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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, August 22, 2016 at 3:01 PM

As you know, I occasionally post an answer to a question received from readers. I do this when I believe the question is general enough that it serves as a "lesson" most horse bettors should consider. I recently received one regarding PALCE BETTING.

Jim,
I am not a favorite player, but over the years I have been beaten enough by the odds-on favorite that when I like a price-horse but fear the favorite I find myself betting place on my horse because it gives me a sense of security. However, if the favorite does win it often depresses the place price. Is there a better way to utilize the money I would bet to place underneath my win bet?

F. H., Baltimore, Maryland

This is an important questionWhile I have never dictated to someone HOW they should wager with their money, I do believe that proper money management is crucial to maximizing profit on the horse that has been chosen.

As to the conventional means the public uses to MAKE A PLACE BET...as a hedge against the horse not winning but finishing second...I would like to discuss an alternative to that traditional wager.

Let's go back to the question submitted and address the subject of backing up a horse chosen "against" the favorite because there is not a belief the favorite can be completely dismissed.
Take a look at the following races run Saturday 8/20 at Saratoga.

Race 4
Scout Leader - WIN $3.60
Gloves Off - PLACE $3.80
Exacta Paid $10.60

RACE 10 (Alabama Stakes)
Songbird - WIN $2.40
Going For Broke - PLACE $5.90
Exacta Paid $12.80

For purposes of this method suggestion let's assume that a bettor was aware of the strength of the two favorites but was willing to take a chance and bet Gloves Off and Going For Broke $10 Win & Place. If his upset selection wins he or she makes a score, but if there was not at least a significant concern with the favorite, why bet place?* If the upset choice finishes second he or she have covered their bet.

Gloves Off - $20 wagered - $3.80 Place...$19.00 returned...essentially a free bet against an odds-on favorite.
Going For Broke - $20 wagered - $5.90...$29.50 returned...the bettor took the shot with an upset chance and still profited by $9.50.

Keep that in mind as I suggest what you might want to consider with the same $20 investment on each race. First, continue with the $10 Win Wager on your upset choice Gloves Off.

In the Scout Leader/Gloves Off Race, however, I would offer the following. Bet Gloves OFF to WIN ($10) but INSTEAD of the $10 Place Bet you can cover your concern with the odds-on favorite by playing a $10 Scout Leader/Gloves Off EXACTA. This is exactly the same as betting the horse to place. If the horse wins, YES, you lose the Exacta but have your WIN BET Profit. If Gloves Off does finish second behind Scout Leader and the Exacta Pays $10.60 you cash $53.00 or a $33.00 Profit for your $20 investment. If Gloves Off is third or worse you lose the same $20 you would have lost.

Applying the same method to the Songbird/Going For Broke result in the Alabama you cash a $12.80 Exacta or $64.00 and a $44.00 profit.

Keep in mind this is not a suggestion that you use this method exclusively. If you like a price horse in a race and your handicapping tells you the favorite will run off the board, odds-on or not, and you are tied on confidently to one horse and your nature tells you you'll be more confident making the bet "if" you back it up in the place spot, by all means do so.

I hope this gives you an idea of why I so often mention that "Money Management" is as important to me as finding the right horse. Maximizing your wager is everything.

YOURS IN WINNING,
JIM HURLEY
 

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