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Dec 10, 2010

American Turf Club Lead

By: Joe Girardi

I always write in this spot about the best bet in horse racing, the pick four. The $1 increment allows for more horses in each leg which can lead to some very handsome payoffs. In California at Hollywood Park they have a 50 cent increment as well as some other major tracks, Gulfstream Churchill, Keeneland, etc. The NYRA has not moved to the 50 cent increment which is fine but they also don’t take the other tracks in the 50 cent increment. However, that is an article for another day. Back to the pick four, I traveled to Aqueduct on December 3rd. I used to like to go to Aqueduct but now with the construction of the Casino you can’t even watch the race outside in the grandstand, there is now a fence cutting that off. I understand that there are probably liability issues with the fence and the current construction but it makes it hard to get the racetrack feel when you go there. That has seemed to be the problem over the last 20 years and has put the racetracks in the position they are in, yet again, another article for another day.

            December 3rd, 2010, the late pick four started at Aqueduct in race 6. An off the turf event for NW3L $16k claimers a field of eight went postward. I had 6 out of the 8 open so I used all of them because I wanted to be alive knowing later in the sequence there was a chance for some prices. In the seventh race a NW2L $15k claimer, if you used four horses you could lock up the race so I did. The favorite got up late in the 6th and paid $3.60, in the seventh the favorite got home again and returned $5.40 with the double on those two races paying $8.80. Not the start I was looking for with a 6x4. On to the 8th race an optional $50k claiming race with just three horses I thought could win. WILD NEWS, sent off at a very generous 9-1 was able to take the field wire to wire even with the early pressure scoring at a $20.40 mutuel. The pick three on the first three races returned $112 for every $2.

            Finally off to the final leg, the ninth race was an off the turf event where the value was evident. The favorite in the race was a Linda Rice runner who only started on the turf and was a horse that came from well back. I used three horses, the Jimmy Jerkens runner, #2, #8 PORCELLO, a horse that was well bred and was coming in off some very solid races and finally another Linda Rice runner who has shown that she can handle the dirt and would have no problem with the distance. READY FOR RYAN, #2, stalked the early leader, took over into the lane and never looked back scoring by almost three lengths. He had shown some ability early on and did have good tactical speed, however, the mile work that was given a few weeks earlier was the key for me, a staple for the Jerkens family when stretching a horse out in distance proved right again as he drew away for the easy score. He somehow paid a generous $41.40.

            Now you are looking at two lower priced horses with two good priced horses. The parlay on these four horses came to $2,052. Remember however, that the first two legs were not hidden, the 4-5 shot in the first leg and if you are betting you would see that the double into the next race was paying $8. This pick four paid for $2 $3,799. Almost $1,750 more than the $2 parlay on those four races. Can you imagine if the 4-5 shot who tripped out and just got up in the first leg got beat. Now listen the bet that I played was a 6x4x3x3=$216. I got back $1,899 for a profit over $1,600. I would have been in real good shape if the favorite lost the first leg. It just goes to show you how much value there is in the pick 4’s and how they are still the best bet at the racetrack.

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