Advanced Wagering Tips


In this era of betting on the horses, there are multiple types of wagers available on most races at most tracks across the country. Handicappers must choose which pools to venture into based on the risk involved, their own temperment, size of bankroll and ability to handle losing streaks. This is a guide to help F.A.S.T. Sheets users get the most out of the information provided. These are general guidelines and suggestions as how to wager on different types of bets and isn't an endorsement of one type of wagering over another.

Basic Strategy

Win Wagering Strategy: The TrackMaster F.A.S.T. Sheets assess each horse’s probability of winning and produce acceptable (fair) odds for the contenders. As post time nears, if only one contender has odds equal to or higher than its acceptable odds (an overlay), then a wager on the horse to win is called for. If there are two overlays in a given race, a wager on both horses to win is indicated. If there are three or more overlays in a given race, bet on the overlay with the largest (post-time odds to one)/(fair odds to one) ratio. Here is an example.

Click here  for a F.A.S.T. Sheets sample. (Examples are from the Del Mar, August 31, 2002 report.)

In race eight, here are the contenders and their respective post-time odds, acceptable odds:

#7 Buffythecenterfold 7/2, 5/1

#3 Miss Houdini 11/1, 6/1

#5 Santa Catarina 4/5, 7/1

#1 Ionia 18/1, 8/1

#2 Sea Jewel 5/1, 10/1

#3 Miss Houdini and #1 Ionia are both win bets since they are the only two horses that have post-time odds greater than or equal to acceptable odds. Miss Houdini won this race paying $24.80. Since there were only two overlays in the race, the (post-time odds to one)/(acceptable odds to one) ratio calculation wasn't needed. If it were, the calculation for these two contender would be 11/6 = 1.83 for Miss Houdini and 18/8 = 2.25 for Ionia.

Odds Level Chart

1/5 .20
2/5 .40
1/2 .50
3/5 .60
4/5 .80
1/1 1.0
6/5 1.2
7/5 1.4
3/2 1.5
8/5 1.6
9/5 1.8
2/1 2.0
5/2 2.5
3/1 3.0
7/2 3.5
4/1 4.0
9/2 4.5
5/1 5.0
6/1 6.0
7/1 7.0
8/1 8.0
9/1 9.0

Adjustments for Late Scratches: Any late scratches can definitely have significant changes on the complexion of the pace of a race and thus the acceptable odds which are provided by the F.A.S.T. Sheets. Cautions are provided within the text of a Basic Race or a Fast-paced Race to check on the scratches of any of the Front-runners since this can drastically change the expected pace of a race. If after late scratches a horse becomes the only remaining Front-runner in the race, its chances should be upgraded. If late scratches leave a race originally described as Fast-paced with less than four Front-runners, then the chances of all the contenders that are Front-runners should be upgraded.

In general, when one of the contenders is scratched, the odds of the remaining contenders should be dropped one or two odds levels depending on how low the odds were on the scratched horse.

Track Bias Adjustments: Some users may want to adjust the acceptable odds based on a track bias. If a user has been watching the races at his track for a few days and notices that the Trailers have been winning a majority of the races, he can then adjust the acceptable odds provided downward by one or two odds levels for the Trailers while adjusting the odds upwards for the non-Trailers. If a user has determined that Front-runners on the rail are at an advantage, he can adjust the acceptable odds downward on the horse he believes will take this advantage. This tactic should be used with caution and should only be used by everyday players who are in touch with the day to day idyosincracies of the tracks they seriously follow. The F.A.S.T. Sheets are actually formatted in a way to easily spot the running styles of the horses going into a race and make tracking the running styles of the winners very easy.

Exotic Strategy

Definitions: Exotic Wager: Any bet which isn't a win, place or show bet.

Box: Combining two or more horses in an exacta, trifecta, or superfecta so that all possible combinations involving the horses is covered.

Wheel: Using a key selection in an exotic wager with all the other horses. A partial wheel would be combining the key selection with all those horses deemed contenders.

Back Wheel: In an exacta, using a key selection in the second position with all other horses in the race. A partial back wheel would be using those deemed contenders on top of the key selection.

Single: A race in a serial exotic wager, in which only one horse is used in that race.

Gap Horse: A top rated contender on the F.A.S.T. Sheets that has a "gap" in acceptable odds of at least five odds levels between it and the acceptable odds of the second rated contender. In race seven, the top rated horse #3 Wheater has acceptable odds of 9/5. The second rated horse #1 Vronsky has acceptable odds of 7/1. Using the odds chart from above, there are eight odds levels between 9/5 and 7/1, thus Wheater is a Gap Horse.

Exacta Strategy: For exactas, one strategy is to box the overlays on the contenders list and play the overlays with the other contenders. In race nine, here are the contenders with post-time odds, acceptable odds:

#5 Panther Quick 15/1, 6/1

#4 Augustan 14/1, 7/1

#6 More Influence 8/5, 7/1

#7 Good Ol' Uncle Joe 5/2, 8/1

#8 Chinois 5/1, 9/1

The overlays are #4 Augustan and #5 Panther Quick. The exactas to play are:

4, 5 box

4, 5 with 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

4, 5, 6, 7, 8 with 4, 5

The overlays are boxed and played on top and underneath the contenders in a partial top wheel and back wheel. This gives an extra combination if the overlays run first and second. If playing the combinations for $1 these tickets would cost $18.00. If there were only one overlay and the horse was used in a partial wheel and back wheel with the other contenders the tickets would cost $8.00.

