Turf vs Tech Handicapping Challenge for March 15


Photo by Penelope P. Miller/America's Best Racing

The Turf vs Tech Handicapping Challenge is a public tournament featuring some of the best handicappers from the world of Thoroughbred racing taking on some of the best and brightest from the tech world. Many of racing's new fans are building their own companies or working on the next great mobile app and we thought it would be great to see what happens when they take on established handicappers in some of America's best races. 

Stay tuned as this group of tech all-stars take on some of America's most recognizable handicappers in a winner-takes-all battle that pits the new school against the old school.

Lee Davis

Lee Davis is a current cast member of Esquire Network's “Horseplayers”. He is also a former currency trader and the backbone of Team Rotondo!

Nicolle Neulist

Nicolle Neulist is a 31-year-old hacker from Chicago, Ill. Neulist is an associate security consultant at Accuvant, performing network penetration testing and vulnerability assessments. Aside from breaking computers, speaking at conferences, and volunteering for Security B-Sides Chicago, Neulist spends the rest of their time singing second soprano in a couple of choirs, getting excited about Curlin's progeny, and going to the races at Hawthorne Race Course and Arlington Park. Neulist rants about horse racing 140 characters at a time on Twitter at @rogueclown, or in longer form at http://blinkersoffblog.wordpress.com


This week our two handicappers will have a $100 bankroll with which to use on the following races on Saturday, March 15: the $200,000 Honey Fox Stakes for older fillies and mares, Gulfstream Park, Race 10; the $600,000 Rebel Stakes for 3-year-olds, Oaklawn Park, Race 10; the $350,000 Santa Margarita Stakes for older fillies and mares, Santa Anita Park, Race 7.


Honey Fox Stakes

$10 win on #8 (Kitten's Point).

$5 exacta box 3,5,8 ($30)

Total = $40

Rebel Stakes

$20 win on #8 (Kobe's Back)

$5 exacta box 4,7,8 ($30)

Total = $50 

Santa Margarita Stakes

$10 win on #4 (Miss Serendipity)

Total = $10


Honey Fox Stakes   

More than likely, Parranda (5) is going to get the early lead in this race; she’s the horse in the field who has combines early speed with having enough class to take it over this field.  Triple Arch (3) has shown affinity for it as well, and may be close early, but she’s more than likely outmatched here.  Tapicat (7), Run a Risk (4), and Triple Charm (2) are more than likely to get a stalking position, and Kitten’s Point (8) stands to bring up the rear. Effie Trinket (1) and Centre Court (6) are both question marks of the highest order: not only is their pace a question because they have had success in multiple different race shapes, but they are both coming off long layoffs. Parranda has shown enough speed to get out near the early lead with this bunch, and probably has enough left after that relatively slow win last out to stay on strongly here. Centre Court has run the fastest races against the classiest company, but has been off for seven months. However, she won the Honey Fox last year off a five-month layoff for the same connections. This, combined with the worktab, means she has a good shot to come back fit and ready. Another horse coming off a layoff who is worth a look is Run a Risk. She came off a five-month layoff last year in refreshed form. She is probably outclassed for the win here, but she’s a good price horse for lower rungs of exotics.


$5 win and $10 place on 6 ($15.00)

$1 exacta: 5,6/5,6,7 ($4.00) (4 combinations)

$0.50 trifecta: 5,6/5,6/1,4,7,8 ($4.00) (8 combinations)

Total = $23

Rebel Stakes

This is a tough race. You can make an argument for any of these horses except for Jet Cat (1) that they belong here. Tapiture (3) will more than likely charge to the front early, with Street Strategy (7), Hoppertunity (5) and Strong Mandate (4) stalking close. Jet Cat probably will want to try and challenge for the lead as well but probably is not fast enough to do so in this field. Out of these front-running horses, Strong Mandate is particularly threatening because his dazzling Hopeful Stakes win came on a muddy track, he’s bred for the slop, and there’s a 60% chance of rain on race day. Street Strategy also looks like a good value pick given his strong performances in his maiden races, though he does make a big jump in class here. Kobe's Back (8) and Sheltowee’s Boy (6) both will try to close; Kobe’s Back is the stronger of the two if he can handle the distance, though Sheltowee’s Boy has already raced twice with some success (a maiden win and an allowance second) on sloppy track, so that’s a point in his favour. Ride On Curlin (2) is a wildcard pace-wise. Both of his wins have come from near the early speed. However, there are enough horses who want to be near the front that it might behoove Team Ride On Curlin to try the same kind of ride he did in the Champagne Stakes: one big, closing run. He has never run in a track rated worse than good, though his breeding suggests he can handle the slop with aplomb.


$10 win and $10 place on 2 ($20)

$1 exacta box 2,3,4 ($6) (6 combinations)

$0.50 trifecta 2,4/2,4/3,5,6,7,8 ($5) (10 combinations)

Total = $31

Santa Margarita Stakes

No horse in this field desperately needs the early speed. Iotapa (7) probably will get it by default, since she is the only one in the field who has shown much affinity for it.  Several horses in this field prefer to stalk: Fiftyshadesofhay (1), Macha (3), and Yahilwa (8). Iotapa and Fiftyshadesofhay are the two fastest horses in the field. If they run the races they are capable of, it probably will come down to the two of them. Macha is working relatively well, but the jump in class is probably a bit much. Yahilwa also probably is in a bit over her head. Though she has shown an aptitude for closing, Let Faith Arise (5) probably will stalk instead, since she has had good results that way and the pace scenario isn’t likely to set up all that well for a closer.  The question is whether she is up for the distance. Stanwyck (6) probably will start out a few more lengths back given the expected pace scenario; she is a decent shot to get her head up and hit the board but probably won’t catch the lead. Spellbound (2) will most likely start out farther back; she tends to run a closing style, which may hurt her since there probably won’t be a speed duel.


$10 to win and $20 to place on 7 ($30)

$2 trifecta box: 1,7/1,7/5,6 ($8) (4 combinations)

$0.50 superfecta box: 1,7/1,7/5,6/2,3,5,6,8 ($8) (16 combinations)

Total = $46 

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