Sucked In

Sucked In

How many times have you bet on a low odds horse?  Hundreds of times . . . thousands of times?

The great lure in this game – the subtle and perverse attraction to the low-odds horse – is (by reason of the very nature of a pari-mutuel event) the weakness that dooms most players to a negative expectancy.

Unfortunately (or fortunately according to how you use it), the actuality of this game is that the odds on the toteboard are extremely accurate overall.  Therefore the lower odds horses win more often than the higher odds horses – that’s a simple fact of the game. And since it is a natural tendency to want to win more often, players (even otherwise good players) will often get sucked in to win-betting a good looking horse at low odds.

You cannot do that and make profits in the long-term – regardless of what the naysayers, chalk bettors, and ‘fine-line’ value players might tell you.  Why not?
(find out – and also get info on our new white-paper, the “Weak Favorite Advantage” Report)

With an accurate estimate of value, a fair market, and no track-take (of 15% on up) – you’d have a shot on ‘select’ low odds types (the very low odds runners).  If you were an outstanding handicapper and picked your spots with great accuracy – you could make a profit (even a living) on favorites . . . but the reality of the 15-20% rake by the tracks pretty much dissolves all hope of that (not even to mention that ‘ole debil’ – bad racing luck).

So what to do?

– First: you need to realize it isn’t a fair market – they are stealing money from you up front (but then, there wouldn’t be racing as we know it if the tracks didn’t make a profit).
– Second: you need to think about the possibility that for even good handicappers, it’s a “random walk” in 85-90% of the races offered! You could throw darts and score about as well over the long run (i.e. always losing at about a 15% rate because of the rake).

But the saving grace is that in those 10-15% of races where your opinion is in fact more accurate than the toteboard – you have a chance to really take advantage, and turn the tables in your favor.

. . . ONLY IF – you can identify the weak  favorites in those races, and then bet the logical higher odds contenders in a way that maximizes profits.


Below are some example races – with my opinions (some of which which will almost assuredly be different than your own!) and the “why” I made the decisions I did. These are races that were issued in the HRG Index for August 9, 2014 (three days ago as I write this).  

And I’ll preface with this:  On August 8th the HRG Index went 0 for 11 (gulp!) – but as we’ve discussed many times in various posts: if you have a long-term edge no matter how small – you need the strength of your convictions, and just carry on properly with your handicapping and wagering.


Example #1Arlington race #5 – 6 furlong sprint $25K claiming race for 3 yr olds and older – non winners of two races:

The favorite was Shanghai Red – off at 4/5.  This 4 yr old looked pretty good at first glance – with four seconds in succession.  But my knocks on him were:

1. He broke his maiden in a maiden claiming event at Hawthorne – a state-bred $15 k race with only an $11 k purse – that’s pretty much the bottom of the barrel at Hawthorne.
2. The “bridesmaid” aspect was disconcerting to me – four consecutive seconds and two of those were in state-bred races.
3. And he had already burned bettor’s money by running second as the favorite in all of his last three races

I made him a weak favorite and went with two other horses in win and exacta; My Pal Paul, and On The River (the top and second ranked horses in the HRG Index) off at 9/1 and 7/1 respectively.

My Pal Paul had run 3rd in a $75 k Optional Claimer at Hawthorne (remember the level the fav Shanghai had been running in at Haw?!), and he’d run 4th in a 50K sprint at Ap. His sprint form and ability was clouded by the fact that his last two races were run at route distances (and he’d been in front at the first call and a lapped-on-the-leader 2nd at the second call in both of those before fading).

On the River had broke his maiden in a straight Maiden 36K at Ap three back – was over-matched in a 50K claimer two back, then ran a creditable 3rd in last at this same level in fractional times that would keep him in touch with this group if repeated.

Shanghai did run well – but as predicted, he ran second (again) while My Pal Paul won and paid $20 – with the $2 exacta to the fav paying a decent $50.20


Example #2 –  Del Mar race #3 – 5.5 furlong sprint $16K claiming race for 3 yr olds and older – non winners of two races:

The favorite was World Famous Sam T – off at 2/1.   This lightly raced 5 yr old (only 4 races lifetime) looked terrible to me.  

He broke his maiden in a Maiden Claiming $20k race at Hollywood Park  – then ran very poorly in two $12.5k nw2l races at Santa Anita before running a somewhat improved race to get 4th when dropped to $10k in his last (also at Sa). He was claimed out of that last race – so also  going for a new barn with new jock – at a new track – with poor races at lower levels, and extremely slow works since claimed?

