10/13/2011 2:22PM

Belmont Carryover: Just Kibbitzing


Much as I hate to pass up any double-carryover in New York, I just couldn't make heads or tails of today's sequence at Belmont Park. So I'll just kibbitz it while quietly kind of rooting for a triple-carryover into Friday.

(Kibbitz, a useful verb of Yiddish/German derivation, means to issue unwelcome or meddlesome comments, especially during a game that the kibbitzer is not actually playing. The term allegedly arose from the chess cafes of central Europe at the start of the 20th century.)

Here's the lineup for today's sextet, a 7x11x9x10x6x9 with four legs on the grass and $102,902 in the kitty after no one picked six Sunday or Monday. Forecasts for heavy rain here Wednesday proved unfounded, and after a day of perpetual cloudiness and just a few showers, the main track is fast and the turf is labelled firm:

The upcoming 4th, a race for older maiden fillies at a mile on the grass, was typical of the difficulty I had with this card. I'd have to either single 2-1 favorite Passionate Gold or go six-deep in a field of seven, and I just can't get excited enough about the favorite to put the majority of a four-figure investment on her. Good luck if you saw the race, and the five that follow it, more clearly than I did.


2:40 pm: Dead-heat for the win between 7-2 Ostensibly ($5.40 after the split pool) and 13-1 Style Squad ($12.60) with Passionate Gold an outfinished third behind them at 6-5. That starts things off on a confusing note -- maybe you're alive twice, but not that many people got totally knocked out -- and also raises the longstanding question of why dead-heats are treated differently in some multirace bets from the way they are in straight pools or intrarace exotics.

Let's pretend for a moment that this had been the last rather than first leg of the pick-6, and that there had been 15 tickets alive to Ostensibly at $20k each and 5 alive to Style Squad at $60k each, meaning a total payout of $300k for 6-of-6 winners. If the pick-6 worked like a win pool, double, exacta, tri or super, half the $300k would be awarded to each group of ticketholders. The 15 tickets to Ostensibly would pay $10k each (15 x $10k = $150k), and the five tickets alive to Style Squad would pay $30k each ( 5 x $30k = $150k). Instead, in every jurisdiction I know of, there would be a uniform payout of $15k to each of the 20 tickets, regardless of whether they used the 9-2 shot or the 13-1 shot.

There's really no justification for this method. It's not a question of technology, obviously, since bets as complicated as the superfecta are programmed to pay different amounts when there's a dead-heat involved. And it's inconsistent with the way dead-heats are treated in two- and three-leg multirace bets, where there are two payout amounts. For example, in the pick-3 on races 2-4, the 1-2-3 combo (with Ostensibly) paid $107, while the 1-2-6 (with Style Squad) paid $179.50. In the early pick-4 and the pick-6, however, there will be only one payout.


3:15 pm: One more stride and we might have had another dead heat, but 2-1 favorite Synthesizer ($6.80) held off 12-1 Chad Brown firster American Buffalo after almost giving back what looked like an insurmountable lead.

SYnthesizer outdueled the other speed and opened up a three-length lead with a furlong to go, but American Buffalo was weaving his way through the field and suddenly making giant strides, just falling short at the wire.

While the pick-3's ending in the dead-heat 4th weren's as far apart as might have been expected, the multirace payoffs ending the 5th reflected a wider gap. The 2-3-3 pick-3 through Ostensibly paid $122.50 while the 2-6-3 through Style Squad paid $274.50, and while the 3-3 double on races 4 and 5 paid just $20.20, the 6-3 double paid nearly four times as much at $80.00. But the early pick-4 paid $492.00 for both a 1-2-3-3 or a 1-2-6-3.


3:50 pm: This thing is turning into a regular chalkfest: After a dead-heat including a second choice in the opening leg and a 2-1 favorite hanging on in leg 2, 9-5 fave Lady on the Run ($5.90) swooped to an easy victory in race 6.


4:15 pm: Dax ($10.20), third choice at 4-1, outsurged 14-1 Staff Sargeant at the wire to keep plenty of players alive two-thirds of the way through the double-carryover. The 3-year-old Thunder Gulch gelding had been running against better at Monmouth and was dropping from $35k N2L company to $20k N2L company today. Only four lengths separated the first eight under the wire.

Cinder Cone, opened 3-5 for the six-horse 8th race, but is not appreciably shorter than 5-2 Rigby or 4-1 Distant Sky in any other pool.


4:55 pm: Rigby, eventualy bet to 3-2 favoritism (with Distant Sky 2-1 and Cinder Cone 5-2), took advantage of a prolonged due between Cinder Cone and Joan's Choice, surgin late to run by both of them to win the 8th and set up the following somewhat surprising Pick-6 willpays:


Those are pretty healthy returns for a sequence with three winning favorites. Good luck if you're alive. The only uncovered horse is Miss Dolan's Rose, who would provide a three-day, $290k carryover into Friday.


5:25 pm: For a tantalizing opening half-mile in 46.92, 54-1 Miss Dolans Rose was in front by daylight, raising the possibility of a million-collar Friday...but she was done at the top of the stretch and 8-1 Bobs Pinup Girl held off 31-1 Chick In Slacks to cap a $24,173 pick-6 payoff on 12 tickets. (There would have been 3 winners at $96k had Chick in Slacks prevailed.) Wonder how many of those were on each of the dead-heat winners in the opener maybe 9 one way and three the other?

