Jeff Tune's Gambling Blog
Tuesday, 27 March 2018
Last Saturday I drove up to Buffalo Raceway for their handicapping tourney. Winner gets a spot in the WHHC final at the Meadowlands. There were 72 players in the contest.
I've played in this contest 3 times in the past 4 years. The format is basically the same every year. You must make 5 bets on Buffalo races and 5 bets on Meadowlands races. Each horse you pick is a $200 win bet. I paid my $10 entry fee and received an envelope with my ten betting slips and a copy of the contest rules. They also give you a free program.
As usual I downloaded the Trackmaster pps for both tracks and handicapped in advance for this. And I always map out my strategy - which horses/races will I bet and which races will I pass. Of course I always end up adjusting my strategy depending on odds and also where I stand in the tourney. I almost always save a couple bets for the last two races.
The first race at Buffalo was won by a 13-1 shot. Surprisingly only one contest player had it. Already I needed to play catchup. I wasn't having much luck at Buffalo. The first horse I played had to go first over, and then the next one broke stride. I finally hit a $8.50 winner and was on the board.
But nothing at the Meadowlands so far. I played races 5,7,8 with no luck. But nobody else in the contest was really doing all that good either. There were four guys at the top with $3500-$3900. I needed at least $3000. I decided to pass races 8,9,10 and save my last two bets for the last two Meadowlands races, race 11 and 12. I really liked a longshot in 12th and would play another price horse in the 11th.
Shortly before race 10, I was bored and tired and it was nearly 11:00 pm. I had a 1-1/2 hour drive home so I decided I would just make my plays for the last two races and leave. I could check results when I got home. I gave my betting slips to the contest guy and he says "We're not taking bets for races 11 and 12. Only the first ten races." WHAT?? I was livid. "When did you decide that," I asked. "We had a sign right here that said that," he says. "Well you should have told people that!" I was still able to bet race 10, so I bet the two longest shots. Gathered up my stuff and left.
Nowhere in the contest rules did it say that! Apparently no one who works at Buffalo Raceway wants to stay there after 11:00 pm. As I left I heard an announcement that they would be closing after the Meadowlands 11th. Oh but you can bet the adjoining slots casino is open late.
It's just a good thing I wasn't near the top of the leaderboard. I would have really given the contest guys a piece of my mind. Well it turns out neither of my horses in the 11th and 12th won so it didn't make any difference. But if you are going to hand out contest rules, make sure the rules are clearly stated!!
Sunday, 14 January 2018
Happy New Year! I'm excited about 2018! However, not excited about the barrage of snow we've had here in Erie Pa. But before you know it the horses will be back at Presque Isle Downs and I'll be playing online poker for real money again!
Here's how things went down in 2017. Down would be the correct word. My losses actually ended up being not that much - my best guess would be $300-$400. I stopped keeping track around mid-May when I was going through a bad streak. And then I started winning.
There were some positives in 2017. I won money betting Presque Isle Downs. I won at Saratoga (a nice rebound from a rare losing meet in 2016). It was a strange year where I did very well betting thoroughbreds and pretty awful betting harness. Keep in mind that I'm betting Woodbine harness and Mohawk year round, and those two tracks only accounted for 26 percent of my winnings.
Another positive was that I won money playing tournaments. I won tourneys at Saratoga and Presque Isle. Pretty much quadrupled my initial investment at HorseTourneys. Didn't win enough to recoup my betting losses at the windows though.
I didn't do hardly any casino betting in 2017. I had to cancel my Vegas trip due to an injury, but may make a trip there this year.
The big news for 2018 is that Pennsylvania lawmakers voted to allow online poker. It should start as early as this summer! Still keeping my poker skills up at PokerStars play money games. Do you think they'll give me anything for my $17 mllion in play money?
Below are the numbers for 2017. Note the big thoroughbred vs. harness numbers. Winnings by bet type were very similar to 2016. I cashed tickets at 24 different tracks!
