Arlington International Racecourse, Arlington Heights, IL, Sept. 28

I didn't arrive at Arlington yesterday with a 4 day in mind. In fact, I arrived with the intention of doing nothing more than enjoying a few beers until my owner partnership's mare went in the 7th. But of course, since I got there before the 1st, and because there was racing going on right in front of my nose, bets were there to be made. I found a willing co-conspirator in friend Cal.

After the third race, we observed that it was an odd day, wherein none of the logical contenders (i.e., the horses we'd bet on) were coming in. I did, however, mention to Cal that race 2 and race 3 had been won by 4's, and that a bonafide 4 day might be in the offing. When the 4 in the 4th finished 2nd, and we'd finished our 4th beer, we decided it was indeed a 4 day, and decided to plunge. A most groovy $10.80 3.60 2.40 payoff, as number 4 Leaveeminthedark won the 5th.

Naturally, the 4 choked in the 6th after I'd shared this keen insight with partner Pat O., recently arrived for our. And then it was time for the 7th, our race. Now, one can't bet against one's own horse, but it is okay to include other horses in the exotics with yours (I think), so I felt it wise to include the 4 in a 5-8-4 exacta box (ours/the fave/the 4). And of course since by McChump rules money you bet on your own horse doesn't count if you should happen to lose it, this bet was a good deal bigger than my usual exacta box. You guessed it - finish order 4-8-5, and a mighty nice $54.60 exacta. (The good thing is, the same rules state that money you *win* on your own horse does count.)

The 4 in the 8th choked, the 4 in the 9th didn't count 'cause that was a simulcast, and the 4 in the 10th placed and paid very nicely in the place and show spots, thank you very much.

Final 4 tally for the day:

1 - 4 not ITM
2 - 4 Buffum                  15.80  5.40  3.60
3 - 4 Twodropsatfive          10.80  3.20  2.80
4 - 4 Westering                      3.60  2.80
5 - 4 Leaveeminthedark        10.80  3.60  2.40
6 - 4 not ITM
7 - 4 Step Lively             16.20  6.20  3.40
8 - 4 not ITM
9 - simulcast doesn't count
10- 4 Joe Popeye                    12.20 10.20

$2 wins = $53.60 for $18 bet
$2 pl   = $34.20 for $18 bet
$2 sh   = $25.20 for $18 bet
$2 WPS  = $113.00 for $54 bet

Now, I'll admit that the chances of running into a 4 day at AP with the short fields are probably better than running into one at Turfway. However, I'm tellin' ya, this is possibly the most powerful handicapping angle I've run across to date, and one needs to keep it in mind as soon as he/she arrives at the track. I could just kick myself for not recognizing the trend earlier in the card.

So next time you're out there, don't ask about the speed. Instead, find out if the 4's are holding. And if it's a 4 day, there's nothing you can do but go with the flow of the awesome power of the 4.

Happy handicapping!