Who Makes These Bets and Why

April 6, 2020

Do you ever look at the board and see a horse at say 3-5 or 4-5 and wonder who is actually betting that horse and why? I do. Obviously people are jumping into that win pool. Who are they?

I often say:

there is no value in a losing bet….

I am not afraid to like an odds on horse, and bet them if I think they are the winner. That said I won’t be betting them in the win pool. I can get my arms around singling a horse at any price, be it 1-9 or 99-1 in a multi-race wager. A single has great value in those wagers at any price. Of course the bigger the price the better and the more value. That goes without saying. I won’t bet a horse at a bigger price “just to go for the price” if I think someone else is the winner. If you have a good opinion, you won’t want to bet against your own opinion. I don’t bet against my opinion. If you just follow the board or the money that is something different. You are not betting on or against your opinion. You are betting on or against others opinions.

When I look at the win pools of these horses I think why are these people not going after these horses in a different fashion. Exactas, doubles, triples, and superfectas offer good alternatives to playing a very short priced horse or odds on horse to win. You have to have a cut-off I think. I may bet a favorite to win on occasion, but not at odds on. If I take a short price, say 9-5 or even 6-5, I have to be pretty sure, there has to be no other options that interest me, and there has to be very few upset candidates.

I thought Zenyatta would be 6-5 against Rachel Alexander in that Apple Blossom that never happened. I knew Zenyatta was peaking. She was fresher. I knew Rachel Alexander was spent somewhat. She was never and would never be the same after the grueling campaign as a three-year old filly, and that killer Woodward. Knowing those intangibles creates opportunities. Edge, Zenyatta. I was going to make a very large wager at a short price, but probably the second choice. Rachel never showed. Zenyatta jogged.

I’ll always take a horse on a forward move over a horse regressing. Almost always anyway.

I may never know who bets these horses to win. It seems nobody ever admits to it, but the pools show the money.

If you follow me and read Past the Wire regularly you likely know I am not a fan of advance wagers. I think the odds are way too low for the risk most of the time. As much as I would like to know who bets “those horses” to win, I would like to know who put money into this last advance Kentucky Derby pool. For reasons I do not understand Churchill Downs did not refund advance wagers made before the Derby was postponed. That was grossly unfair to the bettors. Now with the race possibly 5 months away if they are able to run it at all you have people betting horses at odds of 5-2 and 5-1. I don’t care if you win, this is a terrible prospect in my opinion. The minimum price I would take on a horse in the Kentucky Derby of 2020 now is probably 75-1 or more and it would have to be a darn good and fast horse. I would also want it contingent on them actually running the race.

As long as people are making these horrendous wagers, we know there will always be good ones for the rest of us. That’s enough of a reason to stay sharp and keep swinging.

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Jon Stettin

Jonathan’s always had a deep love and respect for the Sport of Kings. Growing up around the game, he came about as close as anyone...

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