It’s been a fun ride during the past four installments of Canterbury College.
But nothing topped the excitement of our final class on April 8, when one of my fellow students scored a winning superfecta for $457!
I’m rookie handicapper Kris Janisch, and hopefully you’ve enjoyed following along with my journey during Canterbury Park’s free handicapping classes. Previous blog posts:
Our professors, Canterbury Park handicapping expert Jeff Maday, and Brian Arrigoni, our paddock analyst, added an element of competition to our final class.
They asked the 200 of us to write down winners for the five simulcast races we would watch. Then, they randomly selected names of students who had the winning horse and gave away prizes, typically an entry to a super satellite handicapping contest or a $10 betting voucher.
The best prize, however, came from Race 1 at Santa Anita, the second simulcast race we watched. Maday constructed a superfecta for $1.80. It hit. It paid $457.13. The crowd went wild.
It was a nice win for one of our students and surely a great way to cap off Canterbury College and get ready for the live racing season at Canterbury Park.
My horse in that race was No. 6. My reasoning was that the jockey and trainer had good win percentages and the horse had placed in the money in its last two races. It was off the lead the whole way and faded late.
The first race we watched was Race 3 from Gulfstream.
I liked the No. 4 horse, the favorite, primarily by process of elimination. I simply didn’t like any of the other horses. Mr. Sultana took home the victory and I was feeling pretty good about coming out of the gate with a win.
You already know what happened in our second simulcast race. (I still can’t believe someone came to Canterbury College, learned about handicapping, ate some pizza and walked with more than $450.) So let’s move on to the third.
I thought I had a good handle on Race 2 at Oaklawn Park.
But the first thing Arrigoni said in discussing the horses was that my horse had a “red flag class drop,” meaning it had dropped down to a lower level of competition and the owner was “begging for it to be claimed.”
Well, I wasn’t going to change horses in midstream, and I liked that it had showed early speed at the mile distance, and this race was only 6 furlongs. Plus, I thought the drop in class might be good for the horse.
I took solace in the fact that plenty of other people also turned in slips with the No. 9 horse, Strike Rate. Unfortunately, we struck out, and he finished third. The winner actually went off at 54-1.
For Race 5 at Keeneland, the fourth simulcast race we watched, I thought I had a winner.
I liked the No. 3 horse, Prom Theme, which had won his past four races, had a trainer with a good winning percentage and had shown late speed.
The race unfolded as I had envisioned, but Prom Theme had too much ground to make up and came in second. No dancing today.
Race 6 at Keeneland: Our final simulcast race for Canterbury College. Time to shine!
This was a tough one to handicap. All the horses looked like winners. Arrigoni said it was the best race we had watched during Canterbury College, with horses that had run in Grade 1 races, earned over $1 million in their careers and were overall high-quality racers.
I took the No. 4 horse, Master Merion, which had won his previous four races, performed well on turf and had a jockey who had won nearly half of his races in 2018.
In my head, I placed a trifecta wager, with horses 4, 10 and 6 in that order.
The 6 horse was flown in from India, and maybe that’s why he wasn’t a factor… But he had won nine of 11 races!
Let’s focus on the positive, instead. My horse didn’t win, but Master Merion did come in second, and the 10 horse won. Not the right order, but I was glad I was able to pick the top two finishers.
Canterbury Park Betting Club Bonus!
Maday talked about this summer’s Canterbury Park Betting Club, which features a cool bonus this year.
How it works: Everyone who enters will have a panel of racing experts make daily wagers from the pool. Those are sent out via email and you have action every day, along with email recaps and results, as well.
Plus, if you commit to both sessions at $50 each by May 23, Canterbury Park will kick in bonus share for the second session!
Session 1: May 25 to July 15
Session 2: July 26 to Sept. 15
Sign up now on the third level at Canterbury Park, and look for information on our website soon.
With Canterbury College now in the rearview mirror, there’s one thing I can say — the experience absolutely stoked the fires for me to bet once live racing begins on May 4.
I’m no expert, but I now have a sense of what to look for in the racing form, how to deconstruct a race and how to structure a wager.
I would absolutely encourage anyone who has considered taking Canterbury College to do so. It was a fun and enlightening course and I’m looking forward to applying my knowledge at the track.
Canterbury Park will offer one-day summer school classes for a $20 fee, which includes Race Day admission, $2 betting voucher, past performances, $5 food voucher, a bottle of Pepsi and a Canterbury T-shirt!
Classes will be offered on Saturdays from 9:30-11:30 a.m. to on the following dates: Saturday, May 12 (Ladies Edition), June 16, July 7 and Aug. 4.
Registration will be posted soon on our website.