The short answer, as given in the comments to the prior post, was that I strictly played GALLANT EAGLE to show.
The longer answer, which includes a good bit of wagering and gambling mentality, follows. It’s a nuts-and-bolts explanation that I hope has been simplified enough for “Picks and Ponderings.” (Feedback is appreciated.) What happened is that I bet my opinions but took an unusual path to get to them while maintaining a profit.
There are two main facts that guide the mentality of the pre-race deliberating and wagering:
1) Even though WILLCOX INN was the ChicagoNow top pick, I felt WILLCOX INN had an equal chance to win as MISTER MARDI GRAS. Similarly, I felt AGENT DI NOZZO had an equal chance. In math terms, AGENT DI NOZZO = MISTER MARDI GRAS = WILLCOX INN, with respect to win chances.
2) GALLANT EAGLE could be lone speed and dangerous, but he was going to have higher odds because of the trio of well-regarded horses in (1). However, his win chances were dramatically less than the trio in (1).
Since I respected MISTER MARDI GRAS (“dead” on board early, as high as 5/1) and AGENT DI NOZZO (the in form out of town invader that took the early money) too much in this race that if I strictly played WILLCOX INN to win, I’d have to play the other or both at equal strength. Seeing as how all three were each around 2/1 to 5/2 at a few minutes to post, it becomes a devalued proposition because there’s not a discrepancy in the odds that makes any one combination more appealing than the other. A $1 exacta box of the three was a losing proposition. ($6 in, $5-$10 out but rooting *AGAINST* a horse to finish out of the top two for break-even). No thanks.
I also wasn’t going to play only certain combinations (say, play only WILLCOX INN-MISTER MARDI GRAS tickets), since that makes the target a lot smaller and induces a lot more unnecessary risk. This violated principle (1).
Win wagers were out because if I played one I would feel sick to the stomach I didn’t play the other two.
I didn’t look at the tenth race, so doubles and other pick (N) bets were off the table. I didn’t have any doubles/pick threes that ended or included the Washington Park either.
So I pitched the three favorites and played the longshot to show. It’s not that I didn’t like Willcox Inn; I defended him in a conversation on Twitter pre-race. He was the ChicagoNow top pick, after all.
If I played the exacta that our commenter suggested, and using my mentality (all three equally as capable), that was $3 (3 X 1) invested (the three favorites over GALLANT EAGLE) to return $31.20 ($1 return on the Washington Park exacta, which for $2 paid $62.40). However, it demands precision to hit. Wouldn’t it stink if GALLANT EAGLE was third?
Boxing the bet (WILLCOX INN, MISTER MARDI GRAS, AGENT DI NOZZO over GALLANT EAGLE in both directions) costs $6 for each dollar inputted. It’s about a 4-1 return ($6 in, $32 back), and at that point it’s much better to play GALLANT EAGLE at 10-1 to win and place (versus 4-1 on the exacta box), since you’ve dictated in your wagers that GALLANT EAGLE is in the top two.
A trifecta box/superfecta box would not have worked because (A) it requires the three at equal strength and (B) would have gone the tubes because of HATTASH finishing third.
In retrospect, 2-1 on WILLCOX INN was more than fair if I used him and only him. But since I felt AGENT DI NOZZO and MISTER MARDI GRAS were of equal quality, I would have used those three at equal strength and would have escalated the costs. As a result, I kept my opinion intact and circled back to tossing all three (which was to use none of the favored) and to open myself to flexibility and a better chance at winning.
To put it another way: I reduced the risk (and the payout) by only playing GALLANT EAGLE to show, but I’ve increased the chance at winning since I can be “right” (that he won’t win but can ran well) and “wrong” (he would win). In short, I wagered on opinion (2).
True, it became a straight even money play at the end of the day (i.e., take $X dollars, leave with $2X. It is fair to say I “chickened out” (not playing GALLANT EAGLE to place, not using other wagers) by taking this path of reduced risk and likely a reduced payout. But I’d rather double my dollars and be a little off the target, instead of hoping for quadrupling my dollars and rely on a dead-on bullseye hit.
Given what happened, I did make some money. But better to make a little than lose it all.
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