Handicapping Tip of the Day #49 – Why I Passed on $326,599 in Free Money

Handicapping tips from agameofskill.com

by Rich Nilsen

Tuesday night, September 10, 2019, featured a mandatory payout of the Jackpot Pick-5 wager at Prairie Meadows.  This jackpot wager had been building for months and, with closing day on tap, it was time to pay it all out.  This equated to $326,599 in free money in the pool.  Those funds, plus whatever was wagered (minus the 15% takeout), would be distributed to all the winners.

Despite the slow Tuesday of racing, and the fact that Prairie Meadows had recently been hosting quarter horse racing instead of Thoroughbreds, it seemed like everyone knew about it.  Major ADWs were sending out emails.  People were posting all over social media.  It seemed like if you were a horseplayer, especially one who liked horizontal wagers, you were playing it.

I was among them and was planning to participate.  My first concern was the notice that Des Moines, Iowa and the racetrack had been pounded with rain overnight.  How that might affect the track, even though it figured to be dry by post time, was anyone’s guess.

The second and more important issue was the entries.  The fields were large and with not knowing the track very well, that gave me pause.  If I could find one or two standouts, or a couple of races where I could easily narrow the field down to, let’s say, two major players, then this could be an affordable ticket.

However, that was not the case.  I was having trouble narrowing down the contenders in all five races.  Consequently, this sequence looked like it could pay gangbusters.  Of course, that’s the type of Pick-5 I want to be a part of.  I went back through it again, looking to narrow the races down to even 4-5 plays in most races.  I found it very difficult, regardless of the 2.57% edge as indicated by expert Marshall Gramm.*

Pick-5 Cost

A 4 x 4 x 4 x 5  x 5 partwheel is 1,600 combinations.  With the large fields there were 62,370 possible combinations.   At the $.50 base wager, this type of ticket would cost $800.  This was more than I wanted to spend when I wasn’t confident I would hit.  If I was wrong in just one race, I was toast.

The wise decision was to pass despite the six figures of “free” money.   The winning combination ended up returning $1,737.05.  This was a generous payoff considering the results, but it was hardly a life-changing score.

Recognizing when the situation isn’t right for you and passing on the so-called opportunity is very important.  Another big carryover is right around the corner.

Best of luck!

 

*If you want to learn more about the game, follow Marshall’s tweets.

Basic Horse Racing Bets

Not surprisingly, betting is what drives the sport of horse racing. The thrill you get when your horse hits the finish line in front is second to none. Below, we take a look at the most popular horse racing wagers, in the most basic of details, for you to begin to learn and experience that thrill firsthand.

 

Straight Horse Racing Bets

Win Wager

The easiest wager one can place on horse racing is the win bet and, thanks to its simplicity, it is the most popular among horse racing fans. Handicapping past performances PPsWager on a horse to Win.  If he or she wins the race, you collect the payoff based on a $2 win mutual.  It’s that simple.  The hard part, of course, is uncovering the horse that will win.

Place and Show Wagers

The place bet is wagering on a horse to finish no worse than second, and the show bet is wagering on a horse to finish no worse than third.  There is often confusion among newbies, believing that a horse must finish third in order to cash on the show bet.  Many a ticket has been discarded because of that mistake.

 

Exotic Horse Racing Bets

Daily Double

This is the simplest type of exotic wager, and probably the oldest.  The Daily Double is combining the winners of two consecutive races.  If your wager includes both winners, you cash.  The base wager is either $1.00 or $2.00 depending on the host track.

 

Exacta / Perfecta

The exacta is picking the exact order of the top two finishers in a race.  You can play the exact straight or you can box the wager, so that if the horses finish in any order, one-two, then you cash.  You can include as many horses as you wish in your exacta box, but the cost of the wager goes up exponentially and your chances of turning a profit diminish greatly. The base exacta wager is usually $1.00.

 

Trifecta

The trifecta is picking the exact order of the top three finishers in a race.  You can play the trifecta straight or you can box the wager, so that if the horses finish in any order, one-two-three, then you cash.  You can include as many horses as you wish in your trifecta box, but the cost of the wager goes up exponentially.  The base wager is usually either $0.50 or $1.00.

 

Superfecta

The Superfecta is picking the exact order of the top four finishers in a race.  You can play this quad bet straight or you can box the wager, so that if the horses finish in any order, one-two-three-four, then you cash.  Like the exacta and trifecta, you can include as many horses as you wish in your superfecta box, but the cost of the wager goes up exponentially.  At many tracks throughout the country, the base minimum wager is only $0.10 and that makes the bet affordable for the recreational horseplayer.

