Monday Morning Thoughts: Making the Minimum

I’ll never assume that I have all the answers when it comes to wagering or handicapping. I am constantly asking questions and trying to learn from both my fellow OTWL members and other horse racing friends. I wanted to use this blog to hopefully spur some conversation so we can all learn together. This week, I wanted to discuss something I call ‘making the minimum’.

This weekend, I was VERY high on Dynadrive and Sifting Sands in the Lure at Saratoga on Saturday. By the time the race came around, I was dead in the early pick 5 but I hit a nice exacta and win bet in the Lure. I was also live in the first leg of the middle pick 5 using just those two horses. I got to the payoff leg of the pick 5 and was live to Hot Peppers for ~$7300 and Matareya for ~$2400 only to be Rosarioed and left with only my original hit on the Lure. I couldn’t help but think I should have made more. Should I have played Doubles and Pick 3’s? Am I just being results-oriented since I got boomed in a payoff leg?

So my question today for everyone is, what is your strategy for maximizing value on an opinion in a single race?

-Josh @CherryDrank

4 thoughts on “Monday Morning Thoughts: Making the Minimum

  1. Win and exacta in R5 is great and the first place to start with those strong opinions.

    Did you have strong opinions, in comparison to your R5 opinions, in the other legs of the P5s? Or, do you have P5 disease like I do?

    I often think about the P5 first when I have a strong opinion. Many of us have been conditioned to think that’s the best to play based on slightly lower takeout and the chance at a big score.

    Over the past couple years, I’ve felt the value of P5s almost entirely disappear, especially those with large pool sizes swamped with extremely efficient CAWs. The larger the pool size, the less likely for an outlier big payout. Still, when we get to the will pays, it’s easy to see the potential payouts and talk ourselves into the wagers over and over.

    You already know this, but unless you had a somewhat strong opinion in R4 or R6 you probably shouldn’t have played anything connecting to R5.

    Another thing I have a hard time with is playing large base wagers for doubles and P3s that equate to $200+. However, I’d have no problem playing a $200+ P5 if I had the perception that it could pay a lot. It’s simply a mental road block that I need to work past. For example, if I would have considered a 2x1x5x8x5 P5 for $200…I should then be comfortable playing the double 2×1 with $100 base.

    For verticals, if I like chalk on top, it’s win or pass unless I also like a price to key underneath, then it’s Tris or supers. If my main opinion is a price horse, then it’s also usually Tris and supers but instead of keying the pick on top with a key under, I wheel the price horse while weighing different base dollar wagers depending on what other horses are included…have to toss something unless the horse is a very big price.

    If all that fails, just bet Hi5 carryovers.


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