Thoroughbred vs. harness
Thoroughbred winnings - 71%
Harness winnings - 29%
Presque Isle Downs - 19%
Saratoga - 15%
Mohawk - 14 %
Tampa Bay Downs - 13 %
Woodbine Harness - 12 %
Gulfstream Park - 7%
Keeneland - 5%
Woodbine Tbred - 4 %
By Bet Type
Pick Three - 44%
Win - 30%
Daily Double - 17%
Exacta - 9%
Saturday, 9 December 2017
If you've checked out my last couple of blogs you know that Operation Tampa Bay has begun. Today was Saturday and as usual I planned on betting the Tampa Bay card. I started handicapping last night and got through about half the card. My intent was to finish it up early this morning and put up my picks on the webpage. But I had to go out this morning to do a couple of errands and also shovel some snow. That's right - lake effect snow has also begun here in NW Pennsylvania.
I also had printed out the Woodbine pp's. It's their closing weekend and there was plenty of full fields in today's races. So I wanted to get a start on that. Originally I had planned to go up to Presque Isle simulcast to bet, but I changed my mind and decided it would be cozier (and warmer) to just bet from home on Twin Spires.
Around 11:00am I checked on the Tampa Bay website for scratches. AT THIS TIME ALL RACES SCHEDULED ON THE TURF HAVE BEEN MOVED TO THE MAIN TRACK. Well, that sucks but luckily I hadn't begun to handicap the last two races which were scheduled for the turf.
I picked the winner of each of the first three races. I had the pick three but unfortunately it was 3/5, 3/5, and 6/5 so it didn't pay much. I moved to Woodbine and played a couple of small pick threes but could only manage to get 2-out-of-3. Actually forgot about Tampa race 4 but my 5-1 choice ended up second so I saved money. Race 5 was originally scheduled for the turf but there was very little dirt form for the runners so I passed as it was pretty much un-handicapable. Was watching/handicapping Woodbine for awhile and switched back over to Tampa as the 5th was going off. What? They are on the turf!! I was really mad because there were two turf standouts in the race and they finished 1-2 with the longer priced one winning at 3-1. I don't know how I would have bet it but I would have definitely been alive in a double or pick three.
On to race 6 where I decided to just play a small pick three - a 3x1x1 for $.50. A whopping $1.50 bet. I liked three in the first leg. The second leg was another off-the-turf (for real), and again not much dirt form but I went with TEN PENNY PRINCESS, first of the claim for trainer John Rigattieri. He wins with 36% of these! Race 8 was a five-and-a-half furlong sprint that looked to be full of cheap speed. Could a closer win this? The best closer looked to be LADY GREGORIA trained by win-early trainer Gerald Bennett. But his filly was 1-for-24 and the trainer/jock combo of Bennett and Ademar Santos was 0-for-12. But she's 20-1 ml odds. Sure why not.
Well, my pick in the 6th, SACRED CANYON ($5.40) won easily. Then TEN PENNY PRINCESS ($6.40) romped by six. I look at the pick 3 will pays. P3 with Lady Gregoria is paying $224 for a buck! And she opens up at 4-1 but drifts up to 21-1 by post time. LADY GREGORIA came closing on the outside in the stretch and powered past them all winning by 1-3/4 lengths!
Win price was $44.80. Exacta with the longest shot in the field payed $1139. Dollar trifecta returned $4546. And the $.10 superfecta paid $9488!! I was happy with my .50 pick three return of $112. Although I picked it cold - I could have put at least a buck on it, lol.
Then there was the race at Woodbine where I picked four horses for the pick 3 and they finished 1-2-3-4 and the $.20 super paid $428. Well, at least I'm handicapping well. I picked six winners out of ten races at Tampa Bay. Operation Tampa Bay rolls on!
