by Greg Melikov - 01/17/2006
I'm always on the lookout for a longshot for several reasons. The main one: to enhance my favorite wager - the exacta - and other exotic plays.
After reading various articles by betting gurus over the years, I've found some pretty good advice on weeding out a price horse.
Here are some tips that just might lead to big payoffs:
*First-time starters, an unknown quantity, can lead to nifty returns if you pay attention to important factors such as key trainers and the right breeding angle if they are ignored by the betting public. A change in equipment or first-time Lasix also may signal the price is right.
*Horses that suddenly reverse form and improve no matter the reason should be considered. If a thoroughbred drops in class, most likely the horse will be bet. But if the thoroughbred steps up a bit in class, that may produce real value.
*Overachievers who consistently perform better than their odds predict offer a good betting opportunity. Check the past performances to see where and when a horse outperforms the odds. If the trainer and jockey hook up again, all the better.
*Check out horses that are ignored on the tote board because the contenders in the field look stronger. Thoroughbreds who know how to win often defeat so-called speedier rivals.
*Wager on horses to win and place that consistently score at big odds, especially if the favorite appears vulnerable.
*Include horses that consistently hit the board at nice odds in exotic wagers, especially if there is a deserving favorite.
*If a longshot stands on its own merits as a likely contender at generous odds, why not bet the horse to win and key the selection in exotic bets.
*Before taking any wagering plunge, figure out why the longshot is so appealing. Consider the scenario and why top contenders should come up short.
*Avoid the temptation of diluting your wagers by spreading bets throughout pari-mutuel pools. An envisioned super-exotics score is outweighed by the possibility of failing to capitalize on a live longshot.
*Wager intelligently and tailor your bet to the most opportunistic situation. Bet small if the race is confusing and don't open your wallet if you don't have an opinion.
*Don't discount luck. My wife over the years has selected horses because the name or number suited her. Quite often she bets to place and her selections sometimes pay more than my pick does to win.