The Road to Kentucky Handicapping Contest on March 1 featured the 12 races from Turfway Park plus the Sham Stakes from Santa Anita. The day began with short prices. In fact, all told there were seven winning favorites. The chalk was off the ticket four times and finished third once. In the Sham the favorite ran second. Total possible points for the day were 3773.
The winner with an impressive 2626 points was Dan Adams. His stats looked like this: Win=4; Place=2; Show=1; off the board=6. Four wins might not seem all that great on a day so chalk-laden and Dan was indeed struggling through the first 10 races as he had three wins but only 402 points. Then along came the bombs. Dan chose the filly Absolutely Cindy in the double-point Battaglia Memorial and at nearly 20-1 she returned 1240 points. Respectable day at that point for Dan but probably not good enough to win it all. He chose Acting Out, 31-1, in the finale and scored another 932. Add in his third place Sham result for the winning total of 2626.
I always find it interesting to see how the winner navigates his way through the races. Dan three times had horses lower than 3-1 and twice won. His other selections ranged from 9/2 up to the whopper winner at 31-1. Identifying vulnerable favorites is the key to success in contests but when all the races are mandatory one can get away with taking chalk as long as they are right or at least don’t get stung by a huge priced winner.
Congratulations to Dan for tabbing two prices and taking top prize, winning by nearly 600 points. Hopefully he also wagered a bit on those plays.
Next up is Aqueduct on March 8 plus the Louisiana Derby and favorite Pyro at Fair Grounds.jm