Singling, it is the key to making big scores in multi-race wagers. That is my opinion anyway. Additionally, I have made most of my large multi-race scores using a single. Sometimes two.

Finding the right single is somewhat of an art. It is not as simple as it seems at first look.

The other day on the network coverage of races from Saratoga one of the analysts picked a 3-5 shot to win and indicated the horse would be a single for them. The horse won and the entire team congratulated the analyst on a great single. I beg to differ.

Now I realize it is tough to argue against a winning horse at any price and that is not what I’m doing. A great single in the sequence however, well not so much.

A horse that goes off 3-5 is usually not a great single win or lose. You don’t want your single to be the same as most people in the pool. That puts you in a position somewhat behind the eight ball. A key in multi-race wagers is finding a single that is not the single everyone is banking on. You won’t be able to do it every time, but beating the popular single is a key to making a score in a multi-race bet.

Sometimes there is a short price horse you just don’t see losing and they are in a sequence you want to go after. You can single that horse, and if it wins great, you did what you had to do but it is not a “great single.” When that happens, I almost always try and find another single that is not popular or at least definitely not the favorite. If that one wins it is a great single because now, I have the room to go deep enough in all the other legs to potentially make something happen and create a lot of separation from the field.

Those that play cowboy style tickets as they are often called, for example a 50-cent pick 5 that costs like $1500 will make some nice hits. Over time they are destined to lose. Why anyone would play a style that is destined to lose over time is beyond me.

Singling horses who are not favorites takes guts and is not for everyone. This game is not for the faint of heart. I have often said you have to be willing to cash less tickets to win more money.

Ticket structure and money management are as important as handicapping. Maybe more so. Singles should be embraced by the savvy player. They keep the red column less, and when they win, they raise the black column. That is what it is all about if you treat it like an investment or business.

The free square philosophy is also one that is destined to lose over time. There is no such thing as a free square unless we go back to Spectacular Bid’s walkover in The Woodward I believe. There were not any pick 4’s, 5’s, or 6’s back then. Favorites win at best a third of the time over the course of a meet so that pretty much negates the free square theory.

I once heard another TV racing analyst say singles are not the way to make big scores in multi-race bets. I whole heartedly disagree. They are the only way unless you are a billionaire trying to become a millionaire. Of course, they 20 cent jackpot pick 6’s and the CAW players are entirely different animals. That said, the best way to beat a CAW player is with a single when they are 10 deep.

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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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