Bobs Pinup Girl was the 1000th career winner for jockey David Cohen.

Far Isle, hammered to 6-5 favoritism, broke a length behind the field and never got closer than fifth down the backstretch. The 5-of-6 consolation was worth $185.00.


Barry More than 1 year ago
Dear Steve : After reading the first fifty pages of " A farewell to arms" I have concluded you are a better writer than Hemingway.
Jim More than 1 year ago
Steve, Betting everything with a pulse that dutrow has running on BC day.
Just a thought More than 1 year ago
In a jackpot bet like the pick-six, the goal is to pick "SIX winners". Thus, anybody who does so gets a fair share of the prize. To ask your questions is akin to asking why the guy at a poker table who pairs the Ace of Diamonds with the Ace of Clubs doesn't get more money than does the guy across the table who pairs the Ace of Spades with the Ace of Hearts. You either got the pair and finished in a dead-heat, or you didn't. Something like the "Daily Double" or the "Daily Triple" (which both, typically, occur more than "daily" anymore)... has different rules for their paying off "daily".
lou More than 1 year ago
if i'm lucky enough to hit a pick 6,i wont complain about an equal payout in a p6 that has a dead heat with 2horses that pay long and short win prices-maybe ill even end -up on the better side of it. i apologize for the lack of stronger feelings favoring either side. i can certainly understand the dead-heat long shot ticket holder desiring and possibly deserving a greater pay-out than the shorter price ticket holder.gotta go try for the pick6 now.maybe il can get lucky! c u later
Barry More than 1 year ago
Assuming you were live in the last leg, would you have taken out "Insanity insurance" on Sister Berta and Chick in Slacks? Would I be correct in assuming CIS had 3 live tickets while 20-1 on the morning line?
Juneaujohn More than 1 year ago
Hello Steve. Regarding the "dead heat rule" for Pick Six. Using your example, but with one change.... "Let's pretend...there had been 15 tix alive to Ostensibly and NONE to Style Squad...." Would you suggest a carryover for 1/2 the pool ? Your example is a good one because most tracks usually post the possible payouts before the last race of the Pick Six so you would see how "unfair" it would be to ticketholders with the longshot. But, later you "wonder how many of (today's 12 winning tix) were on each of the deadheat winners in the opener maybe 9 one way and three the other?" OR, maybe 12 one way and NONE the other. Carryover for half the pool? Perhaps the "uniform payout" is the "law" because of the carryover aspect of the wagers. What you suggest seems fair - especially to the holders on the longshot. They probably feel somewhat "cheated" for getting only $12.60 for the win bet when they thought it would pay $28. However, as I understand it, the Pick Six bet is supposed to payout to any ticket with six winners. And one would presume that it would pay the same for every winning ticket. In your example I would expect Style Squad to pay $60K if it beat every horse in the race - but it did not beat Ostensibly, so the payout is not what I expected. Do you think I deserve more payout because I bet Style Squad would beat Ostensibly ? Well, he didn't. Thank you for your thought provoking blog
peter lane More than 1 year ago
Speaking of OTB and other semi government (read political ) agencies regulating racing and gaming, the senate in my state just passed a casino bill. If as usual the legislature and their friends and relative (who no nothing about regulating or running casinos) grab the good jobs and crush the public with insane take outs we would be better off driving to CN. For example the House bill said no person can get one of these jobs until they have been out of office 5 years. The Senate was aghast at this and in a closed session changed five years too one year. Why do you suppose they did this? They are also saying the average takeout on slots is 92% but some states allow takeouts as low as 80% Oh Boy these guys will try and set a new low They also approved a slot parlor (read Suffolk Downs) with 1200 machines. Why not 5000 Macines. The states not paying for them. With 1200 machines people will be fighting pover them Woe is me
Ian Lawrence More than 1 year ago
I missed the pick 6 but feel like a winner with the news of Dutrow's 10 year ban.
easygoer More than 1 year ago
The dead-heat rule needs changing, as does the scratch rule in Pick4,6's. Until these rules are changed I will avoid these multi-race exotics. Instead I'll stick to Pick3's and Doubles. In these bets there are either refunds (if a scratch occurs before the first leg) or consolation payoffs for other late scratches, and, as you pointed out seperate payouts on dead heats. How many times do these things need to be pointed out to the tracks before a change is made?
El Angelo More than 1 year ago
Steve, I'll try to give a justification for equal payouts on a dead heat. At the end of the day, the goal of the Pick Six is to pick the winners of six straight races. When there's a dead heat in one race, it simply expands the number of tickets that will have picked 6 correctly. There is no meaningful difference between tickets that read 1-1-1-1-1-1 and 2-1-1-1-1-1 when the 1 and 2 dead heat in the first race, because both accomplished that goal by picking the winners of all six races. They all should be treated equally, and the kitty should be divided by the number of tickets that picked a winner in every race, regardless of who they picked. As to why this is treated differently than daily doubles and Pick Threes, I have no idea. It's a rule that should be 100% consistent in multi-race bets.