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Blog - GAMBLING

Breaking the Bank - featuring data courtesy of Equibase - highlights the biggest scores of the past week in racing. (Photo by Penelope P. Miller/America's Best Racing)

Plenty of opportunities for massive scores were out there last week for gamblers with a good eye for longshots, particularly on Saturday or at Keeneland Race Course.

Saturday was a big day for light-up-the-toteboard payouts, including one life-changing (depending on your financial situation, I suppose, but definitely from my perspective) Pick 5 at Keeneland, which is where we’ll start.

The late Pick 5, which featured Races 6-10, at Keeneland for the April 19 Coolmore Lexington Stakes card returned an eye-opening $160,712.55 for a 50-cent wager. Alert handicappers who identified that the main track was quite kind to horses on or near the lead would certainly have benefitted when trying to find the solution to this late Pick 5 sequence, but finding the winner of the opener probably required instinct over analysis.

Often the key to a huge payout is a longshot winning the opening leg and knocking out about 80-percent of the tickets in the pool, and that’s exactly what happened at Keeneland on April 19 when Hot Hot Heat won Race 6 at 40.20-to-1 odds by leading from start to finish.

Hot Hot Heat would have been tough to identify as a speed threat given he raced in about midpack in his only previous start and faded badly to finish last of 11 on January at Fair Grounds. A couple of possible hints were available to the bettor, however, including a solid workout leading into his first start in four months that ranked second of 30 at the distance. Another was simply his trainer Al Stall Jr., best known as the trainer of Breeders’ Cup Classic winner and champion Blame, having the confidence to bring him back off the long layoff at the competitive Keeneland meet for his second race.

Had you guessed that Hot Hot Heat might show more speed in his second start and improve with some additional work in the mornings with an outstanding trainer, you might have had the key to connecting on the opening leg of a lucrative Pick 5.

The next three legs – Races 7-9 – were won by familiar connections.

Lael Stables, which owned and bred Barbaro, won the Giant’s Causeway Stakes on the turf with 8.20-to-1 Ageless; trainer Kenny McPeek, a familiar face in the Keeneland winner’s circle, took down the Ben Ali Stakes on the main track with 5.60-to-1 Frac Daddy, who pressed the pace from second; and Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey won the Lexington with 2.10-to-1 favorite Mr Speaker, who stalked the pace and unleashed a powerful bid entering the stretch to win easily.

Cassie’s Harbor at 16.60-to-1 odds anchored this $160,712.55 Pick 5. After finishing last in her career debut in February at Santa Anita Park, the 4-year-old mare improved when fourth, beaten by less than two lengths, on March 30 at Turfway Park at the same $20,000 maiden claiming conditions but stretching out from six furlongs to 1 1/16 miles.

This was a tough sequence but one lucky gambler walked out of Keeneland (or logged in to his/her advance-deposit-wagering account) significantly richer than they had been about three hours before.

Click Here for Equibase Charts from April 19 at Keeneland

Top Payouts for the Week Ended April 20
Wager  Wager Amount   Payoff  Track Date Race#
Win  $2.00  $166.60 EVD 4/17/14 1
Place  $2.00  $51.60 EVD 4/17/14 1
Show  $2.00  $59.20 PRX 4/14/14 1
Exacta  $1.00  $434.60 GG 4/18/14 3
Exacta  $2.00  $5,779.40 EVD 4/19/14 7
Quinella  $1.00  $43.70 TUP 4/19/14 4
Quinella  $2.00  $386.20 WRD 4/14/14 6
Trifecta  $1.00  $2,719.20 SUN 4/15/14 11
Trifecta  $2.00  $28,643.40 EVD 4/19/14 7
Superfecta  $0.10  $2,178.90 GP 4/18/14 8
Superfecta  $1.00  $16,064.10 SUN 4/15/14 11
Superfecta  $2.00  $62,538.40 KEE 4/19/14 10
Daily Double  $1.00  $118.80 TUP 4/14/14 2
Daily Double  $2.00  $3,271.80 EVD 4/19/14 7
Pick 3  $0.50  $572.50 BEU 4/19/14 8
Pick 3  $1.00  $3,410.70 GG 4/18/14 4
Pick 3  $2.00  $48,698.00 CT 4/19/14 14
Pick 4  $0.50  $12,973.35 EVD 4/19/14 10
Pick 4  $1.00  $29,399.20 GG 4/18/14 5
Pick 4  $2.00  $11,946.60 HAW 4/19/14 10
Pick 5  $0.50  $160,712.55 KEE 4/19/14 10
Pick 5  $1.00  $41,327.00 TAM 4/16/14 9
Pick 5  $2.00  $9,632.00 AQU 4/19/14 5
Pick 5 Jackpot  $0.50  $4,000.00 FON 4/18/14 9
Pick 6  $1.00  $405.10 LS 4/18/14 9
Pick 6  $2.00  $51,540.20 SA 4/19/14 9
Pick 6 Jackpot  $0.10  $19,014.15 CRC 4/19/14 8
Pick 6 Jackpot  $0.20  $14,020.14 GP 4/19/14 9
Pick 6 Jackpot  $1.00  $460.70 SUN 4/15/14 11
Super High Five  $1.00  $89,455.60 KEE 4/18/14 10
Super High Five  $2.00  $5,100.60 MNR 4/19/14 9
Click here for a complete list of racetracks with abbreviations.

© 2014 Equibase Company LLC, all rights reserved. Data provided or compiled by Equibase Company LLC generally is accurate, but occasionally errors and omissions occur as a result of incorrect data received by others, mistakes in processing and other causes. Equibase Company LLC disclaims responsibility for the consequences, if any, of such errors, but would appreciate their being called to their attention.  

