Power Cap

Power cap- existential handicapping

28 October 2008

Good Thing The 2008 Breeders Cup Was Not At Belmont

Breeders cup day at Belmont started out okay weather wise but by the 5th race the winds must have kicked up to 50 kts. Trees were swaying violently, flexing there branches to their limits. It was cold, windy and it was raining vertically. It would have been a horrible day to sit in that grandstand and a unfortunate day to hold a breeders Cup meet. The only race I watched from my usual perch in the grandstand was my Formal Degree's romp in the Knickerbocker. I quickly ran for cover to my indoor seat.

Weather aside being said Belmont is a great place to watch the Breeders Cup while it is out of town. The underrated NYRA customer service office was kind enough to reserve a few personal workstation seats for me. When the new united tote terminals came on line four years ago horseplayers complained, but these modern terminals work great as a personal monitor. Instead of listening to nagging at home or standing at some urine drenched OTB and I had a my own personal monitor/wagering terminal right at my personal workstation. Nice way to watch the races and I was able to wager right up to the last second with no delay or issue. I pounded out bet after bet with clarity of mind in total comfort. I had sound and the choice of the ESPN or live feed along with every other track running in the USA.

26 October 2008

Breeders Cup 2008 Debrief

Seemed like many people hated this years Breeders Cup. From the two day format, to the female races on Friday, to the surface and the European dominated results many people had a variety of reasons to base their gripes. The heat did not cause havoc like I thought it would and it was a improvement of bog/monsoon at Monmouth or icebox Belmont. What about Trevor Denman? Denman was the comeback of the year. After two years of calling the wrong names and missing moves I thought he was a toast and a clear has been. This year he did a 180 and prepped like a student studying for the SAT. He was prepared and ready. Trevor called 14 great races over the two days. This Breeders Cup was a rousing success and I enjoyed both days.

The day format is okay and I am glad the Friday races were a quick 5 race sequence. These races were over in two hours or so and did not drag on forever. The choice to move the female races to Friday was a sharp choice. It gave the day a theme in line with other classic race weekends and gave these races a stand alone stature of their own. The worst suggestion I read this week was to move all of the new BC races to Friday. A day of ungraded races with no tenure would provide zero interest in the Friday races and doom them to failure. Ladies day provided a theme and provided proper Balance two the two days. The idea was a winner.

For years Americans have bred cheap speed horses and run them over speed favoring bullrings. This is the valid argument for synthetics. The culmination of the cheap speed breeding was the GI win of Sinister Minister in the Bluegrass a few years ago. This short sighted breeding of horses have resulted in short horses that can not go a distance of ground and break down. This is where the synthetic factor kicks in. This is why the Europeans finished one-two in the classic. The bright side of synthetic surfaces is that it promotes breeding stouter horses that can run far. The days of cheap speed, precocious breakdown candidates and numbered. I thought the races were formful and all horses returned safe and sound.

Most of my buddies at Belmont and in the OTB's and simulcast joints did not share my feelings on the 2008 Breeders Cup. They did not care for the results and the surface. Politically correct people assumed an "I'm so offended posture" in reaction to Ladies Day. Horseplayers and horse racing fans are notoriously reluctant to embrace change. However with time I feel these changes will resonate and will ultimately lead to the expansion of the Breeders Cup.

Evening Attire Day

Evening Attire had his own day at Belmont on the 25th of October 2008. The old warrior is some ham and mugged for pictures in the paddock. NYRA put on a nice presentation for him and even customized the wagering terminals with his picture.

24 October 2008

Ladies Day Picks

Ladies day has finally arrived. Looks like a gorgeous warm day at Santa Anita. Hopefully racing fans can open their minds and accept a new concept. Change is not always bad.

BC FM Sprint
Looks like a ton of pace in here. Using Magnificence, Intangaroo, Miraculous Miss and Ventura in pick 3's. Win money on longshots Magnificence and Miraculous Miss.

BC FM Turf
Think that Mauralakana can bounce back here and run them down late. Will also use Halfway To Heaven and Forever Together.

BC Ladies Classic
Zenyatta is undefeat but is facing the toughest field of her career. I respect her but will also use Music Note and Cocoa Beach.

