The Sneak Attack

If you have been reading my columns here or at Past the Wire, then you already know a few things. I am fine with cashing less tickets but winning more money. I like to go for kill shots, ice cold wagers, hard singles, no reverse exactas, and of course, finding an edge.

Believe it or not, Kentucky Derby day is a day you can sometimes find an edge, and it may not be at Churchill Downs. Yes, those big pools and recreational and educated money can create some great opportunities, but just about every sharpie is paying close attention, and you are up against each one of them.

Last week I spoke about dutching and using it as a wagering tool in your arsenal. Today I’ll talk about another thing I do, the sneak attack.

While all eyes are focused on Louisville on the first Saturday in May, I always make sure to scan and study the other tracks I follow, looking for what will be missed opportunities for many. Over the years, I have found you will often find overlays and very generous returns on exotics due to the abundance of smart money being poured into the major races being run on those days.

Finding these plays and taking the time to search them out can give you a significant edge and create the chance for a score.

It just comes down to common sense. If all the sharpies are zeroed in on one track and pouring the bulk of their resources into it, then it stands to reason the competition elsewhere will be easier.

You can find bad favorites; they are often bad singles, and when you beat these horses you get paid. I have found generous exactas and other exotics by just taking that extra time to look where many people don’t take the time to look.

We all love when Breeders’ Cup and Kentucky Derby past performances come out early. We get to begin our work early and be prepared. I am no different, but I also like it because it ensures that I will have the time to scan the other tracks I play for those chances to find an edge or a spot to take a shot other players may miss.

All too often, we forget this is a pari-mutual game, and we are playing against each other. To be successful long term, you’ve got to find an edge or something that can separate you from the crowd. If the crowd is watching one track, there will be opportunities at another. If you can avoid a lot of smart money occasionally, in my opinion, it would be foolish not to take advantage of that.

On Kentucky Oaks and Derby day, Preakness day, Belmont day, the super Saturdays, both Breeders’ Cup days, you can rest assured there are scores to be taken down at other tracks a lot of people will miss. If they miss them and you hit them, the payouts are more. It is just that simple.

Yes, of course, I play and focus on the big days and make many of my bigger wagers there. The pools allow for it. That said, it doesn’t mean I won’t and don’t look for that edge you need long term wherever it may pop up.

In my opinion, there are no shortcuts to beating this game long term, something I was able to do for a long time. Work and patience are prerequisites to success. If you are not willing to put in the time, it is going to be difficult to come out ahead let alone make a living.

This next weekend will be a good chance to try out the sneak attack. Why not try some dutching also and see just what you can bring to the table to up your game.

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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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