Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The 50 cent Pick 4 and the 10 cent Superfecta

I have had a number of discussions with some of my friends that like to play the horses. Recently we have been discussing both the 10 cent superfecta as well as the 50 cent pick 4. They both are now available at many tracks across the country. (Churchill Downs, for example.) Why are we interested in these particular bets? For one thing, the payoffs for these bets is very attractive. The payoffs can range in the 100's, the 1000's, and sometimes even in the 10,000's. Secondly, the 10 cent superfecta can be bet with a much smaller bankroll. You get a much bigger bang for the buck with the lower cost.

In the past when $2 superfectas were only allowed you had to pay 20 times more for the same 10 cent superfecta bet you can make today. For example if you pay $6 for a 10 cent superfecta today that same $2 superfecta will cost you $120. This can be the difference between making the bet and not making the bet.

The other attractive bet is the 50 cent pick 4. Let's analyze the similarities and differences between the 10 cent superfecta and the 50 cent pick 4. The obvious similarity is that both bets involve four horses. However, this is where the similarity ends. The superfecta involves just one race where you have to get the order of finish correct; 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th. The pick 4 stretches over four races. In each race you have to select the winner.

Why choose one bet over the other?

The 50 cent pick 4 costs you one fourth of what the same $2 pick 4 would cost you. A $2 pick 4 that costs $120 you can now get with the same 50 cent pick 4 bet for $30. Usually, in any one day at one track you can only bet at most 2 pick 4's. At a track that offers 10 cent superfectas in each race you can bet 8, or 9, or 10 times depending on the number of races on the card for that track. An attractive feature of the superfecta is that after the race is over you know how you did. However, with the pick 4 you have to wait until all four races have finished (usually about 2 hours) to know how you did.

My fellow horseplayers and I differ on which bet we like the best. For those of us with the patience to wait a couple of hours, the pick 4 is very attractive. For those that like the action in each race the superfecta is very attractive. It really gets down to one's preference.

Some of us like to handicap and pick just winners and not venture any deeper into the race. The pick 4 is ideal for this approach. Some of us like to go deeper into a race and to speculate which horses will come in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. The superfecta is attractive for this kind of speculation.

No matter which bet you choose, both bets have very attractive potential payoffs. Both bets offer a real challenge to structure. Both bets are fun to play.

Good luck and keep it enjoyable.

Friday, November 12, 2010

50 Cent Trifectas

What is a trifecta? A trifecta is a bet where you structure the bet so that you have the three horses that come in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Why would you bet a trifecta? Well let's ask Bob. Bob likes trifectas because they pay good when you hit them. Bob reserves a portion of his bankroll to trifecta bets. Some times he even commits one day to just betting trifectas. Now why do you do that Bob? Recently a number of tracks across the country have introduced the 50 cent trifecta. In the not to distant past there were only $2 trifectas. Then tracks began to allow $1 trifectas.

Now there is the 50 cent trifecta at many tracks. Bob likes to look at the combinations that he can cover with a bet in the range he is comfortable with within his bankroll. Bob says let's look at a simple trifecta bet where three horses are boxed. Here are the combinations for three horses that are boxed.
123 132 213 231 312 321
Any one of these six results will win the trifecta. Bob wants to now look at the cost of this bet if it was a $2 trifecta bet. Since there are 6 possible combinations to win this bet it will cost 6 x $2 = $12. If it was a $1 trifecta bet then the cost would be 6 x $1 = $6. A 50 cent trifecta would therefore cost 6 x $.50 = $3. Bob looks at this 50 cent trifecta as a way to get more combinations working for him in his bet than ever before.

Okay Bob what would it cost to box 4 horses? A $2 trifecta box of 4 horses would cost (4 x 3 x 2 x 1) x $2 = $48. A $1 trifecta box of 4 would cost $48 / 2 = $24. A 50 cent trifecta box would cost $24 / 2 = $12. As Bob sees it he can get 48 combinations that could win for $12 with a 50 cent trifecta box. With a $2 trifecta box that cost $12 he would get only 6 combinations that could win. Sure the 50 cent payoff would only be 1/4 of the payoff for a $2 trifecta but Bob says he can make 4 times as many bets. He likes this. The probability of winning with 48 combinations is much better than with just 6.

