05/08/2008 1:59AM

Superduper High Five


It would cost you only $60,000 to claim all 12 horses entered in Thursday's ninth race at Churchill -- less than the $95,040 cost of an all-all-all-all-all Super High Five ticket on the race.

It's possible that more will be bet on Thursday's SHF than has ever been bet in a single-race pool on a field of $5,000 claimers. The pentafecta bet, which carried over $331,928 from the Kentucky Derby to Wednesday's nightcap, attracted an additional $661,201 Wednesday -- more than the win, place, show, exacta and trifecta pools on the race combined -- and went unhit again after a 49-1/9-2/10-1/22-1/8-1 finish. So there will be $866,712 to seed the pool. If another $1.4 million is bet Thursday, there would be a potential $2 million payoff. So maybe buying the race for $95k isn't the worst idea in the world if you happen to have an extra $95k burning a hole in your pocket.

I'll be playing for at least $94k less than that, but at a $1 minimum and 95,040 possible combinations, it becomes an expensive play pretty quickly. Here are the costs of some conventional approaches:


12-horse box: $95,040
11-horse box: $55,440
10-horse box: $30,240
9-horse box: $15,120
8-horse box: $ 6,720
7-horse box: $ 2,520
6-horse box: $ 720
5-horse box: $ 120

Key 1 on top of 11: $7920
Key 1 on top of 10: $5040
Key 1 on top of 9: $3024
Key 1 on top of 8: $1680
Key 1 on top of 7: $ 840
Key 1 on top of 6: $ 360
Key 1 on top of 5: $ 120
Key 1 on top of 4: $ 24

Other than the bottom rungs of those lists, these are not exactly invitingly affordable bets for most players. Here are two alternatives to consider:

1)A key to win and a second key to run second or third. Let's say those horses are #1 and #2, and you want to use five other horses underneath. You could do this for $120 by buying the following two tickets:

$1 SHF: 1/2/3,4,5,6,7/3,4,5,6,7/3,4,5,6,7 = $60
$1 SHF: 1/3,4,5,6,7/2/3,4,5,6,7/3,4,5,6,7 = $60

2) Use three keys -- one must win and the other two must both finish fourth or better. You could do this for $216, using four other horses underneath, as follows:

$1 SHF: 1,2,3/1,2,3/1,2,3/4,5,6,7/4,5,6,7 = $72
$1 SHF: 1,2,3/1,2,3/4,5,6,7/1,2,3/4,5,6,7 = $72
$1 SHF: 1,2,3/4,5,6,7/1,2,3/1,2,3/4,5,6,7 = $72

3) Desperate to hit the all-button for 5th? You could key a winner, with four others in positions 2-3-4, and then roll the dice for fifth as follows:

$1 SHF 1/2,3,4,5/2,3,4,5/2,3,4,5/ALL = $192

Wednesday's unhit SHF involved 11 maiden claimers with a combined record of 0-for-53. The dozen in Thursday's finale have a combined record of 69-for-351, a bit more form to go on, but it's a very tough race. Half the field is dropping in price, and they made their most recent starts at seven different tracks: Beulah, Keeneland, Mountaineer, Oaklawn, River Downs, Tampa and Turfway. Good luck.

The people who put over Future Prospect, the New York-bred $100.40 winner of Wednesday's 9th, apparently didn't wheel their horse in the SHF, a $5,040 play that would have returned $866,712. For their sake I hope they bet a little to win at 49-1, since they also blew their New York-bred maiden conditions winning an open maiden claimer at Churchill that carried a $14k purse. Future Prospect ran well enough to win most statebred maiden claimers in New York, which have $24k purses, or even statebred maiden-specials, which go for $44k these days.

Update 12:10 pm: One scratch so far in CD race 9 -- #2 Put Up Or -- brings the cost of an all-all-all-all-all ticket down to a mere $55,440. With a $2 million payout, you'd get your money back (before withholding and taxes) if there were 38 winners. Fewer than 38 correct tickets and you show a profit. The CD main track is listed as "good."

Update 5:41 pm: Turns out, if you bought the race for $55k, you lost 51 percent of your investment, before taxes: The old 4-3-7-11-9 paid $26,922.20 a pretty nice payout with a $5.60 winner on top. But not for me and my $288 stab. I keyed the 3 to hit the board, surrounding him with the 1-4-5-7 in the top four positions, adding the 6-8-9 for fifth, as follows:


So a 4-3-7-11-9-5-1 finish was a little frustrating. The 4-3-7 part was just fine, and so was the 9 running fifth but I had no 11's in any position on any ticket.

