Friday, August 20, 2010

Saratoga Jockey Crown Up for Grabs

John Velazquez entered Friday the leading jockey at Saratoga, with 30 wins already in the books, four better than Javier Castellano, who is having an outstanding meet. Just behind loomed Ramon Dominguez, with 25 wins.

After taking the first race, aboard Go Go Pink ($9.80), Velazquez stretched his lead to five, but he would be shut out of the winner's circle the rest of the afternoon while Castellano racked up three more wins, bringing home Running Tap ($12.00) in the second, Star of New York ($7.60) in the 6th, and odds-on Straight Story ($4.10) in the 8th.

Dominguez tried his best to keep up, notching a pair of wins aboard Dance Floor Maniac ($6.30) in the 4th race and Deciphering Dreams ($5.70) in the 7th.

With Alan Garcia bringing home the late double with long-shot Mitigation ($45.20) in the 9th race and Such Time as This ($6.30) in the 10th for a card-closing double payout or $137, the three leading jocks had further separated themselves from the rest of the camp.

At 4th place in the standings, Julien Leparoux could muster only three third-place finishes, highlighted by longshot Million Seller, who completed a short-field trifecta at 1 1/8 miles with winner Miss Match (Garrett Gomez) and place horse Amazing (Edgar Prado). The payout for the 3rd race trifecta was a solid $167.00 from the five-horse field after McVictory and Nicksappealinglady were scratched.

The day's activity left Velazquez still on top with 31 wins, though Castellano gained in second place. His three wins put him at 29 for the meet. Carlos Dominguez remained in the hunt with 27 wins.

There are still 16 racing dates left to the 40-day Saratoga meet, and the competition for top jockey honors figures to be fierce among the three leaders.

Velazquez is named to ride only one favorite on Friday's 9-race card, the Todd Pletcher-trained Cadazzle, in the second race, a five furlong sprint for 2-year-old maiden fillies.

The feature race is the Yaddo Stakes to be run at 1 1/8 mile on the inner turf course. Twelve fillies and mares are entered, though #12, Big Brownie, is entered for the main track only. The field is led by 3-1 choice, Chestoria, trained by william Badgett and ridden by David Cohen. The three leading riders will be looking to make a splash with their rides, as they each are named atop horses whose morning lines are 8-1 or better. With Saratoga's reputation as the "graveyard of favorites," plunking down a couple of coins on Dominguez, Castellano and Velazquez's mounts might make for a profitable gambit.

Monday, February 16, 2009

No New Five Year Plan

Well, I didn't make $200,000 last year, so the 5 year plan previously mentioned is out. Through 2008, however, I did discover some economic realities that compelled me to rethink my understanding of money.

I took a look at my expenses and my income, by month, and then broke it up and down to annual and daily requirements. Since I have a number of fairly steady streams of income, I took inventory and discovered that, in general, I am less than $15/day away from full retirement. Not that I would retire in grand fashion, but combining current income and an additional $15 per day, I could do whatever I like.

Now, $15/day may not sound like a lot of money, but working solo, without any support mechanism - like a working wife, pension or other means of income - it's more significant than one may realize.

$15/day works out to $105/week or $5475/year. It looks a little more significant now, doesn't it?

There are many ways to make an extra $15/day, but my goal is to be able to do it on my terms, alone, on my computer, in less than 2 hours per day on average. As a writer, this is not a goal that is out of reach.

I have any number of good ideas, not the least of which is to create more pages on my main site, Downtown Magazine, especially in the Collectible Magazine Back Issue Price Guide.

Selling advertising in house is also a possibility, and now that I have a working computer with Mac OSX working, life is becoming easier and easier. My $15/day goal is clearly within sight.

Monday, December 17, 2007

My New Five-Year Plan

Well, It's time to update this blog again, even though there are very few readers. There is one (and you know who you are) who mentioned that she reads it, so I guess it's my obligation to continue.

Sunday, December 16, marked a turning point in my life. I had already decided to make some changes, but I was struggling with finding a goal.

I don't know exactly what it was - oh, yeah, my father saying how a relative had put $17,000 down on a new house and that he and I were struggling along.

That kept bugging me. Why are me and my father struggling. Well, I know why my father struggles. Beyond not being all that great an investor, his kids - particularly me and my brother - have been a financial burden most of his life.

So, I thought, it's time to make my Dad's life a little easier, a little richer, a little fuller, so he could actually retire and not have to worry about money. And the best way I could think of doing that would be for me to become rich.

Don't laugh. I should have been rich. A series of unfortunate events led what was a thriving publishing business to end up filing for bankruptcy protection back in 1989. I've probably never fully recovered from that experience, though it is mostly behind me now.

Back to getting rich. First, no more gambling, especially on horses. That $100 I had as of the last post? Gone, and more with it. I haven't been to the OTB parlor since the day after that post, whatever it was. I think it must have been two weeks ago, but it already seems like a long time.

Funny thing, though. Since I stopped focusing my efforts on picking winners - and don't get me wrong, I'm a very good handicapper. I just don't know when to quit and I bet too many races - and devoted myself to my real work on the web, I've actually had more money. Life is a little simpler.

What pushed me over the edge, though was the very real understanding that people (generally my extended family) treated me much better when I had my own business and was doing well. Since I failed, they treat me like crap. Seriously. And it's disgusting. So I hatched a plan that would solve all of this. I decided I should have enough money to buy all of their homes, or buy them all new homes, better than the ones they lived in.