One of Bob's favorite trifecta bets is when he can find a race with two heavy favorites on the toteboard. Let's say that this race that Bob locates has 10 horses in the race. The trifecta structure that Bob likes is 1,2/ALL/1,2. A 50 cent trifecta with this structure will cost 2 x 8 x 1 x .50 = $8. As a hedge Bob would also bet 1,2/1,2/ALL which will cost $8 also. So for two bets that Bob buys for $16 he would be getting 32 possible winning combinations for his $16.

Bob likes the possibilities he gets with the 50 cent trifecta.

Good luck.

'til next time.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Handicapping versus Betting Strategies

Handicapping is about finding the horse or horses that could win. Betting strategies are about configuring a bet to include enough combinations to win the bet. Let me give you some examples. I'll talk about Bob in these examples.

Bob brings up on his computer the past performances (PP's) for a race he wants to handicap. He looks to see the type of race and the length of the race. He then looks through all of the horses in the race. Bob likes to keep track of the hot jockey/trainer winning combinations at this track. He especially looks to see if any of these attractive combinations are in this race. Bob then looks at each horse in the race and carefully studies the PP's of each horse. Bob likes to go through and eliminate all the horses he thinks have no chance or at very little chance of winning this race. Bob is trying to determine just how many horses are solid winning candidates in the race. Bob would like to narrow his list down to as few horses as possible. Ideally it would be nice to single just one horse. In most races he knows that this is impossible. He can usually narrow his list down to 2, 3, or 4 horses. If there are more than that Bob has no trouble in deciding to just not bet this race. Bob knows that unrealistic bad bets can reduce his bankroll. He knows that Minimizing his losses contributes to a higher ROI at the end of the day.

Now let's see how Bob handles his betting strategies. Bob has favorite kinds of bets that he is most confident in making. If he can single a horse in a race, especially if it's not the favorite, he likes to place a win bet. Sometimes it is a sizable bet. As a hedge, Bob will quite often place a 'win-place' bet on this horse. Bob is aware that this situation is very infrequent. So Bob looks to other kinds of bets that he likes. Bob also likes exactas. He is fond of finding 2, 3, or 4 horses in his handicapping where these horses he expects to dominate the race. Infact he feels confident that anyone of these horses could win or place. When Bob finds just two horses he will box those two horses in an exacta. Depending on his confidence level, he will measure the size of his bet. For three or four horses he would box them in an exacta also. Bob is always mindful of his bankroll balance.

I hope that these examples give you an idea of the differences between handicapping and betting strategies. Also I hope you see how the two are connected and depend on each other.

I will follow up later in this blog to explain how Bob may make other bets he likes such as trifectas, superfectas, doubles, pick 3's, pick 4's. I will show you how Bob can combine his handicapping skills with thoughtful betting strategies.

Good luck and have fun playing the ponies.

'til next time.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Free Horse Handicapping Contests

Recently I was with a few of my retired friends and they were asking me if there was a way they could get some experience playing the horses without losing a lot of money. I asked them if they had an internet account and were familiar with using the web. Most were, so I went on to tell them about some of the free horse handicapping contests that you can join and play to hone your skills.

There is a contest that you can play for free each day. All you have to do is sign up for a free account with Brisnet and play along each day. Just log in tohttp://www.brisnet.com/cgi-bin/daily-contest/index.cgi and click on "FREE Contest Registration". Follow the instructions to set up your free account. You're then ready to play "Race of the Day" each day. Brisnet keeps tab of your record and gives you one point each day just for playing. If you are in the top 50 of winning picks for the week you get a bonus of 50 extra points applied to your account for that week. Twice a year they have a drawing and you have a chance to go to the Kentucky Derby in May or to the Breeders Cup in October with all expenses paid for two.

If you only have time to play in a contest on weekends then there's a web site that you can join for free that lets you make your selections for four races each weekend. Just go to http://www.publichandicapper.com/ and click on "sign up to play for free here". You will get an email from the Public Handicapper folks each Thursday telling you what races you will be playing on Saturday. You can then use your favorite handicapping tools to make your three selections in each of the four races. Why three selections? Because if your top choice gets scratched then you have a second choice. If the top two get scratched (an unlikely event) then your pick is your third choice. They keep score for you and you can check at any time to see where you are in the standings. There are prizes at the end. It's a lot of fun and if your hit the winning horse in each race you get recognition as well as some free Past Performances for a period of time.

