Boxing is for Presents Not Wagers

If you read Past the Wire, watch Past the Wire TV, listen to our Gate to Wire podcast, read my column here, or follow me on social media then you likely already know I do not make any box wagers. In the long haul I believe they are a losing proposition.

No matter how good a handicapper you may be if you do not bet smart, and manage your money well, you’ll never beat this game.

Making smart bets is something you can learn to do. You have to have patience and discipline and understand you’re playing a marathon and not a sprint.

Any wager you make you should feel good about. If you don’t my suggestion would be don’t make it. Making a nice return on your investment that you think is fair or more based on the percentage you believe it has of winning should make you feel good.

There are plenty of obstacles against your success in horse racing. Adding more on your own is just not a smart move. Boxing adds obstacles and I’ll explain.

You are already playing against the other players, the take-out, let alone the intangibles. If you box three horses in say an exacta it will cost you six dollars. You have created an additional obstacle to overcome. You are starting with 5 losing wagers. This is not a pick 4,5, or 6 where you might have room to spread and absorb the losing bets associated with a sizeable investment. This is a one race deal, and you have put yourself in position to play from behind. In the long run they will devour you if you continue to play that way.

Sure, there will be times you hit a big number because you used nice price horses and clicked. If you play it how I will suggest that will still happen on occasion, likely almost as often, and you will win a lot more money over time. Winning more and losing less is what it is all about and there is nothing wrong with cashing less tickets but winning more money. Boxing more than three horses only digs a deeper hole to climb out of.

If I have a race where I like three or four horses and want to play the exacta, I do not even consider a box. I’ll take one of the three and play my opinion. Instead of taking a $1 box and spending six dollars that way I will take two $3 dollar exactas with the horse I chose on top of the other two. Pure and simple. Yes, I will probably cash less tickets this way, but when I win, I will win more money having it three times as opposed to one. When a box player connects, they usually have the combination once or for an equal denomination as the other 5 losing wagers. I only have one losing wager and the correct number three times. I’ll take that in the long run any day of the week.

It is not the easiest structure to employ as it goes against our normal nature to want to cash more tickets not focused on how I win more money over time. You have to get past that mindset.

The same applies to reversing exactas. I seldom if ever reverse. I don’t play to hedge or protect; I play to win and make scores. When I am right pay me, and when I am wrong live to fight another day. If you adopt this way and are a good handicapper, you are on the way.

For angles, trip notes, horses to watch, a second set of eyes check out Tracking Trips. We will be piloting an algorithm program soon that can take your game to a new level.

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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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