One Race at a Time

I have been in the game a long time. Before pick 6’s, pick 4, and pick 5’s. I see horses running today and remember the names from the past. Yes, some names get recycled. I don’t only remember the sire and dam, often I remember the sire’s sire and the dam’s sire. Choices of wagers were limited. One daily double. One triple on the last race. No pick 3’s. It was one race at a time for the most part.

There was no simulcasting, no ADW’s so along with your limited wagering opportunities came being limited to just your home track where you likely had to physically be in order to bet. There have always been ways around that with bookies and horse rooms, but the average player was limited.

Crowds were big and fields were often full. I don’t know we are better off as an industry today. Likely we are not but that’s a discussion for another day.

One race at a time. As someone who played primarily pick 6’s for a long time, and then pick 4’s and 5’s, I find it interesting I often gravitate to making my larger wagers in just one race bets.

I like win and exacta and triples and supers loading up on one horse on top in the win slot. I don’t reverse or hedge. The old saying you can beat a race but not the races, is as true today as ever. More so probably. Keep in mind this is coming from a long time multi race player who played for a living and beat the game for a long time.

Most of the talking heads encourage pick 4’s and multi race wagers until they and you are blue in the face. They don’t care if you win, and probably are not even betting what they are suggesting you do. They just want you to bet to drive up the handle and keep their jobs. They tout the pick 4’s and multi race bets because people like those and the nice hits they can produce. We all like a nice low takeout pick 5 every now and then and we should. What they and most of the industry won’t talk about publicly is how the game has eroded and become harder to have a “fair” shot in these bets. I assure you it has.

The 50 cent and 20 cent minimums are price killers. You either understand that or you don’t. That’s not what I am going to point out today however, it’s just a contributing factor. The issue with these bets is it exposes the player to becoming a victim of shenanigans. Yes, shenanigans and there are plenty of them.

First you increase your chances of getting hosed by a three blind mice inconsistent stewards decision. You may get DQ’ed. Someone may get left up. The ways are almost endless. This is far from the worst of it though.

When you play multi race bets there are more chances you become the victim of cheating. Sadly, cheating is a part of the game any serious player must contemplate and deal with. Players have to, the industry doesn’t. Their philosophy that the bettor, their customer is a degenerate who will show up and bet on anything they produce holds true more often than not.

How may times do we see a horse from a “suspect barn” who we may not like but have to use because they may be cheating? Do you ever think about what that does to a bottom line at the end of a meet or year? How many times babe you lost to a head scratcher that just made no kind of sense? Some low percentage barns run horses into shape and the form reflects bad form until they are “ready.” The trainer may know, you don’t and who knows if the owner does or doesn’t. Some barns don’t “go” until it is betting day. Care to guess how many of those you have used and thrown money away on?

Believe it or not, get it or don’t this is just the tip of the iceberg. My point is not to expose all the stuff that goes on in the Sport of Kings, not today anyway, it is simply to point out the advantage of one race at a time.

I still go multi race on occasion, even what some would call often. The big plays though focus more than since way back when on that one race score.

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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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