Sunday, February 27, 2011

Momentoes and Paraphernalia


Seating chart

Wall of screens at top

Cheat sheets

Sample contest betting ticket
Blank entry form
Contest ID card for swiping

Cover for very nice NHC Qualifier certificate given to all participants

ARV paraphenalia

Sketchbook, headphones for listening to Hemi-Sync Metamusic during sessions and judging

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sat. Night Banquet

The banquet was a fun time to relax and meet people, and to applaud the top 30 winners in the contest.

I posted a link to my photos in an earlier post.

Here are some more my buddy Scott Carson of sent me the other day.

That's Scott on the right, and fellow (former?) guru Christopher Larmey in the middle, who finished 11th and earned $9,000, Dave Flanzbaum on the left.

From left:  Ed Lawless and former PH Editor Kelly Lawless, wife Carolyn and me.

Talking to Bob from Randallstown - turned out we grew up only a few miles apart in the Baltimore suburbs, both went to U. Maryland, and are both Orioles fans.

Scott with the three Public Handicapper NHC Tour winners: from left, John Herko, Joe Eckert and Mark McNulty.

You can see all of Scott's photos here.

We all had a fun time, as you can tell.

NTRA CEO Alex Waldrop went around shaking hands and talking to people - he is our kind of guy.

They presented real physical Eclipse awards, horse statuettes, to most of the former NHC champions since 1999. It was very cool.
Contest winner John Doyle gave a speech - he seems to be a great guy.
You can read more abut it all on Alex Waldrop's blog.

Many of the players stayed on the next day to compete in the Red Rock's 2012 NHC qualifier.
We headed home early the next morning, happy to have had the experience.

Next: Summary and Final Thoughts

More ARV Hits

Saturday Optional #1, 4th Aqu: this one I rated a 4. The match is not as clear for this one, but the fact that it was a large structure which the camera was looking up it was the key match for me. There isn't much of a match to the bottom part of the sketch, except maybe the curved tracks.
This photo was associated with #9 Apianus, who finished 2nd at 131-1 giving me $22 contest dollars, as noted in a prior post. (Note that the top match for this set was a scratch.)
Sometimes the matches are marginal like this one - and after all it was a marginal horse at 131-1, who finished far back of the winner. But it was nevertheless the highest win/place payoff (the favorite won so his win/place payoffs were low), and that's what it's all about.

Saturday Mandatory #2, 5th Aqu: I rated this one a 4 out of 7 also.
The main match is the round thing on the one guy's head, which is yellow, matching my top sketch; the bottom sketch is a match to the same item, if you consider looking down on the globe from above - it has a black band around it.

You can see my sketches are sparse compared to the photo usually.
It does not bother me that I missed the heiroglyphs entirely.
How much of my sketch matches what is in the picture, is my main focus while judging.

Even if only one component of my sketch is a great match to an item in the picture, I will still give it a relatively high rating.

The picture corresponded to #4 Thunder Chief, who won and paid $12.00.
Very nice for a mandatory race!

I believe Scott had this horse also, so we were a happy couple of dudes at this point.

Saturday Mandatory #4, 8th GP: For this one I had #8 Aegean tied with #3 Amen Hallelujah, both with Targ CRs of 5 out of 7; I picked #8 for her higher odds (see previous post).
The match here is for the bottom of the sketch, to the grandstand at back right of the photo. My notes read "Manmade structure, framed, windowed, large - or medium"; the Analytical OverLay (AOL) column reads "Airport terminal, indoors, or car frame". (AOL is what happens when your mind tries to make sense of your images logically. )
In fact the image I saw was the new terminal at Reagan National Airport, indoors - which looks very much like the grandstand, though it is outdoors. Hence the 5 out of 7 rating, even though I did not match the cars or the stands at all.
Note that this winner and the next one are not technically ARV hits, since there was a tie for the top Targ CR rating - it's officially a Pass.
But I did pick the right horse of the two in the contest, so I was very happy ;-)

Saturday Optional #7, 9th GG: This was The Last Race. The match to the bottom part of the sketch is obvious. The top sketch (AOL reads "confetti") is kind of a match to the snow and maybe the clouds, also. I gave it 5 out of 7. This was also a tie with another picture, as explained in a previous post, and I did not pick this horse in the contest strictly because of odds.
But it was a great big winner for me all the same - I bet cash on him at 14-1 ;-)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

ARV Hit: Friday Mandatory #8

A few other things before I get to the summary:

First I will post all my ARV hits - photosites and sketches - as a record of my ARV successes, of which I am proud.