Wednesday, 29 November 2017
Tampa Bay Day 2
So I decided yesterday that I would take the afternoon off from work today. Kinda slow at work and hey it's Tampa Bay Day 2! I did have to work this morning so I didn't get to handicap the full card in advance, only got through the first four races last evening.
I'm still "feeling out" Tampa Bay so I'm betting gingerly. After all we have five months of Tampa Bay racing ahead of us. I had only one winner today - a win bet on 5-1 MILL HILL PLACE in the 6th. So it was a slight loss for me today. But if you are a bettor who likes to play the second favorite, today was your day. The second-favored horse won six of the first seven races! There was only one winning favorite all day.
Here are a few observations so far:
- DIRT SPRINTS: early speed is king. Just about every dirt sprint has been won wire-to-wire!
- TRAINER GERALD BENNETT: his horses are ready to win first time out just as they were at Presque Isle this past season when he was on fire early in the meet.
- JOCKEY ANTONIO GALLARDO: He didn't ride at Tampa Bay last year but was leading jockey two years ago. He's back and will probably be top jock again. He's had 3 winners and 6 seconds in 14 mounts so far. He won the finale today on a 9-1 runner.
- No Jamie Ness so far but Ralph Ziadie is here and won a race today.
Sunday, 26 November 2017
Tampa Bay Opening Day
If you didn't read my last post, I am tackling Tampa Bay Downs this winter much as I do Saratoga in the summer. I am using Jim Mazur's "Tampa Bay Handicapper" since I am unfamiliar with many of these Tampa Bay trainers. So how did I do opening day?
First of all let me say it's a bit different using the Tampa Bay book than the Saratoga one. Saratoga has three years (or more) of trainer stats. The Tampa book has only two (I think Mazur has only recently published the Tampa book). So a key owner/trainer stat might show a 3-for-3 win percentage but it's a good chance that might be the same horse. So much of the data here is from limited starters. But still a lot of good stuff!
My betting strategy at Tampa (like most other tracks) is to play pick threes. Well, I started out with a winner at 9/2 and then another winner at 3/5. Double returned $30.80. I'm thinking I should play doubles at Tampa as I didn't have the next winner or the pick three. In the 4th I pick the winning exacta that returns $18.40 but I'm still playing pick threes. Exactas maybe?
Needless to say I'm still handicapping well. In the 6th my 3rd choice wins at 7-1 but again no winning ticket. After 8 races I'm getting a little frustrated that I haven't cashed a ticket at Tampa or at a couple of other tracks where I've made a few bets.
The 9th and 10th races are the late daily double at Tampa. My pick in the 9th is CARUCA trained by Gerald Bennett. Bennett runs horses at Presque Isle and this past season he was on fire at the beginning of the meet. Could he do the same at Tampa? He has already had three runners on the card. Two close seconds but no winners. But lots of good stats here with CARUCA. 3-of-5 owner/trainer wins, 31% dropping in class, and Bennett is a 29% win-early trainer (wins in first 15 days of the meet). And the horse is meeting a weak bunch here. I really like the favorite in the 10th - a five furlong turf sprint. EVERYTHING LOVELY was competitive with some of the best female turf sprinters in the country last year. She is 1-for-2 at Tampa and is working bullets for this race. I play doubles using CARUCA and two others with EVERYTHING LOVELY. And then I go put some more money on a CARUCA/EVERYTHING LOVELY double.
CARUCA goes wire-to-wire and wins easily by seven lengths paying $9.40 to win. In the finale, EVERYTHING LOVELY also wins pretty easily getting the five furlongs in a quick 56 seconds and paying $4.20. Daily Double returns $25.40. I have it multiple times and actually make a small profit on the day. Nothing like getting bailed out on the last race!
