Photo by Eclipse Sportswire
There are not many races in which the favorite wins and the exacta pays $340.
Then again, the Kentucky Derby is not exactly the Friday feature at Beulah Downs.
For the second year in a row, the combination of a victorious favorite and a 30-1 runner-up led to the kind of exacta payoff that rolls around only on the first Saturday.
It was dramatically lower than the monstrous 2013 mutuel, but California Chrome was a significantly stronger favorite than Orb.
Still, a betting lesson about the Derby was reinforced through the presence of another seemingly unfathomable finisher in the trifecta.
Yes, another - and there's more to it than just last year.
This year marked the 18th Derby in the last 34 years in which a horse at 20-1 odds or more has finished either first, second or third.
Of course, tabbing the right fast and fit 20- or 30-1 shot is a different story - which is why the “All” button remains a handicapper's best friend on Derby Day.
Using the All button with California Chrome took all of the risk out of wondering who would finish second and turned an $18 investment into $170, which far exceeded the $63 an $18 win bet would have returned.
A year ago, the same $18 wheel with Orb on top returned $490.80.
It's a nice saver bet and it can also be twisted to hedge your bet.
For example, if you were sitting on a sizeable payoff with your Derby selection in a Pick 3 or Pick 4 it would be wise to use the All button to cover yourself with a wheel using your horse in the second position.
This way, if you have to suffer through the heartbreak of a runner-up finish, you can at least console yourself with a juicy exacta score.
It may not be the ideal strategy for a lot of races, but at least once a year it can come in handy.
THE LESSON: Wheeling your horse in an exotic bet like the exacta, even if it’s the favorite, can pay off handsomely at the Kentucky Derby.
KENTUCKY DERBY PAYOUTS
Courtesy of Equibase