08/19/2016 12:42PM

Alternate pick now available on DRF Tournaments


Alternate picks are now available on the new DRF Tournaments platform. When the site first went live a few months back, it was always the plan for improvements to be made, and this is one of the most requested upgrades by players.

Why are alternate picks a big deal? To properly answer, it’s probably a good idea to separate out the live format – where picks can be changed up until post time – from the all-in format, where picks lock before the scheduled post time of the first race.

Let’s start with the all-in format. In these contests, the ability to choose alternates is simply a massive improvement. I spoke with several players who didn’t even want to compete in all-ins without the option. The reason is simple: There is a sub-species of players who would rather eat a glass sandwich than back a favorite. Without alternate picks, any scratched horse would go to the post-time favorite and that was an indignity this group did not wish to suffer.

Even if you’re antipathy toward favorites isn’t quite so staunch, there is no doubt it can be frustrating to get stuck with the favorite in a contest. Very often a contest player is picking a longshot in a certain spot simply because he doesn’t like the favorite. It’s a cruel irony that she should have to play the chalk there instead. Alternate picks make this problem go away – unless of course your alternate pick scratches, too. But at that point I think you have to just accept reality and root that favorite home.

Let’s move on to the live format. When playing online, it’s always a good idea to put in default picks at the start of a contest.  There is no reason to feel beholden to these picks as the contest goes on, and they are easily changed.  But the idea is to have something in there just in case life gets crazy or race post times encroach upon one another. Default picks ensure that at least you’ll have something to root for.

Once you’ve revised your default picks to your actual picks, it’s a good idea to select an alternate. The logic is similar to what we discussed above: Why do you want to get stuck with a post-time favorite when you can at least try to make sure you get on a horse you like? Also, as the day goes on and you have more of a sense of what price you need for your goal in a given contest, you can change your main selections and your alternates accordingly.  If you’re in a position where you need a longshot, make sure your backup is a longshot too.  If you’re just jockeying for position late, maybe your alternate can be on the shorter side.  It doesn’t come up often, but the extra edge you can gain by being mentally prepared for an unlikely scenario like a gate scratch might pay big dividends down the line.

One thing I can’t help you with, however, is those frustrating days when your main selections go down the tubes and four of your alternates win.  You’ll want to be mentally prepared for those as well — but, hey, you can always bet cash on all of your selections, main and alternate, through an ADW like DRF Bets.