I’ve been made fun of a time or two for my enjoyment of betting tracks like Prairie Meadows and Remington Park, but the fact is both of those tracks are highly successful and enjoyable for me. Betting small tracks differ from large ones, and you must adjust your game a little to be successful. Here are five tips that I’ve picked up on that you might think about when betting the “hidden jewels” of racing.
Know Your Trainers and Jockey’s
This is without a doubt the most important aspect of betting a small race track. Most times there is a certain jockey or trainer that stands out above the others. Make sure you look closely at the trainer and jockey’s standings, and then bet accordingly. No matter what type of race, or what kind of odds are on the board, don’t be afraid to bet these trainers and jockey’s. Here are just few examples of trainers and jockeys to watch for at certain tracks:
– Jockey Terry Thompson at Prairie Meadows
– Trainer Chris Richard at Prairie Meadows
– Jockey DeShawn Parker at Mountaineer
– Trainer Jamie Ness at Delaware, Presque Isle, and Tampa Bay
– Jockey Cliff Berry at Lone Star and Remington Park
Don’t be Afraid to Take a Short Price
A lot of times the favorite at smaller tracks will be bet heavily because of the lack of competition that is presented. While I’m not telling you to bet on horses that are 1-9 or 1-5, I will say that if you can get 3-5 on a Chris Richard horse at Prairie Meadows, or a Jamie Ness horse at Tampa Bay, TAKE IT! I know that probably kills most of you to bet that kind of price, but at the smaller tracks you have to pick your spots to take chances. Often times there just isn’t another horse in the race worth betting on. Remember that cashing a ticket is always better than not cashing. If you absolutely can’t make yourself bet a short price, then I would suggest skipping the races entirely.
Don’t Let the Odds Fool You
My advice to those betting smaller tracks…don’t even look at the odds until 3 minutes to post. The pools can sometimes be extremely small at the lower end tracks, so a $50 win wager could drop a horse from 20-1 to 2-1 in a matter of seconds. Don’t let the crazy odds jumping bother you. Usually by post time, the odds will end up reverting back pretty close to what the morning line odds looked like.
Know Your State-Breds
The life-blood of the small tracks are the State-Bred horses. On a given day you will see anywhere between 3-5 state-bred races on a normal card. When you consider that the state-breds will make up almost half of the races ran at the track, it’s to your benefit to understand the talent level they possess. Usually there will be three or four trainers at the track that specialize in state-bred horses. Figure out who they are, and how successful they are.
Stay Away from Certain Types of Wagers
There are some wagers that just aren’t worth making at the smaller tracks. A show parlay is one of them. The show pools at smaller tracks are often very small, so when your parlay gets up to a high number, your bet could literally be half the total show pool. When that happens your payout will most likely by $2.10 or $2.20, making it impossible to make much money. Also, I would totally stay away from any Pick 6 that is offered. The pick 6 is extremely difficult hit to begin with, and at the small tracks hardly anyone bets it so the pools you are playing for is small. If you like playing horizontal wagers, the late pick 4 is probably the best to play. That bet usually gets a lot of play.