I opened a TwinSpires account this week with the minimum $50 deposit, and pondered my first online bet, keen for a “sure thing” to start off on the right foot. I settled on the sixth race at Gulfstream on Friday, where I pegged Michael Matz’s Visionaire as the winner. His jockey Jose Lezcano is off to a blazing start at Gulfstream, and I liked all the numbers. So, rather than simply play a straight WPS bet, I decide to get fancy because, hey, Mambo Meister looked good in post parade and also had good numbers coming in. And, what’s this? Cigar Man is getting a lot of tote action…let’s try a $1 exacta box with the 3-8-9. Result: Visionaire wins easily, paying $10.00, but Mambo Meister gets into an early speed duel and fades to 6th, just ahead of Cigar Man in 7th. Urgh! My sentimental $2 show bet on Stephen’s Gold (Foolish Pleasure descendent, through Maudlin's son Mecke) doesn’t pan out, as he finishes 4th. Oh so close to a nice payout, as he was 54-1!
Next up: the G3 Canadian Turf Handicap. I decide to just settle on one horse, but none clearly jump out at me. I pick Kiaran McLaughlin’s National Captain, also with Jose Lezcano up. But, instead of betting across the board, I only bet WP…he shows, paying $5.20. I strongly debated whether to bet Host beforehand, and in retrospect, I should have, as he won ($13.80). The second-place horse Yate’s Black Cat ($12.80) I would never have considered.
Today I awoke with the glorious news that the track at Gulfstream was sloppy. Now, some bettors hate off-tracks…not me. Love ‘em! My biggest score in 2007 was on Kentucky Oaks day, on that sloppier-than-sloppy Churchill track. In today’s G2 Hutcheson, I settled on Smooth Air, placed a straight Win bet, and proceeded to scream loudly at my computer screen as he came home a winner, paying $20.60! Woohoo! My account is just above what I put in, so I’m happy to keep plodding along for now.
As for Smooth Air, I liked his run well enough, but he’s not going on my Derby list just yet.