Book Review: Exotic BettingHow to Make the Multihorse, Multirace Bets that Win Racingâ€™s Biggest Payoffs
By Ed DeRosa, Hello Race Fans Contributor
Like any good handicapping book, Exotic Betting: How to Make the Multihorse, Multirace Bets that Win Racing’s Biggest Payoffs does not promise a system to untold riches in. Rather, author Steven Crist gets the reader to understand what each dollar invested means relative to the handicapped race. The beauty is the handicapping process becomes circular rather than linear. A horseplayer will go from trying to fit winners into a preconceived wagering pattern to looking at a race, determining which opinion could make him/her the most money, and then going back to the handicapping.
For a beginning horse player, the fundamental objective is picking winners. Andy Beyer, who also wrote the book on speed (literally), said so as much in his breakthrough book Picking Winners: A Horseplayer’s Guide. It’s not so much the “who” that Crist covers but the how. Exotic Betting assumes a basic level of handicapping acumen. This should not be the first (or even second or third) book you read about betting the horses, but it absolutely should be THE book you read once you’re comfortable moving beyond straight (win, place, and/or show) wagering.
Crist recognizes that in many races, several horses will have a legitimate chance to win, but the road to riches is not paved with general opinions on which horses could win. Crist challenges the reader to have an opinion about the likelihood of each horse winning but also regarding the strength of those opinions race to race.
That is the central theme I took from Crist’s tome: a day at the races isn’t necessarily about betting horses but about having opinions and wagering on them accordingly. Don’t waste money hedging or trying to cash a ticket. Rather, invest money based on your handicapping to try to take advantage of the public’s misconceptions.
It is this approach that allow us to move from multi-race wagers to vertical wagers such as exacta, trifecta, and superfecta. Crist does a great job with two points: Getting the reader to understand that the second position in an exacta is not necessarily a place bet and that every bet should have a purpose.
Many people regularly take the approach of taking their top two (or three or four, etc.) choices in a race and boxing them in an exacta (or trifecta, etc.). A four-horse exacta box isn’t always the way to go, but sometimes it is.
By the end of his tome, the reader will have come to an understanding not only how to structure bets but also why s/he has structured the bets in that matter. Crist gives no formula and does not take a plug-and-play mentality. Each race, each sequence, each bet, and ultimately each of your opinions is organic. Adapt with the races.