general Enlightened Trail and contest update

Giving you an update on 3 handicapping series I’ve involved in, each of which is hosted by The contests are free, and it’s simply a matter of selecting one horse per race to win. Each contest has their own set of ways and means.
With these contests, my approach is simply selecting the one most likely horse to win, not to simply contend. I don’t hold out for value horses, and you can’t skip a race with these contests. What I actually do in practice is nominate my top 3 horses. In actual wagering I might play these along with actual favorites for partial exacta wheels and straight win bets if the odds suggest an overlay. In my own system, I create my own betting line and compare it to the odds a few minutes to post time. These contests are true pick-and-pray; you have to get your selections in x amount of minutes before the first contest race, usually 30 minutes.

SURVIVAL AT THE SHORE began 2 weeks into the Monmouth Park meet. To survive, a player must have at least 1 podium finish each day between 3 pre-selected races, wagering a mythical $2 WPS ticket. You are allowed one lifeline, and more are added the longer one survives. A second total miss on 3 races eliminates you. You survive (read ‘win’) if you make it to the end of the meet. Cash prizes for top 3, also one for most winners, and merch for week’s best bankroll.
I already have lost my safety net so it’s a matter of cashing the rest of the long summer. I did survive this last year, so I know it can be done. 1708 players remain out of 6777 that have entered. I’m actually ranked 1178th with $204.80. My single best score came on Sunday, with a win by Hampton Bays Sun. $27.40 was the payout. On day 4, I had 2 wins and a place for my best day of the 14 so far, $37.80. Next ‘life preserver’ comes 6/29, so I must cash on Friday and Saturday to get that far. I really don’t expect to finish high in earnings. I’m happy to survive this one.

GRAND RIVER CHALLENGE is non-elimination, basically picking 1 horse each in 3 races with a mythical $2 WPS wager. From now through mid-August, 22 race days in all, it’s a matter of cashing. Top 5 get cash prizes. 6th through 30 get merch prizes.
Grand River Raceway hosts standardbreds. I’m still rather rusty with this sort of handicapping but I stumbled upon a system melded from a few introduced by Bob Pandolfo. It’s not a terribly scientific method and there’s mostly faves and overall fast times involved, but I’m cashing. There are 1685 players involved, and yours truly is currently 93rd overall in winnings, and 7th in overall wins. 7 players have 8 wins in the 12 races contested. I’m in the next tier with 7 plus one show finish. Big score so far was Windsun Kenda at $18.20. Each day’s total, in fact, has succeeded itself, from 12.20 in day 1 to 36.30 in day 4. Overall I have $97.90. Curiously tho, if I really did play across-the-board wagers in 12 races, would I have profited? $6 x 12 races = $72. So I’d realize about a 36% profit. I suppose it’s fine, but my confidence in real wagering would go toward wins with value horses, and exactas (er, exactors) with my top 2 or even top 3 horses.

EMERALD DOWNS runs their contest through September. Also non-elimination, it involves the last 6 races each race day (weekend dates plus Friday and sometimes a Thursday or Monday), and also involves a mythical $2 WPS wager. Scoring is ranked on the $ won. Top 3 placing at the end of the challenge earn a cash prize. There are also prizes for most winners during the challenge and most $ earned during a calendar week. The thing with Emerald is that there aren’t a lot of shippers, and the ones that do might come from the lower Cali tracks or western Canada. Plus the fields are smaller, and you’ll often see the same horses running every month.
I’m cblue456 during the challenge. Why not have a look at how I’m doing?

Absolutely true, folks. 2nd in the overall challenge, and nearly won the weekly merch prize at that this past week. On the bulletin board, I made my picks for Saturday with this quote:

$78.60 was the payout for Kiss Em, the longest shot of 7 running.
Here are the stats through 180 races:
58 wins, 31 seconds, 25 thirds, 20 fourths.
That’s 32% win rate, 63% in the money. Figure that I’ll get 2 wins and 4 placings on an average day
My overall earnings are $1153.80, which is an average of $6.40 earned per race. Figure that against a $6 WPS wager and I’m barely breaking even. And I’m #2! Again, I don’t recommend WPS wagers in real life but they’ll do just fine in contests.

If I played my top 3 in these races the way I usually do, with wins and exactas, I wonder if I’d do more than break even .Maybe. Just maybe.
You can jump any time you want tho you’ll have a ways to go before catching up to me.
Coming up this Saturday is a one-day event from the folks behind the Breeders Cup: Million Dollar Finish. They are involving one race a week that serves as a win-and-you’re-in event for the BC races later on (I don’t like this approach to entry but that’s a rant for a different post). You have to predict the exact order of finish for the top 10 horses. I’m intrigued enough to want to join. Care to partake?

The Enlightened Derby/Oaks Trails will begin with 2 races at Oak Tree @ Pleasanton. The two races in my focus are the Everett Nevin Stakes for 2YO, and the Juan Gonzalez Memorial for 2YO fillies. says that this track is the oldest of its kind in the US. Probably a fitting beginning for the trail!
The key quote in a story by the San Francisco Gate relates to the power of what a publicly-owned track can do.

Also,at Colonial Downs, site of the next track on my trails, there is serious talk about scrapping their 2014 season to provide a 2015 season instead. News came just hours ago:,0,6902185.story

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