Beginner's Bet of the Week: The Daily Double

Gambling
Horses enter the home stretch in a race held during Aqueduct’s fall 2019 meet. (Rob Mauhar/NYRA)

This week marks the latest installment of a new series on America’s Best Racing, the Beginner’s Bet of the Week sponsored by NYRA Bets. Each week, this blog will explore a new type of bet by explaining exactly what it is, how best to use that bet, and by putting the wager into practice in a race.

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This week, we’ll shift our focus to “horizontal” bets, or bets that cover multiple races. This column focuses on playing the daily double, also known as simply “the double.” The goal of a double is to pick the winner of two consecutive races.

The double is the oldest of the so-called “exotic” bets, first introduced in the 1930s. Initially, it was offered only on the first two races of the day. Nowadays, doubles are offered on all consecutive two-race sequences. The minimum wager on a double is $1.

In a double, you are not limited to using just one horse in a race. You have the option to use multiple horses in each race, albeit at a higher cost. For example, if you like #1 and #2 equally in race 1, and #3 in race 2, you can play a #1 and #2 with #3 double on those races. If the #1 or #2 win race 1, and #3 wins race 2, you’ll hit the double. That bet costs $2 (2 X 1).

Because they are relatively low-risk, doubles do not pay as much as other horizontal bets. On Sunday, Nov. 14, the eight doubles at Aqueduct had an average return of $32.86 for a $1 bet. By contrast, the average payoff on the seven $1 pick 3s that day was $200.75.

As such, the key to success in the doubles is to zone in on two strong opinions and trying not to “spread” too much in either race. You dilute your expected payoff when you spread too much. If you “single” two horses you like, or use just one horse in each race of the double, you’ll get a maximum return while taking fullest advantage of your strongest opinions.


Saturday’s Aqueduct Daily Double Play

For this week’s play, I’ll take a look at the daily double sequence in Races 2 and 3. In Race 2, a six-furlong starter allowance race on the grass, my top pick is #2 Cousin Andrew. He made his first start on grass last out in his first start off the claim by Linda Rice. He was way behind early on but closed powerfully in the stretch to rally for third. He’s usually much closer to the pace than he was last time. Rice is a sharp 23% second off the claim. I’m expecting another big performance out of this horse.

The third race is a claiming race at seven furlongs on the dirt. I like #7 Baby I’m Perfect, who has lots of early speed and is making his first start off the claim by Rudy Rodriguez. This 7-year-old gelding raced very well in sprint races two and three starts back, but he then struggled when he competed in a 1 1/16-mile race last out. He should be much better at a shorter distance.

In my double, I’ll use #2 in Race 2 and #7 in Race 3. If both of them win, I’ll cash my bet.

To place this bet with a teller, say “Aqueduct, Race 2, $1 double, #2 with #7.” If betting on an ADW, be sure to click the #2 box in the first column and the #7 box in the second column.

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