Joe and Brian Answer Your Facebook Questions - Volume 7

By Joe Kristufek and Brian W. Spencer

When betting "gimmick" bets what is your strategy for Trifectas and Pick 3/4. Do you try to KEY a favorite, or maybe KEY a longer shot. How much do you box, do you do any cover yourself bets, like keying the favorite (even though you do not like it) over the 3 or 4 you do like. I don't want to spend $60 to win $65.  - Jim D.

Brian W. Spencer: Remember that while favorites are winning about 37% of the races at Arlington this summer, all a favorite is is a horse that the general public seems to like more than the others. The key when trying to find "key" horses is to find a horse that YOU like. If you've got an excellent feeling about a horse, don't let the wagering public deter you - the public is wrong 2/3 of the time when wagering on favorites. One of my favorite wagers, and one that we teach at every Learn to Win seminar, is the Exacta part-wheel. If you like a couple of horses, key them on top and then spread with some more runners in the 2nd spot to give yourself more coverage.

Something like 1,2 with 1,2,5,6 works quite well, and for a base $1 bet, only costs $6. Naturally, you can add more horses in either spot if you don't have as strong of an opinion or want to try to catch a longer shot in 2nd, or just increase the base wager if you're looking to try to make a bit more money by spending a bit more.

In the end, I'm only a fan of "covering" myself with other wagers if I'm live to a big payoff in a multi-race wager like the Pick-4. If my live horses in the final leg are paying well, then I'll back up some of the other runners with win bets or Exactas to try to make it so that even if I lose the Pick-4, I'll still get my money back. I am unequivocally NOT a fan of covering myself by playing the favorite over the horses I like just because the horse is the favorite. If I don't like the horse, I'm not using the horse, regardless of what the rest of the public thinks about it. Bad favorites show up every day at Arlington and at tracks around the country. If you really DO like the favorite but think he/she can be beat, then perhaps a backup like that makes sense, but I'd highly recommend against doing that just for the sake of doing that, because then you're letting the public's opinion dictate what you do with your money, rather than your opinion.

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1. On the tote board it'll say how many dollars are in a given pool (i.e. win pool, place pool, pick 4 etc). For example it'll say Win Pool: $24,000. Is that the total number of dollars wagered or is that the dollars in the pool after the takeout? 2. Are there any tracks with a place pick 9 format similar to Arlington? A lot of the California tracks (which are the ones really known for the place pick 9/all) have it set as a mandatory payout every day and they don't pay a consolation payout if someone goes 9 for 9 or all for all?  - Tyler T.

Joe Kristufek: 1.) On the toteboard, the win, place and show pools are displayed. These figures represent the total dollars wagered in each pool before takeout. At Arlington, and most tracks in fact, there is a 17% takeout on the WPS pools, which is lower than the 25% "take" on most gimmick wagers.

The Place Pick All is quite popular in California. There are a couple of reasons why they pay daily instead of employing a carryover. First of all, on many occasions they will only offer eight races on a card. If it were a Place Pick Nine, the wager either A) wouldn't be offered on eight-race days, or B) it would be easier to hit with only eight races, and thus unfair to those who contributed to the pool when there were nine. Also, the pools are MUCH larger in California. I am a HUGE fan of the Place Pick Nine, but the pools aren't huge in Illinois, therefore it is better to pay a consolation, and let the pool potentially grow to where there is an attractive jackpot.

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Why did the Illinois Racing Board decide you couldn't bet certain tracks (All California and New York tracks) online via Twinspires?  - James O.

Joe Kristufek: I received this response directly from Arlington Park management: "Until this new rule went into effect, all ADW providers in Illinois had access to all available content at market rates based on contracts agreed to by the tracks and the horsemen. However, this new Illinois Racing Board rule, which was opposed by both Arlington and the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, caps the amount the ADWs can pay to receive out-of-state signals at 5%. The ADW providers went back to the sending tracks and horsemen to see if they would continue to provide their signal to Illinois residents at this lower rate, and the tracks and horsemen in those states said they would not provide the signal for less than the previous rates, so this is not out of state tracks and horsemen raising their rates for Illinois ADWs, they are simply not willing to reduce their rates from what was already being paid. At this time, Illinois residents still have access to premium content from these out-of-state tracks at all racetracks and OTBs in Illinois. In addition, if you can continue to access funds from your twinspires.com account on-track or at a Trackside OTB to wager on those tracks from these facilities."