There is another web site that you can join, http://www.equibase.com/index.cfm, that has free contests at various times during the year. Go to "Equibase Virtual Stable" and click on "Register Now". It's free to set up an account. If you are registered then whenever Equibase has a contest they will send you an email so you can participate. The contest is for one track on a particular day, usually a Saturday, and you make a win and place bet on one horse in each race. There are cash prizes for the largest accumulated bankroll. It's fun and they keep score for you.

These contests are FREE so get started and have some fun. Good luck.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Betting Strategies

Fifty years ago when I first started betting on the horses, the win, place and show bets were about the only choices you had. If you wanted to bet you had to go to the race track to do it. At that time the computer wasn't used to determine the payouts. It was done manually at the track.

As the years passed and the computer started to be used to determine the payouts the exacta and the quinella were introduced. Then came a new stream of what became known as exotic bets. The trifecta, superfecta, rolling doubles, pick 3, pick 4, pick 5, and pick 6 all became popular.

In 1993 the internet opened up betting from a personal computer. As the race tracks one by one began to allow betting from all over the country through simulcast betting at the home track, it then became possible to bet from your computer at home. Youbet, Expressbet, TVG, Twinspires (and others) were internet websites that allowed betting at most tracks around the world.

The process of betting now becomes quite complex. You have so many choices that you must resolve where, when and how much you're going to bet. Here is where betting strategies come into play. I remember as a kid going into a candy store and there were so many choices that with the dime I had to spend I had to decide which were my favorite candies and how much to spend on each. That's the situation that one is faced with today with horse betting. You have a bankroll that determines how much you have to wager with. If you bet exotics you must calculate and know for a particular bet what the cost will be. Your choice of bets, their cost, how the bets fit into your bankroll and how many of your bets have positive payouts will determine your success or failure. There is an old track saying "you can't win them all but you can lose them all". Let's summarize with some betting strategies.

Betting Strategy #1:
Determine the track and the race you're going to bet on.

Betting Strategy #2:
Determine the kind of bet that you are going to place and figure out what it will cost.

Betting Strategy #3:
Keep track of the running balance in your bankroll. Never exceed your bankroll if losses accumulate. Don't bet money that you can't afford to lose.

Betting Strategy #4:
Use discipline in the bets you make. Know when to "fold'um" if you hit a losing streak. Be able to accept your loses and never "double down".

May luck be with you.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Approaches To Betting the 10-Cent Superfecta

Most horse bettors have their own way of making personal choices when they determine how they will place a bet. With the internet there are dozens of ways to get the support information you need to make your choices. There is Equibase, Brisnet, Twinspires, Youbet and many, many others. I won't get into which ones to use (I'll leave that up to you), but merely say that each horse bettor has his own personal way to get to his choices.

Let's approach the 10-cent superfecta bet with three top choices: 1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice. Next there is the 'confidence level' you have in your three choices for a particular race.

For a high level of confidence one approach to a 10-cent superfecta bet might be 1/2,3/ALL/ALL.

For a medium level of confidence the bet might be

For a low level of confidence the bet might be

Then there is the Black Swan bet

The other consideration to take into account is the size of your bankroll. Depending on you tolerance level you may bet several of these.

May luck be with you. There's nothing to compare to good luck.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Side-by-side Betting with Ten Cent Superfectas

The payoffs for ten cent superfectas can be huge. In side-by-side betting with ten cent superfectas the wager is constructed as follows: assume that the horse you are keying on is the #7 horse then the bet would be 6,7,8/6,7,8/ALL/ALL. At Remington Park during the quarter horse meet there is a maximum of 10 horses in any race. The cost of the bet is dependent on the number of horses in the race.

7 horses $12
8 horses $18
9 horses $25.20
10 horses $33.60

This size bet can be handled by a modest size bank rolls so the risk-reward is well worth it.

Let's look at some results from last weekend.

March 26

Race 1 G R Carter on #5 - result 4,5 payout $469.83 cost $33.60
Race 2 G R Carter on #5 - result 4,5 payout $183.74 cost $33.60
Race 6 G R Carter on #4 - result 4,5 payout $190.31 cost $25.20

March 27

Race 1 G R Carter on #6 - result 6,7 10 cent super $173.18 cost $33.60
Race 7 Larry Payne on #2 horse - result 3,2 payout $216.77 cost $33.60

To check these results go to http://equibase.com

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Side-by-side Betting with Trifectas

In my previous articles I have shown how to structure a side-by-side bet using an exacta. Let's now extend this to a side-by-side trifecta bet. Why would we want to do this? Because the trifecta payouts are much larger and more profitable. Let me give you an example from last Friday, March 19. In race number 3, our side-by-side bet keyed on Larry Payne who was riding the #7 horse. Our exacta side-by-side bet was to box 6,7,8. The cost for this $2 exacta box was $12. The result was 8-7 with Payne placing. The exacta payout was $85.60.