Before we jump to a couple of other big payouts from Saturday, let’s stay at Keeneland for the Super High 5 that closed the April 18 card. There was a small carryover from the day before when nobody correctly selected the top five finishers in order, but a pair of longshots in the top five combined with the 5-to-2 favorite finishing ninth triggered an $89,455.80 return for a $1 wager. There was less than that payout in the pool, even with the carryover, so we can surmise that the winning ticket was a 50-cent minimum bet that paid $44,727.80.

Returning to April 19, a fantastic night of racing at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, headlined by the $1.5-million Charles Town Classic Stakes, closed with a $2 Pick 3 that paid $48,698.00. That is a monster payout for a Pick 3 for a sequence that started with the Charles Town Classic, although it should be noted that with less than that in the pool this was very likely a $1 Pick 3 that paid $24,349 or even a couple of winning 50-cent tickets. Avid racing fans know there is a very good reason for the fireworks. Game On Dude was sent off as the 3-to-5 in the race but he could not match strides with 26.50-to-1 longshot Imperative in the stretch. Race 13 featured another heavy favorite tasting defeat at 9-to-5 Pepper Bay was caught at the finish line by 12.40-to-1 longshot Pepper Bow. Yet another longshot capped the Pick 3 as 18-to-1 Cry to Kat’s Me won the final race on the card.

The seventh race at Evangeline Downs on April 19 was also a great source of big returns on investment. Considering the race was won by 56-to-1 longshot Don’t Play Tricks with 59.80-to-1 bomb Surge of Luck second, it’s no surprise that a $2 exacta paid $5,799.40 and a $2 trifecta returned $28,643.40. My guess is one of the lucky bettors who had a winning exacta ticket might also have had the trifecta, in which case drinks were on him/her!

The massive carryover for the elusive Rainbow 6 continued on Sunday with $5,448,255 up for grabs on Friday at Gulfstream Park. The Rainbow Pick 6, which has not had a unique winner since Jan. 10, continues with Friday’s card at Gulfstream. The Rainbow 6 will be comprised of Races 3-8 with post time for the third race scheduled for 2:27 p.m. ET.

Good luck!

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Commonly Used Gambling Terms

Account wagering – Betting by internet or phone, in which a bettor must open an account and deposit money with which to bet.

Across the board – A bet on a horse to win, place and show. If the horse wins, the player collects three ways; if second, two ways; and if third, one way, losing the win and place bets. Actually, three bets.

Bounce – An especially poor performance on the heels of an especially good one.

Box – A betting term denoting a combination bet whereby all possible numeric combinations are covered for certain horses.

Bridge jumper – A person who wagers large amounts of money, usually on short- priced horses to show, hoping to realize a small but almost certain profit. The term comes from the structure those bettors may seek if they lose the bet.

Chalk – Betting favorite in a race.

Chalk player – Gambler who wagers on favorites.

Daily Double (or Double) – Type of bet calling for the selection of winners of two consecutive races.

Exacta – A wager in which the first two finishers in a race, in exact order of finish, must be picked.

Exacta box – A wager in which all possible combinations using a given number of horses are selected.

Exotic (bet) – Any bet other than win, place, or show that requires multiple combinations. Examples of exotic wagers are trifecta, Pick 6, Pick 4.

Handle – Amount of money wagered in the pari-mutuel system on a race, full day of races, or entire racing season at a track.

In the money – A horse that finishes first, second or third.

Key horse – A single horse used in multiple combinations in an exotic bet.

Morning line – The starting odds set by the track handicapper.

On the board – Finishing among the first three.

On the nose – Betting a horse to win only.

Overlay – A horse whose odds are greater than its potential to win.

Pari-mutuel – System of wagering where all the money is returned to the bettors after deduction of track and state percentages.

Parlay – A multi-race bet in which all winnings are subsequently wagered on a succeeding race.

Part wheel – Using a key horse or horses in different, but not all possible, exotic wagering combinations.

Pick (6 or other number) – A type of multi-race bet in which the winners of all the included races must be selected. Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, Pick 6 are commonly used by tracks in the United States.

Place bet – A bet on a horse to finish first or second.

Quinella - Bet in which the first two finishers must be picked in either order.

Show bet – A bet on a horse to finish in the money; third or better.

Speed Figure – A metric that rates a horse’s performance in a race, which is determined by a combination of the horse’s performance and the level of competition he/she competed against.

Trifecta – A bet in which the first three finishers must be selected in exact order.

Trifecta box – A trifecta wager in which all possible combinations using a given number of horses are bet upon.

Underlay – Horse whose odds are more promising than his potential to win.

Win – A bet on a horse to finish first.

Wheel – Betting all possible combinations in an exotic wager using at least one horse as the key.

Image Description

Mike Curry

A native of Philadelphia who grew up in nearby Wilmington, Del., Curry was editor of Thoroughbred Times TODAY before joining the America's Best Racing team in May 2012. He credits his grandfather for the inspiration to repeatedly sneak off to Delaware Park as a 16-year-old and the 1989 rivalry between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer for his passion for horse racing. Curry graduated from the University of Delaware in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a concentration in Journalism. He worked for the Wilmington News Journal and was Sports Editor of the Cecil Whig before moving to Lexington in 2005.

Image Description

Mike Curry

A native of Philadelphia who grew up in nearby Wilmington, Del., Curry was editor of Thoroughbred Times TODAY before joining the America's Best Racing team in May 2012. He credits his grandfather for the inspiration to repeatedly sneak off to Delaware Park as a 16-year-old and the 1989 rivalry between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer for his passion for horse racing. Curry graduated from the University of Delaware in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a concentration in Journalism. He worked for the Wilmington News Journal and was Sports Editor of the Cecil Whig before moving to Lexington in 2005.

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