This year we are having a unique challenge between Pleasanton Racing's publicist/handicapper Dennis Miller and this year's Oak Tree at Pleasanton intern Randy Olson.
It is a contest that will ultimately benefit local charities.
Dennis and Randy have different philosophies on handicapping
/betting, so in interest of fairness, each started with a $1,000 bankroll with each required to wager on a minimum of three races per day.
To make things even more interesting, Dennis and Randy were told just before opening day by Alameda County Fair CEO Jerome Hoban they would be playing with real money with the benefactors being local charities.
At the end of the Oak Tree at Pleasanton meet, the money left in their accounts will be donated to a local charity of their choice.
Dennis has covered/handicapped the races at the Alameda County Fair for 25 years now. Formerly the Sports Editor of the Tri-Valley Herald, he has been the year round Publicist for Pleasanton Racing for the last five years. He has written about races around the country, including the Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup races.
Randy is a recent graduate of the much heralded Race Track Industry Program at the University of Arizona. This is Randy's first year working at the Oak Tree at Pleasanton meet, but growing up in Humboldt County, Randy cut his wagering teeth on the summer fair circuit. Randy has spent time working for the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC), taking him to assignments at Santa Anita and Del Mar.
Dennis Miler's picks for Thursday, July 2:
In the 4th race I really like Royal Alexei, despite the fact he is breaking from the outside post in a 5.5 furlong sprint. He has a ton of speed and has some fast works over the track. He has been off since April, but has fired fresh in the past. Let's go with $10 to win and $20 to place here.
In the 5th we are going big with Laria out of the Steve Sherman barn. This is the second start for the Sherman barn since getting the horse from Southern California. She was the chalk in his last start and led at the top of the lane before finishing third. This start should be much tighter as she stretches out after a sprint for her return, a good sign. Let's go $50 win and $100 to place here.
Finally in the 6th race, we will put $10 win/$20 place on Itsherprerogative! Two good starts in a row for the Jed Josephson barn and his figures to the third time is a charm race.
Sunday results: (minus $5); Thursday's bankroll: $661.80; Thursday wagers: $210
Randy's Thursday picks:
To kick the day off I'm going to play two picks 4's where I single #4 Cowboy Way in the 2nd race. Feel like he is a standout in the race, and if I can get that one home I feel like I have a great shot at cashing!
Next, in race 5 I will go with $10 to win on #3 Laria. Goes 2nd time in the Sherman barn after coming up from southern California.
Also in race 5 I will play a late pick 4. This pick 4 will have a little more coverage as I will not single any horses. Instead, I will be hoping for the longer prices of the horses I have in each leg.
Race 5 0.50c Pick 4 ($36): R5: 3,5; R6: 1,4,6; R7: 2,3,5; R8: 1,2,4,7.
Last, in race 7 I will go with $10 to win on #5 Grey Girl Gone. Looking for her to build off that nice win first time in the Howey Quinn barn.
Sunday's results: (minus $8); Thursday bankroll: $582.50; Thursday's wagers: $94.50.