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Blog - GAMBLING

Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire

Anybody who has ever wandered through the doors of a racetrack has undoubtedly dreamed of walking out a few hours later with gobs of cash lining their pockets. That’s part of the allure of spending a day at the racetrack, the possibility of hitting the big score or getting on a roll where you just can’t seem to lose. There are plenty of different strategies out there. Some people bet big sums of money on horses at short odds hoping for a significant, smaller-percentage score while others eye longshots and bet nothing but horses at 20-to-1 odds or higher. Some players prefer exotic bets within a race, trying to identify the top two, three or four horses in a single race, while others prefer multiple-race bets where the gambler must predict the winner of a sequence of races. But in the end, the game is the same. We’re all trying to find the right horse in the right race to make a nice profit. We just go about it differently.

This blog - featuring data courtesy of Equibase - will highlight the biggest scores of the past week in racing. Keep in mind that some of the payouts in the table do not reflect that actual money handed out by the teller to the owner of the winning ticket. For example, the Super High Five for the final race (11) at Fair Grounds on Feb. 1 produced a payoff of $114,562.20 for a $2 wager. There was a total of $32,431 wagered into the pool for this bet, which requires the player to predict the top five finishers in order, so some simple math reveals that the winning ticket was a 50-cent (the minimum bet for the wager) ticket that returned $28,640.55. That’s still a heck of a return on investment.

There were a number of huge payouts for the week ended Feb. 2 but none returned a higher percentage on investment than the Pick 5 on Sunday (Feb. 2) at Gulfstream Park. A 50-cent winning ticket returned a healthy $56,111.70 for a sequence that started with a 25.30-to-1 winner in the opening leg, which was Race 7. After Stick to Your Guns upset victory in the first race probably knocked out 75% or more of the bettors in the race, the next four races were less difficult. Unbridled Ocean won the eighth race at 18.20-to-1, but players who focus on jockeys and trainers probably would have given a long look to Unbridled’s Ocean’s tandem of Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez and Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. The final three races of the sequence (Races 9, 10 and 11) were won in order by Valseuse at 4.70-to-1, Can’t Stop the Kid at 6.50-to-1 and 3-to-2 favorite Patsy’s Holiday.

The late Pick 4 (Races 6-9) on Jan. 31 at Turfway Park produced a payout of $117,570.40 for a $2 bet, but with only $34,182 bet into the pool this was another case of a winning 50-cent ticket that returned $29,393.

Top Payouts for the Week Ended Feb. 2
Bet  Wager Amount   Payoff  Track Date Race#
Win  $2.00  $121.60 TP 2/2/14 9
Place  $2.00  $52.40 TP 2/2/14 9
Show  $2.00  $52.00 CRC 1/31/14 7
Exacta  $1.00  $248.80 SUN 1/28/14 11
Exacta  $2.00  $681.40 TP 2/2/14 9
Quinella  $1.00  $80.40 TUP 2/1/14 6
Quinella  $2.00  $95.40 HOU 1/27/14 10
Trifecta  $1.00  $3,264.30 GP 2/2/14 8
Trifecta  $2.00  $9,194.60 PRX 2/1/14 8
Superfecta  $0.10  $1,551.21 PRX 1/27/14 9
Superfecta  $2.00  $80,618.60 DED 1/30/14 6
Daily Double  $1.00  $71.30 TUP 1/27/14 8
Daily Double  $2.00  $1,147.80 GP 2/2/14 8
Pick 3  $0.50  $30.10 BEU 2/1/14 8
Pick 3  $1.00  $18,633.50 PRX 1/27/14 5
Pick 3  $2.00  $13,920.00 TP 1/31/14 7
Pick 4  $0.50  $1,613.25 SA 1/31/14 8
Pick 4  $1.00  $6,886.60 OP 2/1/14 9
Pick 4  $2.00  $117,570.40 TP 1/31/14 9
Pick 5  $0.50  $56,111.70 GP 2/2/14 11
Pick 5  $1.00  $50,902.20 TAM 2/1/14 12
Pick 5  $2.00  $39,297.00 DED 1/31/14 10
Pick 5 Jackpot  $0.50  $1,087.80 FG 2/1/14 11
Pick 5 Jackpot  $1.00  $2,141.60 LRL 1/30/14 9
Pick 6  $1.00  $1,398.40 TUP 1/28/14 9
Pick 6  $2.00  $80,598.20 SA 1/31/14 8
Pick 6 Jackpot  $0.10  $237.63 CRC 2/1/14 8
Pick 6 Jackpot  $0.20  $5,819.98 GP 2/1/14 11
Pick 6 Jackpot  $1.00  $16,368.30 SUN 1/30/14 11
Super High Five  $1.00  $11,783.80 GP 2/1/14 11
Super High Five  $2.00  $114,562.20 FG 2/1/14 11
Click here for a complete list of racetracks with abbreviations.

