Taking Down Keeneland's Pick 5 Pool - Anatomy of Pick 5 Crush

October 23, 2012 07:59am
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Taking Down The Pick 5 Pool - Anatomy of Pick 5 Crush

The first key to playing a horizontal wager is determining if you have an edge and if there will be a substantial potential payoff.  I instantly determined that the Valley View Pick 5 sequence was a great opportunity after scanning the races and seeing full fields with many vulnerable favorites.  I texted my brother and said this would be a 50k payoff.


With that in mind, I decided to take a big swing. Here were my two main tickets with one small one. 



Race 6

The first race was a maiden claimer with ample early speed to pressure the top two chalks and several value improving trip horses.  I settled on the 6-8-9-10, who I felt all were live prices.   After consulting my new “Project Ultra” PPs and performance figures – I felt very confident I had ample coverage to get through this leg with a nice price and move on. 


NOTE:  “Project Ultra” is the code name for a new PP product that is currently in Alpha testing.  Less than 50 players are currently using these powerful figures, but you can sign up to be a Beta tester by emailing us at mail@horseracingnation.com.  



Race 7

Leg 2 was the first division of the Valley View and was wide open with at least 6 horses I liked ranging from 5-1 to 30-1.  Here I felt I had a great chance in wide open race to nail another great price and move on.   The ultra pps confirmed my early suspicions.  This race was completely wide open with very little separating 6 to 7 horses.  It came down to 2 of my selections and my 27-1 Angel Terrace outnosed the 9 at the wire.  If you can ever have mixed feelings catching a 27-1 it was here.  I moved on with a great start to the Pick 5 but missed some massive trifectas by neglecting to use the 3 horse.  The $2 trifecta came back at over $7,700.  Depending on your vernacular you may scream argh, rats, Fu$&. My choice is usually dammit.  


Race 8

Leg 3 was coming and it was time to move on.  I was 4 deep here and really liked 2 of my prices for different reasons.  The 6 horse Grace for Grace was lone speed after the other speed scratched and Nokaze the 2 was a live price from the last effort at Delaware.   She made a nice mid move and finished strongly and per the Project Ultra figs she was on par with the field at a big price.  This one went according to plan.  The 6 got away with slow fractions and the 2 made a big late run but got nosed out.  I was 3 for 3 - with three huge prices - and I had the shot at something special.  



Race 9

At this point I knew my 50k payoff prediction would be close if not light. The fourth leg was the Valley View 2nd division.  I was four deep here with Miz Ida, Pianist, Freedom Reigns, and Leading Astray.  I felt pretty good with these but you never know and that's why they run them as we all say.  Pianist stalked the speed and was in good spot but faltered as Engilsh Class took the lead in the stretch.  Miz Ida fortunately bailed me out with a huge late run to get up by neck. Phew!  


Race 10

Now we had one to go and I knew I would have to do some frantic hedging even though I absolutely loved the 1 horse, Five Afleet off his sharp Turfway Park win and singled him on a separate pick five ticket.  I had two live tickets to the 1 which was paying over 37k for each and one each to the 7 and 10 which were paying over 75k each.  So after seeing the whole pool was 125k and doing some quick math I realized that with the 1, 7, or 10 winning I was taking down the whole pool after adjusting for takeout and 4/5 payouts.  I had only done this one other time - when I keyed two longshots in the 2003 Mac Diamarda Stakes at Gulfstream and took down the whole superfecta pool ($70k) before the advent of the dime super.  You rarely see that now except at smaller tracks with smaller pools.  


Now onto the hedging, which is always difficult.  I felt I had to cover roughly 6 other possibles in case they won so I would cash for some decent coin at minimum.   There were 2 bombs that realistically had a very small chance but at 30-1 they each got a Benjamin from me in case I got Mine That Birded.  After that I basically just started pounding 20 exacta wheels with the other contenders hitting repeat numerous times and hitting the 2nd choice even more.  $2,800 bucks in I was relatively hedged for any possible scenario.  


Onto the race.  My eyes were glued to the red orange and purple saddle clothes of the 1-7-10 as they went around.  As the race unfolded I was 1 of 3 as far as trips.   My 1 was saving ground the whole way and looked to have a ton but the 7 and 10 were getting wide runs.  As they came into the stretch the 1 got a nice rail run and exploded.  He won by 5 and I really didn't have to yell One! One! One! more than a couple times and he heard me and was home free.   Two Pick 5 winning tickets.  Total cash with the 4/5s was just over $79k before taxes.  










Now onto the Breeders Cup and the even more elusive white whale - the Breeders’ Cup Pick Six.


Do you have a score that you want to share with HorseRacingNation?  Email us at mail@horseracingnation.com! 


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Older Comments about Taking Down Keeneland's Pick 5 Pool - Anatomy of Pick 5 Crush...

Fantastic story, Mike. Though I've never hit anything even close to that big, I'm a big fan of the multiple ticket method and look forward to reading about & sharing scores like this.
Yes. Just send an email to mail@horseracingnation.com to get added to the list of future Beta testers.
Great score. Is there still room for new beta testers?
Great score there, sir. I'd say turning $650 into $79K is a pretty phenomenal day. Congrats!
Great score & great story. I think the P4-P5-P6 are considered horizontal bets instead of vertical in most circles, but it doesn't matter what you call 'em if you hit 'em.
Somehow I think saying well played is not quite enough ... Well done, Mike, and thanks for sharing!
Wow, that was amazing and "Bombs Away" is definitely the right description.
Great piece, Mike! What a thrill this had to be. Congratulations on some spectacular handicapping work.

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Mike Midland has been playing the races for over 23 years now.  I became instantly hooked after nailing my first trifecta (a $310 windfall on a $6 ticket) back in 1988.  I was fortunate to grow up minutes from Arlington Park and still have vivid memories of handicapping in the car and subsequent windsprints with my brother from the free remote lot in an attempt to get down on the early double.

There is nothing like dissecting a race and forming a strong contrarian opinion on the outcome and then getting paid when it transpires.  I, like many horseplayers, have a special affinity for my bombs and major scores over the years.  Whether it was Marquetry at 48 -1, One Dreamer wiring the Breeders' Distaff, Volponi crushing in the Classic at 43-1 or Shared Account recently getting up in the Filly and Mare turf, I remember them all fondly and always root extra hard for them in their next outing even though I knew I wouldn't cash big if they won.

In this blog we will focus on value plays and creating value through the use of tiered exotic wagers.  Our best bets won't be 6-5 shots but 12-1, 20-1, 30-1's that are going to outrun their odds.  We will handicap, provide insight into our best angles, detail hedging strategies, structure our bets, analyze what we did right and wrong and hopefully make some meaningful coin along the way.  We will also keep a bankroll ledger so the HRN can sound in on our bets us and ROI.

The first step to finding is identifying a bettable race with a false favorite. Our value style of handicapping will incorporate pace analysis with particular focus on not only the progression of certain horses but also the anticipated regression of chalks which has resulted in some major scores for us.

Bio bullets:
Won Twin Spires Handicapping tournament in January 2011 beating out 972 other players.

Best score: 
Took down superfecta pool at Gulfstream of $69,000 on a$32 ticket in 2003 Mac Diarmida (G3)
Qualified for NHC in 2006

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