It is no secret I am not a fan of smaller minimum amounts for wagers on horse races. I’m of the opinion the 50-cent minimum hurts the pick 4 payouts, the 20-cent jackpot pick 6 killed the “real pick 6” and the 10 cent superfecta is not doing the serious bettors any favors either. I have heard all the arguments about these minimums increasing pool size and thus leading to bigger payouts. I don’t buy it. I think they create more winning combinations, and they dilute the value of price horses in the sequences because more people spread and fish as opposed to handicapping. It is what it is. When we have these small minimums and then add the small fields we are seeing of late, it makes the multi race sequences so many of us love to attack less appealing. Add the syndicates going into these pools more and…
There have always been intangibles in the Sport of Kings. Today there are more than ever before.There has been a lot of social media chatter lately about rides and rider intentions. This is certainly an intangible. We all get frustrated when we see one horse on a lonely lead in a race that looked to have a fair amount of speed signed on. It seems to happen on the turf more than the dirt, but the frustration is pretty much equal regardless of the surface.The class or significance of the race does not seem to matter either. Just look at this year’s Group 1 Investec Epsom Derby. Serpentine was allowed to open up a big lonely lead at generous odds and help on for the win. What were all the other riders thinking? I mean, they all want to win this prestigious race.As a handicapper, we can decipher which of…
I thought the Coaching Club came up interesting this year, and I think I’ll be taking a nice swing in it. With that in mind, I’ll offer my thoughts on the race and how I plan to go after it. It is very early in the Saratoga meet, and we have a brand-new surface. Thus far, it seems relatively honest, but that can change with a twitch of the wind or the outburst of a cloud. What is encouraging to me is that horses seem to be able to close ad make up ground. I like level playing fields. Tonalist’s Shape is a pretty fast horse for Saffie Joseph. She’s a Gulfstream Park specialist and got walloped when she ran into a serious racehorse in Swiss Skydiver. Adding blinkers likely puts her right up on the pace from the rail, but I think she will get pressure and also think the mile…
Those who play the horses today generally fall into one of five groups: Fans- these are the ones who play the Kentucky Derby, names, birthdates, and any other hunches that come to mind. Syndicates- These are groups of people who invest together in a system of wagering that often employs one or both of the next two categories. Bettors- These are players who are smart gamblers. They find and identify angles or something that works for them at a good value and go after it. They know how to bet smart. Handicappers- These are the ones who back their opinion. They calculate the probable outcome and wager they will be right. They do not always bet smart. Gamblers- These are the ones who would and do bet on anything. I’d include those who play someone else’s choices in this group whether they pay for those opinions or not. Obviously, you…
Nobody, and I mean nobody likes taking it on the chin. If you bet the late sequence at Belmont on Thursday anchored by the Easy Goer Stakes you took it on the chin. The old and very poor rule of giving the bettor the favorite in place of a scratch stinks. In fairness, if you went after any multi-race bets in that sequence, you are probably playing compulsively, and right into the hands of poor racetrack managers. It was a bad sequence, to begin with, and it was made horrendous by scratches in the Easy Goer. The Easy Goer became a match race and a match race with a 1-2 heavy favorite. The worst part of that was he was not going to be the speed in the two-horse field. Any student of the game knows historically the speed almost always has an advantage in a match race. Originally carded with just six…
The Belmont Stakes is here. It’s been a crazy year so far, and we are only halfway through it. The 2020 Belmont is being run as the first race in the Triple Crown, at an abbreviated distance of a mile and an eighth. The race also has a short-priced favorite who is highly likely to win.If you’re betting against Tiz the Law, and for the record I’m undecided, you have no problem. You’ll back into value no matter how you play it as long as you’re right. If you like him, however, enough to bet him, then how you play things will be far more important as far as getting value is concerned.Tiz the Law is probably going to go off in the area of 3-5. That’s real short for a 10 horse Grade 1. He looks faster and at least to date classier than any of his rivals. Three…
I have been in the game a long time. Before pick 6’s, pick 4, and pick 5’s. I see horses running today and remember the names from the past. Yes, some names get recycled. I don’t only remember the sire and dam, often I remember the sire’s sire and the dam’s sire. Choices of wagers were limited. One daily double. One triple on the last race. No pick 3’s. It was one race at a time for the most part. There was no simulcasting, no ADW’s so along with your limited wagering opportunities came being limited to just your home track where you likely had to physically be in order to bet. There have always been ways around that with bookies and horse rooms, but the average player was limited. Crowds were big and fields were often full. I don’t know we are better off as an industry today. Likely…
I’m often in the minority with many of my opinions on racing. I view that as a positive. Two of those areas are small fields and entries. I prefer horses owned even in part or trained by the same trainer coupled. I also don’t automatically frown on short fields and Saturday at Santa Anita is a perfect example of why. The Santa Anita Derby and Gold Cup cards are light on horses. Sure, that telegraphs some problems with the racing in California right now, but for the bettor it is not the horrible scenario people on social media are whining and complaining about. I don’t mind it at all. Of course, big competitive fields are better and can lead to big payoffs. Small fields do not eliminate those opportunities. They just make it more challenging in a sense. You can’t spread all over the place like a fisherman hoping to…
Often I am asked how long I will follow or stick with a horse I have wagered on that didn’t win. While I will almost certainly be aware and “watch” them the next few times they run, that doesn’t automatically mean I will wager in them. A few months ago at Gulfstream I thought the Pegasus Turf race came down to two horses. Zulu Alpha and Without Parole. I went with Without Parole. He had such a horrendous trip that day under Frankie Dettori he made his way into my trip notes service Tracking Trips and I was pretty sure he was sitting on a peak or at least a big effort. You can learn more about Tracking Trips and see what it offers here. When Without Parole finally surfaced it was last week in the Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita. Sure I was excited, and sensed a potential score,…
I have often stated my thoughts on hedging. My stance is not a popular one, and it has been ridiculed often on social media. I rarely If ever hedge.If you are playing to beat the game, one thing that is essential, and there are many, is to minimize the loss column and maximize the win column. Hedging may save a bet and a day, but over time it will cut into the win column. I don’t bet against myself or my opinion.There have been times where I have been alive in the last leg of a multi-race wager with a few horses. Obviously, these are the ones I chose. I chose them for a reason. Even if I stand to win good money with any of them and can mathematically assure a win by placing win bets on all the other horses, I generally won’t. If I wanted those horses,…