Betting Strategy: Using the Power Box at Keeneland April 22

April 21st, 2023

When do I use a Power Box?

There are races where I feel confident enough to key a horse on top of my vertical exotics. There are other races that I want to attack because a) they are ripe for chaos and b) I feel I have a valuable enough set of opinions that I don’t want to miss the big payout trying to be too precise in how I structure my bets. These are situations where a) there’s a full field, b) I like multiple longshots, and c) my main handicapping opinion is trying to beat the favorites, usually the top two or three. A box bet is a good bet on these occasions. 

When there is a similar situation, but I have more nuanced handicapping opinions than just trying to beat the top choices, a box bet is wasted bullets. On these occasions, I have begun using the Power Box, which is available at TwinSpires

Maybe a) I love a longshot and feel confident enough to hang my trifecta wager on its running in the top three, b) I have a strong opinion about the pace favoring front runners, and c) there are multiple medium-priced horses I feel could run well. Whatever it is, I have clear groupings for the horses I want to use, but I believe the finishing order will be a cross section of these multiple groupings.

With a Power Box, one runner from each of your groupings can finish in any position of the bet. Keeping the same scenarios as described above, I will need my longshot to finish in the top three, only one of the front runners, and only one of the well-meant medium priced horses.

Let’s say there are three front runners, three medium-priced horses, and one distinct longshot; this is a $27 bet in a 50-cent trifecta Power Box, whereas a seven-horse trifecta box would be $105. (Note the overlap between these groupings, which would make the price of the bet less.)

In an exacta Power Box, you select two sets of horses. In a trifecta Power Box, you select three sets of horses, and in a superfecta Power Box, you select four sets of horses. Each column is a set of horses, and one runner from each column must finish in the top two, three, or four, respectively.

The Power Box wager does several things: 1) it can reduce the cost of your box bet, 2) it can be a nice way to add on to your box bet, pressing your top opinions, and/or 3) it can allow you to use more horses on a similar budget as a box bet. Most importantly, it can dramatically increase the value of your payouts.

Building a Power Box for Keeneland's Race 10 on Saturday

Let’s build one for Race 10 at Keeneland on Saturday. This is a turf sprint which has an oversubscribed field, and a morning line favorite we want to fade who is 0-for-6 on the local turf in #10 Just Might (7-2)

I build my vertical wagers once the race has opened up for betting so I have a clearer sense of value, but let’s use the morning line as if these were the odds we were actually getting. Let’s also assume the main body of the field stays intact.

Here are my three groups; each group represents a column when placing your wager on TwinSpires:

Group 1 = Live Longshot

If he runs in the top three, I want the big score:

  • #12 Dowagiac Chief (30-1)

Group 2 = My strongest handicapping opinions

High chance of running well plus value:

  • #5 Front Run the Fed (15-1)
  • #6 Nobals (8-1)
  • #7 Angaston (10-1)
  • #8 Mark of the Z (8-1)
  • #11 Nobody Listens (8-1)

Group 3 = Likeliest winners

  • #6 Nobals (8-1)
  • #7 Angaston (10-1)

Power Box = $21

Worst-case scenario is 8-1 over 8-1 over 30-1, which I estimate the possible payout to be around $800.

Best-case scenario: 30-1 over 15-1 over 10-1, which I estimate the possible payout to be around $1,800.

Utilizing TwinSpires’ Power Box gives me a range of 38-1 to 86-1 on my trifecta play.

If I were to box all six horses, then my bet would be $60 and my range would be 13-1 to 30-1. I dramatically increase my expected value by organizing my handicapping opinions to sharpen my bet.