Take away the Breeders’ Cup and there’s little that can match the fun and excitement of playing a Triple Crown raceday card.
Be it Churchill Downs, Pimlico, or Belmont Park, you will get that track’s best program of the year with plenty of opportunities for handicappers to strike it rich or head home with pockets overflowing with dimes – and I mean, real dimes made of copper and nickel.
Saturday’s Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets card is no exception with a baker’s dozen races and plenty of wagering options to use in those 13 races.
Of course, one point should be kept in mind. Without a race with a 19- or 20-horse field such as the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, there is not that one sure-fire race to pump a huge amount of value into your payoffs.
As a result, payoffs at Belmont Park on Saturday will generally be modest, putting a premium on superb handicapping and investing.
As in the last two years, there will be 10 stakes races on Saturday’s card – including the featured $1.5 million Belmont Stakes – and looking over the results in 2017 and 2018 you should expect a decent amount of chalk.
In both years, five of the 10 stakes winners went off as the favorite, meaning it was a coin flip, or a 50-50 proposition, that a favorite would prove victorious.
Longshots? There have been a few. There were three winners that went off at 13-1 odds or more last year and one that was 27-1 in 2017. That averages out to two double-digit longshots a year.
Overall, 14 of the 20 winners went off at 4-1 or less.
Putting it together, if you see two odds-on favorites lining up in consecutive races, do not expect the huge handle to deposit extra profit in your wagering account.
For example, the Phipps-Acorn double last year, with 1-1 and 3-5 winners, paid $6.30 for a $2 ticket.
A longshot could save the day as a 14-1 winner before those two races paved the way for a $6.30 double to become a $190 Pick 3. Yet with a 7-2 winner after the Phipps and Acorn, the Pick 3 paid a paltry $32.60.
Interestingly there were no more than two straight stakes races without a winning favorite, so there was at least one bit of chalk in all 16 of the Pick 3’s.
As for the double payoffs, seven fell between $25-49, four between $1-24, three between $50-99, two between $100-199 and two at $200 or more.
For the Pick 3s, because of those double-digit winners, there were some very attractive payoffs. Seven of the 16 payoffs totaled $300 or more, the highest of four categories. Next was $1-74 with five and a drop off to one at $75-150 and three at $150-299.
With bookend numbers like that, it shows that it pays to avoid becoming hooked on the chalk. On both days there was not a single cashable Pick 3 ticket that featured three favorites.
Best of all, if you latch on to a longshot, you can probably cover it in the Pick 3 with a small investment and come away with $500 as opposed to $50.
So, happy handicapping and remember, betting properly and investing in the right opportunities is just as important as finding the right horse.