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Trifecta Betting Strategies


The purpose of this blog has always been to share ideas that may help others cash more tickets (trifectas and superfectas in this instance), not to pat myself on the back after winning. In fact, one of the teaching examples will show a losing bet when I felt the thought process was correct, though the end result was not.


When playing trifectas many bettors focus on narrowing down win contenders, and work their way down to the 2nd and 3rd positions. On the other hand, I like to work my way from the bottom up by indentifying horses that may not be win factors, but have a decent shot at running 2nd or 3rd. This gives the option to spread on the top line in tris and supers, which in turn creates bigger payoffs when longshots win. This is more commonly known as the reverse pyramid method.


Though horses like this can be found running every day, at every track and at every level, I find myself employing this method most in maiden and non-winners of 2 lifetime races. Here are a few examples over the last few days.


One of my favorite tracks to play in the winter is Hawthorne, so as I was getting crushed on Wednesday in a multi-track handicapping contest, I was also playing some races from the South Chicago oval. The 6th race was a $5,000 claimer for non-winners of 2 races lifetime. #4 Contemporary Art looked like a good candidate to hit the board, but not win. His lifetime record of 23-1-4-4 hints that he does not have that killer instinct to win, but one that likes to run with pack. Also, his sprint race 2 back showed he can handle track and retaining top rider Eddie Perez despite clipping heels and finishing poorly in his last.




This race also looked like some chaos could occur as far as who might end up in the winner’s circle, since #5 Kinzig was even money on the morning line while sporting a lifetime record of 13-1-5-0. I decided to wheel #4 in 2nd and 3rd in the trifecta. The tickets were structured like this 1,2,3,5,9/4/1,2,3,5,6,7,9 and 1,2,3,5,9/1,2,3,5,6,7,9/4   



















Fortunately, Contemporary Art loomed boldly on the turn and flattened out like usual. Unfortunately it was for 5th place. By looking at the chart some big prices landed in the top 2 spots of the trifecta, the suspect favorite ran poorly and the trifecta returned a handsome sum. A good thought process that just did not materialize.


Fast forward to Thursday…I was looking for someone to play in a head-to-head tournament over the first 6 races at Betfair Hollywood Park on DerbyWars, but could not find any takers before first post, so it was back to regular betting. The 4th from BHP was a $20,000 maiden claimer at 1 1/16 miles where #4 Tiz Futurity had very competitive speed figures, but a dismal lifetime record of 17-0-2-1. Rather than longshots possibly winning, this race looked to go through only the #7 Midnight Cassanova and #8 Chocolatier. The only chance for chaos would be in the 2nd or 3rd row. Here were my tickets: 7,8/4/1,2,7,8 7,8/1,2,7,8/4 and then I wanted to press the combinations with the 7 & 8, so 7,8/4,7,8/4,7,8 and a straight trifecta 7-8-4.















Though the result was chalky, hitting the trifecta multiple times paid for Wednesday’s losses and then some. Plus, I gave myself a chance for a nice payout had the #7 or 8 ran out of the money. The odds on my key horses were not too big in both of these examples, but one can clearly see the value created just by asking logical horses to hit the board.


*PPs provided by Brisnet and result charts by Equibase




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Older Comments about Trifecta Betting Strategies...

To each his own, but my Tri Betting Strategy is I DON'T BET THEM unless I like ONE HORSE specifically to WIN, PLACE or SHOW. ONy Then will I bet a P/W TRI.
Looks like a reverse splitzacta {or cowboy?} to me blabs. As for t_v’s best trifecta wagers hitting 35-40% of the time, that begs the question >> What’s the % on the mediocre and worse wagers? :D
But Vic,if you like the 1 alot and say is 25-1. Then 2345/1/2345 can be lucrative.Especially if one of the others is boxcar numerics. I must await Aminos expert opinion,before i can accept yours.
QUOTE: IF you go 1/2345/2345 that is $12. THAT is just a win bet in another form,,will not do the trick long tern
Any time one plays the exotics,be it tris,supers, P4s' etc. . You should be looking to get a return for your investment. Just do not play them for the sake of playing them. If you chalk out,sometines based on what you bet into the race. You wind up netting a minor profit. When i play them,i wait till when i like a nice priced horse.Mymain objective is to get him to hit the board,Does not have to win. Then deal with the field. Use the horses that have a pulse in the race for the top 2 spots. You can be a little more liberal in the 3rd spot. As long as my key hits the board,i will hopefully hit,unless the race completely falls apart. But to do this,the key must be at valued odds. It is easy to select the favorite and do this.Then you are at the mercy of the longshots .
Whoops. Make that $3 times 2 . IF you go 1/2345/2345 that is $12. Not a bad bet at times.
If you can't pick the quinella you don't deserve the triple. EX.= 1 with 2 with 345 costs $6 for a dollar tri. so for $12 you can reverse the first 2 horses and insted or a quinella go for the tri. The problem is getting away from chalks in the first 2 spots. My best triple was for $1200 at Churchill with a $4 ticket on a lark. Much rather get lucky now and then. Rocky
Good strategy Jason...here's another - if you go 4-5 deep in one of your Pick 4 races, box them in a tri. This can be a good saver...
Usually the top 5 early pace rated horses boxed will get it on the main track
My best wagers, when they hit (around 35-40%) run first and third....SO I set up a splitzacta and fill in the middle position with good 2nd call and closers...Works well
I like the trifecta key box in large fields. Pick one horse to hit the board and box it with a handful of others. It can get pricey, but $.50 varieties help.
I watch the replays dLL ALL All..pricey but have hit for $15,000 before..generally stay ahead a bit then a big one pops
I've been playing tris a bit more since the 50¢ option has become so common. I like to structure my tickets as you described. Key a horse or 2 and spread in the other positions. For 50¢ you can get a lot of coverage and catch some nice prices.
This is exactly why I call you Jasen Bottoms ... Great work, Jasen!
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Meet Jasen Mangrum

My interest in the Sport of Kings goes back over 25 years with my father taking me with his friends to the old Ak-Sar-Ben Race Course in Omaha, NE.  From those early experiences I was able to read the Daily Racing Form before the age of 10.  Once The Woodlands opened in Kansas City in 1988, I became totally hooked on the sport studying racing charts after homework and tennis practice.  In recent years, with the explosion of handicapping tournaments, my love for handicapping the races has risen to a new level.  Primarily focused on New York, Chicago and Louisiana racing, I have now been forced to study races far and wide in attempt to find “cap horses” in the tournaments I play.  I have also dabbled in horse ownership within syndicates and on my own.


My fondest memories in racing include Silver Charm’s 1997 Kentucky Derby victory.  Both my father and I selected him, which made for a memorable day.  The best race I’ve seen was Tiznow’s first Breeders Cup Classic win in 2000 when he outdueled Giant’s Causeway down the length of the Churchill Downs stretch.   My biggest windfall as a gambler was a pool-scooping pick-4 win, paying over $6,600 at The Woodlands in 2005.


The point of this blog is to get everyone out there a few winners, but also to go in depth at how I come to the conclusions that I do.  From week to week, I’ll explain angles I think are important to locate winners.  I encourage others to post picks they like too, but please explain how you come to your conclusions.  That way everyone can learn a little more about this great game, and add another weapon to their handicapping arsenal.-Best of luck, Jasen Mangrum

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