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Blog - GAMBLING

Breaking the Bank - featuring data courtesy of Equibase - highlights the biggest scores of the past week in racing. (Photo by Eclipse Sportswire)

A common horseplayer theory behind focusing on multi-race bets is that it is easier to pick winners than to have any kind of confidence in picking who will finish third or fourth in an intra-race exotic wager like the trifecta or superfecta.

Because I’m better at finding a longshot capable of clunking up for third, I prefer playing trifectas than the Pick 4, Pick 5 or Pick 6. It’s also because I like the instant gratification of knowing whether I won or lost after one race.

Being live to a couple of horses in a 12-horse field at Keeneland Race Course for the late Pick 4 last fall made the wait for the last race excruciating for me. Not completing the Pick 4 did not help grow my fondness for multi-race wagers (although I do love the rolling Pick 3s for the Breeders’ Cup). Reading the payouts, gnawing on my fingernails and waiting … no thanks.

But I do understand the adrenaline rush that builds as you successfully move through, race by race, stringing together winners.

Writing this blog for the last five months also has taught me that multi-race wagers pay very well, and in many of these big scores there are multiple logical winners and usually one of two key races in the sequence.

Take the Pick 6 on Sunday at Santa Anita Park that paid $106,135.60 as a great example. The sequence, which featured Races 4-9, included 8-to-5 favorite J Louie winning the fifth race and overwhelming 7-to-10 favorite War Academy prevailing in the eighth. Another favorite, albeit a tepid one at 3.40-to-1, took the seventh race when Noise of the Crowd held on by a nose.

Two races provided the key to this massive score.

The opening leg was a wide-open, 1 1/16-mile race on the main track that drew only six horses, but four of the six went off at odds between 2.80-to-1 and 3.60-to-1. Of course, the winner, Got Even, was the longest shot in the field. Kicking off the Pick 6 with a 9.10-to-1 shot in a 6-horse field whittles down the number of live tickets dramatically.

Two races later, Newport Red struck at 13.20-to-1 odds when he drew away to a 6 ¼-length runaway win. In that race, Newport Red defeated an even-money favorite in Takeit To the Limit.

Takeit Tothe Limit was a very vulnerable favorite, in my opinion. He faded to fourth, beaten 13 lengths in his only previous start on May 9. There’s no way he should have gone off at even-money.

But even if I had spread out in this race and singled the aforementioned favorites in Races 5 and 8, there’s a very good chance I would not have included the winner in this race. Newport Red failed to finish in his only start in 2013 and finished seventh, beaten by nine lengths, on May 17 in his only previous race this year.

The Pick 6 closed with a very tough, one-mile maiden special weight race on the grass that drew 11 horses. Kool Kat won by a half-length at 5.90-to-1 odds and the top four finishers all were between 3-to-1 and 6-to-1 … a challenging final race in a very tough Pick 6.

(continued below the table)

Top Payouts for the Week Ended June 14
Wager  Wager Amount   Payoff  Track Date Race#
Win  $2.00  $110.40 TDN 6/14/14 6
Place  $2.00  $72.60 EVD 6/13/14 5
Show  $2.00  $66.00 PRX 6/14/14 6
Exacta  $1.00  $286.60 SA 6/14/14 9
Exacta  $2.00  $1,150.00 RUI 6/9/14 6
Quinella  $2.00  $171.20 ASD 6/11/14 2
Trifecta  $0.50  $570.80 AP 6/14/14 11
Trifecta  $1.00  $4,211.20 MTH 6/14/14 7
Trifecta  $2.00  $9,118.60 PRM 6/15/14 9
Superfecta  $0.10  $3,254.54 GP 6/15/14 8
Superfecta  $0.50  $3,430.00 EMD 6/14/14 2
Superfecta  $1.00  $36,458.30 NP 6/14/14 6
Superfecta  $2.00  $97,800.80 IND 6/13/14 6
Daily Double  $1.00  $108.50 DEL 6/9/14 7
Daily Double  $2.00  $818.00 SA 6/12/14 2
Pick 3  $0.50  $298.70 BTP 6/15/14 8
Pick 3  $1.00  $19,856.40 MTH 6/14/14 7
Pick 3  $2.00  $6,684.40 IND 6/13/14 8
Pick 4  $0.50  $27,157.70 AP 6/14/14 11
Pick 4  $1.00  $23,446.60 WO 6/15/14 7
Pick 4  $2.00  $17,204.20 PRM 6/13/14 9
Pick 5  $0.50  $36,162.70 SA 6/15/14 5
Pick 5  $1.00  $3,805.60 DEL 6/12/14 7
Pick 5  $2.00  $18,170.00 BEL 6/14/14 5
Pick 5 Jackpot  $0.50  $89.15 LAD 6/15/14 8
Pick 6  $0.20  $6,098.14 CD 6/12/14 9
Pick 6  $1.00  $3,578.10 PID 6/10/14 7
Pick 6  $2.00  $106,135.60 SA 6/15/14 9
Pick 6 Jackpot  $0.10  $29,846.34 MTH 6/13/14 10
Pick 6 Jackpot  $0.20  $78,000.00 CD 6/14/14 9
Super High Five  $0.10  $1,975.08 LS 6/13/14 9
Super High Five  $1.00  $12,045.80 GG 6/15/14 10
Super High Five  $2.00  $21,648.00 MNR 6/10/14 9
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.  

For Pick 6 players, another big payout came at Churchill Downs on the Stephen Foster Handicap card. The 20-cent Jackpot Pick 6 returned a whopping $78,000 thanks to a one-time, guaranteed $100,000 jackpot pool.

Like the Santa Anita Pick 6, there were some pretty obvious winners and a couple of key races. The winners of the first three legs of the sequence, which featured Races 4-9, were: Carve at 3-to-2, Highball at 2.80-to-1 and Tapiture at even-money. Then things got interesting.

Molly Morgan won the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis Handicap at 10.70-to-1 and Moonshine Mullin took the featured Grade 1 Stephen Foster at 10-to-1 (the latter a play given out on ABR by both Ellis Starr and Vince Mathews in handicapping blogs).

Aurelia’s Belle struck - via the disqualification of favored A Little Bit Sassy - in the final race of the sequence at 3.40-to-1.

Another eye-opening payout came on June 13 at Indiana Grand Race Course when the reported payout of a $2 superfecta in Race 6 was $97,800.80. However, with less than $6,300 in the entire pool, we can pretty easily figure out that the winning ticket was a 10-cent, minimum-bet winner that returned $4,890.04. Still, a very nice return on investment keyed by 46-to-1 winner Wallstreet Josh.

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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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