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The Laurel Handicap Updated July 12, 2024

By Stuart “The Happy Handicapper” Tucker


2024 Part 1 -- July 5, 2024

The 2024 Laurel Handicap: The Preliminary Line from the Happy Handicapper

By Stuart K. Tucker

New Bern, NC - Welcome back to this year’s Laurel Handicap—the Run for the Woods. Congratulations to last year’s winner, Terrafarmers. They look to be a top team for years to come. I have their preliminary odds at 23-1. The Harry B’s (18-1) and Nest of Spies (21-1) continue to be among the top contenders, despite a disappointing year. Of note, The Siegelmen (20-1) have moved up to the second spot in the power rankings. A victory this year could put them over the top. Also, climbing quickly up the charts is Timeless (26-1)—can they call their shots this year?

Last year’s odds weren’t very accurate, but then again, only one entrant submitted a better entry for the Pick Ten bracket busting. Yet again, I come in second to James Pei. I did manage to pick 7Springs Summer Ski Team for exactly 7th place, but this year I expect more out of them! With a bit of consistency, perhaps they can outshine the 38-1 odds I give them. The Deadline Crew (52-1) came very close last year, scoring a third, so I’m expecting to give them a higher posting in my Pick Ten. Rob Doesn’t Know (35-1) is moving up the power rankings; you might give them strong consideration. Pardon My French (49-1) also shows signs of making a strong challenge. Whose Turn Is It? (77-1) might find it's their turn soon enough. I can’t stop the chaos - Chaos Magiants (87-1) that is. I get the feeling that Ken and the Barbies (35-1) will be tossing out the pink this year.

We are less than a month away from the Run for the Woods. Don’t procrastinate. Get your team together ASAP.



2024 Part 2 -- July 12, 2024

The 2024 Laurel Handicap: Post Time

By Stuart K. Tucker

New Bern, NC, - Take note, my gaming friends, The Harry B’s (19-1) have been displaced from the position of this year’s favorite. The totally stacked team this year is Boys of Beachcon (18-1), with Reiff having switched his gender preference this year. This team may be very hard to beat, even if it has a weak fourth baton. Of course, insiders know that this entire team will be hunted by anti-teamsters of all stripes (including your humble happy handicapper, who simply chuckles when people avoid Win, Place & Show as their team event). So, I will again take a pass, and find better bets.

We have 62 teams this year from which Bracket Busters must choose the ten they expect to finish in the top ten in the Team Tournament. As always, history has proven that you can’t always rely upon the favorites to correctly call their shots and win the right event for their team. Four of this year’s top ten in the odds did indeed make the top ten last year, but I’d advise against betting repeats too often. Mix it up a bit, as good players tend to bounce back after bad years. Last year’s champion Terrafarmers (32-1) has swapped in a Marti(a)n, very appropriate to their name. Coat Racks and Hats (25-1) brings the Hennings back together. Both of these are good bets. Perennial contenders Nest of Spies (24-1) and Band of Fools (31-1) both make my pick ten, but I don’t expect them to win.

Executive Order 6.6 (62-1) is a merger of two teams—I can’t decide if they are tactical frogs or next-gen princesses, but I say “no” to the order. The Siegelmen (21-1) disappointed me last year, so of course I’ll drop them (that is a hint for everybody else to pick them up and laugh all the way to the bank). Los Lobos Locos (51-1) are hungry for victory and so am I. Summer skiing doesn’t cut it for me, so the 7Springs Summer Ski Team (47-1) will go downhill without me. Leave out Canucks at your own peril. I’ll go with the Dice Loving Canucks: Veterans (72-1). As for the Greenville Mafia, I almost went with one of their top teams, but decided instead to make room for Mantis Shrimp (49-1). Apparently, what Rob Doesn’t Know (48-1) is that he’s off the team, so maybe we shall steer away from them. In fact, why not follow Rob over to the excellently-named Knizialogists (38-1)—they are my pick for No. 1 pick this year.

Picking the right long-shot has proven to be crucial to winning those Bracket Busting tie breakers, so look deep on the list and find a team with an edge. But don’t go too long. Remember that the first rule of Fight Club (2000-1) is to not talk about it. I’m going with Whose Turn Is It? (81-1) and Chaos Magnets (101-1).

The Handicapper’s Pick Ten:

  1. Knizialogists
  2. Coat Racks and Hats
  3. Los Lobos Locos
  4. Dice Loving Canucks: Veterans
  5. Terrafarmers
  6. Mantis Shrimp
  7. Nest of Spies
  8. Band of Fools
  9. Whose Turn Is It?
  10. Chaos Magnets

Bust my bracket and pick yor winners for the bragging rights.