Handicapping with Social Media. And they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
As a member of the current Old Dog society, I can tell you when playing the races on a regular basis it is important to keep current on available handicapping tools so you have the most accurate information up to the minute. With that in mind, social media like Twitter should be an important part of your handicapping process. This weekend was a very good example.
At Santa Anita, unstable weather was the cause of changing track conditions throughout the weekend. By following the Twitter feed from the Santa Anita press box (@santaanitapark), changes in track condition, late scratches, and surface switches were posted just seconds after they were announced at the track.
Following Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman (@DRFPrivman) gave players the latest shoeing information on the muddy track on Sunday.
Santa Anita’s paddock observer Tom Quigley (@Quigleys_Corner) not only points out horses that look good as they leave the paddock prior to each race, he also updates Pick Six information including carryovers, show plunge action, and year-to-year comparisons on handle.
Private clocker Andy Harrington (@clockerandy) updates missed workout info from his subscription services.
Jeremy Balan from the Blood Horse (@BH_JBalan) tweets out his latest updates from the Santa Anita press box, including jockey suspensions, information about possible injuries when horses and riders go down, and on Sunday tweeted out that Masochistic had been retired following his poor try in the Sensational Star Stakes.
XBTV (@WatchXBTV) tweets out videos of important workouts that show the times of the works and in the case of team workouts the names of both horses in drills.
The point is, in addition to a copy of past performances and a pencil, using social media can give you an information edge over many of those playing the same circuit you do.
Make sure to search for your favorite information sources, follow them, and you may be surprised how many times you will find some overlayed value on the tote when at first glance none are obvious.
By the way, my Twitter handle is @JonLindo60 and I do send out tweets on breaking news and possible track bias situations when they arise.
West 3’s May Be Best
While last Saturday’s disqualification of McKinzie left a bad taste in the mouths of many, the efforts by both official winner Bolt d’Oro and McKinzie in Saturday’s San Felipe Stakes make them leading contenders for this year’s Kentucky Derby.
McKinzie pressed the pace from the outside, keeping Bolt d’Oro boxed in early. Once jockey Javier Castellano found a clear path entering the far turn aboard Bolt d’Oro, both 3-year-olds threw it down and never gave an inch with McKinzie a head best at the wire. Both horses are battle tested, have shown plenty of intestinal fortitude, and the Beyer Speed Figure of 101 confirms they are fast. This could be a budding rivalry.
McKinzie and Bolt d’Oro weren’t the only 3-year-olds to make noise last weekend at Santa Anita. The highly regarded Justify showed up in a one mile Allowance race last Sunday. He was kind rating just off the fast early pace, made a quick move to take over around the far turn, and opened a clear margin through the stretch without being asked. He ran the mile in 1:35.73 on what was a muddy and dull surface. He is sure to get another high speed figure after his 104 Beyer Speed Figure in his debut win.
In the post-race interview, Justify’s jockey Mike Smith said up to this point, “He sure reminds me of Easy Goer.” That is huge praise. Look for Justify to get one shot at earning enough Kentucky Derby qualifying points in his next start in order to make it to Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May.
Based on the Kentucky Derby prep races so far this year, it could be the west is best. Solomini will try to add to that list when he runs in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park this Saturday.
Sundays at SA
Santa Anita went to a new 11:30 a.m. post time this past Sunday in what is a six week experiment. Here are comparisons in handle from this past Sunday vs. Sunday March 4. Since there was a wet track on both days, this seems a fairly valid comparison:
Total on track handle March 11 ($1,261,868) vs. March 4 ($1,506,482): -19%.
Total satellite wagering handle in California March 11 ($1,962,009) vs. March 4 (2,314,821): -17%.
Out of state handle March 11 ($6,195,093) vs. March 4 (5,470,954) : +13%.
Total handle March 11 ($9,418,971) vs. March 4 ($9,292,258): +1.3%.
It appears Santa Anita is trading handle on track and in California for more handle from the east coast. Total handle on track was down 19%, and it is important to note there was a high-end live money handicapping tournament on March 11 at Santa Anita, so that number could have been even lower. Remember too, Santa Anita keeps their highest percentage from wagers made on track.
The one bet that may have been affected the most was the late Pick Four, which prior to this past Sunday usually started after most of the east coast signals had ended. The late Pick Four pool on Sunday March 11 was $579,710, compared to $632,207 March 4, a decrease of 9%.
We will continue to monitor the success or struggles with the 11:30 a.m. first post time on Sundays.
Play of the Week
Santa Anita, Thursday, Race 6 – Strike at Daylight (4 post): Filly was impressive beating Maiden-Claimers in career debut Feb. 16.