Playing the 15% takeout Pick-4 at ASD

May 30, 2014 | Handicapping

317-crystal-ballby Rob

Nine race days at ASD are complete and an alarming trend has begun to occur in the highly lucrative 15% takeout Pick-4.

Six of the race days have had medium sized Pick-4 payoffs between $302 and $624 for a $2 wager. The other three race days have ended with carryovers in the Pick-4 pool. This is a shock because at first glance the field sizes are no larger than on days when the pool carries over.

The key is finding the price horses that make the combination pay well. Some of the horses that have been involved in carryovers have made enough sense to use on a ticket. The problem lies in the fact that so many tickets that spend $12 to $60 dollars cover the same combinations, therefore making those combinations less valuable.

Take for example last Saturday night May 24. Hamluk won as the fourth choice and Daydream Dancer won as the $15 third choice, but the sequence was crushed because the main single, Jet Again, won and paid only $3. My suggestion to the masses is to choose one of three options when playing the ASD Pick-4.

1) Spend a small amount of money and make an obvious key and play to win $200 or $300 hundred dollars at max. On days that seem logical, even beating two favorites can return $400, as it did on Day 5. Playing a small ticket that utilizes a logical, short-priced key can be profitable, and on certain days it is the only solution, but to make the big money keep reading options two and three below.

2) Find a key in a less obvious race and take a stand against the logical winner in the sequence. Most people on any given night identify the same key. The payouts on the Pick-4 go up exponentially when the key of the night gets beat. By finding a horse in what appears to be a tougher leg, you can use more horses in the obvious key leg and try to beat the favorite, creating a bigger payout. This is obviously riskier, but the reward is much greater. A prime example was last Wednesday night, where three favorites won, but those who played against the obvious horse of the night Champsville, were rewarded when Clear to Canada won and the Pick-4 paid $624.50.

3) The deeper ticket approach mandates no keys, and in every race having a horse that is a longer shot than the third choice. When two of the longer-priced horses win there has yet to be a night where the Pick 4 hasn’t carried over. If a person can have those two longshot winners on their tickets, because they have taken three horses in every race ($81) than they could be the only winner that night.

Taking down the whole Pick-4 pool is a great feeling and something that is possible with some thought about which vulnerable horses are likely to take more money than they should in the Pick-4 sequence. By going against the masses, a handicapper increases his chances of a major score, which is the goal of playing multi-race exotics.

PS: Looking forward to next week’s preview of the Belmont Stakes and the undercard, which promises to be one of the greatest days of racing ever with 10 major stakes and California Chrome looking to become the 12th Triple Crown winner.