by SCOTT SHAPIRO
After the challenging and arduous summer meeting at Del Mar, Southern California horseplayers could be forgiven if they choose to catch up on rest and relaxation as we approach the fall meets at Santa Anita Park and of course the Breeders’ Cup and Bing Crosby meetings that follow at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.
The Los Angeles County Fair Thoroughbred meeting at Los Alamitos Race Course offers everyday players an opportunity to stay involved, but as you have probably noticed from the all-sources handle in Orange County versus either Del Mar or Santa Anita, many handicappers use this time to catch their breath and prepare for the busy fall.
While it is always a wise approach to freshen up and clear the head after a busy stretch, there is always work to be done in this game if you want to stay ahead of the masses, so even if you’re not betting Los Alamitos (or betting as much), there are things you should be doing to stay active in the game.
Here are a few things I recommend in addition to staying involved at the pari-mutuel windows at a much more limited level at Los Alamitos this time of year.
Take note of biases at Los Alamitos.
At the July daytime thoroughbred meeting at Los Alamitos those horses that ran over the inner part of the racetrack were at a distinct disadvantage. Making note of those runners and playing them back in more favorable spots at Del Mar proved to be a worthwhile endeavor on more than one occasion.
With just four days of racing complete at Los Alamitos it remains to be seen whether the outside portion of the racetrack is the place to be, but take notes over the three-weeks on any pronounced biases that give certain runners unfair advantages. Then upgrade or downgrade those that were affected by them when we get to Santa Anita this fall.
Prepare your Stable Alerts for the rest of 2017.
Things get hectic with 5 days of racing at Del Mar in the summer, as well as 6 days at Saratoga and several other quality racing cards going on from July through Labor Day. It is easy to let a few horses slip through the cracks that you had written down as playbacks or thought were worth taking shots against at likely short prices in their next starts.
Go back through your notes and make sure your Stable Alerts on Brisnet.com reflect all of the quality information you discovered this summer. There should be plenty of opportunities to take advantage of your work over the next few months.
Reassess your betting strategies.
Some of you were fortunate enough to have profitable summers. Others of us either struggled to identify winners and vulnerable favorites or took a series of tough beats.
Either way, re-evaluate your approach.
Did you take full advantage of races when you were right or did you spread yourself too thin and wish you scored out more when you had an 8-1 top choice hit the wire first?
Are you diversifying your budget properly or are you putting too high of a percentage of your bankroll into high takeout wagers like the Pick 4?
It is often difficult to modify your wagering strategies in the “heat of the battle,” so the downtime over the next couple of weeks is ideal for brainstorming and retooling anything that needs to be altered. I know I will be tinkering a few things.
Start getting ready for Breeders’ Cup Challenge Saturday at Santa Anita Park.
Santa Anita’s biggest racing day of the fall meet comes right away.
Saturday September 30th features five Grade 1 events. The Awesome Again, the FrontRunner, the Rodeo Drive, the Zenyatta and the Chandelier all offer Breeders’ Cup berths to the winner and should make for an awesome day of racing in Arcadia. It is never too early to start watching replays of those likely to compete at the end of the month/
In the meanwhile, watch the races at Los Alamitos, pick your spots and get that bankroll ready as we get to one of the most exciting times on the racing calendar.