"Sure Thing" Wagers
Are there horse races where the winning horse
Well - of course nothing is absolute in racing
- the strangest things can and do happen with surprising regularity.
But yes, unless you play with a "head-in-the-sand" philosophy, you should
agree that there are a few races each day across America that could fall into
the proverbial "lock" category.
Rather than go into the ethics of horse racing
in general, or the dubious morals of a small percentage of the people involved
in the game specifically - let's figure out how we can identify the most
obvious of these "steam" horses.
If you are outside of the "insider" loop (lucky
for you!), then there is only one way to try to get a handle on these type
plays: NEAR POST-TIME ODDS.
One thing that aggravates us most here at Horse Racing Gold is that we are contacted by
so many players who think this should all be easy - who have the illusion
that they should be able to just phone in their bets in the morning - go
about their day (playing golf or whatever) and then cash the big checks in
the afternoon when they get home - PLEASE - can they possibly be serious!
Yes, you need to actually participate in the
game, and you'll need to watch the flow of wagering in order to spot these
kind of horses that I'll be discussing here in this horse system 4
Here is a recent example race run at Ellis
It was a seven-horse field with no scratches.
The winner of the race was the 6/5 favorite - who had
been 20/1 on the morning line!
The results of his last four
starts (in order of most recent first): 8th, losing 24 lengths / 7th, losing
by 16 / 8th, losing by 17 / and 7th, losing by 27 - with the last race being
at today's same claiming level and same track.
Now - what do you think -
that just maybe there were some
facts about this horse that were not accessible to you or me via the information in the
There is a lot of stuff that we are not privy
to as players hundreds or thousands of miles away from the scene of the action
. . .
- Trainers work some horses at private
training tracks away from the eyes of the public, as well as other trainers and clockers.
They are thus able to keep a horse's form/condition somewhat of a secret.
- There are drugs being used illegally - that
are masked by legal drugs so as not to be detectable - heck, it was
reported recently that some unscrupulous trainers are even using small
doses of cobra venom?!
- Horses can show up in the paddock
completely unfit for racing, and still get passed by the track vet.
- etc. etc.
. . . but there are others
who are aware of these things -
and their awareness will usually make itself known on the toteboard.
There is some scuttlebutt around: That many tracks allow an 11-15 second leeway
for electronic transfer of funds from the offsite facilities. The
reality is that for the best of high-speed transfers, it actually only
takes a fraction of that amount of time. It is rumored that there is
past-posting going on by outfits that wait 7 or 8 seconds to see how the
break and first 150 yards or so of the race shakes out before either
sending, changing and sending, or withholding their large wagers. This
could account for the sometimes considerable odds changes that occur after
the horses are already running.
Many good handicappers use, or have used toteboard watching methods. I have my doubts that a viable methodology
can be formulated using odds changes exclusively, but every sharp player
should be paying close attention to them, and factoring them into their final
The morning line is fallible - that's a given.
The thing is - most recreational players and newbies use it. It's right
there in their programs. They've heard the term "overlay" and they are willing
to follow any lead, no matter how misinformed. Yet, it's precisely because the
morning line is so used by the majority of players, that we need to
take it into account - whether out-of-whack or not.
Large and attention-grabbing
changes from the morning line should cause a player to quickly re-evaluate the
Scratches need to be accounted for of course.
If an 8/5 morning line favorite has been scratched from the race, all sorts of
wild fluctuations to the ML can happen. Still, I always pay extra
attention to a non-favorite that is dropping seriously from the morning line
against a favorite that is taking heavy play and has also dropped from the ML
(and this regardless of scratches)
recent race at Arlington (no scratches) - the favorite had dropped from ML 2/1
to post-time 4/5 - while - another horse in the field was simultaneously
dropping from a 8/1 ML to 3/1 at post - guess who won?! That's one type
of odds change that should get your attention. Ask yourself - whose money
drove that 3/1 horse down against the "crowd money" - the heavily overbet
There is another kind of race where a bet down
horse could be totally false and just the result of betting action by the
band-wagon jumpers: If there is no clear-cut ML favorite and a bunch of
entrants are at medium low odds - one of them will often end up taking the
majority of the action from the "follower" types.
Morning line of the low 4 horses - 3/1, 7/2, 4/1, 4/1. If one of
those goes off at 7/5 or 8/5 - I wouldn't pay it much mind - I wouldn't
categorize it as "attention-grabbing" movement.
There are other races where odds information
should cause you to pass the race:
Example: A horse
is bet from 6/1 ML to 6/5 at post-time. Obviously there was surprise
betting action, but how do we take advantage of it? I don't recommend
betting on horses that low in odds. Unless you can get some kind of
value in the other pools - that would be a pass situation.