NHCQ – Races 8-12 – Coasting

I was now more than $30 ahead of the 9th place contestant, with 5 races left.
I was confident now that barring a lot of longshots, I was likely to qualify for the NHC!!!

(And I turned out to be right – the 9th place finisher at the end of the contest had $76.10, so I had already qualified at this point.
The remaining winners had odds of 1.7, 1.6, 4.9 and 1.0, all below 5-1, so there was not much chance for many people to pass me.)

Race 8 – 6th Santa Anita

This was the Santa Anita Derby.
I ARVed the heavy favorite #7 Lookin At Lucky on top, he was my only “A” logical contender, and he felt really good intuitively.

But it was not to be, he ran third after experiencing some trouble, being shut off on the inside and losing momentum. (The jockey on the horse that shut him off was subsequently suspended for his tactics.)
“B” contender #5 Sidney’s Candy (Targ CR 1) was the winner at 7-to-2.

I slipped back to 3rd place, but was still almost $30 ahead of 9th place.

Race 9 – 7th Santa Anita

Had a strong ARV match for #10 Trumpet Player Jay – Targ CR of 6 (out of 7).
But he was an X logically, and didn’t feel good to pick, and neither did 2nd ARV choice (Targ CR 4) #5, so even though both were big prices, I looked elsewhere.

My 2 logical “A”s both had Targ CRs of 2.5; I settled on #3 Banner Lodge, at 4-1 a better price than the other “A”, favorite #9 Dance With Gable at 8-to-5.

In the race #9 just got up to win by a neck, #3 was 4th, and #10 and #5 also ran out.

After 9 races I was still in 3rd place, $23 ahead of 9th place – I can smell it now!

Race 10 – 8th Santa Anita

By this time I was thinking, I should just focus on the most likely winner, I am far enough in front that I don’t need high odds horses to win, i.e. qualify.
It doesn’t matter if I finish first or 8th, I thought. (This turned out not to be true, as I will explain later.)

Top ARV Targ CR was #8 Gato Go Win at 2-1, a logical “B”.
Initially though I had #6 Ventana at 8-5 as my pick, as he was my only “A” logical horse, even though he was only a 2.5 Targ CR.
Then I switched to #8, because he was the ARV choice plus a “B”.

Turned out to be the wrong decision, narrowly – 8 had the lead, passing the 6 in deep stretch – only to hang and finish 2nd, beaten a nose by #6.
Ah well 😉

I collected $3.20 for the Place; since both were short odds, no one moved up in the standings much.
I in fact did move up a notch to 2nd place, 30 cents ahead of 3rd.

Race 11 – 9th Santa Anita

The choices here were with their Logical and ARV ratings were #2 (A, 1.5) #4 (B, 3) #6 (A,3), and #7 (X,5).
#6 and #7 did not feel good, and #4 looked better than #2, though in retrospect I remember a good, subtle feel about #2….

I picked #4, who wound up 7th, while #2 won at 9-to-2.

Lesson learned: listen to that subtle voice!

I held on to 2nd place, still $20 ahead of 9th place – qualifying now seemed certain, as most of the people behind me would now have to hit the last race winner to beat me out of 8th – plus it would have to be at least 6-1 or so.

Race 12 – 10th Santa Anita

In this race I ARVed #3 Pegastorm (“X” logically) with a 7 out of 7, the highest rating I have ever given for my ARV.
So I had to pick him, even though it made more sense to pick the favorite #9, my only “A” logical contender (ARV Targ CR 1).

#9 won easily at even money (1-1), while #3 finished next-to-last.

Final summary to come.