December 28, 2001

Annual Report
Amazing, but true. It's the end of the year. It's a time to look back, savor the scores, see where we went wrong and gather our forces for a look ahead to another strong campaign.

It was a weird time, a time for tests at home, abroad, around the corner, all over.

But life is bigger than all of it, and agents of terror, whether from within, on the outside or lurking wherever, they ultimately will not succeed. We at Cynthia Publishing stand strong with victims of terror everywhere, and move forward. The strength and resolve we find from within will sustain us through all the challenges.

Looking back, new, research-driven track-behavior elements of our PARS PLUS 2001 book were well-received. And they are going to be even better. Cutting the fat from the process of crafting the pars will also result in a more real, more accurate set of charts that will make more sense to the true horseplayer, not just some computer mope who manipulates a database, hits Enter and comes up with numbers saying that the Northern California circuit is classier than Keeneland. We won't make that fathead mistake again!

In that same regard of making more sense to the real horseplayer, we are proud as ever of our affiliation with Mark Cramer, who continues to amaze and delight on a steady basis -- each month with a tasty issue of the C&X Report newslettter, and right now with the coming publication of his latest booklet Hidden Probabilities: Hard-Core Research for X-Rated Horseplayers. If you feel lost in the maze of so much high-tech mumbo-jumbo, the kind that has overtaken and scrambled the modern game, you'll find a welcome, understandable voice of gentle reason in Cramer. As any true contrarian will tell you, books and printed materials still rule! We'll make sure of it!

Yet the glamour of computer handicapping also has its place, and in recent years, our efforts to stay atop that heap have been thwarted internally by personnel shortcomings. But we've chopped down the trees and are coming out of the woods now. We have appreciated the loyalty of those customers who remained with us, and now reach out to the disenfranchised who may have been put off by software that may have been too clunky for their tastes. We are programming left and right to unveil software friendly to all platforms. Even better, we now have a program designer with the technical savvy and, most important, experience to incorporate user suggestsion virtually on the fly.

And there'll be another 52 issues of the great mix of handicapping advice, commentary and entertainment from On-Line at the Short Line.

In sum, we expect 2002 to be a mutually exciting one for you and for us at Cynthia Publishing Company. Enhancing our strong, existing catalog of great products will be the release of some long-awaited software updates and the revision of a few of our most popular book titles. And there's probably room in there for a couple of surprises, too. We thank you for your support, and hope you'll continue along with us in the coming 12 months. And unlike many of the mopes, we will wish you blessings for a prosperous new year!

And Now, Back to Your Regularly Scheduled Handicapping...
Saturday's big action doubtless is in South Florida at Calder Race Course, where the four of the final five events on a hellacious 12-race card are wrapped up in a tidy package known as the "Grand Slam II All-Stakes Pick 4." Bundled or separate, the quartets make for a terrific year-end present from the CDSN representatives in Miami. Of course, the oft-soggy local weather might dampen proceedings, but we'll take our chances.

At first blush, these stakes mega-exotics (Breeders' Cup Ultra Pick 6, anyone?) seem gettable with a minimum of spreading, the live longshots leaping off the page, the false faves falling to the bottom, a deterministic handful of runners in each leg, cost of the ticket kept low enough to satisfy even the stingiest punter. At least that's the theory!

Then the reality of the matter sets in, and even if at-a-glance pronouncements hold sway, the frontrunner you singled in the opener still must do likewise at the top of the lane -- with the Indians on their way on all sides. That's why we love racing!

What poetry, sure. But even if Wm. Butler Yeats were on the scene, it wouldn't matter much if he communed with mystics and got only one or two winners.

Enough. It begins with Race 8, the Grade II La Prevoyante Handicap for distaffers at a mile and a half on the turf. Queue enters into this one with an impressive line of final-time figures, many of which are the result of a late-running style coming through bulky fields at the end of quick-paced races. It might be a different story today, though, and trainer Vinnie Blengs isn't a winning proposition off the bench.

Lady Dora, 8-1, also likes to close, and has gotten a lot better in the latter stages of 2001. She seems less a captive of needing a quick pace than Queue, and the price will be better, too. Not without a shot.

Step With Style, also 8-1, is even better in that regard, closing even when the pace is dawdling. She has no experience going this long, but the pedigree doesn't look like a drawback there.