Note: I did play a tourney on HorseTourneys. I wanted to play a Tampa tourney but decided not to as I liked a lot of favorites later in their card. So I played a "Quick Early Bird" tourney which was only six races - the first three from both Tampa Bay and Gulfstream West. Twenty players in the contest, the top three get paid. I had SUMMER SPICE, a 5-1 runner in Gulfstream's first race who finished third beaten a nose and a head. I ended up sixth in the contest. If SUMMER SPICE had gotten up to win I would have finished third or maybe second.
Anyways, not a bad start at Tampa Bay. I picked five winners out of ten races. I did put up Tampa selections on my webpage and I may continue to do that on Saturdays so check my page weekly!
Wednesday, 22 November 2017
As a horseplayer, every year I seem to follow the same pattern. I do really well in the summer months, but then usually really awful from November to April. Thinking about this I realize I struggle with what tracks to play in the winter. It usually comes down to Gulfstream, Tampa Bay, Fairgrounds, and Woodbine Harness of course.
I seem to do better at Tampa Bay than GP and FG. I enjoy this track - there are usually decent sized fields and plenty of turf racing. I have decided to focus on this track this winter! Just as I use Jim Mazur's publication, The Saratoga Handicapper in the summer, I plan to use his Tampa Bay Downs Handicapper this winter. In fact I received it today (just in time for Saturday's opening day). There are trainer stats for 116 Tampa Bay trainers. I am familiar with some of these trainers as they race here at Presque Isle Downs in the summer. A number of the PID jockeys go to TAM also.
I feel that I will be better prepared to bet Tampa Bay this winter. I am excited for opening day!
Thursday, 27 July 2017
Hello from Saratoga! Actually Glens Falls where I am staying this year. I was at Finger Lakes yesterday (more later), and this morning it rained all the way to Saratoga. Rain just about stopped when I arrived at the track but all turf races except one were taken off turf. The steeplechase race also remained on the turf.
Because of the track condition and all the scratches, I was betting gingerly. But I did win today. Win bets on three horses - two of them ridden by Irad Ortiz who got up to win both of them by a head at 3-1 and 4-1.
Yesterday I was at Finger Lakes betting both Sar & FL. Wasn't having any luck at FL but I hit a pick three at Saratoga. In the first leg Javier Castellano brought home a 7-1 winner in a turf sprint. Then it was a 4/5 maiden firster winning for trainer Danny Gargan. In the third leg I singled VOODOO SONG - trained by Linda Rice, owned by Barry Schwartz - a winning angle. Also this horse was racing after winning four days ago. That's another OK angle for Linda Rice. And the race distance today was eleven furlongs!
Well, VOODOO SONG opened up a BIG lead setting very fast fractions. I thought the horse was cooked but no, he hung on and won it at 4/5. Dollar pick three return was $76.25.
I finally did cash a winning bet on the last race at Finger Lakes. Win bet on a 2-1 winner.
I will be at Saratoga Friday & Saturday so check back, I'll try to blog a report.
Sunday, 23 July 2017
It was a very good day betting Saratoga. In the second I put a win bet on WE DID since he was the best price out of my top three picks. Also a plus that Timeform's David Aragona picked him. Bingo! $16.20 to win.
Then in the third it was a daily double play. Todd Pletcher-trained UNCLE MOJO was my choice. I also thought a couple of others had a shot. I played these with my pick in the 4th, PHI BETA EXPRESS, with the bulk of my play on UNCLE MOJO. The mojo was workin as he held on to win by a neck at 5/2. In the 4th, PHI BETA EXPRESS ($8.70) romped by eight lengths. The $2 double returned $42! Sweet!
Another daily double play in the 8th/9th. In the 8th I used my top four picks, one of which was 11-1 GINGER N RYE. I singled ABEL TASMAN in the 9th - the G1 Coaching Club American Oaks. GINGER N RYE got the win and ABEL TASMAN ($3.60) won the feature by a head in a thrilling stretch battle. The $2 double returned $45.80.
