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Blog - GAMBLING

Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire

Anybody who has ever wandered through the doors of a racetrack has undoubtedly dreamed of walking out a few hours later with gobs of cash lining their pockets. That’s part of the allure of spending a day at the racetrack, the possibility of hitting the big score or getting on a roll where you just can’t seem to lose. This blog - featuring data courtesy of Equibase - will highlight the biggest scores of the past week in racing.

Most gamblers who are more than casual horseplayers know that the bet in racing that is most likely to make a millionaire is the Pick 6. The wager requires a bettor to correctly select the winners of six races in a row, but for the “average Joe” with a modest amount of money with which to wager (known as a bankroll) this bet is probably out of his or her league.

For one thing, the Pick 6 minimum is almost always $2. Most tracks offer 50-cent Pick 5s, Pick 4s, and/or Pick 3s, but the Pick 6 is almost always a $2 minimum bet and that limits the number of options for a horseplayer. For example, if you want to select two horses in each of the six races - your top choice and second choice or maybe your top pick and a longshot – the ticket would run you $128 ($2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = $128). Say there is one race that you really don’t have a good feel for and you want to expand your coverage in that difficult race to three or four horses, you’d be looking at $192 and $256, respectively. You can see how a smaller bettor with $50 or $100 in his or her pocket is not a candidate for the Pick 6.

But the allure of the Pick 6 is the possibility of a huge return on investment. Take last Sunday (Feb. 9) as a prime example. The $2 Pick 6 at Santa Anita Park  - comprised of Races 4 through 9 – returned $119,476.00. OK, so it’s not the million-dollar payout I started off talking about, but certainly that is one heck of a score considering not one horse in the six races went off at double-digit odds (10-to-1 or higher). Two of the six winners were favorites that went off at less than 2-to-1 odds and a third winner was the 3.60-to-1 second betting favorite. Below is the entire sequence:

Santa Anita Pick 6, Feb. 9

Race

Winner

Odds

Field Size

Race 4

#Smart N Dreamy

*9-to-5

8

Race 5

Time for Angie

6-to-1

7

Race 6

Moulin de Mougin

*8-to-5

11

Race 7

Omega Star

3.60-to-1

9

Race 8

Sky High Gal

6.70-to-1

8

Race 9

Clubhouse Rock

9.40-to-1

9

#Denotes won via disqualification

*Denotes favorite

One thing that is important to note for this Pick 6 is that each race in the sequence had at least eight runners. So while there might not have been a double-digit odds winner in the sequence there also were no 4- or 5-horse fields that would have limited the options. No matter how you slice it, there’s no denying that $119,476 represents one hell of a day at the racetrack.

There were a couple of key horses that triggered multiple big payouts during the last week. Pure Inspiration who won the fourth race at Delta Downs on Feb. 5 at 55.80-to-1 and Narvaez who finished second in the Gulfstream Park Sprint Stakes (Race 11 on Feb. 8) at 139-to-1 odds.

Pure Inspiration represented the biggest payout for a $2 win bet at $113.60 and also was the first half of a Daily Double that returned $3,871.20 for a $2 bet. Riding a 15-race winless stretch into the race, perhaps one would have needed divine inspiration to land on this horse for a win bet, Daily Double or Pick 3. The Pick 3, by the way, that started with Pure Inspiration in Race 4 and ended with Race 6 produced a payoff of $40,279.80 for $2. There was a total of $13,4281 wagered into the pool for this bet, so doing a little math reveals that the winning ticket was a 50-cent (the minimum bet for the wager) ticket that returned $10,069.95 to one lucky gambler. 

TOP PAYOUTS FOR THE WEEK ENDED FEB. 9
Bet  Bet Amount   Payoff  Track Date Race#
Win  $2.00  $113.60 DED 2/5/14 4
Place  $2.00  $89.20 GP 2/8/14 11
Show  $2.00  $27.20 SA 2/8/14 5
Exacta  $1.00  $282.60 SA 2/8/14 5
Exacta  $2.00  $1,627.60 GP 2/8/14 11
Quinella  $1.00  $112.40 TUP 2/9/14 4
Quinella  $2.00  $323.80 HOU 2/4/14 7
Trifecta  $1.00  $10,029.40 SUN 2/8/14 8
Trifecta  $2.00  $9,162.60 TP 2/7/14 10
Superfecta  $0.10  $3,433.15 PRX 2/8/14 9
Superfecta  $1.00  $32,331.40 GP 2/8/14 11
Superfecta  $2.00  $89,180.00 AQU 2/8/14 6
Daily Double  $1.00  $118.30 TUP 2/4/14 2
Daily Double  $2.00  $3,871.20 DED 2/5/14 5
Pick 3  $0.50  $412.80 BEU 2/4/14 8
Pick 3  $1.00  $2,644.60 GP 2/9/14 7
Pick 3  $2.00  $40,279.80 DED 2/5/14 6
Pick 4  $0.50  $4,491.90 CT 2/8/14 9
Pick 4  $1.00  $25,878.40 GP 2/9/14 8
Pick 4  $2.00  $21,262.00 AQU 2/8/14 10
Pick 5  $0.50  $10,112.70 TUP 2/3/14 9
Pick 5  $1.00  $19,024.50 TAM 2/6/14 9
Pick 5  $2.00  $11,073.00 AQU 2/7/14 5
Pick 5 Jackpot  $0.50  $4,669.75 FG 2/7/14 9
Pick 5 Jackpot  $1.00  $1,983.80 LRL 2/8/14 9
Pick 6  $1.00  $4,101.40 TUP 2/3/14 9
Pick 6  $2.00  $119,476.00 SA 2/9/14 9
Pick 6 Jackpot  $0.10  $331.70 CRC 2/8/14 8
Pick 6 Jackpot  $0.20  $18,476.68 GP 2/9/14 12
Pick 6 Jackpot  $1.00  $22,654.80 SUN 2/9/14 11
Super High Five  $1.00  $66,039.20 TP 2/7/14 10
Super High Five  $2.00  $10,102.60 FG 2/8/14 10
Click here for a complete list of racetracks with abbreviations.

