Ups and downs on this day of days

It’s just past 9:00pm EST Sunday night as I begin typing this post.  And based on the agonizing emotional swings this day has brought, it feels like it should be Wednesday by this point.

The day began with my decision to play only one horse all day, which then led to me trying to win my way into the Horseplayers $500 NHC low ratio qualifier restricted to NW1 NHC seat.  I entered the $56 feeder comprised of Races 1-3 at Gulfstream and Tampa and yada yada yada I didn’t grab a spot because in the first race of the contest, the “one horse I was gonna play all day” ran 2nd at 14-1 after being held up by his jockey for just one second too long rounding the turn for home.  At least that’s my opinion and the opinion of some of you who read my post this morning touting Moviemaker who then messaged me and blamed the rider.  Anyway, here’s a screenshot of the finish of that race.  Sorry for the little blue button thingy…

That’s Julien Leparoux aboard my #2 finishing 2nd.

Now, those of you who read my tout of Moviemaker know that I promised that win or lose, I was done for the day.  I was going to shut the laptop and spend the day with the kids outside either celebrating my win or lamenting my loss.  Well, I was so enraged about what I perceived to be a bad ride and the missed opportunity on a 14-1 shot that I loved which ultimately led to me NOT winning a seat in the $500 NHC qualifier that I decided to just buy my damn way into the damn contest.  I was pissed off anyway.  Why ruin a perfect day by not giving myself a chance to lose another $500?

So now the question was, what do I do with the kids?  They needed to get out of the house.  My oldest, Lyla, had watched the Gulfstream opener with me and when Moviemaker lost she asked “Daddy, why do your horses lose so much.”  I tried to explain to her, at age 7, that Moviemaker was 14-1 and ALMOST won, and that Daddy had made a really good pick that just didn’t pan out.  She then asked if the horse you bet on has to win in order to win money, and I responded that there are ways you can bet that pay you even if your horse doesn’t win.  Which of course led to her asking if I had made such a bet on this race which led to me saying “no” which led to her asking “why not?” which led to me asking her to leave the room.

Anyway, I decided to take Lyla and her sister to Lucky Monkey, which is this indoor play place with slides and a ball pit and all that junk.  They love it there.  The place also has wifi.  You probably see where I’m going with this.  Here’s a visual…

The above view was my view for almost the entire Horseplayers NHC qualifier.  I say almost.  We’ll get to that later.

I’ll skip the race-by-race breakdown of my performance in the contest, which required a 1st or 2nd place finish to qualify for the NHC.  I was in the lead with two races to go.  Then I lost the lead but remained in 2nd with one race to go.  And to make matters worse, the staff at Lucky Monkey approached me with about two minutes to post for the last race of the contest and said “Sir, we close at 6:00.  We’re gonna have to ask you to leave.”  So I looked at the front door, noticed it was glass, and figured my laptop would probably still pick up the wifi from the just outside the door.  So I rounded up the kids and proceeded to watch my NHC life flash before my eyes from sidewalk outside.

After the final race started, I checked the leaderboard to see who everyone picked, and I was pretty much focused on #6 R B Eye in the final contest race.  Based on my quick view of the people behind me, it seemed like he was the only one who could realistically keep me out of the Top 2.

But I was so, so wrong. As they turned for home, I saw the 6 was dead.  My 10 was dead.  And it seemed clear the 1 and the 2 were going to duke it out.  And then I noticed the odds on the 1. He was 18-1.  And I instantly knew that if he won, I HAD to be screwed.  I mean I didn’t actually see that anyone below me had him as their play.  But I hadn’t looked all the way down the leaderboard so I wasn’t sure.  I figured if he won I was dead.  And in the final stride, this happened…

I could tell right away that the 2 had won.  And I was pretty sure no one close to me had used him.  A careful review of the leaderboard and the picks of every competitor confirmed that the 1 would have beaten me.  But the 2 beat him.  And I was in the NHC after a quick call to my good friend Steve Decaspers to confirm that I wasn’t dreaming.

The horse that won me a seat in the NHC wasn’t a horse I picked.  He was the horse who beat the horse who would have screwed me.  And his name is Forestation.  And he is my new favorite horse.

So, I’m headed to Vegas.  I mean, I was headed there anyway to try to win a seat in the Last Chance Qualifier.  Wanna take a guess when I bought my plane ticket? Saturday night.  No joke.

Vegas baby.  Vegas.



  1. Steve on January 14, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    This is awesome. Adding to the miracle was the fact that nobody behind you picked the 2. By sheer coincidence, in another contest with similar buyin and # of player, I went into the last race in 2nd as well. There were 5 players who picked the 2 that passed me (and 2 who took the 1), pushing me down to 9th and out of the money. Welcome to the strange and illogical world of tournament horseplay.

    Now let’s both win 2nd entries st the last chance!

  2. Zeke on January 14, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    I am sorry to see that moviemaker did not quite make the win .. tough beat we’ve all had ’em and will continue to have ’em. I bet the race and just happened to hit a fair daily double with the winner, but the horse I liked and the primary bet for me was the front runner – Meetmeonline – I placed a small wager on her in her prior race simply because she was a huge problem for the gate crew to load – I like horses who are late to load and are a handful – the nervous energy often converts to a “hot” running style – now you have to hope the don’t run rank, but that’s part of it. Anyway, going forward I’ll keep an eye for both Moviemaker and Meetmeonline – Thanks and enjoy Vegas.

  3. Rich on January 14, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    I was in 6th in the Tampa Bay qualifier and the only person in the top with #2 Forestation. The guy above and below me had the #1 FTS. Fortunately, my W/P paid $1 more than the guys in 7th’s place money, securing my top 2 finish and a free roll into Saturday’s $1,000 contest.

    Congrats dude. That exchange with Lyla is one of the best things I’ve ever read….

    • Justin Dew on January 14, 2019 at 2:36 pm

      Is the Tampa website showing the rules or is the site still not working? I can’t find it.

    • Justin Dew on January 14, 2019 at 2:54 pm

      Found it.

  4. Pete on January 14, 2019 at 7:26 pm


    Here is more to your story…i was in 5th and had the two picked as top pick and actually had and hit DD with live wager. Had to pick my daughter up at play practice at 6:00 so before i left i figured that 5-1 would not get it done…so i moved to 10 who i think just finished and of course was drawing dead. I almost moved to the one horse because in a bad race like that i do like filly vs. boys. I had the winner locked in until about 10 minutes to post and of course changed it You seem like a good guy and good write up and pick so congrats on the win. My 7 year also asked me the same question yesterday.

    • Justin Dew on January 15, 2019 at 8:13 pm

      Well, I guess I’m glad it didn’t work out for you.

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