What it took to win
Twelve races from Tampa Bay Downs plus the double point bonus races the San Felipe and the Rebel made up week six of the Road to Kentucky Handicapping contest. The Tampa Bay Derby featured frontrunning War Pass, the BC Juvenile winner, at what would likely be a very short price. The Rebel favorite would also be heavily supported.
Less than 100 points separated first and sixth places with just six points (60 cents) between first and second. War Pass missed the board at odds of 1-20 with bridge jumpers taking a beating in the show pool creating cap prices on all three finishers.
John Taufen won with 2258 points; second was Kalib Martin with 2252. Martin was the winner of week one and now sits atop the adjusted points leader board. Both players had five winners although Martin had Big Truck (844 points) in the Tampa Bay Derby and Taufen had place horse Atoned (532 points). Martin had three place and two show selections while Taufen had five place selections and no shows. Those place picks including the Rebel made up just enough ground to put Taufen on top this week. Third place went to Jeff Ovshak, last week’s runner-up; fourth was Rex Quist; fifth was Tom Ruhl and sixth was Bill Ender.Selecting short pricesThe Oracle has been submitting a blog entry for R2K each week where he makes his selections and tracks the results and total possible points per race. His analysis is done live with a pre-race analysis. Prior to the Tampa Bay Derby he saw War Pass as the winner and made that his selection. His selection was questioned in a response to his blog offering. Taking heavy favorites in this or any contest is an area that is open to debate but it is always easy to look back. It’s a risky proposition especially here knowing in advance that War Pass would be a very short price. In fact, had he won he would have returned just 126 points. Is the risk worth the reward? Based on this race the answer would be no but this was a different situation than most. I have always maintained that you can take the chalk in a race where you have a strong feeling that you are correct and the second and third place horses look live as well. It hurts when you are wrong and a big price wins of course. In the Tampa Bay Derby the 1-20 odds and the bridge jumpers in the show pool changed the equation. You would have had to handicap the bettors in this situation long before the start of the race. Looking at the weekly winners in R2K it has almost always been the case that the eventual winner has selected a favorite or two but also has sniffed out the one or two big prices that make the difference. In contests or day-to-day betting it really all comes down to spotting vulnerable favorites. jm