Picking Six Has Never Been So Cheap
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder

Did you watch the sneak peak of Luck, the HBO series about horse racing that premiers this weekend? One of the story lines was about a motley group of players who pool their resources to play (and win!) a large Pick 6 wager. What’s a Pick 6? It’s a wager where you must select the winner in each of six races in a sequence. Usually this is accomplished by picking several horses in each leg of the sequence, which makes the Pick 6 a pricey wager.

In honor of the premier, Gulfstream and Santa Anita Park, where Luck is filmed, are offering a special $1 minimum Pick 6 wager, which essentially amounts to half-off sale given that the minimum wager is normally $2. Most tracks will offer $1 or even $.50 minimums on other multi-race exotics, such as a the Pick 3 and Pick 4, but the Pick 6 stands alone at $2, making it a cost prohibitive play for most casual players. For example, if you wanted to select only two horses in each of the six races, your minimum bet would be $128. In fact, this is why Luck’s motley Pick 6 crew (har har) pooled their money: individually they couldn’t afford the wager but together they could.

If you, or your motley crew, have always wanted to try the Pick 6, this a great time to give it a shot! Steven Crist, publisher of the Daily Racing Form and frequent Pick 6 player, offers an Introduction to Exotic Bets in our Letter to a New Horseplayer series. He goes into detail about how to consider ticket construction to maximize coverage and minimize cost. We’ve also a got an article specifically on a technique known as Singling and Spreading, which allows you to leverage a strong opinion in one or more legs of the sequence to get better coverage where you might not have as strong of an opinion.

Once you bone up on considerations for Pick 6 play, head over to Brisnet.com and grab the free Pick 6 past performances and get to work! Of course, you should also open a wagering account if you don’t already have one. The fun kicks off with the 8th race at Gulfstream Park at approximately 4:10pm ET / 1:10pm PT.

(read in Dustin Hoffman’s Ace Bernstein voice): “Good luck”!


  • I saw the episode and after reading your post above, I’m still confused. You wrote: “For example, if you wanted to select only two horses in each of the six races, your minimum bet would be $128.” But if each bet is only $2, why isn’t the minimum bet $24? (two horses in each of the six races: bet on 2 horses in race #1 = $4 ($2 on horse #1, $2 on horse #2), 2 horses in race #2 = $4, and so forth… so $4 x 6 races = $24.

    I’m wondering, given that the payout ranged from $48k to $2 million, why not just bet on every horse in every race? If there are 12 horses per race, and 8 races, and each bet is $2, then 12*2*8 = $192.

    Obviously, I’m missing something – could you explain for us newbies? Thanks!

  • Thanks for stopping by Red! The way to figure the price of an exotic wager is to multiply the number of horses in each leg times the wager amount. Here are a few examples:

    2 horses in each leg of the Pick 6
    (2x2x2x2x2x2) = 64 x 2 (cost of wager) = $128 wager

    2 horses in three legs, 3 horses in three legs and 1 horse in one leg
    (2x2x2x3x3x1) = 72 x 2 (cost of wager) = $144 wager

    4 horses in four legs and 1 horse in one leg:
    (4x4x4x4x1x1) = 256 x 2 (cost of wager) = $512 wager

    It’s much easier to get good coverage when you’re playing a Pick 3 or Pick 4 not only because there are fewer legs but because the minimum wager is usually lower. Here’s an few examples:

    $.50 Pick 4:
    1 horse in one leg, 2 horses in one leg, 3 horses in one leg and 6 horses in one leg:

    (1x2x3x6) = 36 x .5 (cost of wager) = $18 wager

    Here’s a handy bet calculator (there are also no shortage as iPhone apps, not sure about android):


    Another approached used by more advanced, regular Pick 6 players is where you would rank your selections in each race as A, B, C and then construct multiple tickets. If you’re a newbie to multi-race exotics I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this approach right off the bat but the that takes much of the busy work out of actually constructing your tickets. You can also download it to your iphone (not sure if they have a mobile or android version).

    Anyone seriously interested in diving into mutli-race exotic wagering should also check out Steven Crist’s book Exotic Betting, we have a review of it right here.

    I hope this helps!

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