Sep 12 2013

An $8 Season Saving Saver Ticket

In a prior article we introduced the idea of a “Saver Ticket” and included a story of the author involving just such a ticket on July 27, 2013 at Saratoga.  Click here for a review of that article.  In that article we mentioned the story of a Saver Ticket that saved the entire season for our handicapper friend (Vince) at Saratoga in 2011.  Today we recap the story, in Vince’s own words.

2011 was a particularly grueling year.  I was chasing these P4s all year and had several near misses and close calls to hitting “the big one.”  The most frustrating was mapping out $150 worth of P4 plays, only to get knocked out in the first leg.  Closing day, four races to go, and I’m down to my last chance.  The first leg had six horses, and I had four of them covered in my tickets.  Minutes before post time I decide I’m not getting blown out on the first leg again, so I put in a 50-cent 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 Saver Ticket for $8.  Using the two horses I don’t have covered in the first leg with my top two horses in the last 3 races.  I figure, what’s the difference between finishing down $2,000 for the meet or $2,008?

In the first leg, a 6-horse field, was this 31-1 long shot.  Almost unheard of in a 6-horse field.  He was a real no-hoper on paper too.  And, guess what?  He wins and pays $65.  I figure at least 95% of the Pick-4 tickets have been blown up by this horse winning, and although I’m alive with only a slim 2 x 2 x 2 ticket, I AM ALIVE.

In the second leg I have the 9-5 favorite (Currency Swap) covered.  A 68-1 horse named Trinniberg leads from the gate, and deep into the stretch, and … well, here is the video of the race.

You probably guessed, I did not have Trinniberg covered, so I was worried sick down the stretch.  But, Currency Swap managed to pull off the race.  Two down, two to go.

In the 3rd leg, I don’t have to suffer through as much drama as my top pick pulls away to a clear win.  Last race, and I’ve got the even money favorite covered.  I look at the Pick-4 payouts and the favorite will return around $2,500 for a 50-cent ticket, and my second choice around $3,200.

I was sick, couldn’t even watch the race.  It was a rainy day, sloppy track, very dark out, and the place was almost empty.  I could get out for the meet with this one hit. I’ve gone to the track over 20 times, 10 races a day, about 200 races wagered on.  It comes down to this one race.  All mistakes forgiven.  There were problems in the starting gate.  I couldn’t wait to get this race over with.  I didn’t watch the race, just listened with my head down.

I just remember the far turn when they were heading to the stretch, the way Tom Durkin was calling the race it seemed like the favorite was blowing by everyone and had a clear lead heading home.  He ended up winning by 5 lengths!  What a relief.

The following year I would make my biggest career score ever on Breeders Cup Day, but nothing beats that score on Labor Day 2011.  Getting out of that season long hole.  We invest so much time in this meet with handicapping, watching video, attending races, and up until that final day a handful of photo finishes don’t go my way and I’m down $2,000.  That’s how this game is sometimes.  Just an idea, minutes before post time to include a horse I wouldn’t bet a penny on to win … just so I don’t get blown out in the first leg again.  Crazy huh?  — Vince

Just a footnote to Vince’s story.  Trinniberg, the horse that almost knocked him out in the 2nd leg, would be one of the winning horses on Breeders Cup day 2012 in the Pick-4.  A Pick-4 that Vince referred to above, and one that he hit for a return of $5,647.  But that’s a story for another day.

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By Neal Benoit

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