Archive for October, 2010

Breeders’ Cup Quality

Belmont Park has played host to some of the major players in this year’s Breeders’ Cup. Quality Road, who won the Metropolitan Handicap here, will be placed in the BC Classic. Haynesfield, another Belmont Stakes winner with a victory in the Jockeys Club Gold Cup, will also be headed to Churchill Downs for the Classic.

Quality Road and Haynesfield look to be two of the favorites in this year’s BC Classic. Their main opponents will likely be Blame, Lookin At Lucky, and Zenyatta. There were 16 pre-entries reported for the Classic, only 14 of which will be entering the starting gate on November 6th. Quality Road was entered in last year’s Classic, but had to be scratched at the starting gate. Pletcher is looking to redeem his horse’s reputation this time with a win. QR’s gate problems, according to Pletcher, have been solved thanks to the practice and experience of the last year.

Some of Pletcher’s other entries to the Breeders’ Cup include Stay Thirsty, in the Juvenile; Pluck, in the Juvenile Turf; and Life At Ten, in the Ladies Classic.

Haynesfield is trained by Steve Asmussen.

Strategies for the Single Race Exotic Bets

Exotic bets are a great way to supplement your straight Win, Place, and Show (WPS) bets. However, if you are limiting your bets to only the exotics, you face a tougher challenge than you do with WPS wagers. You will not win as often with exotics, therefore increasing your risk of ruin. If you are a casual bettor with a limited bankroll, the exotic bets should not be your only wagers as you will more than likely go broke. The casual bettor should deal mostly with WPS bets, using the exotics sparingly when they find an advantage that they might capitalize on.

For simplicity, many people use boxes when making exacta, trifecta, or superfecta wagers. By boxing your bet, you are essentially giving each horse that you select equal weight at each finishing position. If you suspect that each horse you pick is equal in talent, and they are relatively equal on the tote board, this is a sound strategy. An example of this would be a three horse exacta box, with each horse going off at 4-1 odds. A three horse exacta box would be the correct play here, but since this is so rarely the case, especially with the more difficult exotics, a different approach is necessary. You do not want to weight each horse the same if they are not strikingly similar in ability and pari-mutuel odds. This will only make you root for the most unlikely combination’s and end up costing you more along the way.

The easiest way to correct your exotic wagering is to select one horse that you think is far superior to the field. By placing this horse in a position as the lone number one horse, you are reducing a trifecta ticket’s cost dramatically. For example, assume there are four horses you want to put in a trifecta. Instead of a $1 trifecta box that will cost $24, you have a $9 ticket that looks like this: 1/2, 3, 4/2, 3, 4.

Suppose you can’t narrow down the field to one winner. If you want to use the same four horses, you can reduce the cost of your ticket by weighting the bets differently. If the two horses you like to win have different payoff odds, weight them so that the favorite costs more than the long shot. This might mean a $2 trifecta for the favorite to win and a $1 trifecta for the long shot on top. You would have two tickets that look something like this

• $2 Trifecta: 1/2, 3, 4/2, 3, 4 = $18
• $1 Trifecta: 1, 2/1, 3, 4/3, 4 = $12

You are paying $30 for the trifecta, but you have given yourself two tickets that payout more if won. Additionally, if your favorite (the #1 horse) wins, you have a good possibility of having two winning tickets. For a $6 increase, you can greatly increase your payout and your odds of winning.

How to Not Go Broke at the Track?

The quickest way to ruin at the racetrack is to focus solely on the big payout bets. This includes the Pick Six and the superfecta. Your odds of winning these bets are extremely minimal, and thus should not account for a large part of your bankroll. The most efficient way to win at the track is to focus on the smaller, easier to win payouts, while using the large payout bets to supplement your winnings.

If you must bet the big wagers, it is done most effectively by selecting one or two horses that you think are far superior to the field. You can revolve your entire betting strategy around such a horse. However, you must have a large enough bankroll to justify such a strategy. Singling out a few key horses can help you to reduce the cost of a ticket. For example, if there are three races in a Pick Six that have two great horses in each, while the remaining three races each have four that could possibly win, your ticket would look like this: 1, 2/1, 2/1, 2/1, 2, 3, 4/1, 2, 3, 4/1, 2, 3, 4. Such a ticket would cost $512 (2 x 2 x 2 x 4 x 4 x 4), a very large price tag for the casual bettor. Suppose you can narrow down two of the first three races from two horses to one horse. Now your cost is only $128 (1 x 1 x 2 x 4 x 4 x 4), still a rather large investment. The casual bettor should stay away from the Pick Six unless they account for them as whimsical expenditures. In other words, you should not count on these large payout bets to win.

One strategy for winning these bets on a limited bankroll is to join a wagering pool for the Pick Six. This is best done with a group of friends at the track. The idea here is that everyone contributes a little bit to a single ticket, thus making the ticket more efficient without an individual having to make a large purchase. If a group of ten friends each contributes $10, suddenly, rather than ten combination’s, you have 100 combination’s. While this is still a difficult bet to win, your chances of winning have increased tenfold. You can spend the extra money you would have used on a large ticket to focus on more practical bets such as a straight win bet or an exacta.

The superfecta also requires a large bankroll in order to be treated correctly. A betting pool will work here as well, but if you must make this bet by yourself, there are some guidelines to follow. A four horse box costs $48 (4 x 3 x 2 x 1 x $2) for a $2 ticket, but even if you can select the top four horses in a field, the odds of those horses all finishing in the top four are extremely slim. This means that a key horse needs to be selected in order to make this bet more affordable. By choosing the best two horses in the field and placing them at the top you are now spending only $8 on the same four horse field. By reducing the cost of a ticket with key horses, you can increase your ticket’s efficiency by adding another horse to the ticket if you see that it has an outside chance of finishing fourth.