Horseplayers Episode 2, Getting Exotic
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder

This week the Horseplayers went to the Kentucky Derby, one of the most fun times of the year! Derby day is fun for at least two reasons 1) if you’ve been paying to attention to the Derby trail it’s the culmination of a long, narrative thread and 2) there’s a lot of money up for grabs!

Naturally the Horseplayers are going to swing for the fences on a big day, and one of the best ways to that is with multi-race exotic bets. No doubt you heard Pete Rotondo Jr. talk about Team Rotondo’s Pick 3s and Pick 6s, and that if he won, he would “have it seven times.” Or that Michael Beychok was “alive to Orb” on multiple tickets. What does it all mean? Let’s investigate.

If you haven’t already, check out our overview of types of wagers and pools. This will give you an explanation of all the various wagers, but basically the Pick 3, Pick 4 and Pick 6 are wagers where you must pick the winner in a predetermined sequence of races (three races, four races or six races respectively).

So now that you know what the wagers are, how to do end up with multiple tickets? As Steven Crist, author of “Exotic Betting” explains in our article “Introduction to Exotic Bets”:

“In exotic betting, you almost always buy more than one combination. If you’re playing a Pick 3, for example, you might take two horses in each of the first two races and three horses in the third. If you liked numbers 1 and 3 in the first race, numbers 1 and 4 in the second race, and numbers 5, 6 and 7 in the third race, you would buy a ticket of “1 and 3 WITH 1 and 4 WITH 5, 6 and 7.” Your ticket would read “1,3/1,4/5,6,7″ and you would effectively be buying 12 combinations, each at a $1 minimum, for a total investment of $12. You would have the following 12 combinations: 1/1/5, 3/1/5, 1/1/6, 3/1/6, 1/1/7, 3/1/7, 1/4/5, 3/4/5, 1/4/6, 3/4/6, 1/4/7, 3/4/7.”

This is a straight forward way to structure your tickets. Serious players, such as the Horseplayers, will frequently place several of the same bet at the smallest denomination, or minimum wager, in hopes of minimizing the tax implications of a big payout (more on this in an article to come!).

One can certainly get fancy and identify horses with a system made popular by Crist known as the ABC grid where you basically rank each horse (A, B, C, X) and then structure a series of tickets combining the choices to maximize your coverage and make the most of your bankroll. If you’d like learn more about that approach we suggest checking out Crist’s book!

But what about “being alive” to Orb (which turned out to be great, by the way!). Let’s say you’re playing a Pick 3 with the Kentucky Derby as the last race, to be alive to Orb in the 2013 Derby you would’ve had to included the winners of the previous two races to have a “live” ticket. Put another way, it’s common for someone with a multi-race exotic to say “I’m alive to the 2 and 7 in the next race.”

If you want to get started with multi-race exotics, be sure to check out post on “Singling and Spreading,” something the Horseplayers did in the first episode!

See you at the track!

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