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Managing Your Money at the Track – Exacta and Trifecta Strategies
TUESDAY, AUGUST 27, 2019
by: Rich Bieglmeier
Managing your cash while you're at the racetrack is an important part of handicapping and ensures you go in with a plan and a strategy. Most money management systems start with how much of your bankroll you can commit to per transaction/wager. You might consider wagering no more than 5% of your bankroll per race. For $300-$500, that's $15-$25 per race maximum.
We are proponents of building the bankroll with higher percentages and lower payout plays rather than committing profits to lower percentage, higher payout plays.
For example, you might think about beginning your day with Dutch Wins bets. You can read about it here. If you win, put the original investment in one bucket and the winnings in another bucket.
For example, if you wagered $15 and the Dutch Win Bet paid out $30, then $15 goes back into your original payroll and $15 into the pool for exotic bets.
If/when you've built your exotic bankroll to a comfortable level, then you can start with exactas. Again, slowly moving up the risk versus reward ladder and committing no more than 5% of your bankroll per wager.
Using Our Picks for Exactas
The first thing you want to do is identify your key horse(s), such as our top two choices, best bets and horses that you believe stand a good chance to win or place. You might also consider looking at our selections and the tote board for overlays – horses with odds that have moved higher. For example, a horse that's 2-1 morning line that's now 5/2 or more.
Once you've identified a key horse(s), put the key horse(s) on the top (win) of the exacta ticket. Use the other key horse considerations for the bottom (place) of the ticket. The place horses could include any of our picks, including the alternative picks (especially if the odds for the longer shots have dropped), the morning line and post time favorites.
So, your ticket could look something like:
With two key horses:
The backdoor exacta is another strategy. Identify up to four horses that should be competitive and put them in the win position with your key horse or the post time favorite on the bottom of the ticket.
The ticket would look like:
Contender 3/Key Horse or Post Time Favorite
Many times, the favorite runs second with a value horse on top, and those exactas payout much nicer than when the favorite wins. Remember, the favorite only wins at about 30%. That means 70% of the time he/she finishes somewhere other than the top of the ticket. The biggest exacta payouts come when the favorite doesn't finish in the top two.
Using Our Picks for Trifectas
Trifectas can empty your wallet in a hurry if you put too many horses on the ticket. Again, go through the process of identifying up to two key horses. We recommend one key horse. They are horses you believe will finish in-the-money (first, second, or third). Next up, identify up to four other contenders.
Once you've identified the contenders, not including the key horse(s), rank your contenders. Now it's time to build the trifecta ticket. We suggest putting the key horse in win, place and show (third) spots on your trifecta tickets.
Sample singe key horse trifecta tickets might look like this:
Key Horse/#1 ranked contender, #2 ranked contender/#1 ranked contender, #2 ranked contender, #3 ranked contender and #4 ranked contender
#1 ranked contender, #2 ranked contender/Key Horse/#1 ranked contender, #2 ranked contender, #3 ranked contender and #4 ranked contender
#1 ranked contender, #2 ranked contender, #3 ranked contender and #4 ranked contender/#1 ranked contender, #2 ranked contender/ Key Horse
The process is similar when using two key horses; although, you might consider limiting it to no more than three contenders.
Sample two key horse trifecta tickets might look like:
Key Horse 1, Key Horse 2/ Key Horse 1, Key Horse 2/#1 ranked contender, #2 ranked contender, #3 ranked contender
Key Horse 1, Key Horse 2/#1 ranked contender, #2 ranked contender, #3 ranked contender/ Key Horse 1, Key Horse 2
#1 ranked contender, #2 ranked contender, #3 ranked contender/Key Horse 1, Key Horse 2/ Key Horse 1, Key Horse 2
Only commit up to 5% of your bankroll per race – as you bankroll grows, so will your bet size
Try to build your bankroll early on with high probability lower payouts wagers like Dutch Win Bets
Identify top win candidates – top choice, overlays, post time favorite…
Identify contenders – any of our top six picks, keep an on eye on long shots being bet down, overlays…
Construct exacta and trifecta tickets using your key horse(s) to limit ticket cost
Of course, there is no foolproof betting strategy. That's why it's important to limit your per race dollar amount and the number of horses per ticket. The longer you stay in the game, the better your odds are of cashing tickets.
Good luck at the races!
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