Taking a look back at Mile Day you can’t get past the impressive performance of “Gold Rush Dancer” who crushed 11 other opponents in the 82nd running of the Northwest Classic. There were several other highlights from the track as well including the 3rd place finish of “Dedicated to You” in the Mile at 82-1, the 37-1 win from “B C Z Middleton” in the King County with 44-1 “My Heart Goes On” just missing 2nd place and maybe a record exacta pay-out.
“Citizen Kitty” the 2nd favorite in the Distaff wore down 16-1 “Little Dancer” to give trainer Jeff Metz back to back Stakes Wins. And in the 1st of four Stakes races the Pete Pedersen Overnight saw the odds on choice “Emmett Park” at 4-5 close with a rush to go from last at the top of the stretch to 1st.
We have established the racing action was great but how was it the betting action for the players? In a side note, I know many people look down at horse racing because of the betting and I say horse racing is and has been the only sport with the courage enough to admit placing a bet is a big part of sporting events. They not only welcomed wagering but encourage it, police it and make sure the outcome has no direct ties to those hosting the races. It’s interesting now how the other sports are beginning to publicly embrace that betting is part of the fun.
Ok back to Mile Day and betting, I am only going to focus on the 4 Stakes races. There was a special 3rd pick 4 offered for these races along with the usual pick 3’s, daily doubles, exactas, trifectas, superfectas and of course win, place and show bets.
Let’s start with the 1st Stakes race the Pete Pedersen, it was a field of 7 with the favorite Emmett Park at 4-5. Emmett Park did not disappoint and won paying $4.80, $2.80 and $2.20. Candy Ruby finished 2nd at 6-1, an overlay as he was 3-1 morning line and returned $6.20 and $4 and 2nd favorite Blame It On Royce was 3rd paying $2.60 to show. The exotics were consistent with an odds-on choice winning with a $13 exacta, $19 50-cent trifecta and $13 10-cent superfecta. This beginning was hardly something to get too excited about as a player but it played a big part in kicking off the vertical bets (DD, P3 & P4) that began in this race.
In the 2nd Stakes, the King County, is where things would get interesting. The field of 9 only had 3 entries that ended up less than 10-1 which indicates any misstep could prove to see a big number come in and turn all the pay-offs upside down. That is exactly what happened when 37-1 B C Z Middleton slipped along the rail and got the win in a 3-horse blanket finish. The favorite at 9-5 was 2nd by a nose as a 44-1 shot just missed and the 5-2 2nd favorite finished 4th.
The pay-offs were big, if you liked the winner you were handsomely rewarded with $77 for the win, $25 to place and $12 to show. The 9-5 2nd place finisher paid well too, $4.40 to place and $3.40 to show while the 44-1 shot returned $11.60 to show.
Now here is where the “All” button comes into play, let’s start with the horizontal exotics. The exacta paid $148.40. It would have cost you $48 for a $1 Exacta box taking the top 3 favorites and boxing them with the field. This would be a $100 profit. If you wanted to go with just the top 2 your investment would have been $32 and just the favorite $16 which would have been a $132 profit.
Here’s where it starts to get interesting with the trifecta. To box the 3 favorites with the field the cost was $252. Had you gambled the $252 your reward was a $1,079.60 return for a $827 profit. If you had boxed the top 2 your bet would have been $168 and boxing the favorite with the field was a $84 bet and your return $995!
Now in a 10-cent Superfecta the cost to box the field with the top 3 favorites was $403.20. The bet is big but would have paid off with an $821 return for a $417 gain. Box the top 2 and your bet is down to $268.80 and boxing just the favorite is $134.40 for a $687 profit.
The Daily Double with the 4-5 shot in the 5th to the 37-1 paid $74. For $9 you could have had this one by betting the 4-5 shot with All.
On to the 7th race the Distaff with a field of 10. The Distaff has a big history of low price winners with 13 of the 21 Distaff races going to horses at odds of 5-2 or less. That trend again held true with the 2nd favorite Citizen Kitty winning at 5-2. That was followed by a 16-1, 12-1 and the 3-2 fav placing 4th.
The traditional pays were again good with the winner returning $7.80, $4.20 and $3.60 to show. The 2nd place horse Little Dancer paid $10.80 and $6 and the show horse returned $7.20. The exacta paid $35.30, 50-cent Tri $175 and 10-cent Super $128, all good pay-offs on the minimal bets.
The $1 Daily Double, again very gettable by going all with the top 2 favorites would have cost you $18 to bet and returned $200. The 50-cent Pick 3 also appeared to look like a great play here with the 4-5 to All to the top 2 would have cost you $9 to bet. However, someone looks like they hammered this bet which should have paid more than $300 or at least as much as the daily double instead paid just $95. Still a good return but disappointing with a 37-1 shot in the mix.
Now on to the Mile where there were no surprises with the top 2 favorites finishing 1st and 2nd. The surprise was an 82-1 shot finishing 3rd with a 9-1 4th. The win, place and show pays were solid at $8.20, $4.20 & $3.80 for the winner Gold Rush Dancer, Mach One Rules paid $4.40 and $3.60 and the 82-1 show paid $16.20.
The exacta of the 2 fav’s paid reasonably well at $18.30 but the trifecta came back with a big $287 considering the top 2 fav’s were 1-2. To box the top 2 with the top 6 with All was a $50 bet. Take the top 2 with the top 4 with All was a $30 bet and instead of a $1 exacta box for $2 of the 2 favorites, you could have spent $10 to box the top 2 to run 1st and 2nd with the field and profit $277 instead of $16. The 10-cent super was also good paying $297. A 10-cent super bet of the top 2 with the top 2 with All with All would have cost you $90 for more than a $200 profit.
But it was the Pick 3 and Pick 4 that were huge with the right betting strategy. The 50-cent Pick 3 paid $453. Betting All with the top 2 that were 5-2 or less in the Distaff and then the top 6 favorites would have been $54 for a $399 profit. Going All with top 2 with the top 2 would have been just a $18 wager.
Now the All-Stakes Pick 4 with just a 15% take out by the track and nearly a pool of 89k returned an eye-catching $1,353. Remember that Pick 3 from the 5th thru the 7th that only paid $95? Look what would have happened for those to turn that bet into a Pick 4.
I had a friend who bet that low pick 3 and he did it right he bet $1 and singled the 4-5 in the 5th, went All in the 6th getting that 37-1 shot and then he singled the 5-2 shot in the 7th and got back $190. If he had simply added the top 2 in the mile in a 50-cent pick 4 his wager would have been the exact same $9 but instead of collecting $190 he would have had to sign for the $1,353. If he was sold on those 2 singles and went all in the other 2 races it was just a $54 investment.
That is a best case scenario but lets say you bet the 2 favorites in the 7th then your bet would have been $18. Or bet the single to all to top 2 to top 6 in the Mile and it was a $54 bet and $108 if you went All in the Mile.
This all looks easy but this is why horse racing like golf is a sport that no one can ever master. Not only do you have to pick the horse or horses you then have to try and figure out how to best make the most money. In this case it was key to identify that the 6th race was your best chance at an “All” race where the favorites had plenty of question marks and set up a race ripe for a big upset. You also had to have confidence in the 4-5 favorite that kicked off the pick 4. The Distaff’s history really stayed true and was easy to pare down to the top 2 and in the Mile I think going 2-6 deep was reasonable and likely where the winner would come from.
Congratulations to all those who figured this out and collected on big tickets. If you missed just remember there will be many other opportunities to find that winning combination.