By the way, it was the second win of the weekend for the trainer/jockey/owner combo of Horatio DePaz/Ricardo Santana/Sagamore Farm. They hit with 9-1 winner SOUTHAMPTON WAY on Friday (if you read my last blog, he was the key to my tournament win). Both horses last raced in Maryland. I think crab cakes are in order for dinner!
One more winner for the day in the finale, a maiden claimer on the turf. MAJOR FORCE won it at 5-1. This one was a dirt-to-turf runner for trainer Linda Rice. Timeform handicapper David Aragona steered me to this one as he picked him and noted that the horse belonged on turf as he was a half-brother to two turf stakes winners.
It's worth your while to check out David's Saratoga picks on the NYRA Saratoga website. Click on RACING and then TIMEFORMUS RACE ANALYSIS.
Thank you David and Horatio.
Saturday, 22 July 2017
Saratoga day one
Was Saratoga day one a tough one? Well, nobody picked six. Nobody picked five! A couple of early winning favorites and then a bunch of nice prices.
I ended up losing a little on the day. I did bet 6-1 winner PROCTOR'S LEDGE in the Lake George, and my pick of DREAM IT IS won the Schuylerville at 9/2. Many of my 2nd and 3rd picks won and had I gone deeper in my bets I could have had a great day with doubles and pick threes.
But I did play a $8 online HorseTourneys contest. It was a pick-and-pray, not a live contest. Turned out to be an exciting one.
I pretty much looked for longshots in this contest as there were 14 players. I was blanked in the first four races but then had 9-1 winner SOUTHAMPTON WAY in the 5th. I was the only one who had this winner and I moved into first with a $19 lead and $31.40. When Muqtaser won the 7th at 7-1, a number of players had this one and one of them surpassed me to take the lead - $37.80 to my $31.40. In the 8th I was between DREAM IT IS (who was my original webpage pick) and STAINLESS. Ended up going with Stainless in the contest only to watch Dream It Is win big. Sigh. Would have put me back in the lead.
Going into the final race the standings remained the same and my pick was DYNAMIC WAR trained by George Weaver. My pick was based mainly on the owner/trainer stat. In the past three Saratoga meets, Weaver has won 5-of-11 with horses owned by Jim and Susan Hill. I was also encouraged that handicappers Mike Beer and David Argona also liked this one. And doesn't George Weaver always win the last race at Saratoga?
DYNAMIC WAR made a big wide move and looked like he was gonna win but could not catch 18-1 Joyful Joyful and finished second by a neck. I quickly checked to see if any of the other players had picked Joyful Joyful and no one had. Dynamic War was 9-2 and I needed at least a $6.50 place price to win the contest. She paid $7.70 to place and I ended up the winner by $1.30.
So I won $75 for first and my contest bankroll sits at $116. Lots more contests to play!
Thursday, 20 July 2017
Time for a quick update on things!
Saratoga opens tomorrow! My favorite time of year. I really get into handicapping Saratoga every year. I have my opening day selections here: http://www.angelfire.com/pa/tune/sar072117.html
Just remember to look for value at Saratoga. I usually note my top 3 or 4 picks but the odds will determine who I bet. Be sure to check out the public handicappers thoughts. Guys like Andy Serling, Mike Beer, and David Aragona can give you good info.
I will be up at Saratoga next week - my 27th consecutive year! Check back for some blog reports.
As you may recall, I was playing many of the "beginner" $2 tourneys on Horse Tourneys. Well, Horse Tourneys sent me an e-mail asking me to refrain from playing these as "you are not a beginner." LOL. They have since lowered their requirements for these to those who haven't played more than $100 in the past year so that excludes me anyways (it's since been lowered to $30).
I plan to play the $8 pick-and-pray Saratoga contest for opening day. Gotta look for some longshots!
As far as day-to-day gambling, nothing exciting to report. I'm cashing lots of tickets but mostly all small pick threes. I did have a win bet on 13-1 winner CLOUD COMPUTING in the Preakness.
Good luck with your summer gambling!
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