I have played in maybe a half dozen handicapping contests in my life, but this weekend I am going to take a shot in the Keeneland NHC qualifier.
Entry fee is $150, plus $50 to join the NHC tour (which makes me eligible for the DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Contest in Las Vegas if I can finish in the top three.) I am going to split an entry with the Blood-Horse's Frank Angst, a longtime friend and handicapper.
Besides Vegas fever, the tipping point for me to enter this contest is the format. Contestants get to make 15 $2 win/place plays of their choice on the Saturday cards from Gulfstream, Tampa, Aqueduct, Fair Grounds (races 1-9), and Turfway.
I prefer this format to one that uses mandatory races for two reasons: 1)It makes/allows horseplayers to pick their spots. 2)If you funnel 300 picks into a mandatory race, every inconceivable longshot will be covered, and it turns into a luck fest if the big prices come in.
I have heard some tournament players say they don't play anything under 5-1, which is an interesting concept that partly goes against my value oriented approach. A 3-1 shot can be huge value, and it's the bottom line at the end of the day that matters. I look forward to seeing what tournament play can teach me about my cash wagering.
15 bullets to fire. All bets are $2 W/P:
GP Race 1: 10 Channell the Green 11-1
Result: Off the board. Prado takes back, no chance. Speed and chalk dominates as a pair of 5-2 shots run 1-2. Divine Luck wins for Shug with first-time blinkers.
GP Race 2: 5 Bold Dance 8-1
Result: Winner (Was a Lockmsith Smart Plays key horse). $26.20. We're on the board.
AQ Race 4: 6 Switchboard 17-1
Result: Stumbled start, off...
GP Race 4: 9 Cover Price 7-2
FG Race 2: 4 Kennessy 15-1
GP Race 5: 9 Awesome Mich 11-1
Tampa Race 6: 1 Ingrid Louisiana 7-1
Gulfstream Race 6: Off the Jak 7-1
Result: 2nd $7.60. Hopefully tht ends our cold streak.
Tampa RAce 7: Over the Counter 11-1
Result: Off. It's bomber time. 6 plays left.
Gulfstream 7: 11 Easy Ending 9-1
Fairg Grounds Race 5: Quite Explosive 7-1
Tampa Bay Race 8: Miss Scout 15-1
Gulfstream Race 8: Falbala 14-1
Just taking wild price shots here at the end. We are pretty much done...
Finishing at FG R7 with 1 Bacardi Cat Run at 17-1.