The Truth About the Pick Three
Two decades later, Andrew Beyer realized how wrong this premise had been.
Beyer went on to say that Memorable Skier had finished out of the money (worse than third) in all of his nine career races against maiden competition and was now facing winners, which, under normal circumstances, would make the horse an instant toss for most handicappers.
“But his speed figures were competitive and, in his last start, [Memorable Skier] had been forced to race wide on a track with a strong rail-favoring bias,” Beyer explained. “Now he was running again on a day when the rail was an advantage, and he had drawn post position 5, with four slow-breaking horses inside him. I concluded that the maiden would be able to drop to the rail and lead all the way. When I went to the track that day, prepared to make a killing, I thought Memorable Skier embodied all of the handicapping skills I had spent a lifetime learning.
I looked at my database stats for Saratoga during the first week of August in an effort to determine whether or not pick-3 wagering, in particular, made more sense (and more dollars, for that matter) than straight win betting.
Favorites: 49Winners: 12Win Rate: 24.5%ROI: -36.43%
Avg. Pick-3 Payoff (46 sequences): $353.78
Avg. Three-Race Parlay (46 sequences, same races as above): $295.90
OK, that’s true; has been for many years. This is due to the fact that the pick-3 pool extracts takeout and breakage, albeit at a higher rate, just once, whereas each race in a three-race parlay is subject to the track and government’s wrath.
Permit me to explain: Let’s say that you like Horse A, at, say, 4-5 odds, in a particular race. But because of the short price, you decide to bet a pick-3 singling Horse A in the opening leg. Assuming that Horse A wins, what kind of a return do you need to beat the resulting $3.60 payoff?
This is not good news considering that the three pick-3’s in my study that led off with an odds-on winner returned an average of $166.47. Granted, a three-race sample is hardly proof of concept, but it’s not encouraging either.
A valid point, but keep in mind: The minute one starts limiting the pick-3 combinations, one’s winning percentage goes down. So what started as a high percentage play on a 4-5 shot now becomes a much lower-percentage one.
Are You Ready For Some Football?
With the kickoff of the NFL season on Thursday, I thought I would re-post a video I did for Youbet.com a few years ago.