The industry has added a lot of new bets over the past few years, and we’ll take a look at them in an upcoming primer.

 

Miss These Gems?

Learn more about horse racing with AGOS Horse Racing 101 articles

New Wagering Options for 2018 Breeders’ Cup at Churchill

Head2Head Wagering with 10% Takeout

LEXINGTON, Ky. (October 23, 2018) – The Breeders’ Cup announced new and exciting wagers that are sure to test the skills of handicappers across the globe for the upcoming Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs on Nov. 2-3. The new additions are highlighted by a late Pick 5 wager on Friday and Saturday, as well as the popular Jackpot Super High 5, along with Head2Head wagering and daily double wagering linking Friday and Saturday races.

The complete Breeders’ Cup wagering menu and official race order for the 2018 World Championships will be announced today, Wednesday, Oct. 24.

Additional Friday and Saturday Late Pick 5s Lead the Way

Multi-million-dollar betting pools are nothing new to the Breeders’ Cup but the introduction of a late Pick 5 on both Friday and Saturday figure to take things to a new level. The bet has quickly turned into arguably the most popular wager in the country on a day-in, day-out basis, due in large part to the extremely player-friendly 15% takeout and $.50-cent minimum wager, which the Breeders’ Cup will use as well. Couple that, along with the freshness of the wager, and the fact it will solely encompass Breeders’ Cup races, and the pools could swell to several million dollars.

Breeders CupAmong the featured new wagers to an already blockbuster menu of multi-race bets with million dollar guarantees, is the Friday late Pick 5, dubbed the “Future Stars Friday Pick 5,” which will group all five Breeders’ Cup Juvenile races, exclusively for 2-year-olds, while Saturday, the late Pick 5 figures to be wildly successful as it will culminate with the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). In addition, should any of the three preceding Pick 5s which includes the early Pick 5 on Friday and the traditional Breeders’ Cup early Pick 5 Saturday, not have a winner, that carryover pool will be added to the Saturday late Pick 5.

The Jackpot Super High 5 requires bettors to pick the first five finishers of a race in order, with a $.50-cent minimum wager and 15% takeout. The wager will be offered on every race on the Friday and Saturday cards, including the undercard races, with the exception of the Saturday finale (there will be one race after the Classic). The payouts for the wager vary, depending on how many winning wagers there are. Should there be multiple winning wagers, then 75% of the pool will be paid out, with the remaining 25% of the pool carrying over to the next Jackpot Super Hi 5 race. Should there be one single winning .50 wager, then 100% of the pool will be paid to the winner. If the bet goes unhit and there are no winning tickets, therefore creating a carryover pool, then 100% of the net pool will move on to the next race. Should there be no single winning $0.50 wager in the Friday finale, the jackpot will carryover to the first race on Saturday, and, regardless of the carryover entering the Classic, will be paid out.

With an extreme degree of difficulty to the wager, especially in full fields of 14 (or 12 in the new Juvenile Turf Sprint) with numerous winning contenders, let alone live longshots who could run in the top 5, a carryover pool is extremely likely to occur at some point during the two days. And with a carryover pool comes added interest to the wager, and more betting dollars, which can and will create a snowball effect as Friday turns into Saturday and the Classic nears. As with the two new Pick 5s created, bettors can expect the pools to be robust, and millions could be on the line should a carryover occur into the Classic, or if there are no single winning tickets throughout the day and the pool repeatedly gets funded by an additional 25% with each added race.

Head2Head Wagers Combine the Future with the Present

Head2Head wagering is not unfamiliar to fans of the Breeders’ Cup and will be back this year, with three to be determined offerings Friday and four Saturday. The $10 minimum wager should appeal to a wide audience, as it offers just a 10% takeout and figures to include matchups that have a theoretical 50/50 chance against each other. An example of a head-to-head wager could be the Europeans vs. Americans in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, as well as possible individual matchups in other races. Fans of sports wagering could especially be enticed by these wagers, as they will essentially be offered as an even-money proposition, yet with no point spread involved. The Breeders’ Cup will once again offer special Daily Double wagering that links a Friday race to a Saturday race, with a $1 minimum. While the Friday late Pick 5 is titled the “Future Stars Friday Pick 5,” the special daily doubles link the future to the present, as they will offer wagering on the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile into the Classic, the Tito’s Handmade Vodka Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf.