22 October 2008

Play Of The Day

Belmont Park Race 3

This is a non-winners of 3 lifetime or 3 year old condition. Love that Law N Dora sneaks in here with the three year old condition. Going to bet her to to win her on the drop in class. This speady colt should be able to blow out this field.

#1 Contessa Entry

Powercap Stats

51 8-7-9
strike rate 16%
cumulative return $94.20
$2 ROI $1.85

21 October 2008

Million Dollar Pick 6 Carryover At Belmont

If anyone thought that the big pools this week started on Ladies Day at the Breeders Cup they would be proved wrong. A few days of bombs at Belmont has led to a $ 1 million carryover in the pick 6 pool. Wednesday's sequence looks like a challenging sequence and we can expect the pool to blossom into a $3 million behemoth. My meager bankroll is $100 but I will take a shot. The forecast is dry, cold and winds gusting to 25 knots from the north. It will be a great day to be lucky.

Race 4- Maiden two year olds take to the turf for a 7 furlong test. We will get a good look at these guys before the race in the paddock, a luxury we will not have the rest of the sequence. Before any paddock inspections I have the race down to #1 Ducduc, 3 Winthrop House and #6 Master. If any of the first timers take money and look the part I would be inclined to use them.

Race5- Now maiden claimer two year olds take to the turf in a 6F sprint. My top pick here is first time start #10 Kaleidoscope Sky who is bred well and makes sense for a a $75K tag first out. The works look sharp. I will also use #6 Missile Impossible.

Race 6- Non winner of three races lifetime or 3 year old fillies going 7 furlongs on the turf is the condition. There are two fillies that have won 3 life time and are in for the 3 year old condition. Those two are 1A Wonderwho'sbest and 8 Discoverylaunch. Wonderwho'sbest got beat by Peleliu last out while Discoverylaunch beat Peleliu. I am not going to use either filly and will single a 2nd off the layoff mare who has the right running style for this race. #5 Smartgabrielle finally gets away from the tricky rail post and should run these girls down late.

Race 7 - The set up is absolutely there for Solid Strike if he is up to the task of going wire to wire on the inner turf. He is the clear lone speed and should be clear and under no pressure. I consider this a drop in class as he does not need to face any stakes horses here. The early fractions of the last race were BS as all times going 1 1/16th are never accurate for some reason. Solid Strike was pressed somewhat hard by the 2-1 chalk and quit at the top of the lane. If is
up for the race Solid Strike has the set up. Should be a good price too. However the quit that Solid Strike has shown precluded him from being a single. Have to take Leadwithyourchin as well on the drop in class 2nd off layoff.

Race 8 - Doree Daze looks like she should should be able to go easy on a slow pace. She has edges across my worksheet in every category of the powercap. The rest of the field looks like plugs. I did give Zip By You a 2nd look but she has had so many chances this year at this
putrid condition. Doree is another single.

Race 9 - The last race and another maiden test for two year old. Going to use the horses with past excuses or dropping form maiden specials. I have #3 Tomorrows Roses, #5 Life support, #7 Angel Aly and #12 Deadlocked.

Draft ticket 1,3,6 / 6,10 / 5 / 1,3 / 6 / 3,5,7,12 = $96

20 October 2008

Hope That TVG Can Survive

TVG is up for sale and I hope they survive in tact. This network gets a bum rap from many horse racing fans but It is the greatest thing on TV since the Honeymooners. Before TVG started operations horse racing was on TVG for maybe 15 hours a year. Now it is on 17 hours a day 365 days a year. It just may be the greatest channel on American TV, not only can you watch the action but you can bet right on the TV. There is even an interactive tote board with a wager function for those with the Dish network. This is the only network that stimulates the brain instead of numbing it. If this channel shutdown the game would take a huge hit.

While I have been a casual fan of the game since the late 1980's it was TVG that captured my attention and made the game a big part of my leisure time. Before TVG there was the local OTB channel and rare broadcasts of Saturday stakes races. TVG was a huge improvement over the drab NYC OTB channel which cut over to the RAI news everyday at 6PM sharp sometimes in mid-race. While TVG is not perfect I find the hosts entertaining. Yes they give out losing ticket after losing ticket but I do not take that very seriously. Two of my favorites are Ken Rudolph and Matt from 58 flat who could easily be on ESPN as they have good humor and a real passion for the game. Yes some of the hosts do get on my nerves but they will remain nameless.

