The Daily Bankroll Challenge

by Seth Merrow
Matching wits--and a mythical bankroll--with the top handicappers

2005 Racing Season

Saratoga Race Course
Tuesday, September 6, 2005
Final total for the meet... $985.30

We started the 2005 Saratoga thoroughbred race meet with a mythical bankroll of $1000. Each day we'll use this space to record our mythical best bets and calculate the accumulated wins and losses.
Complete archive of 2005 daily Best Bets picks and plays pages.


Oh no! Give us one more day -- one more race! We were on a roll! The last seven racing days we ballooned the bankroll from a season low of $286.05 to the final tally of $985.30. A healthy score of about $700 through the last week of racing. And yet we fall just short -- and in such a way that it is a crushing disappointment.

We actually moved into the black early in the day when our first double came in -- that early double investment of $24 allowed us to collect $70.80 for a profit of $46.80. We started Monday with $956.10 in our account -- so after the first two races on Monday we stood at $1002.90. We had contemplated putting in "stop-bet" order that would have canceled all remaining bets if we crossed the $1000 threshold at any time during the final day -- but c'mon, it a mythical bankroll! We had to go for the gusto. So we marched on! And it was almost meant to be...

Our next bet up was a P6 play -- not something we're accustomed to doing, but there was a few reasons it was included. We just missed on a P6 during the final stretch last year, there was a nice carryover on Monday with a mandatory payout, and the ticket we formulated was fairly inexpensive. So we took a shot there and came up short. No complaints.

Then our action centered around the final two races of the meet. We scored on the late double -- but a fluke cost us a few bucks there. With the horses loaded in the gate, one of the entrants acted up and was declared a late scratch by the vet. That meant that there would be a conso double -- it also meant that our $30 'will pay' double actually wound up paying $24.60. The $5+ difference would have added another $21+ to our final bankroll -- of course, maybe that would have been worse, to be even closer to the goal without being able to touch it.

But in the end it all came down to the final race. If we managed to hit the exacta or the tri, we were golden! We'd have zoomed well into the black for the meet. Well, turning for home we looked to be in pretty good shape. And at about the eighth pole our second choice, 2-1 Retribution, was running well in front. But our 'substitute'/fifth selection, 7-1 Buxton Hill, was also running well in the second spot. Meanwhile, our top pick -- and the one we need to get up --, 5-2 Incredible Speed, was in third and not making much progress. Not making progress that is until the last hundred yards or so when he seemed to get a second wind and made one last stab... One last stab that wound up a neck short of completing our exacta! Doh! So we ran 1-3 in the exacta -- and 1-3-4-5 in the tri, with our 'substitute'/fifth pick knocking us out. What a tough beat.

The frustrating thing is ending so close to our goal (and, of course, in fact having surpassed it earlier in the day) and knowing that some very minor tweaking over the last few days -- even on the last day -- could have gotten us over the hump.

For instance, in both the early and late double on Monday's card we could have upped our main plays to $10, not unreasonable since we had already kicked both of them up a smidge from the typical $5 play we were using most of the time earlier in the meet. If we had done so we would have eclipsed the $1000 barrier. There were a few little nips and tucks we would like to have made now that we can reflect on the last week. Plus, we said it Friday when we reviewed Thursday's card -- we're still shocked that our play in the Sept 1 4th race, City Attraction, was only 10-1. Coming off of a dismal performance in his debut, finishing 10th of 11 at 63-1, we felt 20-1 or better was in the cards. We also got zapped a little with that play when we singled him in the middle of a P3, using ALL on either side -- but then watched as the favorite and second favorite won the first and last legs respectively.

Ah well, there are always 'what if's' -- it's just that in this case we made such a nice run down the stretch that it hurts to come this close and know that we could have -- should have -- made it...

However, we can take solace in the fact that over here on the Saratoga's Best Bets Bankroll Challenge Page our final results topped all the other 'bankrolls' out there. So we'll take a small slap on the back for that.

2005 Bankrollers Scorecard


... We posted this page on Tuesday 9/6 -- and manually scored each of the Bankrollers using their published plays in Monday's newspapers, unless the results were updated in Tuesday's editions. The NY Post was one of the sets of numbers we did manually. On Thursday 9/8 they published their results and had Vic Cangialosi with a total of $1897.75, far above the total we had listed. We went back, checked our paperwork, and realized that we had mistakenly used Congialosi's Week Six bankroll total rather than his season-long total. As such, Cangialosi tops the bankrollers with his positive result.

Each of the 'bankrollers' below started the 2005 Saratoga season with a mythical $1000 bankroll (except for the NY Post players -- they each started with $1800). Their final results are listed (In order of highest percentage of bankroll retained)...

Vic Cangialosi
NY Post
Seth Merrow
Ed Fountaine
NY Post
Sherry Ross
NY Daily News
John DaSilva
NY Post
Kenny Fila
NY Post
Mike Jarboe
Albany Times Union
Tim Wilkin
Albany Times-Union
Bill Heller
Daily [Schenectady] Gazette
Jerry Bossert
NY Daily News
Dave Little
NY Daily News

Monday's plays...

In any of today's plays -- since it's the last day, sub next pick from Picks Page in event of any scratch.

RACE 1-2... $6 DD... R1/Key Event/Gryffindor... R2/Maybry's Boy/Dutrow entry.
Collected $70.80 on the DD ($23.60/$2).

...$2 DD... R1/Key Event/Gryffindor... R2/Only the Best/Mountauin General.
Ran R1/Won [$7.50] -4... R2/3-4.

RACE 5-10... $2 P6... R5/Moon Ala Mode... R6/Just in Fun/Nohasslatdcastle/Big Feathers... R7/Russian Sweetiepie... R8/Honey Ryder/Film Maker... R9/High Stakes Holdem/Run Thruthe Sun... R10/Incredible Speed.
Ran R5/4... R6/5-6-8... R7/2... R8/Won [$6.60] -2... R9/Won [$5.80] -3... R10/3.

RACE 9-10... $8 DD... R9/High Stakes Holdem/Run Thruthe Sun... R10/Incredible Speed/Retribution.
Collected $98.40 on the DD ($24.60/$2).

... $2 DD... R9/Smoke Warning/June the Tiger... R10/Incredible Speed/Retribution.
Ran R9/2-4... R10/Won [$6.30] -3.

... $2 DD... R9/High Stakes Holdem/Run Thruthe Sun... R10/Old Crow/Super Nationals.
Ran R9/Won [$5.80] -3... R10/4-5.

... $1 DD... R9/Smoke Warning/June the Tiger... R10/Old Crow/Super Nationals.
Ran R9/2-4... R10/4-5.

RACE TEN... $5 exacta box... Incredible Speed/Retribution.
Ran 1-3.

...$1 tri box... Incredible Speed/Retribution/Old Crow/Super Nationals, sub Buxton Hill if scratch.
Ran 1-3-4-5... With sub pick running 2nd. Doh!

Profit for the day... $29.20


Dark day... See you next year...

All turf wagers are turf only

Total bet...$

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