Twelve years ago, I started to look at the superfecta pool as a serious way to improve my income. There was something to the math in the superfecta that really appealed to me. In races with ten or more horses, I would ask myself “How can people hit a superfecta?” I would bet $30, $50 and even $100 and have all the runners but usually not in the correct order. I was successful in the trifecta, but I just wasn’t able to get all the runners in the correct order on a regular basis for a superfecta.
One day I realized the math that was involved in a superfecta vs a trifecta and I thought, “What if I started betting the superfecta the same way I bet the trifecta?. What would it cost me?” My success in the trifecta came with keying a horse first and second (sometimes even third) with at least five other runners. I would play (and still do) 1x5x5 first and second for $40. Sometimes I would play 1x2xall and 1xallx2 and then put the key horse in second as well.($32.00 each copy). Basically, if I was going to have the same coverage, I needed to wager nine or ten times the amount I was wagering on trifectas.(In a 10 horse field mathematical possibilities for trifectas are 10x9x8=720. The same combinations for a superfecta are 10x9x8x7=5040). I came up with four or five different ways to play the super, almost always having a key horse and feeling the the favorite was a beatable horse.
My first way to play was 1x6x6x6 and key one horse first, second and third (three tickets, $120.00 each, for a total of $360.00). I figured I needed a bankroll just for supers so I decided to start with $3600.00. That would give me ten plays at an average of $360.00 for each one.
I’ll never forget the first one. It was a grass race at Santa Anita and the field had twelve runners. I keyed a 10-1 shot first, second, and third, with 6 other runners filling out the other spots. The ticket looked like this- 1 with 2,3,4,5,6,7 with 2,3,4,5,6,7 with 2,3,4,5,6,7. Second ticket 2,3,4,5,6,7 with 1 with 2,3,4,5,6,7 with 2,3,4,5,6,7. third ticket 2,3,4,5,6,7 with 2,3,4,5,6,7 with 1 with 2,3,4,5,6,7. All three tickets cost a total of $360.00 ($120.00 each). The race went off and my key horse ran great; however, she lost the head bob at the wire and had to settle for second. A 5-1 shot won the race, followed by my top horse at 10-1, followed by a 13-1 and then the 7-2 second favorite. I had all the runners!! The ticket came back $2700.00 – almost covering my original bankroll in the first bet!!!
As you know, things don’t always go that way. But this thing just took off, and I was making a nice profit almost every month. When The Kentucky Derby came up that year and I heard that there was a superfecta, I had to be in. It was 2001 and the favorite was Point Given. I landed on a runner named Thunder Blitz to be the key. Because there were seventeen entries, I decided to put a little extra money into it, so I keyed Thunder first, second, third and fourth. I used five horses in the top two spots and added three down on the bottom. The tickets looked like this 1x5x8x8, 5x1x8x8, 5x8x1x8 and 5x8x8x1. Each ticket cost a total of $210.00 and since I was keying Thunder Blitz in four spots, the total cost of the ticket was $840.00.
That is a large investment, even for someone who is doing this for a living, but I was confident that my key horse would run and that the pace horses would dual and could be tossed. The race went just as planned, and one by one the horses up near the lead caved in. Monarchos went by and looked like a winner. Invisible Ink, a 55-1 shot, was running his heart out and was in a photo with 7-1 Congaree. But where is my key horse? He showed up just in the nick of time. He passed a tired Point Given and finished fourth. The ticket came 16-13-8-4. I thought I had it, but I had to pull out my tickets to make sure. I did have it!!!!!!!!! The race came 10-1, 55-1, 7-1 and 25-1. It was a 17 horse field. It took a long time to put up the payouts because there was a lengthy photo for second and an inquiry as well. I thought it would easily pay over $100,000. When the smoke settled, the ticket came back $62,986.
Although I was happy with the big hit, I really felt it was a short payout. In fact, over the next five years, the payout was larger and had lower price runners finishing in the first four spots. (By the way, that was the same year they caught the guys betting the pick six in the fifth leg, and I’ve always felt that the same guys must have somehow skimmed myDerbysuper.) Nevertheless, that was a great score.
A year or so later, the 10 cent super was instated and people were able to wager 10 times less and really cover themselves. Much of the value in the super was gone. Supers that I would get $2500 for before were coming back about half of that and so I had to change my ways.
However, I felt a little different about this year’sDerby. First off all, theDerbydoes not allow 10 cent supers. Second of all, I felt with sprinter Trinniberg in the race, that this year’s super could again be hit with the same strategy I used eleven years ago. So I decided to go back to the glory days and put together another big super.
I liked two runners to be the key. One was Dullahan, who I felt was the best closer in the race. The other was Creative Cause, who, despite all the bad talk about his training inKentucky, had never run a bad race. So I keyed two different horses to run first, second and third. Each ticket cost $210.00 for a total of $1260.00. Of course, when I watched the first six or seven races and I saw speed was doing so well, I played another ticket keying Take Charge Indy to be first, second, and third. That ticket cost another $360.00. All told, I had $1620.00 invested in the superfecta.
When they sprung the gates, it was instant trouble. Trinniberg didn’t go with Bodemeister!!!!!!! The only ticket that I used Bodemeister on at all was with Take Charge Indy. So, when I saw Take Charge Indy caving in the stretch, I knew I needed for “Bode” to run fifth, and at that point he looked like the winner. I knew I was done.
As it turned out, even on the ticket where Dullahan ran third, I didn’t have I’ll Have Another or Bodemeister at all. With that much invested, it was as far from actually hitting it as could be.
All in all, it was an enjoyable bet to make and if I have a strong opinion next year, I will do it again.
Enjoy the next few weeks as it’s a special time for racing.
(Just to give you an idea, here is a copy of two of my nine losing tickets from theDerby.)