Talking Track Part 3: 10 Steps to Making a Bet
Well ladies and gentlemen, we’ve covered the track history and how to handicap a race. But once you think you’ve got it all figured out, what then? This is 'Talking Track: The Novice’s Guide to the Saratoga Race Course.'
Bets: First, let’s explain the basic bets:
Win: Really? You want me to explain this one? Just X-out. Seriously.
Place: Betting the horse to finish either second or first. If either happens you win.
Show: Betting the horse to finish either third, second or first. If any of that happens? Winner winner. Chicken dinner, baby.
Exacta: Here you bet two horses to finish first and second in specific order.
Trifecta: Betting three horses to finish a specific first, second and third order.
Superfecta: Same as the two above but with places 1-4. There seems to be a pattern here.
*Exactas, Trifectas and Superfectas are bets that can be boxed. Boxing is a simple way of saying you want to bet every possible outcome. Be careful though, these aren’t free. You have to pay for each possibility. So a $2 exacta becomes a $4 exacta box. A $2 superfecta becomes a $48 superfecta box. However, if you can afford to box it, BOX IT! Hell hath no agony like betting a 2-5 exacta and watching it come in 5-2. Trust me, I've been there. Moving on.
Betting Strategies: You need a betting strategy, and there's a few to pick from:
A) You can bring no money at all and just watch. This is a recipe to be the person who has the most and the least fun at the exact same time. No excitement making no bets, but no painful look at the bank statement in the morning. But come on, that’s amateur hour. Step your game up!
B) You could also bring a set amount of money that you are prepared to lose and bet only that much. This, while probably the smartest way to go (and the way I go), seems a little unimaginative and a lot unadventurous.
C) Finally, you can just get straight up crazy on it. Break out the debit card and make it rain, baby! Gotta make the paper! And what do you do when you lose? That’s not even a question. YOU BET MORE TO MAKE UP FOR IT! It may not be the smartest way to attack betting, but you can’t argue with the adrenalin rush you’ll get when you’ve got I.O.U.’s out to two of your buddies and the next three months rent on that 15-1 shot in the last race. That’s the way a man does it.
How to Bet: Now. Once you’ve figured out the bets and what you’re personal betting strategy will be for the day, it’s time to bet. But how? Well here’s how!
But that’s not satisfying, is it? You’re a handicapper damnit! Plus the five horse is at 70-1. So yeah, you’re not betting that. At this point you seek a professional consult. What does the consult consist of? Well, it’s you eavesdropping on the two cigar-smoking gentlemen in front of you. Don’t be ashamed. It happens to all of us. Remember, often times tank top + cigar = genius handicapper. I mean, this guy on the left, is one of the best handicappers in the world. Must be the power of those glorious mutton chops.
10. And such is the last step. You walk to that betting window with all the guile and confidence you can muster. Then…well, just follow the directions next to the window. It’s really pretty simple. No reason to have ten steps I guess. It’s really just read the sign at the window and do what it says. You know what, even if you screw up what the sign says a little they’ll probably get it. So…whatever.
And those are your ten steps to placing a bet at the track! It opens tomorrow, so get ready! Next week I’ll talk about more of the logistics of the track, - how to get around and what you can expect to see. But for now, go forth and handicap – you know what you’re doing...kind of. Happy Saratoga, everybody! Good Luck!