and it covers some of my favourite kinds of races to handicap and play: extended sprints.  Very often there are excellent chances for value in these races, since distance specialists can get lost in the shuffle, or horses who may not be perfectly suited for the distance get overbet.

So, head to The Tournament Edge, and get some tips on playing extended sprint races!

Three Hour Nap, revisited

Thoroughbred racing in Illinois gets back underway in less than two weeks.  With that on the horizon, and two-year-old races at Arlington only a few months away, it seemed a good time to revisit one of my pieces from last year, about Three Hour Nap.

Since my maiden-focused look at Three Hour Nap was published in September of last year, three more Three Hour Nap babies have joined the ranks of winners.  For three more of his babies to have won between September and January is nothing to sneeze at: he has only 25 registered foals of racing age1, including four who are two-year-olds of 2016.

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don’t sleep on Three Hour Nap!

Illinois racing, and particularly Illinois-bred racing, can be a game of niche angles.  One of those angles centers around an Illinois stallion named Three Hour Nap.  Despite having a relatively small number of foals so far, their ability to win early in their careers has made him prominent.

The cleverly named son of Afternoon Deelites was precocious in his own right.  He won his first three starts, including the 2004 Arlington-Washington Futurity (GIII), for local trainer Hugh Robertson.  He won three more times over this three- and four-year-old years, including a win in the 2006 National Jockey Club Handicap (GIII) at age four.  He broke his right foreleg in the Washington Park Handicap (GII) later that summer, though he healed well enough after surgery to return to the races the next year.  After a pair of off-the-board finishes at age five, he was retired to stud.

Three Hour Nap has stood stud in Illinois since 2008.  According to the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Thoroughbred Stallion Directory, Three Hour Nap currently stands for $1,000 live foal at Oak Tree Farm in West Frankfort, IL.

Friday’s Arlington fourth, a maiden special weight for two-year-old Illinois-breds, presented a conundrum: two Three Hour Nap babies in the same race.  Knowing that his get tend to be precocious, this opened up the question of whether there were any other trends among his progeny — any trends to refine further from the fact that his babies are precocious.

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The Final Wager: Parimutuel Wagering

Part of the reason I got so deeply into horse racing is the trivia aspect.  Being able to remember little details about horses, their pedigrees, and their races makes the sport fun.

In light of that, I am excited to announce that I collaborated with Keith Williams of The Final Wager on the latest Fact Primer: a look at parimutuel wagering!

Typically I write for people who know horse racing well, so this was a little different.  The Final Wager focuses on Jeopardy! strategy and trivia, so this time I was writing for trivia aficionados who want to learn something about horse racing.  I had a great time working on it — and between Keith’s rundown of the nuts and bolts and my diversions into a few more sophisticated things, hopefully it gives fellow trivia nuts a little idea about the sport and how much fun playing the races can be.