Win The Pick 5

Practical tips for approaching the Pick 5 race sequence bet

The Pick 5 is one of the best wagers on the menu at any race track in the country.  With its low 15% takeout rate and $0.50 minimum bet, the Pick 5 can be a lucrative wager for beginners and experts alike.

But with five races in the equation, betting the Pick 5 requires more strategy than betting to Win, Place, or Show.

The Daily Racing Blog has had some recent success with this wager.  Here are three tips that we often use, and can help get you started on your way to Pick 5 riches:

Find a single

Due to the number of races involved, Pick 5 wagers can rapidly become expensive.  Calculating the cost of a Pick 5 is a simple exercise in multiplication.  If you’re using two horses in each leg of a $0.50 wager, the cost will be 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 0.5, or $16. Use three horses in each leg, and the cost jumps to 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 x 0.5, or $121.50.

If you can identify a race where you feel confident using just one horse, you’ll be able to single this runner and cut your expenses.  Singling a horse in the first leg of the $121.50 ticket outlined above would drop the cost to a more reasonable $40.50.

Don’t go with the flow

They key to cashing a big Pick 5 payoff is to play against popular crowd opinions.  If everyone is singling a 3-5 favorite in Leg 3, taking a contrary approach can be lucrative. If you include a 5-1 shot with sneaky-good form, and your 5-1 shot upsets the 3-5 favorite, you’ll advance in the Pick 5 while hundreds (thousands?) of other tickets will fall by the wayside.

On the other hand, if everyone is saying “Leg 4 is impossible!” and spreading deep with six or seven horses, an advantage can be gained if you feel confident playing just one or two horses. If you can survive the toughest leg with just a couple of runners, you can afford to spread deeper elsewhere and cover horses other bettors will be excluding.

Watch the weather

It’s always a wise idea to keep an eye on the sky before you enter a Pick 5 wager.  You might handicap the sequential races expecting a dry track and firm turf, only to watch in frustration as a downpour erupts on race day.  You don’t want to be scrambling for replacement selections after a grass race is transferred to the main track.

If the weather looks iffy, outline alternative betting strategies.  Consider which horses you would favor if a turf race is transferred to dirt.  Over sloppy tracks, avoid runners who appear to be regressing, as they’re more likely to take a big step backward over challenging track conditions.

Armed with these tips, you’ll be well on your way to playing smart and savvy Pick 5 tickets.  As always, best of luck !

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