Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pick 3 Research

Thanks to a comment I received on my blog from a reader, I was pointed to an article ( on research about the pick 3. The article was couched in some mathematical statistics but has revealed some interesting results that may prove to be quite useful in developing some betting strategies. I am in the process of using these results in some experiments to see their usefulness. I will report to you at a later time about what I have found out.

Here are the obvious points that sparked my interest from this article. First, when you look at a pick 3 you are looking for the horses that will win in three consecutive races. Further, you focus in on whether the favorite in the race will win. It is well known that the favorite in a race will win about 30% (+-3%) of the time at any track in the country. Concentrating on the pick 3 you wonder how many pick 3's will have 0 favorites in the final outcome. How many will have 1 favorite in the final outcome. How many will have 2 favorites when the races are finished. How many will have 3 favorites in the final outcome. This article gives us some statistical evidence about what to expect.

An empirical analysis at Santa Anita by the author showed that out of 176 wagering opportunities that a pick 3 with no (0) winning favorites in the outcome occurred 36% of the time. With 1 favorite in the outcome, this occurred 42% of the time. With 2 favorites in the outcome, this occurred 19% of the time. With all three favorites in the outcome, this occurred just 3% of the time. What does this suggest? Don't depend on the favorite in your pick 3's. If you do include the favorite expect only one favorite in the outcome. 78% of the time there will be only 1 favorite or no favorites at all in the outcome. It takes guts to follow these results because the betting public tends to always include the favorites in their choice of pick 3 combinations. This therefore raises the cost of the bet when the cost does not match the benefit.

I will be looking at some strategies that take into account these statistical results.

Stay tuned ... I'll report back to you later.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bets Within a Race and Bets Across Races

When you bet an exacta, quinella, trifecta, or superfecta your bet is completed when the race is over. These bets are within a race. When you bet a daily double, a pick three, a pick four, or a pick six your bet is completed when the last race in the bet has finished. The strategies for these two kinds of bets are quite different. The principle of "bets within a race" is to pick the best 2,3,4,5 or 6 horses in a race. The principle of "bets across races" is to pick the possible winners in each race.

Let's start with "bets within a race" first. For an exacta and a quinella to pay off you need to concentrate on the horses that you feel can come in first or second. Let's suppose that there are 10 horses in a race. You get your Daily Racing Form and start studying the 10 horses in the race. After considerable deliberation you come to the conclusion that there are only two horses in this race that you believe can win or place. With this belief your bet is easy and inexpensive. You can do an exacta box of these two horses ( a quinella if this bet is allowed in this race at this track). If however, you come to the conclusion that out of the ten horses in the race that 5 of them are capable of winning or placing then you have a bit more to consider. You can place an $1 exacta box of these five horses but it will be a bit more expensive, $20 to be exact. I want to illustrate here that two factors that are all important. One is the cost of the bet and the other is how badly you want to win the bet. Using similar logic for a trifecta, or a superfecta it always gets down to cost and your desire to win. To increase your probability of winning it will cost more for the bet. How much you will spend depends how big your bankroll is and how much you are willing to spend on any one bet. The best thing you can do is to understand your tolerance level.

Bets across races need a different strategy. These kind of bets depend only on the horse that wins the race in each race of the bet. You can start with "singles". A "single" is using only one horse in a race. You need to be very confident in your belief that this horse will win the race. Big Brown in the Preakness was a good example. The other races where you need 2, 3, 4 or more horses for that race is where the cost of the bet goes up. Daily doubles, pick 3's, pick 4's can be more attractive to the horseplayer with a modest bankroll. Magna 5's and pick 6's are bets where you need a significant amount of money to have a good chance of winning. Twinspires had a pool for the pick 6 on Derby Day that you could get in on for as little as $10. You could even bet as much as $1000 which was the limit. Some of the pick 6 bets in the pool were $50000 +. To show you how difficult the pick 6 is, on Derby Day there were no tickets that got 6 out of 6. The total pool was $75000 +. Fortunately, in the pool there were several superfecta bets on the Kentucky Derby. Two of them paid almost $30000 each. If you were in the pool even though the pool didn't win the pick 6, the superfectas earned back enough to almost break even. A very nice strategy in the pool.

'til next time.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Trifecta Research

I would like to solicit your help. I'm looking into the Trifecta bet to see how horseplayers use the Trifecta bet in their tool kit of bets. I have set up two polls that I would ask you to participate in.

Here are the two polls:

1) When you bet trifectas, what is the average cost of your bet?

2) What is your success with trifecta bets?

Click on the following two links to enter your data. (Click on the back button after you have finished making your entries.)

I will follow up later with an article on my blog.

Thanks for your participation.