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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, June 20, 2015 at 12:00 AM


If you have been a regular bettor at Belmont Park this spring a repeat question has probably echoed in your mind throughout…where are all the horses?

For instance, this past Thursday (June 18) there was a paltry total of only 73 horsed entered for 9 races (8.2) per race and after 9 scratches just 64 (7.1 per race) ran.

Under normal circumstances when you are confronted by shorter fields, the payouts often become squeezed. But there is also a counter reality to this and that is what is happening right now at Belmont and that is why despite these shorter fields there is still the opportunity to cash in.

For instance, on Wednesday, June 17 there was a total of 70 horses in the 9 races (7.8 per race) which is still relatively short by over-the-years late spring Belmont Park standards. However, the day also gave a hint of what has been happening within the construct of many of those shorter fields and that is how competitive many of those races can be.

For instance, in Race 7 the field of 8 horses was competitive to the point where the favorite went off at 2.55-1 and 6 of the 8 runners left the gate at between 2.55-1 and 8.6-1. In Race 9 that day the public clearly settled on 5 of the 12 that ran, but those 5 were nearly indistinguishable as they went off at 2.65-1, 4.0-1, 4.7-1, 4.9-1 and 7.0-1.

Even Race 8 was what can be called a reverse opportunity competitive race because in the 7 horse field there were 3 horses that looked outclassed, and were deemed as such by the public and that left a trio of live contenders at 1.40-1, 2.40-1 and 2.95-1 as well as a live enough" value runner at 8.8-1.

That meant that in the final three races of the day there were essentially 15 runners that could be considered for a win bet. And in actuality, a bettor could have wagered $2 on each of those 15 horses ($30) and actually made a profit as the three winners paid $7.90, 19.80 and $11.80 ($39.50.) As absurd as that sounds, given that no one in their right mind bets that way it does lead into a discussion as to how a bettor can make use of these short BUT COMPETITIVE fields.


Before we get into the reasons why you should be considering the Pick Three as a VIABLE VALUE BET AT BELMONT let’s return to Races 7-9 at Belmont on June 17.

Race 7 – SUN AND MOON – Win $7.90…second choice in 8 horse field
Race 8 – SPECIAL SELECTION – Win $19.80…fourth choice in 7 horse field
Race 9 – MOONDANCE JOY – Win $11.80…fourth choice in 1 horse field
PICK 3 PAYOFF FOR $2…$888.00

For the purposes of forwarding the point let’s take a look at those numbers above and show just why the returns on the Pick 3 Wager are universally productive well above the other methods of wagering.

(One) $2 Wager On Each Horse Individually - $6 Investment - $39.50 Return
(Two) $2 Parlay Wager
Race 7 – WIN – Returned $7.90 (Round Up To $8.00)*
Race 8 – WIN $19.80…Wager Returns $79.20 (Round Down To $79.00)
Race 9 – WIN $11.80…$79 Wager Returns $466.10
(Three) $2 Pick 3 Wager Returned $888.00

*The reason for rounding up or rounding down to an even figure for calculation purposes is so that every bet is in $1 increments.


It doesn’t take deep study of these comparisons to see how much better your return is when you bet a Pick 3 rather than single Win Bets or even in a Successful Parlay. But even those numbers don’t do justice to the TRUE VALUE of the PICK 3 WAGER FROM AN INVESTMENT STANDPOINT. So before we move on to the actual MONEY MANAGEMENT APPLICATIONS let’s take a look at the logistics and reality that makes it a GREAT WAY TO MAXIMIZE PROFIT REGARDLESS OF THE SIZE OF THE FIELD.

PICK THREE WAGER IS A COMBO BET…A PARLAY ISN’T - What we mean by this is that in a Parlay, if you WIN your first bet you then return all your money to a SINGLE horse in the second leg and if you win that you put it all in on a SINGLE horse in the third leg. You are ONLY alive with one horse in each race.

But in the Pick 3 Wager, depending on the number of horses you have included in each leg of the sequence, you might be linked to two or three live runners, which obviously gives you a much better chance of moving on AND it doesn’t matter where any of the additional horses in that leg of your sequence finish as long as one of your horses wins the race.

PICK THREE WAGER ODDS ARE SET…YOU DON’T DECREASE YOUR ODDS BY PUTTING YOUR PREVIOUS RACE’S WINNINGS INTO THE POOL – This means that you actually decrease your returns by being successful. In the examples above we calculated what a Parlay Would Return based on the prices paid to those horses used. But when you add in your own money to the pool you have now increased the number of payouts per each $2 wager. That only means your payoff gets lower…it can never move upward. With the Pick 3 the Payoff is set the minute the first race goes off.

THREE STRAIGHT BETS OR THREE BETS IN A PARLAY MEANS THREE SEPARATE TRACK TAKEOUTS…WITH THE PICK THREE THERE IS ONLY ONE TAKEOUT – We showed you above that the Pick 3 invariably pays more than a Three Horse Parlay. The samples above are not isolated, on average a Pick 3 will pay higher than a Parlay on the same three race sequence 90% of the time. This is not a freakish occurrence…it makes perfect sense given the dynamics.

PART I of this article should get you started on a path of maximization. In PART II (online here Monday Night) I’ll show you how this works everywhere with samples from other locations as well as delve into HOW TO BET THE PICK 3 USING PRECISE MONEY MANAGEMENT and IDENTIFYING THE PICK 3 CONTENDERS.

This last segment is crucial because using these guidelines you could have hit that $888.00 PICK 3 with a 3 horse by 2 horse by 4 horse investment or a TOTAL OF ONLY $24.

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