The trifecta side-by-side bet was structured as follows: 6,7,8/6,7,8/ALL. There were 10 horses in this race so the cost of this $2 trifecta bet was $96. Since this size bet is usually out of the range of many bettors bank roll a $1 trifecta for the same bet was $48. This $1 trifecta paid $905.10. The minimum trifecta bet at Remington Park is $1. This turned out to be a 7-1 return on the exacta and a 19-1 return on the trifecta.

With a large enough bank roll to manage these size bets the return can be very rewarding.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Remington Park Quarterhorse Side-by-side Results

Over the weekend March 12-14 the side-by-side results continued with remarkable payouts. 10 races out of 30 were side-by-side results. That's one out of every three races. The average side-by-side $2 exacta payout was $103.68. Here is a summary of the results.

Friday, March 12

Race 1 Result 2-1 (#1 was the ML favorite)..........Payout $121.60
Race 4 Result 5-4 (#4 was the ML favorite)..........Payout $72.60
Race 5 Result 7-8 (#7 was the toteboard favorite)...Payout $67.80
Race 9 Result 7-8 (Hard one to pick, I missed it)...Payout $141.20
Race 10 Result 1-2 (G R Carter rode #2)..............Payout $23.40

Saturday, March 13

Race 4 Result 3-4 (G R Carter rode #4)..............Payout $145.40

Sunday, March 14

Race 1 Result 6-5 (#5 was one of 2 favorites).......Payout $250.20
Race 4 Result 9-10 (Larry Payne rode #9).............Payout $76.20
Race 7 Result 3-4 (#4 was the ML favorite)..........Payout $52.00
Race 9 Result 4-3 (G R Carter rode #3)..............Payout $86.40

Read the previous two blog articles to see what a side-by side bet is and how to structure one. For those of you who like to check things out go to equibase.com for Remington Park results.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Side-By-Side Quarter Horse Bets

In my previous blog article I demonstrated that side-by-side results for win-place had a high occurrence. Infact almost one-half of the time, on opening weekend at Remington Park, ended in side-by-side results. This is a statistical occurence waiting to be taken advantage of.

I will enumerate several steps to take in order to structure these bets.
1 - Identify a 'high probability to win' horse to key on. In my last article I pointed out jockeys and trainers that can be keyed on, also ML favorite and tote board favorite.
2 - If there are high odd horses on either side of this keyed horse then that's what you want. The payoffs will be larger. (Having a hangup about odds can ruin this bet.)
3 - Is there more than one horse to key on in this race?
4 - Depending on your bankroll, start with exactas, then trifectas, and superfectas.

Let's use examples to illustrate. The first thing I do is go to the newspaper or the internet and lay out on a piece of ruled paper the post number of each horse in the race and order them by morning line odds. Here's an example.

Race 6 Post Position ..6..9..8..10..(1)..3..4..7..5..2
Morning Line ..7/2..4..9/2..5..6..10..12..15..15..15

Let's assume that one of the jockeys I mentioned in the previous article is riding horse #1 above. An inexpensive way to play this side-by-side bet is to use an exacta box 1,2. The morning line odds on #1 is 6/1, the ML odds on #2 is 15/1. I would play a $5 exacta box and it would cost $10. Another bet on the same race would be to key on the ML favorite #6. A $1 exacta box would be 5,6,7. It would cost $6. If either or both bets won your payout would be outstanding. You might even want to quit for the evening. Yes, Remington Park has all evening racing this meet.

UPDATE: Last night I went down to Remington Park. I used my side-by-side betting strategy using only exactas. Would you believe, 5 of the 10 races had side-by-side results. Race 1, result was 2-1 and the $2 exacta paid $121.60. Note that #1 was the 5/2 ML favorite. #2 had a ML odd of 15/1. Race 4, result was 5-4 and the $2 exacta paid $72.60. Again #4 was the 5/2 ML favorite and the #5 horse 15/1 ML. Race 5 result was 7-8 and the $2 exacta paid $67.80. The #7 horse was the tote board favorite. Race 9 result was 7-8 and the $2 exacta paid $141.2. The #7 horse was again the toteboard favorite. Race 10 result was 1-2 and the $2 exacta paid $51.60. G. R. Carter rode the #2 horse.

