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