National Race Masters

(The following is another in a series of guest articles by friends of National Race Masters) 

Ed McGuire
Monday, 5/8 


There is no doubt that what are known in some lexicons as “Gimmick Bets” are the public’s fancy. 

The proliferation of Pick 3, Pick 4 and Pick 5 wagering as well as the Trifecta and Superfecta have increased in handle year after year at race tracks across the country. In large part, the popularity is based on almost lottery scale aspirations as the right combinations can return hundreds and even thousands of dollars for relatively minimum wagers. 

This popularity of gimmick wagering has been made all the more convenient because at most locations these bets can now be made in 50 cent increments, which gives the average player the feeling that he or she can compete with the high rollers who once dominated these type of plays when the increments were at $1 and in some cases $2 minimums. 

In the spirit of his article let me state up front that this is not an attempt to talk you off wagering on gimmicks, if that I your preference. I only wish to present for your consideration, how straight wagers might provide some value and why you might consider their prospects versus gimmick wagering. 



Begin Cashing In Now…
10 DAYS – $45
30 DAYS – $95
(And Get Preakness Stakes FREE!)
Online Or Call/Text 516-669-7819 Or 646-526-2559
All Major Credit Cards Accepted


(2 Things About Straight Bets A Player Might Consider) 

ONE – The Takeout…The Cost Of Doing Business Is Much Less 

There is no state in the nation that does not take out, in some cases more, and in many cases much more from gimmick bets than they do from straight bets. 

For the novice, the Takeout is what a racetrack removes from each dollar wagered the minute a bet is placed. This money is used for maintenance of the facility as well as the purses paid to the owners of the horses who run in any individual race. 

Let’s use New York as an example. And also note that New York might, according to a lot of people be a very expensive place to live, but value wise, for horse players it is the best place to bet.* 

Anyway, back to straight bets. The takeout for Win, Place or Show bets in New York is 14%. Compared to that, the Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5 and Daily Double has a takeout of 17.5% while the Exacta, Trifecta and Superfecta are at 25%. And even though the Superfecta has an available 10 cent wager, a winning player only gets back a share of 75 cents of every dollar put into that pool. And New York’s elevating scale of gimmicks versus straight bets is noticeably reasonable compared to other states. 

*It should be noted that the takeout or straight bets in California is 15.4%, but in every other state in the nation where horse wagering is permitted, the Straight Bet Takeout is 17% or higher.  

TWO – Singling A Horse In The Running Wagers Like Pick 3, Pick 4 And Pick 5. 

I mentioned in the introduction that these gimmick bets have become very popular among players and one need spend no more than a half hour and two or three races on FANDUEL/TVG or any other wagering platform which shows races non-stop live or on short delay to understand that in the process, numerous selections are offered by on-air handicappers for the aforementioned Pick 3, Pick 4 and Pick 5 sequences. 

It is the job of the handicappers to get the viewing public to wager on the platform. And if the gimmicks are the most popular, that is hat thy will offer. 

Even in 50 cent increments theses wagers can cost money. Take for example a Pick 4 part wheel with 3 horses, with 5 horses with a single, with 4 horses in the 4 race sequence. This is not an uncommon scenario from any of platform handicappers. That wager is 3 x 5 x 1 x 4. That is 60 combination or $30 for a 50 cent wager. 

In order to collect, you must have the winner in each race.  But if you like one of the races enough to single a horse, shouldn’t it also be a straight bet? It is like playing it as such, for if it does not win your entire bet goes down. 

Here is what I’m getting at. If you like a horse enough to base your entire wager on it, why would you not bet it straight? I know your first response is, because the return on a straight $30 Win Wager doesn’t have the potential a 50 Cent Pick 4 does. 

My answer to that is, sometimes it does and sometimes it does not pay better. And here is my suggestion. If you are a Pick 4 player, and there is a race in the sequence in which you single, why not keep a record of all those plays, maybe the next twenty such bets. See how often the straight bet wins or how often it is the ‘Only’ loser in the sequence. Then add up what a wager on each of those twenty singles would have produced vs the Pick 4 profits you did accrue. I think you can guess what I believe you will discover.