Sunday at Saratoga: Listener Mail

Hey all:

That featured pic is of me the other night fishing on Saratoga Lake. It was a fantastic time, in celebration of my niece Dani’s 14th birthday. I hired a guide, who became an insta-friend, Nate Galimore. Our haul wasn’t all that impressive though I did manage to reel in a bluegill — but the real story of the day were the two large bass — one hooked by Dani, one by me — that got away. Isn’t that always the way — especially for a horseplayer? I look forward to getting back on the water soon.

I am happy to report that today was that rarest of are things for me lately: an off day! But I still can’t resist making a little blog post. I got a couple of interesting emails via the “contact us” page on the all-new website — courtesy of the supremely talented Tyler Whisman.

Anyway, I figured since I took the time to answer privately, we could go ahead and post publicly.

Name: Derrick


Comment: Hi PTF and JK, (This specifically relates to the Player’s Podcast)

I found my way to In the Money Media after I started following JK on I started playing horses for the first time when the pandemic shut other sports down and have quickly gotten hooked. I love the podcast, you guys’ chemistry, and all the winners I’ve hit from you guys! I’ve learned a ton from you in a short period of time.

I’ve got a question about bankroll management that I’m sure other listeners/new horse players may struggle with. My P3/4/5 bankroll is currently at about $500. When you guys lay out $100 bets, I often find myself having to reduce them (ex. Making the $2 “All A” ticket $1, the “3 A, 1 B” ticket $0.50 instead of $1, playing a P4 instead of P5, etc). This saves outlay, but I’ve missed out on a lot of return.

My question is, what’s the best strategy for playing your picks when being a $100 better could bust you after 5 losers in a row? Play the full $100, but only when the ticket seems really strong? Keep trying to make all the tickets, just at lower costs? Or, forgoing B tickets? Or, something else?

Thanks in advance for any info, and most of all thank you so much for the awesome work and helping hook a new fan of horse racing!

Derrick from Harrisonburg, Virginia

Time: July 19, 2020 at 2:00 am
Contact Form URL:
Sent by an unverified visitor to your site.

Thanks for the note, Derrick!
That strikes me as a tough way to fly. Pick bets have a low strike rate so I think you need a much larger ratio of total bankroll to what you are willing to risk on a given play.
I think you should also recognize that there is a real difference in how often you can expect to hit a p3 v a p4 or p5– each leg you add increases the level of difficulty exponentially.
How replenishable is that $500? If the answer is very, I might point you one way. If the answer is that you have $500 for the rest of the year and that’s it, I might say something very different.
But my general idea on $500, is that you want to be able to spread that over as many bets as possible: 5 way too few, I’d prefer 50 if that was my whole bank.
Obviously $10 not going to get you very far tho, at least not in those pools.
So another thought is to spend a lot more energy on bets like rolling doubles where you can easily and efficiently express your opinion for a lot less $$$.
Anyway we could surely talk about this for hours and I’ll try to bring up on an upcoming show, but this is a starting point for you.

Tough beat nhc contest today

Top 6 got seats. Ran 7th. Ugh. Qualifying is hard. Still trying to for seat #1. Fwiw this contest format was great value compared to online. Double your bank and you got a seat. Can’t beat that.

Thought finish bank was $2250 to get nhc. Contest was $1000 bank. 10 $50 wp. Sar 11 races, Mon 9-12, play 10/15 races all optional. Interesting theory I debated would like your thought on….. Take swings off the table, preserve capital, play decorated invader and authentic, or save bullets for price plays. Thought on taking heavy chalk is reduce loss exposure to the prices you liked which you played contest for anyways. I decided against and passed for races where I played middle prices I had average confidence in and as per usual I lost them and the $200 cost me nhc. Game theory was reduce the number of losers I had to make up for. Guess the risk is when the swing players hit the capper bombs you need these bullets to have a chance to catch up. Guess it depends on how chaosy you feel some of the contest races could get. Would you agree?

And listened to pod and if I woulda taken aqua instead of mugs in the United Nations I woulda been in the lead. I sat there w/ 2 mtp deciding between the makers and thought Pete tipped aqua so I’m going there, and then saw he’s cold and that chilly tote action put me on mugs.

Contest play is a game of decisions………

Time: July 19, 2020 at 8:01 am
Contact Form URL:
Sent by an unverified visitor to your site.

I’m definitely of the mind that you should reduce level of difficulty by betting aggressively on short prices you love and offer value as opposed to guessing at prices. Obviously if you love a price, play it. But you can get a lot of extra value in contests playing shorter than much of your competition is willing to because of the added value of the prize pool.
My thought would have been a create my own parlay — as opposed to a pick bet —  with some combo of all-in yaupon to all-in authentic to all-in 4-7 split stake in the SAR nightcap.
I’d take horses with a very high probability and just try to hit a few of those. Maybe some minimums out of the way on prices I like.
Are you familiar with the dutch principles we talk about a lot? Those would come in handy.
Sorry about the “bubble boy” experience but if you keep playing like this, you’ll get there.


Leave a Reply

Further reading