Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Superfectas are Popular

I recently ran a poll on my blog for a couple of months asking the question: "What bet returns you the most money?" As I had expected superfectas are very popular. I talk with other horse bettors at my local track and they are crazy about 10-cent superfectas because of their low cost and high return potential. They can construct with almost reckless abandon superfecta combinations that seem ridiculous but can often times be winning tickets and pay fantastic returns.

This was not a scientific poll but the folks who visit my blog are interested in betting on the horses and therefore their opinions are significant. Here's how the results from the poll came out. The bet that returns the most money is the superfecta with 32%. In the second spot is the trifecta with 18%. In the third spot is the win bet with 16%. The quinella and exacta both with 8% each. The pick6 had 10%. It's interesting to note that about 80% of the bets that make the most money for the bettor are exotic bets.

I want to thank those who participated in the poll. With your participation it gives all of us an idea of what bets to try. Good luck to each of you.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Using the Profit Line

If you have a Twinspires account you are probably familiar with the Profit Line (PL). It is a tool provided by Twinspires for its account holders. I have used it alot and found it very useful.

As many of you may know my home track is Remington Park. This meet I have been concentrating on pick3's and pick4's. I have used the profit line (PL) to my advantage in making my pick3 and pick4 selections. Being a statistician by profession (although retired now) I like to keep track of my bets and the corresponding results. I have put together for 34 racing days so far this meet a chart of my findings
( ). My chart has the PL positions from most favorite to least favorite along the top and the race number down the side. Keeping track of the winning PL position in each race here are my findings.

Remington Park (RP) has rolling pick3's starting with race 3 through race 7. Most of the time RP has 9 races on the card each racing day. Sometimes there are 10 races when special days have stakes races. In this case the pick4 will be races 7-10. Otherwise, the pick4 is races 6-9.

I kept track each race day from August 22 to October 26 in this study. Here is a summary of my results. It appears that race 5 is the most difficult because you have to go 5 deep in the PL on most days to find a winner. Races 3,7 and 8 can be singled on many days with success using the top PL choice. Using my results here is the pattern for the pick3 bet starting with race 3 PL1/PL1,PL2,PL3/PL1,PL2,PL3,PL4,PL5 (THESE ARE PROFIT LINE CHOICES). For a $1 pick3 this is a $15 bet. Getting past race 3 occurs about 50% of the time. In race 4 the PL choices PL1,PL2,PL3 win about 70% of the time. In race 5 the PL choice PL1,PL2,PL3,PL4,PL5 will win about 80% of the time. In summary then if you were to bet this pick3 each day then one half of the time you will get past race 3 which is the first step necessary for the bet to win and pay off. The five pick3 combinations starting with race 3 and going through race 7 are as follows:

Race 3 PL1/PL1,PL2,PL3/ PL1,PL2,PL3,PL4,PL5 cost $15

Race 4 PL1,PL2,PL3/PL1,PL2,PL3,PL4,PL5/PL1,PL2,PL3 cost $45

Race 5 PL1,PL2,PL3,PL4,PL5/PL1,PL2,PL3/PL1 cost $15

Race 6 PL1,PL2,PL3/PL1/PL1 cost $6 (assume a $2 pick3)

Race 7 PL1/PL2/PL1,PL2 cost $4 (assume a $2 pick3)

My two pick4's bets in race 6 are:

Race 6 PL1,PL2,PL3/PL1/PL1/PL1,PL2 cost $12 (assume a $2 pick4)

Race 6 PL1,PL2,PL3/PL1,PL2,PL3/PL1,PL2,PL3/PL1,PL2 cost $54 (assume a $1 pick4)

Depending on your bankroll you can use as many of these as you choose or limit the number of pick3's you bet on to stay within the cost constraints of your bankroll.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Black Swan Betting

I just completed reading Nassim Nicholas Taleb's book "The Black Swan". It is an amazing book that has caused me to rethink the way I now look at the occurence of events. Naturally, because of my interests in horse racing and especially in betting, I have started looking at how the Black Swan concept may apply in horse racing.