For those of you reading this who are not that familiar with Associated Remote Viewing, here is a brief recap of the process: first, I set my intent to have a successful session/contest; I set the races up using the PRECOG10 software, which randomly assigns a photograph from a previously assembled "photoset" to each horse in the race; for each race, I do an ARV session, in which my intent is to view the photosite represented by the photo that I will receive in email in the future, associated with the contest winner of this race, drawing a sketch of the images I see; I then judge the quality of the match of my sketch against each of the photos for this race using the Targ CR scale of 0-7, recording this info in PRECOG10; I receive an email from the system, which tells me what photos are associated with which horses, and which horse I have predicted as the winner of the race; finally, when the race is over, I record the winning outcome in PRECOG10, which sends me the winning photograph in email, which I them use as feedback, noting the matches, congratulating myself on winners, learning about how to do better judging, and flowing positive emotion to the whole process and myself.

It sounds complicated, but it is quite natural once you get used to it ;-)

So now I want to show the photosites and sketches for the races in which I got hits - when my top rated photo was the correct one, in the sense that it was associated with the winning contest outcome for that race (defined as the horse with the highest total payoff to win and place added together).

On the right is the sketch I made for Friday Mandatory #8, the 8th at Santa Anita, which originally had an 8 horse field (scratched down to 7). On the left is the photo associated with #4 Sassou, which I judged to be a Targ CR of 5 out of 7, the highest Targ CR of the 8 photos in the set.
You can see the main match is the the waterfall in the bottom half of my sketch. I did not get the bear at all; but a portion of my sketch was clearly a direct hit on part of the photosite, and that's what counts. One very rarely gets complete and perfect matches - that would be 7 of 7.

#4 won the race, so this was an ARV Hit.
(Unfortunately the horse was the 3-2 favorite, so I switched my contest pick to another horse with higher odds.)

Next: More ARV Hits

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Last Race

So, one optional race left.
I was mathematically eliminated from winning now, but I still had a shot at prize money, if I could hit a longshot in my last race.

My last optional was the 9th at Golden Gate.

Two horses were tied with Targ CR of 5: #2 Shi'ah Sand, morning line 8-1, and #7 Indian Charlize, ML 15-1. Based on this, the no-brainer choice was #7. I needed a horse with odds of 12-1 or greater to attain 30th place and the prize money.

Also, I had a very strong knowing that #7 would win. This feeling was very strong - the strongest feeling I had in the 2 days of the contest. I just knew #7 would win.

When the odds for the race were first posted, I was dismayed to see #7 listed at 7-1. This was far too low to be an acceptable pick. Now this horse was a first time starter, and having money show on the tote like this early and steadily (which it was) is a very good sign for a horse with a lesser known trainer - it means the stable thinks the horse has a really good shot to win, usually.

#7 remained at 7- to 9-1 throughout most of the betting. Meanwhile, the other Targ CR 5 horse #2 was around 20-1 - more than enough to finish in the prize money.

So, at about 5 minutes to post, I decided to change my pick to #2 - I overrode my strong intuitive feeling, to make a strictly logical choice.

Somehow I lost track of the tote board at this point - I did not notice that #7 had drifted to higher and higher odds, while #2 was being bet down somewhat. In fact by post time, #7 was 14.3 to 1, while #2 was 15.6 to 1. Either one would put me close to 30th place, depending of course on what the others were doing, and how many people would move up in the standings in their last few races.

In the race, #7 took the lead from the start and won wire-wire, paying  $42.60 in win/place contest points. #2 was no factor and finished 7th.

I have to play the "what-if" game now, of course ;-)

Had I not changed that pick and stuck with #7, my total for the contest would have been $151.20.
Initially I was not feeling good about this, since I thought that 30th place was around $148. On looking at the final leaderboard in my room later on the net though, I discovered that 30th place had been at $154.20 - I would have finished in 31st place, $3 behind.

So, my last minute change did not cost me the $2,000 prize money for 30th place.
In fact, it turned out that the 15.6-1 vs. 14.3-1 may have been enough difference to put me in 30th place, had #2 instead won.
I also would not have finished in the top 3 for Saturday's prize money - I would have finished tied for 13th.

Anyway, whatever the actual result, this race was a big lesson learned for me.
The lesson is, bet what feels right - do not try and override it with left-brained thinking.
It is best when logic and intuition work together; but when it comes to the final decision, trusting my gut feeling must take precedence.

