Beginner's Bet of the Week: The Pick 3

Gambling
Enjoying the fall races at Aqueduct. (Penelope P. Miller/America's Best Racing)

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.

This Thanksgiving, NYRA Bets is serving up bonuses. All the best fall and winter horse racing awaits at tracks like Santa Anita, Gulfstream Park, Aqueduct and 300+ tracks. With NYRA Bets, new users can enjoy a $200 Sign Up Deposit Match Bonus anytime. Just use promo code ABR200 and get in the action today! And be sure to tune into “America’s Day at the Races” running on Fox Sports Wednesdays through Sundays.

This week’s article will focus on the pick 3. As implied in the name, the goal of a pick 3 is to pick three consecutive winners. The pick 3 was originally introduced in New York in 1991 and was first offered only once a day. Now, bettors can bet a pick 3 on any consecutive three-race sequence. The minimum wager on a pick 3 at a NYRA track is $1.

Like with all horizontal bets, you are not limited to using just one horse in each leg of a pick 3. You can use multiple horses in each race, albeit at a higher cost. For example, if you liked #1 and #2 in leg 1, #3 and #4 in leg 2, and #5 and #6 in leg 3, you could play a pick 3 ticket using all those horses, for a total cost of $8 (2 x 2 x 2). If the #1 or #2 win leg 1, #3 or #4 win leg 2, and #5 or #6 win leg 3, you’ll hit the pick 3.

Much like the daily double, a good pick 3 play revolves around a strong opinion at a good price. If you really like a horse who you think will be a good value, you can “single” that horse, and use only that one in that race. You can then “spread” in the other two races, using multiple horses in an attempt to catch a price. If you use five horses in two legs of a pick 3, for example, and single in the other leg, that bet would cost $25 (5 x 1 X x 5), and potentially result in a large payoff. Of the 16 pick 3 sequences offered at Aqueduct on Nov. 20 and Nov. 21, 14 of them paid more than $100.


Saturday’s Aqueduct Pick 3 Play

I’ll take a shot with the pick 3 sequence starting in race 4, a one-turn mile starter allowance on dirt limited to horses that have started in for a claiming price of $50,000 or less. In the first leg, I’ll single #8 No Burn, racing first off the claim for William Morey. No Burn set the pace while racing wide last out and drew off to an impressive 10-length victory. He ran career-top marks on both the Brisnet and Equibase scales, earning a 91 Brisnet figure and a 93 Equibase Speed Figure. There’s not a lot of early speed in this race, so he should be able to get to the front and work out a smooth front-running trip. He’ll have to win this race to keep my pick 3 ticket alive.

I’ll use four horses in race 5, a one-mile allowance race on the turf for fillies and mares age 3 and up. #1 Flauto has early speed and a good post position for trainer Mike Maker. #3 Sport Model goes in her second race off a brief layoff for trainer Christophe Clement, who is off to a good start at the Aqueduct meet. #5 Belle Belisa closed lots of ground in her first try at the first-level allowance condition (the same condition as today’s race) last out at Laurel Park. She’s raced just three times and has lots of room for improvement. #8 Golden Plume is also lightly raced and has a speed figure advantage. If any of these four win, I’ll be alive heading into the final leg.

I’ll also use four horses in race 6, a 6 ½-furlong dirt maiden for 2-year-old fillies, to try and close out the sequence. Both #4 Send For Me and #5 Favor cost $500,000 at auction and will make their career debuts for Jonathan Thomas and Todd Pletcher, respectively. Both have promising workouts and will likely take plenty of money despite their lack of experience. I’ll complement them with horses who have raced one time each. #7 Charlottesometimes showed speed and hung on until the last eighth in her debut, and she’ll likely be a pace presence again. #8 Marysvale made a move to the lead and flattened out in her first race, but she earned a respectable speed figure and has had a good workout since.

The pick 3 ticket reads as follows:

Race 4: #8

Race 5: #1, #3, #5, #8

Race 6: #4, #5, #7, #8

The wager costs $16 on a $1 minimum bet increment. When playing with a teller, be sure to separate the horses in each leg with the word “with”. If playing on an ADW, check off the #8 box in column 1, the #1, #3, #5, and #8 box in column 2, and #4, #5, #7, and #8 in column 3.

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