Bottom line here is to try to beat the fave, and we'll do it with Lady Dora and Step With Style.

In the ninth, the Grade III Chaposa Springs for fillies and mares at seven furlongs, favored Gold Mover makes sense, equipped with those two winning traits of talent and versatility. Wherever she is on the track, she'll put in a solid attempt to win.

Sugar N Spice's whereabouts in the early stages will be far from the action, and while she doesn't possess blinding final-time ability, she is a consistent late-runner, and the pace this time might play better to her style. Look for her at the end.

And the surprise package has to be Coolbythepool, a devoted closer who now shortens-up to the seven-furlong distance. Trainer Marty Wolfson is good at that manoeuvre, and no other jockey in the Calder colony is as adept as "the Guid" when it comes to booting home the deepest come-from-behinders.

Bottom line: Respect Gold Mover, but save with Sugar N Spice and Coolbythepool.

The 10th is for the handicap set, the Grade III Fred W. Hooper Handicap at a mile and an eighth on the main track. Eight are entered, and three deserve extra merit: the favored Best of the Rest and the outsiders Groomstick Stock's and Tiltam.

Best of the Rest might not care where the various poles are around the racetrack (sheesh!) but he damn well knows where he can find the wire, having won more than half his starts and a perfect in-the-money mark in dirt races, Like Gold Mover, this favorite has talent and versatility in spades, and it could be all over just by acknowledging that.

Groomstick Stock's has no option but to go to the front and ride the wave till it breaks, and it might not break until they hit the wire. Trainer Brettler is a longshot magician, and this turf-to-main move is one of his best tricks. Hang on, baby!

Representing the other side of the argument is Tiltam, a moderately committed closer who ships in from the exotic locale of Henderson, Ky. (and Anderson, Ind., before that!). A possible spoiler if 'Best and the 'Groom let things get too personal down the stretch.

Bottom line: Best of the Rest is best of the best, but Groomstick Stock's and Tiltam will be ready to keep him honest.

Wrapping things up is the 11th, the W.L. McKnight Handicap at a mile and a half on turf for the boys. And we'll go out with a bang by knocking the fave and recommending some prices.

Honor Glide, the track oddsmaker's pick, hasn't been as fearsome this year, in which it's seemed his best comes up by default of a faster pace than he'll get here.

Buff's best chance will come from having Patient Pat sit on top of the pace while nursing the lead for as long a possible. Twelve furlongs is probably beyond his scope, but if he steals away to a lonely lead, he's shown he can finish the deal.

Profit Option is hardly consistent, but he shows up every now and again, and this could be one of those times, with the Guid on his back.

Finally, Mr. Pleasentfar has been consistent since arriving in America, and his hole card is his undeniable late-kick.

Bottom line: Beat Honor Glide with a three-way shootout involving Buff, Profit Option and Mr. Pleasentfar.

Enjoy your handicapping!

New Cramer Booklet
Hey, kinkmeisters! Some good news for you. Mark Cramer's newest booklet, authoritatively titled Hidden Probabilities: Hard-Core Research for X-Rated Horseplayers, is in the final stages of editing and is headed for a publication date of Jan. 2 by Cynthia Publishing.

In inimitable Cramer style and packed with unique research, Galileo-inspired thinking and writing (with high-level concepts made easy to grasp, thanks to Cramer's renowned facility with the English language), this new booklet is an ambitious blend of the nearly mechanical, the almost-magical and the fully inspired. That's because our friend Cramer takes 10 time-honored and simple handicapping concepts and pulses them through the kink-o-master machine, coming up with a stunning creation of staggering beauty and elegance that's good enough to eat.

Whoa. That's just plain silly. But you get the idea. Hidden Probabilities: Hard-Core Research for X-Rated Horseplayers is going to be another valuable addition to the handicapping literature, courtesy of someone who knows how to do just that.

For more details or for ordering information, click on this link (address: http://www.cynthiapublishing.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv) and select one of the very special offers available before Jan. 2, including a super-duper deal for current C&X Report subscribers or those who want to holiday-bundle the new booklet along with a new subscription. Definitely check it out.

New Contest Is for the Long Run
If you prefer a route of ground to a one-turn sprint, the current edition of the Big-Prize Handicapping Contest is for you! For more details, please click here.

We appreciate your comments about this newsletter. Please send them to our staff. Thank you!