HomeThe ShuffleThoroughbred Races: This Weekend’s A Betting Bonanza

Thoroughbred Races: This Weekend’s A Betting Bonanza

Thoroughbred horse racing will kick up its wagering heels this weekend. For horseracing fans, 20 with purses exceeding $100,000 will run Saturday at Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita and other top tracks.

Roughly 20 thoroughbred races with purses exceeding $100,000 will arrive this Saturday, January 16 for horseracing fans. Online gamblers can access most of the offerings via Twinspires.com.

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Where the Action Is

Gulfstream Park in Florida and Santa Anita Park in California often corner the Saturday horse betting market. They will weigh in strongly this weekend, and the Fair Grounds in New Orleans, Aqueduct in New York, Laurel Park in Maryland and Tampa Bay Downs in Florida will also present their best cards of the week.

Here’s a sampling of Saturday’s events for bettors:

Bet Fair Grounds:
The track offers the $200,000 Lecomte and the $150,000 Silverbulletday and Col E.R. Bradley events. Throw in the $100,000 Duncan Kenner for good measure.

Bet Tampa Bay Downs:
The lineup includes the $125,000 Pasco and Gasparilla events.

Bet Laurel Park:
For horseracing fans, here’s a four-pack from the Maryland track.

The $100,000 string of events includes the Extra Heat, the Spectacular Bid, the Fireplug and the What a Summer events (the latter is named for 1977 American Champion Sprint Horse; What A Summer ended her career with a record of 18 wins out of 31 starts. The race named for her is open to fillies and mares four years old and up and is run at six furlongs on the dirt).

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Bet Santa Anita:
The loaded Saturday card includes the $200,000 California Cup, the $200,000 Unusual Heat Turf, the $150,000 California Cup and the $150,000 Sunshine Millions.

Bet Gulfstream Park:
Known for big fields and huge payouts, often in early races on the weekend card, Gulfstream has become a winter-racing king. Horseracing fans, don’t forget the late Rainbow Pick Six. It requires bettors to pick the last six winners on the card, but the carryover pool quickly balloons into seven figures.

Bet the Sunshine Millions:
This is a series of races held in January at Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park. The brainchild of prominent horseman Frank Stronach, it holds half the races at Gulfstream and half at Santa Anita. If you see this registered at another track, it’s a simulcast arrangement, but still something you can bet on.

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Keep your eyes on the Stronach Five, as well. It pops up at Gulfstream Park, usually on Fridays, and presents a 12% takeout for a series of races. The 12% is good news for bettors, because tracks often take out more than 20% on most of the races.

Want to Bet On Horseracing? Follow These Tips

Here’s a good overall approach to betting on horse races.

  1. Bet the Win Line. This refers to the odds that your horse will be the first to cross the finish line. You like odds above even money. And on weekends, there are several medium- and long-priced horses who spring upsets. Gulfstream Park delivers them more than any other track, because of the large fields and the presence of the nation’s top jockeys. Be wary of odds that say 3-5 or 4-5. That’s a ridiculously low payout for the risk involved. A $10 bet at 3-5, for example, provides a $6 profit.
  2. Bet the “Exotics.” This means the exacta (the Top 2 finishers in exact order); the trifecta (the Top 3 in the right order); and the superfecta (the Top 4 in the right order). As difficult as they are to hit, $1 superfectas often return a couple thousand dollars, even more. Longshots are needed to make these payouts sizzle, and in a field of 10 or more horses, you have come to the right place. This represents an excellent betting pool. Owners and trainers save their best horses for the weekend events, which produce the highest purses. That produces large fields, multiple betting interests and the strong probability that a quality horse will be overlooked. In fact, it’s not uncommon for longshots to perform well in large fields because—well, let’s face it, they’re not really longshots to begin with.
  3. Bet a Wheel: Look at the field. If it’s big and includes a lot of longshots, consider “wheeling” your favorite horse in a $1 exacta. The bet in a 10-horse field, for instance, would be $18 to place the horse first and second with the entire field. If your selection comes in, combined with a longshot, it’ll pay handsomely. A $1 exacta occasionally pays a couple hundred dollars. This angle figures best if you like a short-priced horse. The hope is that the horse finishes second to a longshot.
  4. Don’t Forget to “Cover.” If your horse is a longshot, say 20-1 or 50-1, put a couple of dollars on that horse separately.

Bone up on horse betting terms, straight from the horse’s mouth: TwinSpires.com, a subsidiary of Churchill Downs Inc.!

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Dave Bontempo, a multiple award-winning writer and broadcaster, has covered sports for the Associated Press, ESPN, HBO and Showtime and called boxing matches on every major network. Dave is a winner of the Sam Taub Award for broadcast excellence given by the Boxing Writers Association of America, and is a member of both the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame and the Atlantic City International Boxing Hall of Fame. He writes regularly for iGamingPlayer.com and Global Gaming Business magazine.

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