Here are three Kentucky Derby (G1) betting situations as we try to make money, no matter what the bankroll.
Let’s say the first Saturday in May is just not your day. Nothing is going right and you are down to $10. How do you make money?
First piece of advice is throw away the game plan that got you into this predicament. Do something different.
A $10 Win bet would only be worth it if the horse you like is at least 10-1. I would take the top choice and wheel him in $2 Exactas with the next five choices. The second-best horse rarely runs second so don’t be afraid to throw in a couple of longshots.
- Last year, favored ALWAYS DREAMING won and longshot LOOOKIN AT LEE rallied for second at 33-1 to complete a $336.20 Exacta ($2).
- In 2016, favored NYQUIST won but second choice EXAGGERATOR completed a chalky $30.60 Exacta ($2).
- In 2015, favored AMERICAN PHAROAH won and FIRING LINE held on for second at 9.50-1 to complete a generous $72.60 Exacta ($2).
- In 2014, favored CALIFORNIA CHROME won and COMMANDING CURVE got up for second at almost 34-1 to complete a $340 Exacta ($2).
- In 2013, favored ORB won as the tepid 5.40-1 favorite and GOLDEN SOUL got second at 34-1 to complete a monstrous $981.60 Exacta ($2).
Five years in a row, the favorite has won the Kentucky Derby and the $2 Exacta averaged a whopping $352.20. In four of the five runnings, you needed a deep closer to get up for second but the Derby often falls apart in the final quarter-mile, so horses you might not consider on top would be perfect to use for second at long odds.
If my betting on Saturday was not that bad and I had $20 left going into the Derby, I would do what I normally do: a $10 Win bet on my top choice and then protect with $2 Exactas with the other five picks on top of him.
But what if I have a $100 going into the Derby? I, being a kind-of-all-or-nothing type guy, would be tempted to bet $100 to Win on my top pick or $50 Win and Place. I am not bipolar, just binary. Either I win or lose, not trying to get some horse into third to complete a Trifecta.
Luckily for you people, you are not me so you have more options. I recommend a $20 Win/Place bet on the top choice for $40. I would then make a 50-cent Trifecta Box with the top five selections for another $30. With $30 left, I would take out the top choice and make a 50-cent Trifecta Box with the next five selections for another $30.
If we win, we cash the Win/Place ticket. We have a chance at the Trifecta box even if we finish at least third or we still have a chance if we run out of the top three with our final Trifecta Box. That’s not bad coverage for $100.