• Spiral Balancing act: what if Mac isn't The Man?

    POSTED Mar 22, 2013
    A popular tenet of wagering on horses is to "bet with your head, not your heart" (also: "bet with your head, not over it").

    I'm trying to keep that in mind (and take it to heart) when it comes to plotting my wagering course  for Spiral Stakes day on Saturday at Turfway Park, but it's hard for me not to get excited about Mac The Man being in the gate for the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes (click for free Brisnet.com Ultimate PPs w/ comments for both Kentucky Derby Championship races this weekend).

    I've had Mac The Man ranked second on my Kentucky Derby poll since the El Corredor colt won the 96Rocks Stakes on February 2 at Turfway Park. He wasn't there then--and he's not there now--because I think he is the second-most likely winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands. Rather, I just thought he'd be overlooked given his location (Turfway) and connections (trainer Jeff Greenhill).

    I.e., 200-to-1 certainly seemed like the right price to take on one of only a few multiple stakes winners among this crop who had run fast enough to date to indicate that a Derby win wouldn't be out of the question with improvement. Admittedly, I'm more concerned with his pedigree than his speed, but if he's in the Derby gate I won't need to worry about it that much with this price locked in.

    OK, you get it; I like Mac The Man. So how do you bet the race? I don't think we'll get the 10-to-1 morning line, but betwixt Uncaptured, Balance The Books, and Capo Bastone I can't imagine we'll have to take anything less than 5-to-1 on Mac The Man.

    Uncaptured is the morning line favorite, and while I do think he will be the wagering choice, he doesn't seem to be the pick of many handicappers. Marty McGee of Daily Racing Form fame is against him in the top spot as is Joel Cunningham of Triple Crown Insider.


    I wouldn't like Balance The Books at Mac The Man's morning line price let alone as the second choice against this group. I like Uncaptured more, but I'm willing to play against him as the favorite.

    All this means that while Mac The Man is "the top pick", I certainly don't want to be ripping up tickets if Jill Byrne's picks--My Name Is Michael (10-to-1) & General Election (12-to-1)--come in because I think they're capable enough at nice prices.

    Turfway Park has a great multi-race wagering menu with $.50 minimums on all Pick Ns--rolling Pick 3s, Pick 4s that start in races 1, 5, & 7, and a Pick 5 in races 7-11. The all-graded stakes Pick 3 (races 8-10) anchors the Pick 4 and is the meat in the Pick 5 sandwich. It's conceivable that not a single favorite wins, though Pure Fun in the Fathead Bourbonette Stakes looks to be the most likely winner on the back half of the card.

    I won't be able to resist keying Mac The Man in Pick Ns and playing him across the board at a nice price, but I'm willing to give up some value on him to bet against the favorites as well.

    Here's a look at my ABC selections for the whole card:


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