Today's pool was $1,585,220 (before takeout) on top of the $866k carryover, which works out to about 80 winners.

Jeff G. More than 1 year ago
Steve, After watching two outstanding performances, by Curlin in Dubai and by Big Brown in the Derby, and after watching Big Brown follow that up in the Preakness, I am eager for the two to race. While I'm not certain Curlin is one of the all-time greats, he is very good. And visually at least, Big Brown appears to be very good as well. The two could be destined for a meeting in the Breeder's Cup Classic, which would be one of the most anticipated horse races in some time. Only one thing could (probably will) dampen my anticipation for this matchup - an artificial track. The loser would almost certainly place the blame on their horse not liking the surface. Furthermore, Asmussen has indicated that Curlin might not run b/c of the artificial surface. Any chance these factors might sway Stronach's decision on the racing surface at Santa Anita?
beerbelly More than 1 year ago
Steve, Excellent work in Saturday's DRF. Could you turn your attention to what NYRA is doing to the Belmont grandstand? A few hundred of us diminishing speciies of horseplayers {used to} watch the races at Belmont from the third floor grandstand between the eigth & sixteenth pole. This view of any race as it unfolds on the turn is worth the price of admission. Now NYRA with it's new Customer Friendly management has SHUT OFF the entire 3rd Floor Grandatand except for two sections on the finish line! The result of a call to Mr. Hayward's office was a promise of a phone call from another suit. I'm not holding my breath. Could you investigate?
TA More than 1 year ago
Can someone please explain to me how Churchill Downs can announce purse reductions and blame the horsemen because of a loss of money resulting from the ADW fight....when it was announced CDI realized an $800,000 first quarter gain this year versus a $8.4M first quarter loss last year? Thanks.
george quinn More than 1 year ago
How many others truly look at the super high 5 as moronic? I really have to relate this wager to blind luck and almost nothing else. Trying to figure 4th and 5th finishers in a 5 claimer? How hard up for a wager do you have to be! UGH! George In Lexington Ky.
AndyScoggin More than 1 year ago
Michael Dickinson admits to giving his horses anabolic steroids over a period of 20 years! He felt he had no choice if he was to stay competitive!
george quinn More than 1 year ago
Churchill to cut purses 20 percent. No problem for me, great racing at Belmont with Saratoga right around the corner. Slug it out all you want boys and girls. Never agree, we are used to it. We will just bet NYRA summer racing no problem for us. George in Lexington Ky.
chestypuller92 More than 1 year ago
While many of the comments about the Super Hi 5 are valid and have significant merit, I still believe it is a hittable bet. My one winning experience with the bet was at Santa Anita in a downhill turf race. There were three speed horses. For the first position, I used the one speed horse who looked the best on paper along with the fact that Bejarano was on top. I then keyed a deep, strong closer who was stepping up in class from a top training barn (and an outside post which is very advantageous on the SA d/h turf). I used this closer in the second and third spot for two different bets. I then used the remaining two speed horses along with another decent closer for the remaining three positions. This was a pure pace handicapping scenario which worked out as I had envisioned. While hindsight is always (and I mean always) 20-20 in this game, It felt very rewarded that my pace handicapping skills were validated by winning a $1500 super hi 5 bet that only cost me $24. Bejarano-Closer-345-345-345 Bejarano-345-Closer-345-345
EJXD2 More than 1 year ago
Judging by the release John Asher of Churchill sent out announcing the payoffs of the Super Hi-5, it looks as if someone did purchase an ALL/ALL/ALL/ALL/ALL ticket.
ml/nj More than 1 year ago
No more trips to Staten Island for Mike G beginning today, Friday. NY & NJ seem to have reached an agreement. (There's other stuff to read at drf.com besides Steve's blog!)
tklawless More than 1 year ago
Steve, Haven't heard much about maintenance or banking of turns in the surface debate, but from my experience most tracks in our part of the world (Dallas) don't add enough water to the dirt surface, especially in summer. Also, I saw a study a few years ago that addressed banking of turns that was pretty interesting....this 'rush' to synthetics will have me in a bar right beside Nick Zito!