Summer Showdown strategy: the longer you go the easier it gets
Winning one show bet is easy (or at least it's the easiest bet to hit). Stringing them together is not.
But such is the task that awaits TwinSpires.com players looking to stake their claim at the $50,000 up for grabs in the Summer Showdown promotion that starts today with race 1 at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.
To win (or share) in each day's $1,500 prize, all you have to do is make a winning $10 show bet on every race of the card at the designated track (this week it's Del Mar, next week it'll be Saratoga; for a full schedule, click scheduled & results on this page).
If nobody picks 8 (or 9 or 10 or 11 or 12) then that day's $1,500 prize carries over into the next day. Each week is its own contest, meaning that Sundays are must-win days. If nobody runs the table during the week then Sunday's prize is $7,500 split among those who run the table or last the longest.
Each day's contest begins with race 1 at the designated track, and only your first $10 show wager counts, so you can't dutch or buy a race. Also--unlike Let 8 Ride--this is not a parlay contest, so if you advance to the next race be sure to do a $10 show bet on your selection before placing any other bets (i.e., you may want to parlay, and you can--just split your bets. E.g., you bet $10 to show on a horse who hits the board and pays $3.60 to show. If you want to "let it ride" by betting $18 on the next race first bet $10 to show then $8 to show).
The title of this post alludes to my strategy if I were able to compete for the $50,000 in prizes. There are two considerations when making a wager: The likelihood of something happening, and the price you get if it does.
Without the $1,500 (or more!) carrot each day, anyone wishing to bet $10 to show should do so on the horse s/he feels offers the best value in that pool, but adding a bonus for sweeping the card changes that dynamic somewhat.
The balance is that you are making live bets, so after your first bet you're -$10. If that initial bet pays $4 then you're +$10 and it's now "free" to play the rest of the day. If you cash two $3 payoffs then race 3 on is free, etc. For that reason, unless there is an absolute lock in the first couple-few races, I'm still betting the value, but once you're in a spot where you're up $10, going for the $1,500 (or more!) is more important than cashing value.
That's another riff on my Players Pool conundrum post from a few weeks ago: winning underlay or losing overlay. If you've hit nine show bets in a row today at Del Mar, I would hope you put your $10 on the horse most likely to hit the board--even if the value is terrible because the value for you isn't collecting that $2.20 payoff when it should be $3.00, but it's in hitting the $1,500 bonus.
Some have asked how I would play today's races. I'm not eligible for any additional prizes, but there's nothing wrong with hitting some $10 show bets, so I gave it a go. Below is my ABC grid for opening day at Del Mar plus an extra column labeled "SHOW" that indicates the horse I would use on day 1 of the $50k Summer Showdown.