For me, one main attraction to superfectas is that a superfecta probable payout pool is not displayed making this bet an unknown endeavor relative to an exacta and even trifectas in some circumstances where the probable payouts are available. However, if you observe the pool results over a long period of time, you will come to realize the heavily wagered-upon runners tend to be overbet in the superfecta pool and when outsiders come in especially in the top two positions, explosive payouts might result.
This is why a 10 cent superfecta is a great leveraged wager if you select one runner you strongly believe will land in any one of the top four positions.
The table below summarizes the reduction in your outlays for superfecta wagers when you key one runner essentially boxing it with four to seven other runners.
There are books out there and it is common logic that the box wager makes no sense unless all horses are valued equally by the handicapper. Without getting too technical here, it is obvious if you have an opinion on a race, a box of any sort makes little sense.
The superfecta key strategy illustrated above requires you to ensure that your keyed horse finish in one of those top four positions. To maximize return, I am looking for three conditions to create potential for a high payoff.
The conditions are:
- Betting interests of at least nine entries but not more than 12
- The ability to confidently key a horse that is not an odds-on or a heavily bet favorite
- Field that has runners seemingly ignored in the pool that would be at very high odds at post time but could be in the top four randomly
The Caress Stakes (G3) a 5.5 furlong turf sprint contested on the main turf course for fillies and mares 4-year-olds and up attracted a total of 10 runners including two trained by Christophe Clement. Eight of the runners exit turf events including five at Belmont, two at Monmouth and one at Woodbine. The final two runners exit dirt events at Belmont including one trying turf for the first time. The field has combined for an in-the-money rate of greater than two of every three starts overall and more than three of four starts at the distance. There is a solid amount of speed with runners combining for a nearly one in four rate of being on the lead at the second call for races that show. I anticipate a solid pace with the advantage to off pace runners and closers.
No. 3 Star Devine ran a strong second last time out coming out of the same race as four other starters, does not need to lead, and has finished fourth or better in all six of her turf sprint starts. She is lightly raced and has room for improvement. At 9-2 she is your key runner.
One of the two Christophe Clement runners who is making her second start under his care is No. 7 Lady Edith who was fourth coming out of the same race as No. 3 Star Devine. She has a pace pressing style and encountered some trouble in that last effort yet was beaten less than two lengths for the win. I expect improvement in her second try with Clement and at 12-1 she looks like an overlay.
Mark Casse sends out No. 8 Souper Sensational who is trying turf for only the second time in this her 12th lifetime start. Her dirt efforts showed versatility coming from off the pace or on the lead. In her last start she was on the engine in a 6.5 furlong turf graded stake at Woodbine and managed to finish second after setting a torrid pace. The shorter distance coupled with her versatility on dirt make her a major player here at odds of 8-1.
No. 4 Bout Time has four turf tries all at 5.5 furlongs or shorter with three wins and a second place finish across three different tracks. She has the fewest starts in the field and has never had the lead at the second call in any of those tries. She should finish strongly as one of the lower priced runners.
Trainer Brad Cox sends out one of the probable favorites in No. 1 Caravel who I anticipate to be on the lead. She is so fast early that is hard to dismiss her and although I expect her to wilt in the stretch, it is hard to see her completely out of the superfecta.
$.10 Superfecta Key 3 with 1, 4, 7 and 8. Total wager: $9.60.
At Del Mar
A nearly full field of 11 non-winners of two lifetime claiming 3-year-olds and up have been entered in this 6.5 furlong sprint on the dirt. Entrants’ last outs include six at Santa Anita including three each on dirt and turf, two each at Los Alamitos Race Course and Los Alamitos (primarily Quarters) and one at Pleasanton. One runner is coming in off the claim and one is trying dirt for the first time. The field has combined for an in-the-money rate of 40 percent overall and slightly less at the distance. There is a moderate amount of speed with runners combining for a lead at the second call one in eight tries for races that show. I expect a fast pace with the presence of some runners coming out of sprints at Los Alamitos coupled with the size of the field. The pace at the four-furlong mark is typically very similar to the pace in a six-furlong race which gives should give the advantage to off pace runners and closers in the final furlong.
No. 11 Sonic Brees has six lifetime starts including two toss outs on turf. His dirt tries include three top four finishes and one deceptively solid effort finishing fifth at Los Alamitos Race Course with all of those runs at distances shorter than 6.5 furlongs. I anticipate a balanced effort and a grind your way to a solid superfecta placing at odds of 5-1 as your key runner.
No. 4 Arthur Spooner wired the field last time out in a slow paced dirt mile effort. He is six of eight in the top four in his most recent dirt tries, has never tried the distance, and has a grinding style. He should be a factor in the lane at odds of 12-1.