The game will surely suffer if TVG goes off the air, it may be the only pipeline for younger fans to the game. Surely rival network HRTV does a good job as well but they do not reach nearly as many homes as TVG. It is vital for racing to maintain a daily presence on TV if racing is to continue as a niche sport. Shows like the works or the finish line on TVG and inside information on HRTV provide the only racing based programming on American TV. If racing drops off the TV guide it may fade into oblivion like Jai-Lai.

19 October 2008

Play Of The Day

Belmont Race 7

There is an overload of speed inhere and very little deep closers that can make
up ground on tired speed horses late. There is an opurtunity for a horse to ramble home late and seize an opportunity. Could Kris Angel be ready off the layoff? Layoffs are not as big a deal in turf races and if KrisAngel is ready he could roll here at a big number. Kris Angel was only 2 lengths off Red Giant who set a world record last out at 10 panels.

Belmont Race 7 Win #4 Kris Angel

51 8-7-9
strike rate 16%
cumulative return $94.20
$2 ROI $1.85

18 October 2008

October 18th Play Of The Day

Belmont Park Race 1

Rare to see a horse that is proven under 130 lbs going 12 furlongs over the turf have the chance to drop in class, shed 12 lbs and cut back to 7 furlongs. All positive changes for a horse that will likely not be the favorite. #2 City On Line should cheer up the ill Allen Jerkens as he recovers in North Shore Hospital. Stoutly rooting for Jerkens and his horse.

Race 1 Win #2 City On Line

The Stats

50 8-7-9
strike rate 16%
cumulative return $94.20
$2 ROI $1.88

11 October 2008

Power Play October 11th

Keeneland Race 8

Making a return trip to Keeneland for today's powerplay. Race 8 is route that is loaded with sprinters and speed horses. This is a perfect race for a deep closer that has shown a love for the polytrack and route racing. Two horses fit the criteria so why only pick 1? Both are prices on the morning line. Use both in exactas and trifectas and dutch them in the win pool. The fillys are #1 Sarahlans'sdestiny and #5 Honest Pursuit. Will play a 1/5 exacta box and 1,5 / ALL 1,5 trifecta.

Win 1/5 dutch play

48 8-7-9
strike rate 17%
cumulative return $94.20
$2 ROI $1.96

09 October 2008

October 9th Play Of The Day

Belmont race 7 is absolutely paceless, it looks like that rare opportunity that we all wait for. The field is 9 plodders and a lone speed horse who will be loose on the lead. The horse that will be loose is Blue Hill Bay. I really like Blue Hill Bay in here and I am sure she will turn for home 5 in front without being pressed. The 15-1 morning line is enticing. I will have a stout win bet on this one and I recommend her as a single in all pick wagers.

Belmont Race 7 Win #6 Blue Hill Bay

47 8-7-9
strike rate 17%
cumulative return $94.20
$2 ROI $2.00

06 October 2008

Keeneland Trip Report

Things did not work out with powercap flight 23 as my bankroll would only allow the G5 to fly from LGA-TEB, well short of our intended mission. So I ended up on a commercial flight from LGA-LEX. There is only one flight a day and to my surprise much of the Belmont Jockey colony was on board too. First there was Eibar Coa, then John Velasquez and Alan Garcia showed up too. Even trainer Tom Albertrani made the trip from LGA-LEX.

LEX Airport Terminal With Horse Wallpaper

My first impression of Lexington was very green and horsey. The last 20 minutes of the flight were exclusively over horse farms, nothing but rolling pastures and paddocks. I have flown to hundreds of airports and have never seen anything like Lexington. It is a beautiful landscape. At the LEX terminal immediately everything is about horse racing. The unused terminal monitors have horse races photos as screen savers and horse racing ads are displayed throughout the terminal. The airport is modern, clean and everyone I spoke to were as friendly as could be. It was a total departure from New York where the airport is old, dirty and the poor workers have been worked over one too many times by the nasty and snobby New York flyers.

