Joe and Brian Answer Your Facebook Questions - Vol. 10

By Joe Kristufek and Brian W. Spencer

Every Monday on the Arlington Park Facebook page,'s Brian W. Spencer and Joe Kristufek will field questions in the morning, and provide answers in the afternoon. No matter how simple, or how complex, every question is a good question. We look forward to your participation.

What do I look for in the racing guide to see if a horse is using leg wraps or other devices? Especially if first time user of device... - Eric P.

Joe Kristufek:
In regards to "front wraps," the area with a horse's past performances where you find the ‘L' for Lasix and ‘b' for Blinkers is also where you'll find the ‘f' for Front Wraps. The only way you can tell if a horse is wearing front wraps (on a given day) is to watch them in the flesh, specifically in the post parade. Note which horses are wearing front wraps and look to your program to see if they were wearing them last time. In addition, if a horse that WAS wearing front bandages is no longer, that could be viewed as a positive sign. At the bottom of the past performance lines of the last horse in every race, you will see the equipment changes -- 1st Lasix, blinkers on/off -- which are also potentially important in your handicapping.

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I would like to ask Joe and Brian how they would gauge Debussy's performance in the Million - he's likely going into the Breeders' Cup; do you think he is a contender? - Jen J.

Brian W. Spencer: Debussy was a bit of a "second-stringer" coming into the Million, but second-string Euros can do some serious damage against our top turf horses. Before the Million, I'd never have considered Debussy a player in the Breeders' Cup Turf, but he does great work on courses with left-hand turns, and if I see a horse produce a wild turn of foot like that (and to be honest, that was a nearly unbelievable turn of foot he displayed....I'm still wowed by it two weeks later!), I'm not too inclined to think that there is much of anything he CAN'T do. Would 12 furlongs be his best? His history tells us that it may not be his best trip, and that 10 furlongs is where he does his best work. But his history also told us that he probably was a cut below the best other Euros who came over for the Million, and we all know what he did to them! Long story short, I was very, very impressed with him on Million Day and wouldn't put a Breeders' Cup Turf score past him.

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My question is if playing the races on a Monday vs. Saturday with bigger pools does this mean bigger payouts for example lets just say the exact same odds come in on a Monday as a Saturday or Sunday, would that trifecta or exacta pay more on the weekend then on a Monday? - Scott R.

Brian W. Spencer: The odds you see on the board will pay the same no matter what. A 3-1 horse will pay $8 every day of the week. As for exotics pools, it's key to remember that all wagering is pari-mutuel, meaning we're all betting amongst ourselves. So, regardless of the size of the pools as a whole, the main factor is how many winning tickets there are. If 10 people are holding winning tickets in a $1,000 Trifecta pool (after takeout), that's going to pay $100 apiece, just the same as if 100 people are holding winning tickets in a $10,000 Trifecta pool. The more money in the pool, the more possible winners there are out there, so it's something of a crapshoot on any day of the week. Sometimes obscure combinations pay less than you'd think they would, and other times logical combinations pay more than you'd think they would -- and that's all just a function of determining how many winning tickets there are on any given exotic wager.

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In analyzing the result charts, I find plenty of horses with front wraps that win races. Traditional handicapping tells you to stay away from horses with front bandages. What gives? - Chris S.

Joe Kristufek: Sure, horses win with front wraps all the time - particularly the cheaper, veteran claimers with lots of miles on them. The addition of front wraps isn't always a negative sign, but it can be for a younger horse, or potentially when a horse is adding them for the first time off a layoff. Like any "angle" we use, it doesn't work every time, but it is something you should pay attention to before arriving at your final decisions.  

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My question is when there is an entry and they run first and second why does the third-place horse only have a show price and not a place price same for the 3rd place horse there is NO show price please explain and is this the rule for every state or just IL? - Scott R.

Brian W. Spencer: That is the rule in every state, as far as I know, as I've never seen it done a different way. Essentially, a place bet only pays on the first- and second-place finishers, so when those spots are occupied by the same betting interest, they are the only ones that pay on a place wager, as you noted. On occasion, when a heavily favored entry runs 1-2, the place price will even be higher than the win price.

Obviously, in exotics, the rules change a bit because any time you wager on an entry, you get both parts of it, so they can't actually pay a Trifecta 1-3-1a, because that's only TWO betting interests for a wager that pays out on three actual placings. In that case, they would move down to the fourth-place finisher, which is a bit more along the lines of the way you were looking at it in your original question.

Those rules, for both WPS pools and exotics are standard at any track around the country -- I've never seen it done differently.