Aug 4 2015

Dime A Day – Fun Tournament for Saratoga and Del Mar

Dime A Day

On there is a tournament called Dime-a-Day. It is offered for two race tracks (Del Mar and Saratoga) during the summer months. There is no registration fee, but you have to register and be a member of Xpressbet.  After registration, you make “live” wagers of $10 per day on a single Win, Place, or Show bet. Live meaning the money you are betting is real money from your account, not mythical money as in some tournaments. Of course that also means that if your bet wins, you get the money added to your account regardless of what happens in the tournament.

The format is fairly simple. Each racing day you place a single contest wager of $10 to Win, Place, or Show on a any horse in any race. At the end of the day Xpressbet awards $1,000 in prize money to the person(s) who won the most money with their $10 wager. In the event of a tie, the prize money is evenly distributed to the winning players for each position.  The top three payoffs for daily prizes is the following:

Position Daily Prize Money
1st $700
2nd $200
3rd $100

At the end of the season additional prize money is distributed to competitors with the most cumulative contest earnings over the course of the entire season.  The top three seasonal prizes are:

Position Season Prize Money
1st $6,000
2nd $3,000
3rd $1,000

I have played in this tournament the past three years at Saratoga, and have shared in the prize money multiple times.  Even if I didn’t, I still would have enjoyed the experience.

The list of reasons why this a fun tournament for both experienced and new fans to horse racing:

  1. The buy-in is FREE, and as my brother says, “Free is for Me.”
  2. The daily cost of playing is only $10.
  3. Playing each day is entirely optional. So, you can skip days that you don’t want to play, and keep the $10 in your pocket.
  4. The standings are updated after every race, so you can see exactly what price you have to beat.
  5. The focus of this tournament is finding high-priced horses (which fits my horseplaying style) and that can be the key to a winning day at the races.
  6. Since your wagers are with real money, you keep the winnings. With a couple of hits during the meet, you have a good chance of recovering your buy-in and daily wagers.

On the last point, one week into the 2012 Tournament I hit a 19-1 horse (Rosa Salvaje). For a $10 wager that returned around $200. The Saratoga meet is a 40-day meet; so if I played every day, my total investment would be $400 ($10 x 40). That means I covered 50% of my costs with one wager. Had I hit or shared in the $1,000 award for that day I would have been playing the rest of the meet on the house. Unfortunately for me, a 23-1 horse won the last race of the day and took down the $1k.  At that time Xpressbet paid only for the top return.  They’ve now changed that to pay down 3 positions.

When all was said and done that year, I did cover the costs of my daily bets with winning selections during the meet. And, although I didn’t share in any of the daily prize money that year, I had some very close calls in addition to Rosa Salvaje. Below are a couple of the stories.

On August 29, I was at the races with my good friend Ed. I didn’t have much time to handicap for that day’s races, so I just focused on a couple of Maiden races with minimal information to review. Using bloodlines and Trainer statistics I found a first-time-starter named Coarsegold in the 7th race that I thought was worth a shot at 21-1 odds. Ed put $5 to win on her too. She languished at the back of the pack until the top of the stretch where she made a wide move and closed very fast down the center of the track. Ed and I were hopping up and down, cheering her home, at the 1/16th pole she looked like a sure winner. But she fell 1/2 length short, losing to another first-time-starter who was also 21-1, named Hedonmwrongsong.

On July 22, only three days into the meet, I made one of my largest wagers of the meet on a horse named Hardrocker in the 5th race. He went off at 6-1, and paid $15.20 to win. However, I decided not to play him in the tournament because I figured something with a higher price would eventually better his payoff. It didn’t. At the end of the day, two people split the $1,000 award on my top pick. Had I used him in the tournament, $10 would have returned $333 (splitting the prize money with the other two people).

I saved the craziest story for last. On August 26th, going into the 8th race the tournament leader had selected a 10-1 horse that had paid exactly $22 in an earlier race. In the 8th race I had my eyes on a horse (Recharged) who was 20-1 in the morning line. You had to “put a line” through a couple of his races, but I thought he was a legit longshot. With only minutes to post he was 28-1. I had to make a choice, do I bet $10 to win or $10 to place? If he places, I was not certain he would pay more than $22 (the price I needed to beat).

I pulled up the contest wager page on my iPad, waited until 2 minutes to post. His odds were now 32-1 on the board. I entered a $10 Win contest wager. Well, you probably know what happened. He finished 2nd, and paid $24.20 to Place. I pulled up the leader board after the race, and no one made a Place Wager on him. I would have taken down the entire $1,000 on my own with a Place selection instead of my Win play. The old woulda-shoulda-coulda moment.

I think my wife got a little tired of the “close call” stories during the meet. But, not enough to keep her away. She has been playing in this tournament ever since.

If you want more information on this tournament, click on the Dime-A-Day logo at the top of this post.

Neal Headshot2
By Neal Benoit

Kentucky Downs 2015

3 comments on “Dime A Day – Fun Tournament for Saratoga and Del Mar

  1. Great stories Neal… makes me feel good that I’m not the only one who makes bad betting decisions.

    Will definitely check out this tourney… never was aware it existed. Then again, Xpressbet is normally not my “go to” online account. That may need to change?!

  2. Neal, My wife plays the Saratoga meet every day. As Eddie Olczyk says if you don’t make a bet every day you might be walking around lucky and not even know it. It had helped her identify correct odds horses over the dsrboard approach to longshots. The ontrack Lowrollers Tourney is aloy of fun at Saratoga too. You can sign up next to the redesigned lower Carousel.

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