For those of you not yet familar with the Black Swan it refers to the "impact of the highly improbable". In horse racing the "highly improbable" are the extreme long shots. One of the advantages in horse betting is that you can include the extreme long shots in your betting strategy.

My wife and I were back at the Kentucky Derby in 2005. I had a gut feel before the race that any horse could win so I bet $5 to win on all 20 of the horses entered in the race. Mike Smith brought Giacomo in at over 50/1 odds. For the $100 it cost me to make this bet the return was $256.50. At the time the Black Swan concept didn't exist. What did exist was the feeling I had and to take advantage of that feeling "I bet them all".

Just to show you that this is not such a crazy bet I did a little research on the internet and found from my analysis that if you had "bet them all" in the Kentucky Derby each of the last 5 years (2005 through 2009) that you would be $38.60 ahead assuming just $2 bets. Further, if you had "bet them all" for the last 11 years from 1999 to 2009 that you still would have come out even. You would have not lost any money and had a fantastic time.

So what does this prove? Well, it establishes the fact that this is not such a crazy betting strategy after all. It has some merit under the right circumstances.

I have a feeling that from years of experience observing that Grade I races may also have many Black Swans. I will be researching this in the coming weeks and I'll report back to you what my findings are.

For those of you who may doubt my numbers above go to and run the math for yourself.

Stay tuned and good luck betting.

Friday, June 26, 2009

What Odds do you look for in a bet?

I have often wondered what is going through the other guys head at the race track. I thought it would be interesting to set up a poll to see what odds a horse bettor looks for when he is about to bet at the track. Compared to other polls I have conducted this one turned out to be quite popular as well as informative. Actually at this point in time (half way, I set it up for two months) there has been 29 horse players who have voted with 28 days remaining for the poll to be active.

The results so far show that 55% of you look for a horse with 4/1 but less than 10/1 odds. Now what does this tell me. I'd say that more than half of you are looking for some value with your bet. After all at 4/1 odds a $20 win bet will return $100 at the low end. At the high end at 10/1 a $20 win bet will pay $220. Now that's value if you are right and the horse wins.

Now some of you are looking for the long shot to come in. 13% of you say that you look for a horse with 10/1 odds or more to bet on. They do come in. Look at the Kentucky Derby this year when Mine That Bird went off at greater than 50/1 and took home the prize, $1000+ on a $20 win bet. I'll just bet that there were more than a few folks down in El Paso, Texas who collected on this bet too. In the Belmont Stakes there was another Bird, Summer Bird that went off better than 10/1 too - and won. Now you see that with some courage and conviction that these folks can be handsomely rewarded!

Add together 55% and 13% and this amounts to 68% of you out there are looking for "value" or "super value" with your bets. Hey, I'm with you. Go for it!

Now about 30% of the time the favorite wins. I'd say most of you have the right idea. Favorites don't give back much bang for the bet. However, from the poll it looks like 32% of you like those favorites.

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Ten-Cent Superfecta Favorite Bet of Mine

These days where can you get a return on ten cents? The ten cent superfecta is certainly one place to look. I have heard from a number of people that it is hard for them to structure a ten cent superfecta bet. I have suggested to a number of my horse betting friends an approach that has a simple structure and at the same time has a fairly high probability of success.

If you play the horses even occasionally you can usually pick one or two horses in some races that look, in form, a head or two above the other horses in the race. Using this piece of information you can structure a ten cent superfecta that is inexpensive yet has a good chance of paying off.

I will label these two horses 1 and 2. Let's assume there are 10 horses in the race you have chosen. A simple ten cent superfecta structure would be 1,2/1,2/all/all. This bet would cost you $11.20. If there were 9 horses in the race it would cost you $8.40. These are inexpensive bets but they do include all of the horses in the race and if you are correct about your top two picks then your superfecta will payoff. Further, if the horse that shows and the horse that comes in 4th are long shots then the payoff could be very rewarding.

For those of you just trying the ten cent super for the first time this bet can get you started and give you some experience beyond just placing win and place bets or even exactas with your top two choices in a race.

Good luck.