The Breeders’ Cup has a longstanding history of not only offering the best equine and human stars to fans and bettors alike, but also the Thoroughbred racing’s best wagering menu of its kind, and this year’s added enhancements to the slate should only provide further proof of that.

Source: Breeders’ Cup

2017 Breeders’ Cup Analysis, Spot Plays & Wagers

13x NHC Qualifier Offers up Pace Scenarios, Spot Plays w/ Wagers, Top Selections and Analysis

Rich Nilsen, who has absolutely been on fire with his major race selection sheets, is back for both days of this year’s Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar.   Included in Nilsen’s report are top selections for all 4 stakes on Friday and all 9 stakes on Saturday (all 13 Breeders’ Cup races).

You receive Nilsen’s expert pace analysis, which is often the key to selecting the winner.   Nilsen has 3 Spot Plays with wagering strategies to attack these races.  He has also included wagering strategies both day’s feature events – the Distaff (Friday) and the Classic (Saturday).

Get every Breeders’ Cup race for BOTH days (Friday & Saturday) in one sheet!  Download instantly to any type of device. Only $18.97

Highlights from Previous Breeders’ Cup Spot Play Winners!

$29.40 Sprint Spot Play Winner Trinniberg with Cold $203.40 Exacta!

$15.80 Turf Sprint Spot Play Winner Mizdirection, keying $1,757.65 Pick-4 wager!

$40.40 Spot Play Winner Work All Week with $1,064.70 Trifecta!

$13.00 F&M Turf Spot Play winner Dayathespa

$16.40 Turf Sprint Winner Bobby’s Kitten

$64.80 Exacta with Main Sequence over Flintshire in the Breeders’ Cup Turf

The list goes on and on!

Download today to any device 
Buy Now

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Nilsen caught the horse racing bug at a young age when his father took him to the racetracks in New York. He eventually attended the University of Louisville Equine Business Program with the goal of making a career in the horse racing industry.

Nilsen has worked the past 25 years in the equine industry, serving most of those years as the Marketing Director for Brisnet.com and TwinSpires.com, the Official Wagering Site of the Kentucky Derby.

During his long tenure at the Churchill Downs-owned properties, Nilsen managed the successful Players’ Pool syndicate, which pooled funds from the account wagering members to go after large Pick-6 carryovers. During Nilsen’s leadership, the Players’ Pool produced a significant profit for the members over the course of seven years. One of the best hits was when the Players’ Pool took down half of the Pick-6 pool on Kentucky Derby Day 2007, with a gross return of over $500,000.  The Pool had several other hits over $250,000.

The $2.8 Million National Handicapping Championship (NHC) is the premier horse racing tournament in the nation. It is basically horse racing’s version of the World Series of Poker, with the main difference being that players cannot buy their way into the NHC. Players can only win their way in via tournaments held throughout the country. Nilsen is one of the top participants in the history of the event, having qualified 13 times. He was the first player, and one of only two, to finish in the top 10 at the NHC twice.

Nilsen is now the founder and editor of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

About Nilsen’s Analysis

In this comprehensive yet concise report, I provide selections for all 13 Breeders’ Cup races for both days, as well as pace scenario analysis which is absolutely vital for predicting the outcomes of these events.

Spot Plays are my best bets and key wagering horses for the big weekend. Picking your spots is key to profiting on the races, especially when it comes to the Breeders’ Cup. The opportunities are plentiful but you improve your chances by selecting key spot plays and focusing most of your bets on those plays.

Set aside a budget for these two days and be sure to have plenty of ammunition for the bigger of the two days, Saturday. Best of luck!

Show Us The Money? The Plight Of A Simple Pari-Mutuel Wager

Where money goes in horse racing

The modern menu of betting options in North American horse racing has reached dizzying levels. Daily Double, Pick 3, 4, 5, 6, exacta, trifecta, superfecta, Super High Five, Pick 6 jackpots, Grand Slams, Place Pick All. You get the idea.

Source: ‘Show’ Us The Money? The Plight Of A Simple Wager

New Wagers at Gulfstream Park West Meet

Horse at GulfstreamMonarch management at Gulfstream Park West have introduced some changes to the wagering menu for the fall meeting:

Rolling Super Hi 5 – Split 75/25, No winner in 1st race, 25% of the pool will carry over to the next race and continue in that pattern. If no winner that day, carries over to the next day.

Early Pick 5 – Starts in Race 1, forced out daily, split 75% of the pool to the most winners, 25% to second most winners

Quinella – $5 minimum, offered on last race of the day only.

Want to learn more about horse racing?  Check out the AGameofskill.com Handicapping 101 section.