Oh, and I should mention my cash bets. I made one bet Friday, and 7 bets Saturday before the last race, without cashing a single one.
I justified my switch in the contest last race by thinking, I can still bet the horse that I have a strong knowing about, in cash. So I did - and it did feel good to cash that bet. The winnings actually gave me a $50 profit for my cash bets for the two days - nice!

Next: ARV Hit on Friday Mandatory #8

Second Half of Saturday's Contest Day

My 4th optional, 9th Aqu: my pick was close for awhile, then stopped to finish 10th at 98-1.
(Top ARV choice (Targ CR 5) was the 6-5 favorite who ran 3rd; my pick was the longest odds of the three Targ CR 3 horses.)

5th mandatory, 9th GP: Top Targ CR 5 horse ran 7th at 53-1.

My 5th optional race, the 10th at Tampa: Targ CR 5 horse ran 8th at 42-1.

My 6th optional race, GP 10th, the Sunshine Missions Classic Stakes: Top Targ CR 5 #9 Dream Maestro had a valiant effort, but flattened out to finish 3rd - at 57-1! - while another cap horse was the winner. Tantalizing, but no cash.

Mandatory race 6, the 6th at Golden Gate: Top Targ CR 4 horse ran last at 13-1.

So, even though I had no points lately, I noted that the leaderboard showed 30th place at $139.00, so with $108.60 I am still very much in the hunt to get some prize money. Winning it all is looking like a longshot at this point - I'd probably need a 20-1 and a 10-1 winner in my last 3 races - not impossible though....

Mandatory race #7, 9th at Oaklawn: My 48-1 pick is no factor and finishes last.

8th and last mandatory, race 8 Santa Anita: My pick runs 5th at 6-1. (Short field of 7 so only one horse was greater than 10-1.)

Next: The Last Race

First Half of Saturday's Contest Day

Saturday's Google spreadsheet with my picks is here

I will be updating it while I write these posts.

I was able to get plenty of sleep Friday night, since I had jettisoned the logical handicapping.
Saturday morning I went down to the racebook around 9 AM and made all my picks for the day. You can change picks once made, but as it turned out I changed only one of them (more on this later).

I went with my top Targ CR choice for all races. If there was a tie, I picked the horse with the higher morning line odds.

My first optional was the 4th at Aqueduct at 10:55 AM PST.
I decided I needed to relax, and the best way for me to do that was to go to the gym and work out on the elliptical.  I had had no exercise in several days (I didn't set foot outside the hotel the entire time I was in Vegas), and I am always more relaxed after I exercise.

So, I ended up missing that first race, and also the first mandatory race, the 1st at Oaklawn. I arrived back at the racebook just as my 2nd optional was about to go off, the 5th at Gulfstream, 11:17am.

I was hurrying to make that one because I wanted to change my pick.
I didn't make it in time - but that turned out to be a good thing, as my original pick at 5-1 finished 2nd to the favorite, while the one I wanted to change to ran out. I collected $5.40.

When I checked the results of the two races I missed, I was amazed to find that my pick in the optional Aqu 4th had finished 2nd and paid $79 to place! Checking the result chart later, I learned he had gone off at 131-1, had been 2nd, dropped back to 3rd, then came again to beat the even money favorite for the place - very nice! (He was not threat to the winner, who was another 7 lengths in front.)

This horse was the top ARV Targ CR of 4 after the horse with 5 scratched. Because his place payoff was higher than the winner's win plus place payoffs, this was an ARV hit - nice to start with that ;-)
I collected $22 in contest points for this, because of the 10-1 odds cap for place horses.
My pick in the other race that I missed was no factor at 14-1.

So I now had $55.80. The leaderboard was up sporadically on the big screen, and they were posting it on the bulletin board on the wall, but I did not bother to look what place I was in until later.
(You can see the final, day 1 and day 2 leaderboards here.)

Also at this point I had 7 (seven!) 2nd place finishes in the contest - but no winners. I did not let this get to me, I was relaxed and having fun.

The 2nd mandatory and my 4th race of the day was the 5th at Aqueduct. Top ARV choice was #4 Thunder Chief, ML 4-1. I ws not thrilled with those odds, and with a rider switch to Eclipse award winner and Aqu leading jock Dominguez I expected low odds. To my surprise, he went off at 5-1, took the lead after 3/4 mile, and just held on to win by a nose!
WINNER!!!! My first winner of the contest! Another ARV Hit!

