Tip of the Week: Big Day Strategy


Game on Dude wins the 2014 Pacific Classic. (Photo by Eclipse Sportswire)

One of the best aspects of summertime races involves those days when your favorite track presents one of its signature programs of racing.

Races like the Haskell, Whitney, Arlington Million, Travers and Pacific Classic, to name a few, are the centerpieces of outstanding cards that present a challenge for handicappers in several distinct ways. As marathon wagering tests, they pose a challenge of not only picking winners but knowing when and how to wager.

For instance, onJuly 27 Monmouth Park offered the Haskell as the star attraction of an outstanding day of racing with 14 races, six of them stakes. There were a number of great betting races and the key to success for any handicapper was picking out the right ones to wager on.

On a day filled with so many attractive races, betting strategy can often decide whether you’re dining at a steak house or with Ronald McDonald after the races. The profits from one or two winners on a 14-race card can easily be wiped out by 12 losers, so doing your homework is essential.

To best attack a card like the one on Haskell Day, handicappers need to study all 14 races and pick out the ones where they have the most confidence and structure their wagers accordingly.

Without that type of game plan, a handicapper who bets race one at a time can find themselves with a paltry bankroll when they finally stumble across a horse they truly like.

Instead, by knowing which races to focus on before the starting gates open, handicappers can pour their money into races where they can wager with confidence while avoiding those where guesswork can turn costly.

To better illustrate, rather than wagering $10 to win on a horse in all 14 races, a better plan might be to bet $50 on two horses and $40 on another. Knowing which races you like the most can also come in handy in deciding when it makes the most sense to make Pick 3 or Double wagers.

While nothing can help on those days when your handicapping is off target, by eliminating or reducing your losses on races you don’t care for you can have a bigger bankroll when a race you really like rolls around.


Photo by Equiphoto

Speaking of which, sometimes the key to a great day can be found in unlikely spots. To some, it may be time to head for the exits after the feature race. Yet this past Sunday, there were two more races after the Haskell. That’s two more chances to turn a bad day into a good one that should not be ignored – especially if one of those races includes your best bet of the day.

If that’s the case, it would be wise to make an advance wager on that horse early in the card so you don’t have to worry about having a live horse and a miniscule amount of cash. There’s nothing wrong in waiting a few races to place the bet make sure there is not a severe bias that might work against your pick, but don’t wait too long. Little can match the frustration of knowing reckless wagers early in the card deprived you of a chance to make a healthy wager on the horse you were waiting all day for.

So the next time a blockbuster card presents itself, remember to do your homework and pick your spots. Discretion may be the better part of valor but it’s also the best way to turn a profit on a long and exciting day of racing.

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