Trainer George Papaprodomou has a very impressive record off the claim and No. 1 Superman Shaq will be trying the 6.5 furlong distance for the first time in his new barn. His five dirt efforts include three in the money finishes and two very poor efforts. He could be very tough here at odds of 6-1.
Bob Baffert sends out No. 8 Sumo who is so fast out of the gate that even at the elongated sprint distance of 6.5 furlongs he may not look back and at the same time he may back up in the stretch off suicidal fractions. He is a risky proposition for the win, but has to be included at short odds.
Ron Ellis saddles No. 6 Tom Bombadil who has three tries at the distance including a first and second and is also five for six on the dirt in terms of top four finishes. His solid record coupled with his pressing style merit his inclusion at odds of 4-1.
$.10 Superfecta Key 11 with 1, 4, 6 and 8. Total wager: $9.60.
The Osunitas Stakes is a one mile turf race for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up and this edition attracted a full field of 12 runners including three trained by Phil D’Amato and two each trained by George Papaprodomou and Leonard Powell. Last out tracks include nine runners exiting turf events represented by eight at Santa Anita and one at Lone Star. Three runners exit dirt races one each at Santa Anita, Pleasanton and Los Alamitos Race Course. The field has combined for an in the money rate of one in two starts overall and two in three starts at the distance. There is a solid amount of speed with runners combining for a lead at the second call one in five starts for races that show. I anticipate a solid pace with the advantage to mid pack runners.
No. 6 Carpe Vinum one of the Phil D’Amato runners is four of six at the distance, is not a need to lead type, and is a grinder who will be mid pack and solid stretch factor. She does not win much but does have her presence felt given her six top four finishes in her last 10 tries. She is your key runner at 4-1.
Neil Drysdale sends out No. 12 Eversmart who has three second-place finishes in three tries at the distance and has been in the top four six of seven tries since she has been in the Drysdale barn. She closed into very fast fractions two starts back at a mile with one of those second place finishes. I expect a similar effort in this race at overlay odds of 20-1.
No. 1 Quattroelle has never finished off the board in five lifetime starts at the distance, is a deep closer, will have plenty of pace to chase, and is an overlay at 12-1.
Another out of the D’Amato barn is No. 7 Amy C who is making her third start for D’Amato and while she is out of the money three tries at the distance her running style as a closer makes her a very solid player in this field off anticipated fast fractions at odds of 5-1.
No. 4 Avenue de France one of the two Leonard Powell runners has finished in the top four eight of her last ten starts including one win on synthetic. She is a deep closer and will probably not get there but given the anticipated pace she will be a solid superfecta factor at relatively low odds and is a must include.
$.10 Superfecta Key 6 with 1, 4, 7 and 12. Total wager: $9.60
This optional claimer for 3-year-olds and up at 6.5 furlongs on the dirt attracted a field of 10 runners including two trained by Peter Miller. Last out tracks on dirt include five at Santa Anita and one each at Oaklawn and Los Alamitos Race Course. The balance of the field includes two exiting Golden Gate synthetic races and one exiting a turf race at Churchill. Two runners are coming in off extended layoffs, two have new trainers and one is trying dirt for the first time. The field has combined for an in the money rate of nearly two of every three starts overall and is eight of nine at the distance. There is a moderate amount of speed with runners combining for a lead at the second call one in eight tries for races that show. I expect a moderate pace with the advantage to horses on or near the lead although the pace at the four-furlong mark is similar to a six-furlong sprint. In this case, I do not expect front running or near the lead types to wilt in the stretch due to the anticipated moderate pace.
No. 4 Tigre Di Slugo has been in the top four all nine of his last nine starts on dirt including two second place finishes in graded stakes and he has a second and third at this distance in two tries. He will be off the pace but not too far out of it and runs with a grinding closing punch style as your superfecta key at odds of 6-1.
No. 1 Murphys Tiger for Golden Gate based trainer Tim McCanna is trying dirt for the first time and is being included off his four-of-seven in-the-money record on synthetic, his odds of 20-1, and the unknown factor of trying dirt. He has some solid near the lead but not need to lead speed and may grind his way to a solid finish.
No. 8 Arkaan may clear the field early and is dangerous if unchallenged on the front end even at this slightly elongated sprint distance. He is seven of nine in terms of top four finishes and will be a factor until deep stretch at odds of 15-1.
Trainer Steve Miyadi has been having a great year and sends out No. 7 Desmond Doss who has never been off the board in eight dirt starts including five wins. This is his first try at 6.5 furlongs and he will be forwardly placed and based upon his history will have something left late at odds of 8-1.
No. 6 Diamond Oops has met some of the toughest competition in the entire field coming out of eight graded stakes and two non-graded stakes in his last ten tries on both turf and dirt. He has eight wins in 27 lifetime starts and should be very competitive here against softer competition at odds of 4-1.
$.10 Superfecta Key 4 with 1, 6, 7 and 8. Total wager: $9.60.