It was worth $17.80, and I now had $73.60.
I estimate I was in about 70th place at this point.
I was doing really well!

In the 3rd mandatory, Aqu race 6, my 23-1 pick trailed the field, and was being eased up when his rider fell off ;-) (I believe he was OK). Ah well.

In my 3rd optional, Fair Grounds race 5, my 7-1 pick was a great ARV match (Targ CR 6 of 7), but had a terrible trip, breaking slowly and racing wide, finishing 11th.

The 4th mandatory was the 8th at Gulfstream, the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint Stakes. I had an ARV tie of two horses with Targ CR 5. I picked the longer odds horse #8 at 9-1 - the other horse was the favorite, who went off at 6-5, so it was a no-brainer. I also had a good feeling about #8 Aegean - I had her when she won a stakes early in her 2 year old career.

In the race #8 came 4-wide around the turn, grabbed the lead at the eighth pole, and was all out to last - winning by a nose!
I was screaming!!!!

It was worth $29.60.
My total was now $108.60.
I went over to look at the leaderboard - I was in 53rd place!
The leader was still way up there at $201.20, so I had a ways to go for that.

You do collect prize money down to 30th place though.
I mistakenly thought it was only to 20th place at this point, so I noted that 20th place was at $137.20, definitely within striking distance.

In addition they pay daily prize money to the top 3 finishers on each day.
My $74.80 was pretty far back from the 2nd day leader's $135.20 though.

So at this point I was about halfway through Saturday's part of the contest.
I felt much better, was doing much better, and was excited about the possibilities ahead.

I did not feel rushed or disorganized at all, as I had started to feel Friday.
I had my picks down, and was following along to see if I wanted to change them.
Even though the races came one after the other at some points (check the times on the spreadsheet), I did not get rattled.

Next: Saturday's Second Half

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Friday Summary and Looking Ahead to Sat.

I finished Day 1 with $33.80, ranking 145th out of 301, in the top half.

At this point I let all the Day 1 tension go.
I simply stopped being concerned whether I was going to win or not, and decided to really have fun, whatever happened.
It was just fun to be there!

More Friday Races

Optional #4: 5 FG - Had a 12-1 horse, logical B (2 logical As low odds), intuitive yes - he was no factor and finished 10th.

Mandatory #2 - 8 Tam -  My 8-1 horse (2nd highest Targ CR, logical C) rallied to finish 2nd to a co-favorite. I collected $9.40 to place.

Mandatory #3: FG 6 - Had two logical As; picked #4 at 4-1 because of Targ CR of 3 (5-way tie for top). Ran well but couldn't catch the favorite, paying $5.20 to place.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Optional Race #3 - 3 OP

No, you didn't miss Optional Race 2:

I had planned to make my next optional to be the 4th at Gulfstream - I had a first time starter on top for both ARV (targ CR of 6 again) and logically A (though not an intuitive "yes").
Her morning line was 6-1 - but to my shock she opened at 3-5, eventually going off at 11-10.

Betting very short odds horses won't do for optional races, as I explained in my strategy post. The field had also scratched down from 10 to 7 entries, another no-no for optionals. So I reluctantly decided to scrap using the race, and got the teller to cancel my ticket, in spite of the very good feeling I had about the horse.
She won by 9 lengths, but I had no regrets over the $4.20 win - $3 place payoffs.

Mandatory Race #1 - 7 Aqu

I had planned to bet the favorite #10, a logical A horse with a very high Targ CR of 6 (out of 7) and a "yes" intuitively, but she scratched, so I wound up with #2 Talented Princess at 22-1, who had a Targ CR of 3 and was a B logically, as well as being designated as an Upgrade by Racing Flow for running against the bias and/or flow of her previous race.
I did not have a good feeling about the top Targ CR horse #6.

#2 was no factor and finished 5th; ditto #6 at 160-1 (!); the winner was #9 at 4-1, bet down from ML of 12-1 (albeit with the favorite scratching, which depletes all odds).

Optional Race #1 - 4 Tam

Here is my spreadsheet entry for this race:

Click here

(brings up a new window, which may make it easier to follow)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Details: Introduction and Overall Strategy

As promised, this post starts my detailed descriptions of my NHC XII experience, which I had no time to do (nor did I have net access) during the contest.
I am writing this a week after the NHC was over, based on my recollections about it.

NHC Photos

Click here for photos