Boxes are for Presents not Wagers

Recently the subject of boxing horses in exactas and triples came up on social media. This is a subject I have written about on Past The Wire and talked about on Past The Wire TV many times.

I’ll be the first to say when it comes to betting on horses if it isn’t broke don’t fix it. Do things your way and how it works for you. If you are not winning and beating the game however, then it might help to pay attention.

This is a tough game but a game of skill, nonetheless. There are intangibles, luck factors, sharks in the water, and many other factors that play into how we do at the races. You must minimize making any moves that add to the obstacles. I never box as I believe boxing puts you behind the eight ball and makes it more difficult to win over time. I always say it is fine to cash less tickets bit win more money.

If you box three horses you have already made 5 losing bets added to the takeout rate. Why would you want to go into a race with 5 losing bets to start? I wouldn’t. You would not want to start a baseball game down 5-0. When you factor in the takeout you cannot logically argue you have not out yourself in less than an ideal position. The idea is to put yourself in position to win over time.

If one or two of your horses are short prices you just about have no shot to beat the game. You may hit a nice one now and then, but remember a broken clock is still right twice a day but you wouldn’t buy one would you?

I believe and play accordingly that you must be willing to take a stand and back it. I will take the horse I like best and take that horse over the two others in straight exactas all day long before I would ever box. Again, cash less but win more. I am willing to do that and can turn the page. In the long run, and this is a marathon not a sprint, you must be willing to play that way and minimize losing wagers. I know I will get them eventually the way I do it.

Check out this video on ticket structure for more on my style of playing the game we love.

The Art of Structuring Tickets

On Saturday at Keeneland they will run The Elkhorn at a mile and a half. Rising Empire catches my eye. I think this horse is on a nice upswing in form and I like that Florent Geroux rides him back after taking him to the lead last out a little out of his style. I think Flo will revert to sitting a trip on Saturday and that can help this horse a lot. This horse has really upped his game since moving to the grass and I think he will handle and appreciate this marathon. He is worth a long hard look in my book.

After The Elkhorn they will run The Ben Ali. Skippylongstocking will be an underlay and is no cinch as far as I am concerned. I’ll take a shot albeit not much of a shot with Rattle and Roll. This horse can handle these on his best race, and I think he may be ready to fire one of his top efforts. Sometimes you just land on someone by default and that is what happened here. I came down to Tawney Road and him and went with him.

Enjoy the races!

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Jon Stettin

Since childhood, Jon has always had a deep love and respect for the Sport of Kings. His years of experience have earned him a well respected spot in the industry as a handicapper. He now is a frequent contributor to AmWager as well as writing for his own site.

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