This is a Kentucky Derby futures story

This is a Kentucky Derby futures story

May 01, 2018 3:11 AM


This is a Kentucky Derby futures story.

One of my buddies received a call four days prior to the race in which Justify broke his maiden. He was told, “Bob Baffert (trainer) thinks he has a monster of a horse and will point him toward the Kentucky Derby if everything goes correctly.”

My friend repeated the story out loud when he hung up the phone; and one of the guys around him, (a so-called friend of his) heard it. This “friend” showed up a few days later with a Derby futures ticket on Justify to win at 300/1 ($500 to win $150,000).

Now my friend puts a claim in to his “friend” and says, “Hey, I told you about that horse, I deserve a piece of that ticket.” But the other guy claims he got a call the next day with the same horse and that is why he made the bet.

Personally, I would have given a small piece of the ticket to the person I heard it from first. Yes, he did have a chance himself to hang up the phone and run around town to get the best future odds. However, my friend is very generous with the information he receives and tries to help everyone make money. But for some reason he always winds up on the short end of the stick. My friend is what we call back home a batchagaloop.

Which brings me to another subject… The horse race bettor mentality. A horse bettor goes to the sportsbook (but still calls it the racetrack) with a set amount of money. They are addicted to the adrenaline rush of winning by a bob of the head. They are also addicted to the instant gratification and the results every 30 minutes.

However, they never take into account the hold (vigorish) of betting a horse race compared to sports or even casino games. Racetracks typically take out 15-25% of the handle per race. Blackjack, or most video poker machines with basic strategy, is around 1%. Sports is around 4.5%; but that can easily be ground down to zero (or to even) in your favor with good information. You can literally play keno or the money wheel in a casino and get better odds than you can from some of the exotic-type of wagers at the track.

I actually broke my maiden in gambling at a race track. When I was 13 years old my father took me to Monmouth Park and bet me a two-dollar exacta that returned $412. It was the biggest thrill of my life at that point. Like a junkie chasing their first high, I chased that high of winning the $412 to the tune of many thousands of dollars in my teens, until I smartened up.

That is not to say there are not certain times when I do not jump in and play the ponies now. There are rare opportunities where you can make money playing negative show pools and overlays on pick-six races where the track has to give the money away at the end of a meet.

Bottom line… Many a good man has been beaten down by this vigorish. You would think with all the casinos that are being built at the racetracks they would lower the hold due to the supplemental income and give the gamblers a break. Unfortunately, these tracks are dehumanizing institutions and it is sad to see.