Thoroughbred wagering systems and methods are a dime a dozen and most of them are worth even less. Each month the endlessly fun and entertaining Phillips Racing Newsletter publishes a few of the “good ones” but even these rarely hold up for very long. Oh, don’t get me wrong, they’re enjoyable to play and do remarkably well compared with the results of the average punter left to his own devices, but you aren’t likely to show a profit from them at the end of the year. Maybe there have been one or two exceptions over the years, ones that showed a slight profit, but that’s about all.
So imagine my surprise one day, while killing time between races, when I dreamed this one up out of the clear blue sky from way, way out in left field. As soon as it popped into my head I knew it could work. That is, I didn’t see any obvious flaws. After all, it was based on sound fundamentals and statistics of the game. And, it was very, very simple. Very few moving parts so to speak. So without wasting any more time, here it is, as Rod Serling would say, “submitted for your approval”.
OK, it’s based on the statistic that the public betting favorite wins the race close to 33% of the time. What, you mean like last year? Big deal. Nope. Since as long as they’ve been keeping records (approximately 100 years). This statistic holds up week after week, year after year, decade after decade, at every track throughout the world. Kind of spooky, but it’s absolutely true.
Now sure, some days the favorite will win only twice, or maybe even only once. Other days, the favorite will win 4 or 5 times. But it all evens out to 33%, 1 in 3. Check the stats at your own track. You’ll find it’s close to that figure. Some tracks run a little higher, some a little lower. But it’s always right around there.
OK, so what does this buy us? Are you saying we should just bet the favorite in every race and cash a third of our tickets and get rich? Oh, that would be nice. No, that won’t work. You see the problem with that approach is that you win a third of the time but that means that you lose two thirds of the time. So obviously in order to show a profit, you need to make more money when you win than you spend when you lose. Now sometimes favorites pay 5/2 or even 3/1 if you’re lucky, but most of the time they pay very little. In any event, this method has been proven to be a loser since the dawn of horse race betting.
Now another statistic of note is that in addition to the favorite winning 33% of the time, the 2nd betting favorite wins approximately 20% of the time. The 3rd betting favorite wins approximately 12% of the time. And the 4th betting favorite wins approximately 5% of the time.
Therefore, my approach makes use of these stats and works like this:
1. First, we bet the exacta, we don’t bet to win. (The exacta or perfecta as it is sometimes called is a bet that you win when you correctly select the 1st and 2nd place finishers in exact order.)
2. We bet the favorite on top of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th betting favorites.
You will generally hit 2 or 3 exactas per 9-race card. The operative word is “generally”. Sometimes you will hit zero. And sometimes you will hit 5. But the nice thing about this is when you do hit, you will usually make a decent score which more than makes up for your losers.
The basic method is pretty simple and straightforward but I have employed a few variations that have yielded fantastic results (though they do increase the risk somewhat).
Variation 1 is to make an additional bet to the one in the basic method – bet the 2nd favorite over the favorite. This allows you to catch those races where the two horses duke it out in the stretch and the 2nd favorite noses out the favorite (which happens a lot).
Variation 2 is to bet the favorite on top of the entire field. In other words, don’t just stop with the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th choices. Bet them all! Why would you make so many bets? Because every once in a while (once a day, or once every other day) you will hit a monster. Your favorite will run 1st and a 45-1 shot will somehow miraculously finish 2nd. And when that happens, and it will, oh happy day.
Go ahead, try this on paper for awhile. Just pick up your local race results newspaper or online and see how you would have done. It’s going to surprise you.