This exacta came in #7 Good Ol' Uncle Joe first and #4 Augustan second. The $1 exacta paid $37.00. 

Trifecta Strategy: The trifecta, picking the first three finishers in the correct order, has become a mainstay at tracks across the country. One strategy is to key the overlays in all three spots of the trifecta, especially if the overlays are longshots. Here are the contenders in race one with post-time odds, acceptable odds:

#4 Cannon One 5/2, 4/1

#6 Hot 1/2, 5/1

#1 Cheverly Gold 19/1, 6/1

#3 Televangelist 7/1, 10/1

The only contender which is an overlay is the first time starter, #1 Cheverly Gold. The trifecta combinations to play are:

1 with 3, 4, 6 with 3, 4, 6

3, 4, 6 with 1 with 3, 4, 6

3, 4, 6 with 3, 4, 6 with 1

4 with 6 with 1

This combination of tickets would cost $19.00. The last combination is purchased in the exact order from top to bottom of the contenders list. It's worth playing the extra buck in case the race finishes as predicted. For those who wish to play the trifecta in an easy and inexpensive manner just playing the last ticket is the way to go. Cashing will be infrequent, but it will occur often enough.

This trifecta came in #4 Cannon One, #6 Hot, #1 Cheverly Gold. The $1 trifecta paid $31.60.

There are many strategies to playing trifectas. Handicappers must determine how much of their bankroll to spend on this risky proposition. Long losing streaks are not uncommon.

Superfecta Strategy: The superfecta, picking the first four finishers in the correct order, is a tough bet to cash, but the payoffs can be sizeable.One strategy is to play the two overlays with the highest odds ratio in all four spots with the other contenders filling out the rest of the ticket. This example is from the tenth race. Here are the contenders with post-time odds, acceptable odds:

#6 Indiahoma 3/1, 5/1

#10 Five Schillings 6/1, 6/1

#1 Dereck 12/1, 8/1

#8 Northern Crown 54/1, 9/1

#9 Jordi Moi 7/1, 9/1

The odds ratios for the three overlays are #10 Five Schillings 6/6 = 1.0, #1 Dereck 12/8 = 1.5 and #8 Northern Crown 54/9 = 6.0. Using the top two odds ratio horses as keys, the three tickets to play would look like this:

1, 8 with 1, 8 with 6, 9, 10 with 6, 9, 10

1, 8 with 6, 9, 10 with 1, 8 with 6, 9, 10

1, 8 with 6, 9, 10 with 6, 9, 10 with 1, 8

In this instance one of the key selections (#1 or #8) would have to win and the other horse would have to show up in the top four as well. These three tickets would cost $36.

A simple and inexpensive way to play the superfecta is to take the top three contenders in order and put the forth and fifth choices in the fourth spot on the ticket:

6 with 10 with 1 with 8, 9. It only costs $2 to play the ticket. Needless to say, the ticket won't be cashed that often.

The order of finish for this race was #1 Dereck, #8 Northern Crown, #6 Indiahoma, #10 Five Schillings. The $1 superfecta paid a whopping $31,894.60.

There are numerous ways of boxing and wheeling contenders to play the superfecta. Handicappers must fit this wager into their budget and find situations where this becomes a profitable play over the long haul.

Daily Double Strategy: For the Daily Double, one strategy is to play the top overlays in the first race with the contenders in the second race and to play the contenders in the first race with the morning line overlays in the second race. Here are the contenders and odds for races nine and ten:

Race Nine, post-time odds, acceptable odds:

#5 Panther Quick 15/1, 6/1

#4 Augustan 14/1, 7/1

#6 More Influence 8/5, 7/1

#7 Good Ol' Uncle Joe 5/2, 8/1

#8 Chinois 5/1, 9/1

Race Ten, morning line odds, acceptable odds: #6 Indiahoma 7/2, 5/1

#10 Five Schillings 6/1, 6/1

#1 Dereck 12/1, 8/1

#8 Northern Crown 15/1, 9/1

#9 Jordi Moi 6/1, 9/1

Using the overlayed contenders as key selections, the daily double tickets would be:

4, 5 with 1, 6, 8, 9, 10

4, 5, 6, 7, 8 with 1, 8

This combination of $2 tickets comes to $40. To cut down on the cost, one could play only the top overlay in each race with the contenders in the other race.

The daily double results came in #7 Good Ol' Uncle Joe in the ninth and #1 Dereck in the tenth. The $2 daily double paid $115.

Pick N Strategy: For the serial exotics such as the Pick 3, Pick 4, etc., an acceptable strategy is to key the contenders that are overlays versus the morning line and play them with the other contenders. This strategy would be similar to the daily double except that there are more races with contenders added. If one of the races in the series has a race with only one contender or a gap horse which can be "singled," the cost of the tickets will become much less expensive.

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