Keeneland Clubhouse Entrance

The track was just a 2 minute drive from the airport and the taxi cost $7 + tip. Keeneland has vast grounds and the track is deep inside those very green grounds. Pulling up to the grandstand I was impressed that every square inch of the exterior of the building was stone masonry. It looks like whoever constructed this joint could have afforded to fly the G5 all the way from LGA-LEX. Once inside the employees were ultra-friendly, were dressed in clean uniforms and the grounds were immaculate. Stone masonry paths, freshly painted railings and a smart, well dressed crowd.

Keeneland View From Seat/Toteboard

A great seat on the 16th pole/finish line was available for only $3 and was right in front of the impressive tote board. The tote board featured a huge megatron that was clear and with sharp resolution, a huge improvement over the burnt out pixels/fuzzy resolution of the NYRA megatron at BEL/AQU/SAR. The trakus information of the toteboard was helpful for those that did not have a set of binoculars handy. The grandstand reminded me of the Saratoga grandstand in size, scope and view. The only beef with the Keeneland grandstand was that the view of the field was obstructed when the horses reached the top of the stretch and the west facing grandstand has sun glare issues.

Keeneland Paddock

The crowd was huge for a Friday at the races. This was a different crowd that I am used to in New York. Most everyone dressed up to some extent. People still have respect for a day at the races. There was a huge amount of college aged kids and parents with their kids. People are polite and did not shout profanity at the jockeys in the paddock and when the horses returned from the races. The crowd was a good cross section of the general population unlike New York where the crowd for the races is mostly hardcore regulars from specific demographic groups . There were even non-Jamaican blacks at the races, something that is rare in New York. The conclusion here is that racing is part of the culture for all people in Lexington and not just a degenerate sub-culture like it is in New York City and most of the country. There seems to be a winning formula at Keeneland, but that winning formula starts with winning ingredients and I can not say enough good things about the people of Kentucky. They were a polite group, people with a passion for the game, with this crowd any racetrack could work well.

Forever Together Before The First Lady

Friday's card at Keeneland was good with a mix of maidens, allowance races and two grade I's. The first race was marred by an incident where Woodway jumped the rail and was vanned off. Then one of my flightmates from LGA John Valezquez went down in a horrible spill in race 7. Those two ugly incidents aside the racing was exciting and competitive. While I have been a polytrack skeptic the races began to make some sense after two days of intense handicapping. The sprint races seemed to be fair as both speed horses and closers won, while the two turn route races seemed to be won exclusively by late running closers. As someone who has completely avoided Keeneland since the polytrack installation, I may began to start investing some bankroll into the parimutuel pools there. There seems to be a potential profit in waiting as many handicappers struggle with the change to synthetic surfaces.

Keeneland Paddock

The conclusion reached after this visit is that Keeneland is the mecca of American racing. This is clearly the best track in the country. The owners of the place have a clear vision of what a racetrack should be and have actualized that vision wonderfully. It is beautiful, immaculate and has a large and passionate group of fans. Prior to Friday I would have bestowed the mecca of American racing title on Saratoga. One visit to Keeneland showed beyond a doubt that Keeneland does everything that Saratoga can do, but does it better. Both facilities have charm. Keeneland's pastoral setting in horse country gives it an edge over the Spa. Keeneland's modern, clean facility also gives it an advantage over the rough edges of Saratoga. The large and passionate crowd of Keeneland is hard to match, it turns a day at the races into a day to remember. People there are just so nice. I was glad I took the opportunity to visit Keeneland, it is a must visit place for all race fans, they do racing right.

Lexington Airport With Horse Sculptures Near Runway

02 October 2008

Keeneland Opening Day With A Play Of The Day

With all of the monstrous tickets being cashed here I have been able to fill up the G5 with Jet A for a trip to Lexington tomorrow. We should have the flight plan filed by 620am for powercap flight 23 non-stop LGA-LEX. You can track our progress on flightaware.com.

My pick in the feature is Dream Express and if she wins we will load up the G5's cabin with Woodford for the flight home back to LGA. She will be the single in the late pick 4. If you want to play along the late pick 4 will look like 6,8,11 / 3,6,8 / 6 / 2,4,5,6,7,9. The play of the day will be in Race 6 #10 Duchess Royale.

46 8-7-8
strike rate 17%
cumulative return $94.20
$2 ROI $2.05