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Lessons from Calder’s Florida Million Day Pick 4

Posted by Pete Mitchell on 4/26/2012 10:43:38 AM

Horse racing results: dealing with an early loss

  • WHO:  A herd of Florida-bred contenders
  • WHAT:  Horse Racing Results - Pick 4 (Races 5, 6, 7 and 8)
  • WHERE:  Calder Race Course
  • WHEN:  Saturday, November 8

One of the more disheartening things about betting on horses is when you spend a considerable amount of time putting together a multi-race ticket, only to get knocked out in the first leg. What’s even worse is when you take another look at the horse that knocked you out and you can’t figure out why you didn’t use him. That’s exactly what happened in Saturday’s Pick 4 at Calder. Let’s see what we can learn from this experience.

As for the horse I left out in the first leg, #1 Salo Jack, he was certainly playable in a race where I used four horses. Granted, he raced for a tag in his career debut and broke his maiden second time out in the slop, which caused me to discount his chances.

On the plus side, the trainer/jockey combination had produced excellent horse racing results in 2007-08 (a positive ROI of $2.16; 6 wins from 19 starts), his top Beyer Speed Figure (74) made him competitive, he certainly had room to improve, and he got bet down to 5.10-1 from his morning-line odds of 12-1.

Also, bear in mind that adding him would have increased the price of the ticket by just 25 percent ($70.00 vs. $56.00). That’s the kind of horse you need to use when you’re spreading in a Pick 4.

After losing the first leg, did it make sense to use the same horses in a Pick 3 (Races 6, 7 and 8)? Probably not, since there was a prohibitive favorite in Race #7 and the likely favorite in Race #8 looked tough to beat as well. A $2.00 Pick 3 ticket using the same horses would have cost $56.00.

As it turned out, the favorites won the last two legs and the Pick 3 only paid $48.60 ($7.40 less than the cost of the ticket) – not the type of horse racing results we’re looking for.

The Pick 4 paid $116.05 for a 50-cent ticket. A $70.00 investment would have yielded a profit of $46.05, for an ROI of 65.8%. As it turned out, our original play resulted in a loss of $56.00. Also note that a $2.00 parlay on the four winning horses would have paid $290.20, while a $2.00 Pick 4 ticket paid $464.20. Once again, a weekend Pick 4 out-performed the comparable parlay, in this case by a hefty 60.0%.

For more analysis and horse racing results, regularly visit the online racebook for everything you need.

Pete Mitchell, Racebook Director, 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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