This past weekend, I participated in my eleventh Racing 101 Fan Education Tent. It feels like just yesterday I was in the Pimlico Infield attending my first Preakness Race. Each time the team has visited a track, the tent is filled with fans of all ages, with different levels of experience. I love the questions that people ask me at these events.
These questions can vary from:
What do the jockeys feed the horses?
What is an exacta box?
What if I box all of the horses in a superfecta?
Does the jockey get to pick what color they are going to wear?
How much will my bet cost?
(The list goes on.)
The most common question I usually get is, “What is the best bet for my money?” To answer this question, I usually respond with a few inquiries of my own regarding their bankroll, risk tolerance and anything else that might help me instruct them on how to place an educated bet. My final response usually results in one of two angles. The first angle being an exacta partial wheel (ugh, what a confusing name for a bet) and the other being $2 to Win, $4 to Place and $6 to Show (I usually call this, the “2, 4, 6 bet” to help them remember).
I have found that these methods have had the most success with first time players. With the exacta partial wheel (Exacta meaning: picking both of the horses that come in first and second, where both have to happen in order to win), I instruct the guest to pick out the two horses they believe can win the race and another two horses they think can come in second. From this point in my lesson, an example of how I help them construct their ticket would read like this, “#1, #4 with #1,#4,#6,#10”. This means that horse #1 or #4 have to win and horse #1, #4, #6 or #10 have to come in second. The word “with” separates the horse that can come in first from the horse that can come in second. (Again, both have to happen, in order for you gain a winning ticket). In this scenario, the person betting will have six combinations to win. The results of the race can finish as follows: #1, #4 or #1, #6 or #1, #10 or #4, #1 or #4, #6 or #4, #10 – make sense?
The perception of success varies from player to player based on the financial gain. Some people want to pay for their child’s first year of college, while others are paying for their beverages. However, the most common trend that unites them all is the great feeling of cashing a ticket, no matter the winning value. The method of betting discussed above may not make you rich today or tomorrow, but I believe that over time, this great feeling of cashing a winning ticket and receiving the monetary reward, will happen more often than other betting strategies.
The question of, “What is the best bet for my money?”, seemed to come up a whole lot at the Pacific Classic at Del Mar this past weekend and inspired me to ask you, the reader, the same thing. So, what do you believe is the best bet for the money? Or maybe this, what is your favorite bet? Since choosing horses to place a bet is all based on an opinion and many opinions create the ever changing odds of the horses, everyone has their own angle that they choose to play. In the comment section below, please let me know what is your “go to” bet when you are at the track. There is no right or wrong answer, so don’t be shy.