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  • 2010 Kentucky Derby - Ponder the Plodders

       April 23, 2010

    (see all of our 2010 Kentucky Derby preview articles)

    To be honest, I don't have the appetite for anguish necessary to bet anything more exotic than an exacta box. But, payouts for Derby exotics are large enough to tempt even the wimpiest bettor.

    I put together this chart of Kentucky Derbies from 1990 on that shows the pace scenario, top four finishers and payouts. The average $2 exacta payout is $921.97 while hitting the trifecta will get you, on average, $14,686.39. Damn.

    Of course, hitting a winning ticket like that can require a big initial investment as you're probably going to have to box 5 or 6 horses or at least mix it up at the bottom of your ticket. I found this handy guide to figuring out how much multi-horse wagers cost. In the equations below use x as the number of horses in your wager and y as the dollar amount of your bet:

    Exacta boxes: x*(x-1)*y. So, a four horse exacta box will cost you 4*3*2 or $12
    Trifecta boxes: x*(x-1)*(x-2)*y. So those same four horses in a trifecta box will cost 4*3*2*2 or $48
    Superfecta boxes: x*(x-1)*(x-2)*(x-3)*y. So let's say you want to box 6 horses, it's 6*5*4*3*2 or $720.

    Luckily for big spenders, the minimum superfecta bet on Derby day is only $1, so you could get your box for $360 instead of $720. Either way, good luck.

    Typically, rather than spend that much to box a bunch of horses, a bettor will chose the top of the ticket and then box the rest. So, for example, I might build a superfecta ticket with Sidney's Candy and Eskendereya on top and then box a bunch of longshots for the 3rd and 4th positions in order to minimize my cost.

    But who should those longshots be? I believe my little charty might show the way. In the chart, the running style of the horses is designated by red for closers, yellow stalkers and green for front runners. While horses of all styles win the Derby, it's startling to see how many closers hit the board. I think a lot of quality speed and stalkers just get tired during their first time at the distance and the closers just pick up the pieces.

    So as you build your exotic tickets for the Derby, ponder the plodders. Horses like Dublin, Stately Victor, Ice Box, Interactif and Pleasant Prince (if he makes it in) may not win, but they very well might lumber down the stretch and make you a nice chunk of change.

    Next time: Some fun & frivolity.

    Posted by kris at April 23, 2010 07:08 AM

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    #  April 23rd, 2010 8:53 AM      kris
    Can I just tell you all how much I love that I have frickin' math equations in my article? Math! I think if I start calculating 3/8 closing times here that'll be a little much, but suffice it to say that I secretly am doing just that :)  



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