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Jackpot High-5 Deserves Your Closer Examination

Arlington Park Communications | 03/24/2014 #

 Look Carefully, Opportunities Do Exist

 Arlington’s new Jackpot High-5 isn’t your old High Five, by a long shot.  But, like any new wager, it needed some time to become understood by the public.  And, it’s almost half-million-dollar carryover now demands that we understand it, and its opportunities.

Upon learning that the Jackpot High-5 can only be won in its entirety by a fan who has the only winning ticket, some fans have declared, “That’s a sucker bet and I’m not playing it.”  In fact, at my Arlington handicapping seminar last Saturday, a fan made that statement and I, in turn, asked him if he played the  lottery.  His answer was, “Yeah, five to ten bucks a week in quick picks, maybe more when the pot gets big.”  Somehow a 15% takeout is a sucker bet to him, while a 50% takeout is not.  Go figure.

Let’s review the rules.  The Jackpot High-5 is held on Arlington’s last race, every day.  It’s a basic $1 wager that requires you to pick the first five finishers, in order.  You can key, box, wheel.  There is a 15% takeout (very favorable when most multiple-horse wagers have a 25% takeout) and a carryover provision.  Simple enough, so far.

If you have the only good ticket for a day’s Jackpot High-5, you win the whole pot.

If there is more than one good ticket, here’s how it works.  First, the 15% takeout is applied.  Then the remaining 85% is split in two equal parts.  One half is carried over, and the other half is paid out as consolations to the fans holding good tickets.

Theoretical example.  Let’s say $100,000 is bet into the Jackpot High-5 on one day.  The takeout of $15,000 is extracted, and the remaining $85,000 is eligible for distribution.  Further assume that there is not a single winning ticket.  One half, or $42,500, is carried over, and $42,500 is paid out to the fans holding winning tickets.  We will further assume that there were 10 good tickets that day, so each ticket is worth $4,250.

There is a strong message here.  The consolation payoffs are worth going for!  The corollary to that message is, don’t limit your sights to the carryover.     

Real example #1.  On that same aforementioned last Saturday, we started the day with a Jackpot High-5 carryover of $379,387.  Naturally, with the carryover becoming increasingly attractive, the daily amount bet into the Jackpot High-5 increases, as well.  Last Saturday the amount bet in was $88,110.  There was not a single good ticket, there were three.  Each ticket holder won a cool $12,480.90.   

Real example #2.  My latest personal example illustrates how to quantify the results.  Last Wednesday I felt the Jackpot High-5 was worth going after because I could make a case for three long shots that, I felt, could finish in the top five.  Only one did, plus the two favorites ran 1-2 in order, so the payout was not huge:  $1,842.40.  However, my investment was only $80.  That means my return was 22-1.  I’ve bet more than $80 to win on a lot of horses going off at odds much less than that, so I consider 22-1 an attractive risk-reward ratio.  Plus, the net profit of $1,762.40 leaves me with a lot of “free” bullets for future Jackpot High-5 wagers.  

Last Monday an Arlington Park, and quite likely a state, record for a carryover pool was set when $152,943 was bet into that day’s Jackpot High-5.  Since there was no single winning ticket, the carryover for Wednesday (tomorrow) will be $487,066.  Will it be hit?  I don’t know about that, but I do know this:  you can’t win it unless you get in it!  If you handicap the race and think the risk-reward ratio is attractive, and you can possibly make a little money do a lot of work, join me.    

A fan asked yesterday, “What do you see as the likely outcome of this Jackpot High-5?  I envision four possible outcomes.

First, one day John Dooley comes on after the last race is official and announces, “Ladies and gentlemen, the Jackpot High-5 has been hit.”  Of course, in my vision the good ticket is in my pocket.  But it could just as easily be in yours.

Second, someone who hasn’t handicapped the race wins the Jackpot High-5 by betting names, colors, favorite numbers, kid’s ages, family birthdays, house numbers, phone numbers, the list goes on. 

Third, even more simply, someone wins it with a quick pick ticket.  You didn’t know that could be done?  Then you better get up to speed on our new tote machines since they offer a quick pick option.  That was my advice to the fellow who said he wouldn’t play the Jackpot High-5 but he does play the lottery with quick picks.

Fourth, the carryover continues and the Jackpot High-5 isn’t hit with a single ticket all meet.  Can you imagine what the final carryover pool would be, and what would be bet into it on that final day when there is a mandatory payout?

I doubt the latter will happen, although it remains a possibility.  By handicapping or by luck, the current Jackpot High-5 will be hit at some point, and we’ll start the process over again.

Personally, I will be in play anytime I handicap the last race and believe I can make a little money do a lot of work.  Even if I believe my horses and their combinations won’t make for the only wining ticket, I will play for the consolation if the risk/reward ratio is attractive.  I can take more 22-1 returns.


M. Scott McMannis

  • Handicapping Seminar and Contest Host, Arlington Park
  • Midwest Correspondent, The HorsePlayer Magazine
  • Owner and Publisher, The McMannis Speed Figure & Trip Note Service Newsletter,
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