Breaking the Bank: Belmont Stakes Edition


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

Rarely is there a consensus of opinion among horseplayers, but the card that the New York Racing Association put together for Belmont Stakes day drew nearly universal praise.

The card featured 10-straight stakes races (Races 2-11), more than $8-million in purses and a string of five consecutive Grade 1 races leading into the featured Belmont Stakes. For the 13-race card, there were seven races with 10 or more starters and only one with less than seven, and that race was the much-anticipated showdown between arguably the three finest older female horses in the country in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Stakes.

From a handicapping standpoint, Belmont’s card on June 7 was a challenging exercise with elite horses competing on turf and dirt and at all distances – from six furlongs on the grass to a pair of 1 1/2-mile races on the main track with plenty of variety in between.

For the bettor, this was a June dream card and an opportunity to make some serious money.

Belmont’s all Grade 1 Pick 6 served as another reminder that in multi-race wagers beating a heavy favorite can be much more important than connection with a big longshot. There was not a double-digit odds winner in the sequence, comprised of Races 6-11, but with three horses losing at even-money odds or less, the $2 wager returned $90,671.

The Pick 6 was bookended by 0.85-to-1 favorites losing. Sweet Reason opened the sequence in Race 6 with a victory at 9.40-to-1 odds in the Grade 1 TVG Acorn Stakes. My Miss Sophia finished seventh as the overwhelming favorite.

The Pick 6 closed with the race everyone was waiting for: California Chrome’s bid to become the 12th U.S. Triple Crown winner in the Belmont Stakes. California Chrome got stepped on coming out of the starting gate and did not have his usual punch in the stretch while finishing in a dead heat for fourth at 0.85-to-1 odds. Tonalist rallied late to win the Belmont at 9.20-to-1 odds.

Click here for the PDF charts of the entire Belmont Stakes race card

Sweet Reason and Tonalist were the two highest-priced winners in the 6-race sequence. In between, Close Hatches won the Phipps at 2.90-to-1 with even-money favorite Beholder finishing fourth in Race 7. She was followed by Coffeee Clique (4.80-to-1) winning the Longines Just a Game Stakes, 1.35-to-1 Palace Malice taking the Met Mile and Real Solution (5.50-to-1) prevailing in the Knob Creek Manhattan Stakes.

With 61 horses competing in six races, this was about as strong a Pick 6 as a bettor could dream up outside of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

(continued below the table)

Top Payouts for the Week Ended June 8
Wager  Wager Amount   Payoff  Track Date Race#
Win  $2.00  $109.40 IND 6/7/14 5
Place  $2.00  $53.60 SA 6/7/14 4
Show  $2.00  $27.40 SUF 6/2/14 3
Exacta  $1.00  $508.50 SA 6/7/14 4
Exacta  $2.00  $1,229.40 LS 6/7/14 11
Quinella  $2.00  $325.50 BEL 6/4/14 4
Trifecta  $0.50  $475.40 AP 6/5/14 9
Trifecta  $1.00  $13,454.30 LS 6/7/14 11
Trifecta  $2.00  $19,272.20 RUI 6/2/14 8
Superfecta  $0.10  $10,780.18 LS 6/5/14 8
Superfecta  $0.50  $2,988.80 EMD 6/7/14 8
Superfecta  $1.00  $76,141.40 SA 6/7/14 4
Superfecta  $2.00  $73,845.80 PID 6/4/14 4
Daily Double  $1.00  $99.30 CBY 6/6/14 10
Daily Double  $2.00  $6,560.00 ARP 6/7/14 9
Pick 3  $0.50  $679.25 PIM 6/7/14 10
Pick 3  $1.00  $8,631.20 MTH 6/8/14 8
Pick 3  $2.00  $3,439.00 IND 6/4/14 3
Pick 4  $0.50  $7,994.60 PIM 6/7/14 10
Pick 4  $1.00  $15,077.60 CBY 6/6/14 10
Pick 4  $2.00  $15,059.80 PEN 6/4/14 4
Pick 5  $0.50  $12,960.60 GP 6/7/14 10
Pick 5  $1.00  $7,629.20 DEL 6/7/14 7
Pick 5  $2.00  $46,024.00 BEL 6/7/14 5
Pick 5 Jackpot  $0.50  $150.35 LAD 6/8/14 8
Pick 6  $0.20  $27,691.14 CD 6/7/14 10
Pick 6  $1.00  $15,287.40 PID 6/2/14 7
Pick 6  $2.00  $90,671.00 BEL 6/7/14 11
Pick 6 Jackpot  $0.10  $646.20 MTH 6/8/14 11
Pick 6 Jackpot  $0.20  $9,685.98 GP 6/7/14 10
Super High Five  $0.10  $1,769.73 LS 6/8/14 9
Super High Five  $1.00  $61,158.50 SA 6/8/14 9
Super High Five  $2.00  $8,834.40 MNR 6/3/14 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.  

The early Pick 5 (Races 1-5) on Belmont Stakes day also produced a huge payout.

Based on return on investment, the late Pick 5 at Gulfstream Park on June 7 was slightly higher with a $12,960.60 return for 50 cents, but the early Pick 5 on Belmont Stakes day was very close with a $46,024 score for a $2 bet.

The sequence started off with 2.80-to-1 Wabbajack in the opener and Kid Cruz taking the Easy Goer Stakes at 3.45-to-1 before Norumbega upped the degree of difficulty by striking at 10.20-to-1 in the 1 ½-mile Brooklyn Invitational Stakes. After Undrafted scored at 4.80-to-1 in the Grade 3 Jaipur Invitational Stakes, Bayern romped in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens Stakes at 9.20-to-1 odds. Even more important to the big return than Bayern’s appealing odds was the defeat of even-money favorite Social Inclusion, who entered the Woody Stephens off a third-place finish in the Preakness Stakes and had been training really well leading up to the race.

Bayern looked like a potential monster earlier in the season. Those who stuck with him after a disappointing ninth-place finish in the Preakness were rewarded handsomely.

Dedicated horse racing fans and horseplayers all know there there is room for improvement in our beloved sport, but NYRA, which runs Belmont Park as well as Aqueduct and Saratoga Race Course, should be congratulated for the Belmont Stakes race card. They swung for the fences and faced some criticism for moving major races to the Belmont undercard (particularly the Met Mile), but the result was a victory for both horseplayers and NYRA, which posted Belmont Stakes records for on-track handle ($19,105,877) and all-sources total handle ($150,249,399).

We didn’t get the Triple Crown winner, but racing fans did get to see some amazing racing. I can’t wait to see another showdown between Close Hatches, Beholder and Princess of Sylmar in the Breeders’ Cup and it’s safe to say that every Palace Malice race must now be considered must-watch TV. What a day!

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.

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