Price is important but getting the winner is utmost importance and trumps all other factors.
I get a lot of questions over the years of how do you play? What do you play? All these so called experts never really tell anyone how to play or what they are playing? This is where I am completely different. I want to show everyone exactly how I play and what I look for and when I find it what I do.
I subscribe to the Single Spread Spread Theory of Multi Race wagering. So what do I mean by this? Well just like it sounds I am looking in the P4 sequence or P3 sequence for a SINGLE. I do not like to play P3 or P4 where I don’t have a single somewhere. So what am I looking for?
I am looking for the horse I think is the most logical winner. I am looking for dirt sprints first. Why? I know I am better at dirt sprints than any other kind of race. So I hopefully can find a dirt sprint, and then find a horse in the right post, with the right rider and trainer. I look for maiden races, allowance races, maiden droppers, one start horses. First timers by Todd Pletcher, sprinters of Maker, Jacobson, Romans. First off the claim by high percentage guys too.
I am not as worried about price as I am the horse being a very likely winner. Why? Cause in the multi race wager we are going to look for prices in the spread races. If we can get a single at a decent price that is good but not an absolute. If a horse is 6/5 and we are convinced he is the most likely winner of the 4 race sequence then we single him. If he is 4/1 but we still feel the same way then we single him. Price is important but getting the winner is utmost importance and trumps all other factors. If we can single against a 2/5 we hate that is perfect like this weekend beating Commissioner.
So a typical bet of mine is a $10 Pick 3. 1 X 3 X 6 $18 or $180 total.
In the race with 3 horses we are not looking for the 3 favorites. We are looking for the 3 horses we like the best but one of them at least has to be 6/1 or higher. We are looking to take a shot not just have 6/5 2/1 3/1. We don’t want that. We are hoping to beat the favorite if we can.
In the race with the deepest play. The 6 horses. We are looking to take at least 2 horses over 12/1. We are really digging for angles to catch a price. We are looking for grass races. We are looking for NL2 type races. We want to pick the sequence of races around the single that are tough big fields.
Our goal is 10/1 on our money if we hit. So we want that P3 to pay $180 for $1. We are looking to make a score of $1800 plus.
I usually will take the lower price horses a few more times and the higher prices a few less. If I am singling a decent price I will bet the lowest wager $.50 if possible single all all just one time to lock up something crazy then make my regular plays.
Last weekend at Turfway was the exact play I like to make 8th race Mac The Man was morning line 12/1 I knew we wouldn’t get that but we got 4/1. He won paid $10.80
We caught 9/2 and 6/1 in the sequence of the P3 around him and the P3 came back $360 for $1.
I preach to guys all the time when you are right you have to be right and you have to nail it. You can’t be right with a 4/1 shot and have a $.50 P3 and spend $60 to get it and get $180 back in return. You can’t be right and miss the trifecta, you can’t be right and miss the exacta. This is why I rarely play those bets. I hate when I hear my dad say my key horse won and I blew the bet I just can’t take it. If you really like a horse you can’t waste your budget taking 2 3 4 horses in that race. You must take a stand in the race you really like a horse.
With my theory there will be times I will miss a P3 DD P4 with my single but it won’t happen often. Guys that were in our P4 pool for Keeneland really got a great look at how I play P4’s. It is the same theory. I want that single. I do not believe in 2 X 3 X 4 X 4 P4’s or 2 x 3 x 3 P3’s I just think you must have an opinion. I am not wasting half my budget on horses I don’t like in a race against the horse or two I like.
In this game we are all wrong more than we are right. So the key is when you are right you must nail it. You must play your $30 or your $100 in a way that if you are right you give yourself a chance to nail it. Notice you can play my theory with $18 if you want. If you are a small player for $18 you hit $360 you are pretty happy.
Also you must know what you are good at and what is your win percentage? I can tell you in Ky racing, I am running 36% the last 12 mos. I am running over 40% on my singles. You must know yourself to succeed. If you can’t find a single and have that single win over 32% of the time then you can’t profit in the long run. Well unless you are really lucky and hit some monster hit.
I signed $135,000 worth of tax hits this year. I had some good luck and some bad luck but one thing is always true with me. I have confidence in the single. I look for that single. I plan my days around those singles. I have trained myself each night to look hard for that race where my horse only has one or two horses to beat, where my horse has a good rider and a good post. I don’t try to force singles on bad posts or bad riders. It is not a smart move. You are allowed to pass the race don’t try to force the single. Just because it is Saturday and a pick 4 means you have to play it.
Once you get used to studying each day and night with a purpose to find singles you will improve your handicapping and you will give yourself a chance to win. Hedging and saving is for losers. Betting every race is a recipe to get crushed. Go with your Singles and be confident in it. Then play the bets your budget allows you to play. Smaller budgets may have to play the DD. 1 x 3, or 1 x 6 . $20 budget you may play $3 DD’s and try to hit for $100 but this is the way to maximize your hits when you are right.
Good Luck to All and may your single get home,
Keeneland Dan Cronin