OK, so how much money will I need? I've always followed the advice from the book "Think and Grow Rich" that you need to determine an amount of money or a goal you wish to achieve, write it down and then set about going at it.

So here goes. Within five years I will have a net worth of Twenty Million Dollars ($20,000,000).

My plan, so far, calls for achieving a net worth of $200,000 by the end of 2008. Then:
$2 million by the end of 2009.
$5 million by the end of 2010.
$10 million by the end of 2011.
$20 million by the end of 2012.

I have a couple of ideas cooking, so, you're welcome to tag along for the ride. I'll be updating shortly with my current net worth and a few of my preliminary plans.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Why All the Maidens?

I haven't had time to update this site due to some issues with a computer repair person who will be named: Louis Sabo III of Mac to Mac Service). Essentially, I took my father's computer to this guy to have it upgraded and memory added. Sabo broke the computer (blank screen) and could not repair it, and wouldn't give it back without me signing a document which basically waived my right to sue for damages. My father and I had to buy a new computer and we will sue for our time and money spent.

Anyhow, that little adventure kept me away from my work and the betting parlor, so I haven't been doing much in the gambling regard. I did rush a couple of bets and probably shouldn't have, losing what I had made and then some, so I'm starting over with a $100 stake and some rules.

The first rule is that I am not going to bet any maiden races. These are races for horses which have never won and they can be a nightmare to handicap. For starters, there are usually a couple of horses which haven't even run in a race, so all you have to go on are workouts and pedigree, which often isn't very helpful. The other horses in the race usually have erratic racing patterns since they are 2 and 3-year-olds just learning how to run.

I would wager that the majority of my losses have been on maiden races, so they're going to be cut out of my betting regimen, but there are so many of them, it's really somewhat limiting, which, in the end, may be a good thing. I was looking over the entries at the Daily Racing Form and decided to count the number of maiden races in relation to the total number of races at the tracks I bet. Here's my list for today:
Aqueduct: 4 of 9
Calder: 5 of 12
Churchill: 3 of 10
Finger Lakes: 2 of 9
Laurel: 3 of 10.

That's a total of 17 maiden races out of 50. 34%!!

If that seems like a lot, it is. Most of those races are loaded, with 8 to 10 or more entries. There are a lot of horses out there who just aren't cutting it and will never win a race. I did notice that there are fewer at the minor Finger Lakes track than anywhere else, which probably indicates that there are more bad horses racing at the major circuits as owners seek bigger purses. That's too bad, because they're not going to win up there.

This brings up another interesting point. With so many maidens (as many as 200 per day at just those 5 tracks), how good are the horses emerging from these ranks. Probably not very. It's intriguing to note that there seems to be more starter allowance races for horse which have broken their maiden for less than XX dollars. Those are probably full of also-rans from the better allowance races.

Here's a god rule of thumb. If a horse has taken more than 3 tries to break its maiden, it's probably best to steer away from that pony until it gets more seasoning. A better rule of thumb: wager on allowance and stakes races only, where the best horses run.

See you at the finish line.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

How I turned $30 into ???

The beginning of my true confessional.

I took $30 out of my PayPal account and headed to the OTB parlor on West Ridge road. I'm only known by facial recognition in the place. Maybe three or four people actually know who I am and that's just how I like it. I don't want the ragged crowd to know what I'm betting, how much I'm up or down or what my strategies are. Gambling just goes better when you're incognito. You keep your profits and losses to yourself. The only time anyone knows what I'm up to is when horses are in the stretch, as I'm prone to wild cheering when my horse has a chance.

So, after going up and down with the $30 - I promised myself that I'd take home a profit - I found myself down to my last $8. Sure, I had the winner in the second race at Great Lakes, the Michigan Futurity. It was an easy call, as Federico Mata was aboard With Wings and paid a reasonable $9.40 to win and $5.60 to place. But between that and the third race, I had managed to blow most of my stake on some very questionable trotters and pacers.

I plunked down a $2 exacta box on the 5-6 combination and a deuce, win and place, on the 6 in the third race, a maiden claimer. The 5 horse, Dustoffthepunch, was something on the order of 4-5 and the favorite. The 6 horse, Mr. Badabouchski, I picked because of a number of factors, not the least of which was his appearance as they walked out onto the track. He was as fit as a horse could be and alert, though not excited.

Apparently, he was a little excited, as he was the last horse to load in the field of seven, and he was a handful going into the gate. When the bell sounded, he was off like a flash, with the favorite at his throat latch. Just 4 furlongs, these two battled every step of the way, with Mr. Badabouchski edging clear by half a length at the wire.

Bingo! The 6-5 exacta paid $57.00. My $2 flat bets were worth $24.80 for the win and $5.80 to place. After OTB took their customary 6%, I walked out with $82.80, a net profit of $52.80. In all honesty, I never even took a look at the racing form or past performances. Sometimes, you just have to see the odds for what they really are: a guideline to how bettors are so often wrong.

The 4-5 choice was wrong, as he finished second. The #1 and #2 horses were supposed to contend, as they each had been bet down to 4-1. My 6 horse, the eventual winner, went off at better than 11-1. When I bet the race, he was the 4th choice in the betting. Often, I'll look at the odds when there's a heavy favorite and use the 4th, 5th and 6th choice with the favorite in exactas. Much of the time, the horses bet down to 2nd and 3rd choices, which are supposed to be competitive, run out of the money, as was the case in this race.

The journey has begun. I've lost thousands over the years playing the ponies. But I'm determined to get it all back...

Friday, April 13, 2007

Just testing.

Just posting a note for myself.