© 2014 Equibase Company LLC, all rights reserved. Data provided or compiled by Equibase Company LLC generally is accurate, but occasionally errors and omissions occur as a result of incorrect data received by others, mistakes in processing and other causes. Equibase Company LLC disclaims responsibility for the consequences, if any, of such errors, but would appreciate their being called to their attention.  

One particularly interesting race last week was the ninth race at Turfway Park on Feb. 2, which produced the highest win, place and exacta payouts by return on investment for the week. La Bachata, a Wheelaway filly who finished seventh in her two previous races, won at 59.80-to-1 odds to reward her backers with $121.60 for a $2 win bet and $52.40 for a place bet. Bakin’ With Cindy, the 3-to-1 favorite, finished second but it didn’t hurt the exacta payout of $681.40 for $2.

The top trifecta payout of the week came at Parx Racing on Feb. 1 in the eighth race, which was won easily by the 4-to-1 second betting choice Here’s Zealicious. If Here’s Zealicious was your key in the first spot, you had a chance for a big score as runner-up Wild Pantera (52.10-to-1) and third-place finisher Darn Quiet (23.90-to-1) triggered a $9,194.60 payout for a $2 bet.

Also of note, the superfecta for the sixth race at Delta Downs on Jan. 30 produced a payoff of $80,618.60 for $2. But with $32,255 total wagered on that particular bet, this was a case of six winning 10-cent superfecta tickets that paid about $4,031. For a 10-cent bet, there were a number of superfecta players who walked away quite happy on Jan. 30 at Delta.

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Commonly Used Gambling Terms

Account wagering – Betting by internet or phone, in which a bettor must open an account and deposit money with which to bet.

Across the board – A bet on a horse to win, place and show. If the horse wins, the player collects three ways; if second, two ways; and if third, one way, losing the win and place bets. Actually, three bets.

Bounce – An especially poor performance on the heels of an especially good one.

Box – A betting term denoting a combination bet whereby all possible numeric combinations are covered for certain horses.

Bridge jumper – A person who wagers large amounts of money, usually on short- priced horses to show, hoping to realize a small but almost certain profit. The term comes from the structure those bettors may seek if they lose the bet.

Chalk – Betting favorite in a race.

Chalk player – Gambler who wagers on favorites.

Daily Double (or Double) – Type of bet calling for the selection of winners of two consecutive races.

Exacta – A wager in which the first two finishers in a race, in exact order of finish, must be picked.

Exacta box – A wager in which all possible combinations using a given number of horses are selected.

Exotic (bet) – Any bet other than win, place, or show that requires multiple combinations. Examples of exotic wagers are trifecta, Pick 6, Pick 4.

Handle – Amount of money wagered in the pari-mutuel system on a race, full day of races, or entire racing season at a track.

In the money – A horse that finishes first, second or third.

Key horse – A single horse used in multiple combinations in an exotic bet.

Morning line – The starting odds set by the track handicapper.

On the board – Finishing among the first three.

On the nose – Betting a horse to win only.

Overlay – A horse whose odds are greater than its potential to win.

Pari-mutuel – System of wagering where all the money is returned to the bettors after deduction of track and state percentages.

Parlay – A multi-race bet in which all winnings are subsequently wagered on a succeeding race.

Part wheel – Using a key horse or horses in different, but not all possible, exotic wagering combinations.

Pick (6 or other number) – A type of multi-race bet in which the winners of all the included races must be selected. Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, Pick 6 are commonly used by tracks in the United States.

Place bet – A bet on a horse to finish first or second.

Quinella - Bet in which the first two finishers must be picked in either order.

Show bet – A bet on a horse to finish in the money; third or better.

Speed Figure – A metric that rates a horse’s performance in a race, which is determined by a combination of the horse’s performance and the level of competition he/she competed against.

Trifecta – A bet in which the first three finishers must be selected in exact order.

Trifecta box – A trifecta wager in which all possible combinations using a given number of horses are bet upon.

Underlay – Horse whose odds are more promising than his potential to win.

Win – A bet on a horse to finish first.

Wheel – Betting all possible combinations in an exotic wager using at least one horse as the key.

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Mike Curry

A native of Philadelphia who grew up in nearby Wilmington, Del., Curry was editor of Thoroughbred Times TODAY before joining the America's Best Racing team in May 2012. He credits his grandfather for the inspiration to repeatedly sneak off to Delaware Park as a 16-year-old and the 1989 rivalry between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer for his passion for horse racing. Curry graduated from the University of Delaware in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a concentration in Journalism. He worked for the Wilmington News Journal and was Sports Editor of the Cecil Whig before moving to Lexington in 2005.

Image Description

Mike Curry

A native of Philadelphia who grew up in nearby Wilmington, Del., Curry was editor of Thoroughbred Times TODAY before joining the America's Best Racing team in May 2012. He credits his grandfather for the inspiration to repeatedly sneak off to Delaware Park as a 16-year-old and the 1989 rivalry between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer for his passion for horse racing. Curry graduated from the University of Delaware in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a concentration in Journalism. He worked for the Wilmington News Journal and was Sports Editor of the Cecil Whig before moving to Lexington in 2005.

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