Carryover Exploration – Evaluating “Good Losing Tickets”

As many others did, I woke up Sunday as if it were Christmas morning. It was the first Empire 6 mandatory payout day, and we would be looking at a $2M+ pool for our Grinchy fingers to steal from the daily 40% takeout bettors. I did what I always do on these rare horse racing Christmas mornings, and I fired up Twitter to see what everyone else got from Santa. To my surprise, everyone received coal in the form of “off the turf.” I was a bit surprised, as I saw this as the best present possible. Due to rain leading up to Sunday, off the turf was a likely scenario, and after looking through the MTOs, I couldn’t find one that I gave a good chance of winning. I continued to look for other Tweeters to share the joy of what was sure to be a competitive day of racing. I was having no luck, everyone else had no use for their “off the turf” gift.

This leads me to a significant point that should never be overlooked in horse racing Pick Ns, if your strong opinion appears to be different than other people’s, and you trust your opinion, send it in. You won’t make money playing the same sequence as everyone else. The beauty of this sequence, for the opinions that I had, was that I saw no way around singling Blue Prize in the 4th leg. He would be a single for 90%+ of bettors, but I wasn’t going to try to get creative and try to beat a horse I thought had a massive chance to win. To be fair to those on Twitter who were upset, they probably had a turf horse or two, at a price, who they thought could be the difference-maker for them. I was hoping to use a turf entry or two, on dirt, as my keys to a unique sequence that would pay well.

Spoiler Alert: My opinions were spot on for 4 of the 6 races, and I failed to put together a winner. If I’m being honest with myself, I wouldn’t have done it any differently. I constructed my wagers to reflect my opinions and to hit the wager multiple times, and I gave no chance to the winner who knocked me out. I went back to see what I may have missed, and I’m not finding it. I’m chalking this one up to being unlucky. Let’s dig in to the tickets in the exact order I punched them.

$0.20 – 2-8/4,6/2,3,6,10/2,4,9,12,13/7/2,5,8 – $168

$0.20 – 3,4,8/4,6/2,3,6,10/2,4,9,12,13/7/2,5,8 – $72

$0.20 – 2-8/1,2,4-8/6/4,9/7/2,5,8 – $58.80

  • This one stings the most, as this was my “if 6 / 4,9 / 7 hit, make sure you cash.” In addition to Blue Prize in the 4th leg, I thought #6 Gorgeous Charli in leg 3, and #4 Jennemily and #9 Carlisle Belle in leg 4 had every chance to win. The fact that I actually thought through this to “make sure,” and still missed, shows you how much I was against 3 and 7 in the last, or how stupid I am. You decide. It’s so easy after the fact to say you should have gone “ALL” to make sure. Some would, but I tend to play for the kill and am OK with the additional risk that brings.

$0.40 – 3,4,8/4,6,7/2,3,6/2,4,9,12,13/7/2,5 – $108

$2.00 – 3,4/4,6/6/4,9,12/7/2,5 – $48

$0.20 – 2-8/4,6,7/2,3,6,10/2,4,9,12,13/7/5 – $84

$1.00 – 2-4,8/6/6/4,9/7/2,5 – $16

$0.40 – 2-4,8/4,6/2,3,6/4,9,12/7/2,5 – $57.60

$2.00 – 2-4,8/4,6/6/4,12/7/5 – $32

$1.00 – 2-8/4,6/6/4,9,12/7/5 – $42

$0.20 – 2-8/4,6/1-3,6,10/4,12/7/2,5 – $56

$0.40 – 2-4/6/2,3,6,10/4,9,12,13/7/2,5,8 – $57.60

$0.20 – 2-4/2,3,6,10/4,9,12,13/7/2,5,8 – $28.80

Total wagered = $828.80

To wager $828.80 on any sequence is a lot, especially when you get nothing in return! For those of you who didn’t follow the sequence from beginning to end, the $0.20 will pays on the 6th leg were approximately:

#2 – $2,900

#3 – ?

#5 – $1,600

#7 – $12,547

#8 – $10,000

I don’t recall #3 as I wasn’t alive to the 3. However, I was alive to the 2, three times, for a potential of around $9K. I was alive to the 5, who went off at 3/4, nine times, for a potential of around $15K. Lastly, I was alive to the 8, twice, for a potential of $20K.

To further put the value into perspective, let’s do some math. I had $828.80 invested, which breaks down to the following based on how many times I was alive to each runner:

#2 – $177.6 invested x N = $9K

#5 – $532.80 invested x N = $15K

#8 – $118.40 invested x N = $20K

If we solve for N, column 1 is the effective odds I was alive to, column 2 is what their off-odds were:

Horse Effective Odds True Odds
#2 51/1 2/1
#5 28/1 3/4
#8 169/1 9/1

So, in hind sight, losing $828.80 hurts. However, if you bring me back to Sunday prior to the final leg and give me the effective odds for win wagers, I’m finding every dollar I can and betting on the same three horses.

One final point, I wouldn’t have wagered $828.20 on this sequence if two things weren’t true.

  1. I had a very strong opinion on some decent-price horses
  2. I have been winning as of late and have extra disposable income

Always wager within your limits…and after that bad beat on Sunday my current limits are a little less.

If you’re looking for my carryover ROI grid, I will continue to post it, but will likely settle in on monthly frequency, as the tracking is quite tedious. However, although the carryover-only ROI is still positive, it isn’t by much! Good luck this week.

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  • No hedging? $100 win bets on the two uncovered horses in the last leg would have gotten you back your $800. Double that and you guarantee yourself a profit, while reducing your possible win by less than 5%. Without the hedge, you are essentially betting $9,000 that your two uncovered horses won’t win. Of course, hindsight is 20/20, but I’d be interested in your general philosophy on hedging when you are alive to the favorite(s) in the last leg.

    • I’ve shifted my focus to long-term profit, hence the carryover-only strategy. Hedging, by betting/hedging with horses that you don’t give much of a chance of winning is a long-term losing formula, even if it guarantees a win for the day. If it came to the last race and I thought I had made a major mistake and missed covering a horse I gave a significant chance to win, I would consider hedging. I may have downplayed just how much I was against the 3 and 7 in the last. I thought 5 was worthy of the 3/4 post time odds, and was the reason I had it 9 times. I gave the 2 an OK shot at winning, and the 8 was already a reach for me to include. Hedging didn’t even cross my mind, that’s how confident I was with the three I had…Reading back what I just typed makes me even more confident I played it right. I had a 3/4 shot, a 2/1 shot AND a saver horse on top of that in a 5 horse field. No way I would change what I did.

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