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Tips on Structuring Multiple-Race Wagers

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 4/26/2012 10:59:59 AM

Pick-6 racebook betting versus Pick-7

Several years back, I was putting together a Pick-7 ticket at Thistledown, on the outskirts of Cleveland, Ohio. I don’t recall the particulars, but it was some type of National Pick-7 wager, with races from tracks around the country compressed into a tight time frame.

I had a limited bankroll at the time, and decided to invest just a few bucks. One of the races in the Pick-7 was actually at Thistledown, and it was that race that was giving me the most trouble. I liked three horses in that leg, but due to budgetary constraints, I tried to narrow it to two. The weather was turning ugly, and an hour or so before the wagering deadline, it started to rain…hard. The three horses I was looking at had varying degrees of success in the slop, although all had won in the off going. All other things being relatively equal, I chose the two who appeared to be a bit better on a sloppy track. If I recall correctly, the Thistledown race was the 5th or 6th leg. Naturally, I was alive in the Pick-7 heading into the Thistledown leg, and as fate would have it, the horse I left out won that leg. I won the remaining leg(s), and collected a small consolation prize for my trouble. The Pick-7 paid more than $8,000.

Had I used all three horses in that fateful leg, instead of trying to split hairs, my ticket would have cost me $48, rather than the $32 I actually “invested”. For the sake of $16, I passed up an $8,000 score.

There are several lessons to be learned from this tale of wagering woe. First, bet with a bankroll that will allow you to execute a reasonable betting strategy. If you’re going to shoot for a Pick-6 (or in my case a Pick-7) score, don’t be derailed by a measly $16. I’ve never been a big proponent of hitting the “all” button. If I can leave one or two horses out, I will…it saves a lot of money in the long run.

However, when you’re struggling to separate horses (like I was in the Thistledown race), you’re probably better off using all the horses in question. Your handicapping instincts are usually correct…they’re telling you that the horses are too close to separate. Also, remember that the biggest incremental cost in a multi-race wager is when you expand the number of selections in a leg from one to two. That doubles the cost of the ticket. Try to single where feasible…that will give you room to expand in other legs. For example, a 2 x 2 x 2 x $2 Pick-3 ticket costs $16. You’ll notice that a 1 x 2 x 4 x $2 Pick-3 ticket also costs $16, but you’ve taken a stand with a single in the first leg, and given yourself 2 extra picks in the third leg.

Best of luck with your multi-race wagers. We hope you’ll make them at, where you’ll receive full track odds.

Pete Mitchell has been handicapping horses since his teenage years. He has been a professional horse player for many years, and came to’s attention through multiple referrals from industry insiders/sportsbook owners. Pete is revered for his horse handicapping opinion and industry experts acknowledge his impressive career winning record. Thoughts or questions?



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