I again went with the top two in the HRG Index, Heyyoucan and Pressure Time, off at 23/1 (!) and 3/1 respectively. 

Heyyoucan had (2nd, 3rd, and 4th races back) been running with much higher – Starter Allowance $40k at Hollywood & Santa Anita – while getting two seconds and a fourth (only 2 1/2  lengths off the winner in a good time for the level).

He was then laid off for 251 days and came back at today’s level at today’s track 14 days ago.  He was up close at both the first two calls in a 6.5 f race before fading. Dropping back to 5.5 f today after that needed tightening made him interesting to me.  At 10/1 on the morning line – the crowd paid no attention and he was off at very high odds.  

Now – in the Betting Plan issued in the HRG Index we generally advise against betting horses over 15/1,  but in a “weak/over-bet favorite race” – well, as my top ranked horse, I went ahead and bet him win (dutched with my other horse) and exacta.

Pressure Time was coming out of a $77k turf route, and had been on the turf for 5 of his 6 lifetime races (with good speed ratings), but in his lone dirt sprint – had recorded a good second at Santa Anita $56k maiden race.  I thought he had a chance to take to this Del Mar poly sprint.

The weak favorite ran 4th – while Heyyoucan lit up the board at $49.40 – and – the monster $2 exacta paid $544.40 (with an Index horse running second!).  I failed to bet the tri (dang!), but the third place finisher was also an Index horse – and the $1 tri paid $1,637.20


Example #3Del Mar race #7 – 6.5 furlong sprint $40K optional claiming race for fillies 3 yr olds and older – non winners of 10K twice (other than):

The favorite, Sweet Marini, was off at 9/5.  This 4 yr old was coming off a 356 day lay-off (!)  The connections were good – the works were good, but for me – that is simply to long of a layoff to consider against other good current form contenders. Had she had even one race for a tightener, or had the layoff been only – say 150 days – this stakes winner would likely have been my top choice. I threw her out altogether (win and exactas).

I went with Wasted At Midnight and Sweet Profit at 10/1 and 4/1 respectively.

Wasted At Midnight was an intriguing filly. She had been well thought of as a 2 yr old when entered in a Grade 1 race while still a maiden (!) where she was trounced badly.  It took her a long while to recover from that traumatic experience.  She finally got her act together 6 races (and  a year and a half) later with her most recent 4 races all in-the-money, and with the last being a second at same Optional Claiming level as today’s race.

Sweet Profit had the opposite profile – broke her maiden first asking two back at Sa – then was off awhile and came back at today’s level at today’s track to run 3rd as the favorite while wide in last.  She looked very capable to me with that tightener.

The weak favorite ran up-the-track  – while Wasted At Midnight won and paid $23.40 with the $2 exacta to the second favorite paying $112.00.


I consider myself lucky to have hit those races (along with a couple of other 3/1 and 4/1 winners) – but then I deliberately expanded my potential contenders in those races where I had estimated the favorites as being weak.  

– As an aside: I’ve always considered myself to be one of the most fortunate people in the world . . . do you think of yourself that way? If not – why not?  

I mean – look around.  If you are reading this, have a roof over your head, own a computer, have enough money, and the health and mental facilities needed to participate in this game – live in a country where it is even a possibility at all – etc etc.  And if you also have a loving family, and/or good friends – well that icing on the cake pretty much puts you in the top echelon of humans on this earth does it not?!.  At least that’s the way I believe it to be.

 So augment your already-good circumstance with a better take on ‘weak favorite” races – and you’ll kick your game up several notches.




* I’ve put together a white-paper on how to do exactly that . . . and listed the things I’ve learned over the decades and use intuitively.  

For those who already have any of our methods – you’ll be able to incorporate these ideas into those methods, and definitely tighten up your play considerably. It’s very likely that you will be able to then come up with ‘spot plays’ that bring you much higher than normal profits, and you’ll be able to bet those at increased levels.

This “Weak Favorite Advantage” Report shows you how to identify weak favorites, how to expand your ‘contender look’ in those weak favorite races, and then how to exploit the win, exacta, and trifecta pools to maximize profits.

For you old salts, not all of the material will be new of course – but some of it will be, and for sure it will bring certain factors back into focus that might have drifted away over the years.  For relative newbies – it will be invaluable.

It’s a concise report, but with lots of race examples (including screen captures of the past performance data). We are offering the “Weak Favorite Advantage” Report at $27.00.


It’s twenty-five pages of solid, valuable information that will help any player –
and be usable with any method while also increasing its bottom-line profits).


 Order Weak Favorite Advantage Report Here


 Best of fortune to you                 – Gary / Horse Racing Gold

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