Exotic wagers on Kentucky Derby Day often reward horseplayers with big payoffs. The last decade has been out-of-sight by any standards. The average return on a successful $2 exacta bet was $1,547.
Compare that to the median payout at the fall Churchill Down meeting during the first 28 days of November: $117.ÿÿÿ
A couple of major tracks that just ended their meets had even lesser return on a $2 investment, according to Brisnet.com. Gulfstream Parks exactas from Jan. 3 to April 18 averaged slightly more than $107. Aqueducts payoffs from Dec. 26 through April 21 fell short of $67.ÿ
Naturally, when the favorite wins the exotics arent as lucrative. The lowest Derby exacta the past 10 years came in 2000 when 2-1 favorite Fusaichi Pegasus combined with sixth choice Aptitude for $60.
Ah, but in 05 when longshots Giacomo and Closing Argument ran 1-2, the exacta was the highest in a decade: $9,814.80. Last years return wasnt bad, thanks to Mine That Bird and Pioneer of the Nile: $2,074.80.
Derby Day trifectas during the same time span averaged a whopping $22,263. Last fall during most of November the average return at Churchill Downs was $1,075.08.
This season at Gulfstream winning trifectas averaged less than $436 while Aqueduct was a bit better — more than $475.
D-Day in 2003 was exceptionally rewarding for me. It started March 16 when I placed a $2 futures bet on Funny Cide.
On May 3, I started out having a good afternoon with exotic wagers on the Churchill Downs card viewing the races at Retama Park a brief gallop north of San Antonio. I hit several exactas.
Since I was rooting for Funny Cide in the Derby, I put him on top in a $1 trifecta with Empire Maker and Ten Most Wanted. Underneath in the second slot I included Funny Cide and Empire Maker with two others, plus Peace Rules and a couple in third. The cost: $23. I also bet $2 to win on Funny Cide.ÿ
Funny Cide rewarded me with $27.60 that afternoon. My futures bet paid $120.80. The $23 trifecta returned $332.40.
The smallest $2 trifecta this century was in 00: $435. Next lowest was in 07 when winner Street Sense and runner-up Hard Spun combined for $440. The largest payoff: $133,134.80 in 05.
When it comes to superfectas on D-Day, the rewards are startling, stunning, stupendous. They averaged $192,863.
Large fields have produced the enormous payoffs. The number of starters over the past 10 years is 18.7. Four times there were 20-horse fields. The least number of starters was 16 in 03.
Another contributing factor is most everyone loves to wager on the Derby, and many are uniformed and bet on names, numbers and even colors.
Last November at the Kentucky track, superfectas averaged half-a-buck more than $10,055. Compare that to this years $3,573.66 at Aqueduct and $2,584.40 at Gulfstream.
Catch these mammoth numbers for a $2 Derby tri: $864,253.30 in 05 and $557,006.40 in 09.
Even when the favorite wins, the payoff is quite good. Though top choice Big Brown was on top in 08, the superfecta returned $58,737.80.
No matter what type of exotic wager you make, the road to success often hinges on a key horse. Recent form is a significant ingredient of any betting formula in selecting the winner.
When the Derby field is 20, you probably will have to select two or three horses to include in trifectas and superfectas.
Why exotics? Well, a creative reporter that attributed these words to prolific bank robber Willie Sutton when asked why he robbed banks supplies the answer: Thats where the money is.
By GREG MELIKOV