Ah, the Prairie Meadows Jackpot Pick 5. There is not a bet on earth that I dislike more than the jackpot Pick 5; another step closer to completely ruining the game by turning the player-preferred wager into a jackpot. However, I’m hopeful that the pool survives one more day, with the mandatory payout scheduled for Tuesday, 9/10/19.

Earlier this year, prior to my commitment to focus almost entirely on carryover wagers, I would wager on nearly anything that I could convince myself had value. As many of you do, or have done at some time, I would glance through my ADW platform looking for any sequence that caught my eye. I would start with pick 5 opportunities, as they usually have the most player-friendly takeout rates.

On one specific evening, the Pick 5 at Prairie Meadows looked too good to pass on, and the track feed showed the P5 pool with no mention of it being a jackpot. With post time of the first leg approaching, I completed my handicapping and slammed in a few P5 wagers that I felt good about. Of course, just as the first leg went off I had this sick feeling, remembering that the Prairie Meadows P5 may be a jackpot.

I was pretty upset about my confirmation that it was indeed a jackpot wager, but I was even more upset by the false advertising that tripped me up once again. This wasn’t the first time that this type of thing had happened to me, but I vowed it would be the last. The horse racing industry is plagued with false advertising. The place that gets overlooked, where I think it would be most meaningful, is the ADW platform. I would argue that ADWs displaying any jackpot wager the same way that the non-jackpot version of the wager is displayed, is false advertising. For my example above, seeing the wager displayed in the ADW as “Pick 5 – Jackpot” or something similar would’ve been enough for me to avoid placing the bets.

For an ADW to seamlessly modify this on their user interface, they need the tracks to update the data they send. For example, Prairie Meadows likely sends the data as “Pick 5,” so that’s what displays in the ADW. Of course, the ADW could monitor the wager types of each track and modify them as they go…but what’s the incentive for them to add that manual work? What’s the incentive for the track to display the Pick 5 as a jackpot on the video feed? Until enough people file false advertising claims or quit playing, this type of nonsense will only continue. For those of us not willing to do either, the next best is to position ourselves to be prepared for mandatory payout days.

Looking at the week ahead, there will be two Pick 5 pools around $1M each. First, the previously mentioned Prairie Meadows P5, with a carryover of $306K+ (assuming it survives tonight, it should exceed $1M tomorrow). Second, the Friday Stronach P5 will have a carryover of $98K+ with a $1 minimum to ensure healthy payout to anyone fortunate enough to cash. One random word of caution as you consider the week’s plays, including this $1 minimum. Try to avoid going into horizontal wagers with a strict budget. For example, don’t decide you have $72 to play into the Stronach P5 before even looking at the sequence. Go handicap the sequence, write down your ideal wagers, and if you don’t have the money to cover it, don’t participate. I would put under-betting a wager type/pool into one of the top 5 mistakes players make when participating in horizontal wagers.

For Prairie Meadows’ carryover, here’s my best guess at the most popular P5 ticket (that I will not be playing) along with a few notes to consider:

7/9,10/3/2,4,10,11/1,3-11 – Trying to identify the most “logical” wager in the sequence can help you identify places where the masses may be wrong. If your opinion lines up with what you expect to be the most frequent wager, you should probably pass on the sequence. In order to give yourself a shot at being a long-term winner, you need to be somewhat unique.

  • The 3 shortest MLs in the first leg look pretty suspect going 5F. I’ll likely be tossing all 3 of them. I see this as my biggest value move in the sequence, as most people won’t have the guts to get skinny in the first leg while also going against the ML favorites.
  • Don’t fool yourself with the Broberg runner’s ML of 6-1 in the 3rd leg; I’ll be shocked if Lunar Light isn’t favored.
  • On dry days this track greatly favors speed, but it’s wet today and will be tomorrow morning as well. It will be worth keeping an eye on how the track plays with some moisture in it. I know I will be, as the runners I like best do not project to be on the lead early.

Good luck if you’re participating in these pools!

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