© 2014 Equibase Company LLC, all rights reserved. Data provided or compiled by Equibase Company LLC generally is accurate, but occasionally errors and omissions occur as a result of incorrect data received by others, mistakes in processing and other causes. Equibase Company LLC disclaims responsibility for the consequences, if any, of such errors, but would appreciate their being called to their attention.  

Narvaez perhaps was a little bit easier to uncover in that he had shown some talent last year when he finished fourth in the Florida Derby. The Gulfstream Park Sprint was also his second race after a break of almost eight months, so while he had never before finished in the top three in a stakes race he was eligible to improve.

Of course, eight of his 10 opponents were stakes winners entering the race, so he was up against a loaded field and thus overlooked at 139-to-1 odds.

Falling Sky won by 5 ½ lengths at 14.80-to-1 odds with Narvaez edging Brujo de Olleros by a half-length for second. A $2 place bet on Narvaez paid $89.20 and the longshot triggered a $1,627.60 payout for a $2 exacta. He also was the key to a $1 superfecta payout of $32,331.40.

The top Pick 4 payout by return on investment for the week ended Feb. 9 came on Sunday at Gulfstream for Races 5 through 8. Little Alexis at 23.10-to-1 – the longest shot in the field – kicked off the sequence in the fifth race and was followed by a 21.40-to-1 winner in White Sangria in the sixth. After that, you were just a 4.10-to-1 Successful Luck in the seventh and 3-to-1 Leader Avenue in the eighth away from a $25,878.40 payout for a $1 Pick 4 ticket.

Nobody ever said this game was easy, but when you land on a horse you really like or get particularly hot one day at the racetrack, the reward can be life changing.

Bet on it!

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Commonly Used Gambling Terms

Account wagering – Betting by internet or phone, in which a bettor must open an account and deposit money with which to bet.

Across the board – A bet on a horse to win, place and show. If the horse wins, the player collects three ways; if second, two ways; and if third, one way, losing the win and place bets. Actually, three bets.

Bounce – An especially poor performance on the heels of an especially good one.

Box – A betting term denoting a combination bet whereby all possible numeric combinations are covered for certain horses.

Bridge jumper – A person who wagers large amounts of money, usually on short- priced horses to show, hoping to realize a small but almost certain profit. The term comes from the structure those bettors may seek if they lose the bet.

Chalk – Betting favorite in a race.

Chalk player – Gambler who wagers on favorites.

Daily Double (or Double) – Type of bet calling for the selection of winners of two consecutive races.

Exacta – A wager in which the first two finishers in a race, in exact order of finish, must be picked.

Exacta box – A wager in which all possible combinations using a given number of horses are selected.

Exotic (bet) – Any bet other than win, place, or show that requires multiple combinations. Examples of exotic wagers are trifecta, Pick 6, Pick 4.

Handle – Amount of money wagered in the pari-mutuel system on a race, full day of races, or entire racing season at a track.

In the money – A horse that finishes first, second or third.

Key horse – A single horse used in multiple combinations in an exotic bet.

Morning line – The starting odds set by the track handicapper.

On the board – Finishing among the first three.

On the nose – Betting a horse to win only.

Overlay – A horse whose odds are greater than its potential to win.

Pari-mutuel – System of wagering where all the money is returned to the bettors after deduction of track and state percentages.

Parlay – A multi-race bet in which all winnings are subsequently wagered on a succeeding race.

Part wheel – Using a key horse or horses in different, but not all possible, exotic wagering combinations.

Pick (6 or other number) – A type of multi-race bet in which the winners of all the included races must be selected. Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, Pick 6 are commonly used by tracks in the United States.

Place bet – A bet on a horse to finish first or second.

Quinella - Bet in which the first two finishers must be picked in either order.

Show bet – A bet on a horse to finish in the money; third or better.

Speed Figure – A metric that rates a horse’s performance in a race, which is determined by a combination of the horse’s performance and the level of competition he/she competed against.

Trifecta – A bet in which the first three finishers must be selected in exact order.

Trifecta box – A trifecta wager in which all possible combinations using a given number of horses are bet upon.

Underlay – Horse whose odds are more promising than his potential to win.

Win – A bet on a horse to finish first.

Wheel – Betting all possible combinations in an exotic wager using at least one horse as the key.

Image Description

Mike Curry

A native of Philadelphia who grew up in nearby Wilmington, Del., Curry was editor of Thoroughbred Times TODAY before joining the America's Best Racing team in May 2012. He credits his grandfather for the inspiration to repeatedly sneak off to Delaware Park as a 16-year-old and the 1989 rivalry between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer for his passion for horse racing. Curry graduated from the University of Delaware in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a concentration in Journalism. He worked for the Wilmington News Journal and was Sports Editor of the Cecil Whig before moving to Lexington in 2005.

Image Description

Mike Curry

A native of Philadelphia who grew up in nearby Wilmington, Del., Curry was editor of Thoroughbred Times TODAY before joining the America's Best Racing team in May 2012. He credits his grandfather for the inspiration to repeatedly sneak off to Delaware Park as a 16-year-old and the 1989 rivalry between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer for his passion for horse racing. Curry graduated from the University of Delaware in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a concentration in Journalism. He worked for the Wilmington News Journal and was Sports Editor of the Cecil Whig before moving to Lexington in 2005.

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