Past Performances Early are posted and the 2009 season is here at last. Saratoga Springs and the Lamplight Inn at Lake Luzerne are just days away!
A visit to both for the Freihofer's SPAC Jazz Festival found Saratoga ready and the brooks spilling over rapids rushing all the way down the tributaries to the Hudson. So, first, a wish for Saratoga Springs and NYRA that the weather is good, visitors are plentiful and betting exceeds their expectations.
So much is different about handicapping as this season opens.
Technology and data manipulation will test Place Pick this year at Saratoga, perhaps more than the thoroughbreds. DRF Formulator is available and with a fair amount of advance work, helps very much. There's much more trainer pattern to handicapping than I ever realized, an obvious reason why my picks are so often for place. We'll see if the Belmont season long-coaching from the resident data maven at our house has prepared me for this test. More advance work on stored search Profiles during these next three days could save some of that time.
A netbook should help retrieve those last minute Formulator searches. We'll see how long carrying even that reduced weight laptop makes it through week 1. I saw netbooks at Belmont on recent visits so I'll check the grandstand for others.
A great new betting tool - NYRA Rewards is also possible from my Blackberry. That speeds last minute bets from anywhere - the backyard, the salad line in the Carousel, a traffic jam on the way to the track. For example, it's a reasonable thing to watch the horses walk from the paddock through the arch to the track, avoiding a planned bet on a horse who rears and whacks the roof of the arch, as I observed in a 2007 incident. That's a good thing.
Then there's exotic betting, Pick 3's, Pick 4's and Pick 6's. My resident data maven has moved past trifectas to these and I'll be dipping into them, too, if I actually get the work done in advance. Homework to do there today, reading the Crist book on exotic bets.
Finally, there's Andy Serling's Twitter posts. Verdict still out on that.
Closing day today at Belmont. Good luck with your bets.