I have long believed that conquering the races — or, really, any speculative endeavor — requires that one seek out market inefficiencies and exploit them.
Far too many people rely on capital advantages (the ability to out-purchase their fellow bettors — think pick-5 or pick-6 wagers, especially in the early days) or the occasional — far too often lucky — windfall scores to stay afloat, instead of limiting their play to specific scenarios that give them an advantage over the game.
Of course, what scenarios provide this advantage is dependent on one’s individual handicapping strengths and weaknesses. My pace figures and computer-generated angles allow me to play a wide variety of different races and bet types with equal efficiency (although the vast majority of my bets are to win).
Others might find an edge only at a specific track… or at a specific class level… or on a specific surface.
But the best kind of edge is the one that is built-in to the bet, i.e. not determined by one’s handicapping acumen. This kind of edge pertains to takeout rates, rebates, negative show pools and carryovers. It is also pops up when one studies different markets on the same event.
In the early days of simulcasting, smart players would often use the odds at the host track to spot value in the pools at the track where they were playing (many moons ago, the pools were not commingled as they are today).
Likewise, in international events like the Breeders’ Cup, it used to be worth one’s time to see what the bookmakers in the UK thought about the foreign entrants (I thank them for the $23.60 I collected on Red Rocks in the 2006 BC Turf).
Well, the same phenomenon can be witnessed in the Kentucky Derby future wagers offered by Churchill Downs and the fixed-odds futures at various race books.
In perusing the final numbers on the Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #2, which closed on Feb. 14, I saw several horses which are offering great value at US Racing. If you like any of the hardy steeds listed below, you might consider putting a bet down… and you’re welcome.