by Mike Hayes - 10/25/2005
Deciding where to place your Breeders' Cup wagers can be nearly as important as which horses you wager on next Saturday at Belmont Park due to the potential for a huge disparity in the track price and what some books will pay.
What makes the Breeders' Cup unique is that the races have large fields that are deep in talent and the wagering pools are huge, factors which lead to much greater payouts than usual. This is particularly true in the case of Trifectas and Superfectas, which are likely to exceed the limits at some books in several races on the Breeders' Cup card.
On last year's Breeders' Cup run at Lone Star Park in Texas, three winners returned $35 or better, exacta payouts ranged from a low of $29 in the Juvenile Fillies to a high of about $1,500 in the Mile, where 16-1 shot Singletary finished on top of 31-1 Antonius Pius and the average Trifecta came back a healthy $2,239.
Of course the best place to wager is at the track itself, where you will receive track price for each $2 bet, or some other simulcast outlet where bets placed are included in the betting pool and track price is paid.
In addition to race books at brick-and-mortar casinos there are a number of options available via the internet that are tied to the tracks and allow for this option with a very small vig (or even no vig if you maintain a certain account balance) subtracted from the winning price. The problem is, however, that these services are prohibited in about a dozen states, leaving online casinos or street corner books as the only alternative for a segment of the wagering public.
When left with these alternatives, or if it is simply too convenient to place your wager with an online book, it is important to find the right site because you might otherwise find yourself in the frustrating position of having selected a $1,200 Exacta or five-digit Trifecta and receiving as little as $600 for your handicapping prowess.
The best of Doc's recommended sites appear to be BetCRIS and Pinnacle, which offer track odds on all bets up to a maximum net profit of $100,000 per race on Breeders' Cup Day. In addition, Pinnacle will pay up to $500,000 for a correct $2 wager on the Breeders' Cup Pick 6.
The $100,000 limit at BetCRIS and Pinnacle Sportsbook is likely to cover just about any $2 payout in a given race, though the Superfecta in last year's Breeders' Cup Mile returned more than $107,000 for a deuce. The Pick 6 is another story and could easily exceed the $500,000 max payout. If investing any kind of serious money this is simply a bet that cannot be placed without the guarantee of actual track odds because the payout is likely to be enormous, reaching $2.7 million just a few years ago.
Bodog offers max odds of 300-1 on any wager with a maximum profit of $50,000 on an individual play. Sportingbet offers essentially the same deal, but Betcom and Nine Sportsbook impose the more traditional limits of 20-1 on Win; 8-1 on Place and 4-1 on Show wagers; 100-1 for Quinellas and Daily Doubles, 150-1 for Exactas, and 300-1 for Trifectas.
Rob Gillespie, president of Bodog, said less than 1 percent of his sports handle is from horse racing which is the industry norm due to the other wagering venues and opportunities available to the horseplayer. "We see players who bet horses all day, every day," Gillespie said. "They are the minority in number, but probably represent half the racebook handle. We also see a lot of core sports fans who dabble in horse racing by playing the major races and the smaller races on quiet sports days."
Betting horses online can be advantageous especially on days when exceeding max payouts are rare or in the case of the heavy bettor who likes to bet the shorter priced horses. In this case the wager will not impact the odds, thus resulting in a better payout.
Several books also offer rebates as an inducement to attract more racebook action.
"Suffice it to say that the books are looking for creative ways to completely replicate the betting opportunities available at the racetrack," Gillespie said. "About 20 percent of our sports bettors have placed at least one horse bet in the last year so there is still lots of room to grow."