To check these results for yourself go to equibase.com and look at the summary results for Remington Park for March 12.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Playing the Quarter Horses at Remington Park

This last weekend March 5-7, the Quarter Horse meet began at Remington Park. I enjoy being right down at the rail and watching them go flying by at 50 to 55 miles an hour. What a thrill! So far this last weekend there was a lot of futurity qualifying going on. 250, 300, 330, and 350 yards was where most of the action was. In most of the races there 8, 9, or 10 horses. This meet every race has 10 cent superfectas available. A real opportunity. I'm going to give you some of my opinions on how you can take advantage of these 10 cent supers.

Over the years I've found a few things to watch for that makes quarter horse racing just a little different. First, getting out of the gate cleanly is everything. Times are measured in hundreds of seconds between winning and losing. Another feature to take into account is that quarter horses like to keep up with the horse next to them. Many large exactas are collected by boxing horses next to each other in the gate. A high odd horse may perform way beyond his expectations just by competing with the horse next to him. With this bit of information exactas, trifectas, and superfectas can be constructed to take advantage of the situation.

The next thing to take into account are specific jockeys and trainers. At Remington Park you do not want to leave out two trainers, Eddie Willis and Rodney Reed. Eddie Willis horses always seem to be live and ready to roll. The same is true for Rodney Reed horses. The jockeys you never want to overlook are Hall of Fame jockey G. R. Carter and Larry Payne. Therefore in your betting strategies you can use their horses to key on.

Now why bet 10 cent superfectas? One answer is that you can get a lot of combinations at a low or at least reasonable cost to the bettor. Some times the payoffs can be huge. For this last opening weekend here are the average payouts on 10 cent superfectas.

Friday, March 5 $313.94
Saturday, March 6 $150.61
Sunday, March 7 $518.47

The largest payout was $2506.33 and the smallest was $5.18.

There were 28 races and G. R. Carter won 4, Larry Payne won 7, Eddie Willis horses won 7. There were 13 out of 28 races where win and place were side by side. For example, race 4 on Friday #7 won and #8 placed and in race 6 #2 won and #1 placed. A side by side betting strategy over the weekend could have been very profitable.

In my next blog article I will show you how to structure these side by side bets.

May the racing Gods be with you.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

When to Bet?

More and more horse bettors are using the internet to bet on the ponies. Using the internet has some fantastic advantages. I know that some of you will point out the opposite also. However, for this article I'll be looking only at the advantages (I'll cover the caveats and opposites at another time.)

When your betting over the internet you have a large variety of options to choose from. First, you have dozens of race tracks to choose from across the country and around the world. This in itself can give you flexibility that you have never had before. Let me give you a few examples. When you were captive in the old days at one race track you had just the races on the card at that track to bet on. The temptation was to bet each race on the card. The choice of not betting on a race because you felt unsure about it was one hard choice to make. You had only eight or nine races to bet on. Fast forward to today's betting over the internet it is much easier to skip that race because you have so many other choices from other tracks. There is no reason to bet on a race that makes you uneasy or about which you feel uncomfortable. You can work in a strategy that allows you to bet only when you feel the odds are with you and you feel comfortable about the bet.

Another example is the fact that over the internet you have so many more tools in front of you to make your betting more deliberate and focused. Let's consider just three tools. Assume that you have a Twinspires account. Here are three things you can use to control your betting. First, you have the Morning Line, the Profit Line, and the Tote to assist you prior to placing a bet. Secondly, you have the ability to place a conditional bet. Thirdly, you can cancel a bet if for some reason the conditions change before the race goes off. (Horse(s) may be scratched, the tote does not respond the way you expect, the horse does not look right in the paddock or when (s)he comes out on the track, etc.)

There are many more tools but I think you can see that with just the few that I have mentioned that 'When to Bet' can be much more than a guess. It can be a choice that can put the odds more in your favor.

I will be writing more about this so stay tuned. I also have a poll on the side of my blog. Feel free to let me know how you bet.