Horseplayers wondered if this day would ever come. “If it got hit today, then it’s never going to carry” was a comment lament after a six-figure (for $.50) payout in one of racing’s best bets: the 15% takeout Pick 5 at New York Racing Association tracks.
Similar carryovers on Southern California racing have whipped bettors into a frenzy, and there’s no doubt that this will occur on Friday, as any new pool of money less than $1,085,686.50 turns the entire wager into a positive expectation.
And even if the bet handles more than $1.085-million (a seriously big number) it’s still a free-money situation with the takeout mitigated no matter what with the winners enjoying the spoils of that carryover.
How did we get here? “On paper” this did not have the look of a sequence that would carry over. Sure, there were the usual bombs: 30-to-1 Karen’s Silk in the 2nd race, 14-to-1 Mr Harlan in the 3rd race, and nearly 14-to-1 Because I’m Happy to end the thing, but they surrounded logical Ant And Bee (3-to-2 favorite) in the 1st race and 2.25-to-1 Chubby Master in the 4th race.
There is, of course, more than meets the eye here, as a list of who won and at what odds does not tell you who lost and what those horses’ odds were. Karen’s Silk was the fifth choice in a field of five, beating 11-to-20 Tonasah and three others who were all 6-to-1 or better.
Put another way, based on win odds (and accounting for takeout), Karen’s Silk had only a 2.6% chance of winning the race; the rest of the field was 37.8-times more likely to win than she was. Even in five-horse fields those are just not the type of horses who get bet, and it’s likely the dreaded “all but one” button hurt more than a few people who were willing to beat Tonasah but not with Karen’s Silk.
In the next race, Mr Harlan nosed 2-to-5 favorite Organic Gemini as the fourth choice in a field of five. He capped a $653 double that was woefully under the parlay while the early Pick 3 was only slightly under.
Race four was the second-most logical outcome based on off odds, but the rest of the story there is that Chubby Master was the co-third choice on the morning line as the lone first-time starter in the field. He clearly took money going into the fourth race, but Pick 5 players would not have known that, and he likely played closer to his morning line in the multis.
Finally, Because I’m Happy was sixth choice of nine in the deepest field in the sequence as one of four horses who would have carried the sequence.
If you had told me the first-ever Pick 5 carryover at a NYRA track would have come on a day with only 9,450 combinations in play I wouldn’t have believed you. There have been some competitive races among bigger fields with seemingly inexplicable results that did not produce a carryover.
The parlay at off odds for this sequence was $28,828.01 or 17.7% of the carryover. If we change Chubby Master’s price to his morning line then that nearly doubles the parlay to $53,220.94, but that’s still a number that suggests the thing would have been hit.
To get a parlay more than the carryover, I made Ant And Bee 2-to-1, Karen’s Silk 50-to-1, Mr Harlan 22-to-1, Chubby Master 5-to-1, and Because I’m Happy 15-to-1. This is not scientific, of course; I have no idea what percentage of the pool each of these horses have, but the exercise illustrates the importance of having a separator opinion in these types of sequences, and beating one favorite is often not enough of opinion to produce the truly monumental payouts.
Look at what happens to the parlay if Organic Gemini wins: It drops to $10,281 at our inflated off odds, but the reality is all those horses took more money with Organic Gemini than they did with Mr Harlan. Plugging in the actual off odds gets us to a parlay of less than $3,000 even with two other price horses. It’s not hyperbole to suggest that massive fortunes swung on the noses of Mr Harlan and Organic Gemini.
And whose noses will our fortunes rest on today? Midnight Champagne would certainly be a popular winner. I’ll join the masses and single around him with my As and Bs in the other races. Then’ll use 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 on a back-up ticket that will only use my “A” picks in races 1, 3, 4, 5. That is a $300+$90 play with the chance to hit it for a buck. For grand slam players, we’ll go with 1, 2, 4, 6 with 8 with 8 with 1, 3, 4, 8 for a $16 play there.