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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Pick Five Failure or: I am an Idiot

After yesterday’s debacle of a Pick 5 at Del Mar, I have come to the conclusion that, I am in fact … an idiot.

Carryover Wednesday at Del Mar was created by a perfect storm of circumstances that saw a parade of longshots hit on Sunday. With two days off for everyone to handicap or salivate, every ‘capper in the nation wanted to be in on the enormous Pick 5 and Pick 6 pools sure to be in play, and I was no different.

My initial foray into the past performances of the first five races on yesterday’s card (I was strictly looking at the Pick 5, as the 50 cent play is much more reasonable than the $2 minimum of the Pick 6 for a bettor with a budgeted bankroll) left me a little underwhelmed. I really did not see much that I liked, meaning the ticket could quickly become unmanageable. My Gal Candy in the fifth race looked like the lone horse I knew I would be betting. After the handicapping struggle, I put the pp’s down and decided to refresh and do some more later.

Then the email from a good friend and fellow racing fanatic came in very early Wednesday morning … “If you're putting in a pick 5 ticket today and need/want any partners, I'd be up for buying a piece up to $50. I haven't looked at the card with trying to get out of town, so it’s all you bud.”

How could I say no now? After getting the scratches, I went to serious work. The fact that my top pick from the early analysis, My Gal Candy, was scratched only made things tougher. While I could not find any confident singles, I at least felt good about eliminating non-factors in several races.

My original list of horses, that I would not be surprised winning, came to a 3 by 5 by 4 by 2 by 6 combination. As fate would have it, this would be a winning combination, but I knew $360 was too much for my partner and I. Normally I would create several smaller tickets, with my top choices used more than my lesser picks, to lessen the overall cost. A good approach, but I was just having too much trouble in identifying horses that I would be able to put more faith in for the multiple ticket approach, so I knew what I would need to do. To create a ticket cost that both my partner and I could live with, I would need to bite the bullet and single my best bet in the five races.  

After much deliberation, I decided on Hoorayforhollywood in the 3rd. The Baffert trainee was the fastest horse in the race and had drawn the rail with leading rider, Rafael Bejarano. I figured he had a great chance to go wire-to-wire. The single in the 3rd race brought the ticket down to $90 total, or $45 a piece. As fate would have it, it would be a winning combination, but one that still worried me.

I was scared by a potential speed duel, and I was worried that Hoorayforhollywood had blown too many leads late for my taste. I stewed in my own juices for a while, and I eventually added the other three identified factors back into the ticket, and I once again arrived at that too big a number of $360.

As we got closer to the first, I painfully arrived at my top pick in the 1st, Slammer Time, as my single. This shaky single brought the ticket down to $120. My friend agreed to go in for $60 a piece, and I told him the 1st race would likely tell the tale. Of course Slammer Time was pinned down on the rail most of the way and rallied belatedly for third. The horses that beat him were: the horse I was most scared of, narrowly holding off my top long shot. Both of them were on the $360 ticket, and both were on that $90 ticket that I backed out of. We knew right away that the dream for Pick 5 glory for the day was dead, but still I watched.

An easy win by one of our horses at 9-2 in the 2nd did not improve my mood. I felt better briefly when I saw Hoorayforhollywood get involved in the exact speed duel that I feared, but ... then he won anyway.

I really felt bad when the 4th race produced another winner, and we went to the 5th with ALL. I felt sick when I looked at the will pays for some of the longer shots, but thankfully the heavy favorite, who I thought was vulnerable, won. What could have been a gigantic blunder only turned into a $474 ($237 a piece) blunder.

I could think of nothing else to say to my betting partner, “I'm sorry, man!” 


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Older Comments about Pick Five Failure or: I am an Idiot...

Zipster; this type of thing happens a few times annualy to those that play a lot of P3s, 4s, 5s and 6s. Next time it will work out and you won't think twice about it. It hardly makes you an "idiot"...
It's always clear after the race. Been that way all of my life. That one little move to make that was so hard to find pre race stands out like a sore thumb after, and that's the beauty of gambling, there's a million ways to lose but only one to win. Love it.
put together a ticket for 24.00 1,3,6,7 w1w3,4w4 474 nice return for a 24.00 bet
The beauty is idiot today genius tomorrow. The life of playing the ponies.
I had two $8 tickets that I purchased online, had 4 out of 5 correct on each. The first race was supposed to have #6 to win but one ticket I assumed was a winner and ready to celebrate then noticed after the race that I entered #5 by accident...kicked myself hard.
I was in NYC at the theater with my wife and I could not put in my pick 5. Thankfully it was a very good show.
Sounds like you did your best. Hopefully your buddy didn't give you too hard of a time about it & I'm sure you'll make it up this weekend at Arlington.
I haven't been brave enough to try any Pick 4's, 5's, or 6's, but I have had plenty of times when my gut told me to bet one way and I bet with what looked good on paper instead.
If they have the guts to share their stories.
Maybe this thread can be cathartic for other boneheads like us, Mary.
I corrected the spelling, but some letters were left off. Unfunded should be underfunded.
I "sent" this ticket to two people who comment at h r n, as my only proof, except that I still have the losing ticket. 1,6,7/5,11/1/2,4/3,4,6(originally 2,3,4, but the 2 was scratched when I placed the bet.) Cost $18 and as another unfunded ticket lost when a horse whose works I liked, the 8 in the second race, won. I can say I feel sh_ _ _ier than you, Brian. But, my ability to pick at Del Mar improved, finally.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing since birth. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. 

Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 
As Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Brian also consults for leading contest site Derby Wars, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
A graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.  

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