Playing the Place Pick 6

This is an article I wrote about how to play the Place Pick 6.  It is a lot of fun if you haven’t given it a try.

In recent years Monmouth Park has been willing to try new wagers.  For the Breeders Cup in 2007, the low take-out 50¢ minimum Pick 5 was unveiled for the first time.  That Pick 5 wager has swept across the country and has caused most tracks to change their minimum bets on the Pick 4 to 50¢.

In 2011, the new bet is the 50¢ low take out Place Pick 6.  A winning ticket requires you to just pick a horse to finish first or second in six consecutive races.  At Monmouth those are races 4 through 9.  If nobody successfully picks six place horses then there is a carryover and there is never a consolation pay out for five out of six.

In this first year the handle has averaged around $10,000, which is similar to the amount wagered on the Pick 5 when it first appeared.  The largest pools occurred when amazingly there were carryovers. This has happened twice producing a pool of over $25,000.

In the first 52 days of the Monmouth meeting the payouts have ranged from $7.25 to $6,404.70 on the base 50¢ wager.  Most interesting is that very high prices are just as common as the very low ones.  There have been eight Place Pick 6 results of over $1,000 and eight that paid less than $50. There have been successful cashes of 50¢ tickets for $4,846, $3,390, and $3,065. When I began playing the wager in May I would never have expected such large payouts. In addition there have been five more winners in the $500 to $1,000 range and 18 between $100 and $500.  The last 13 fell in the range of $50 and $100.

Since the Place Pick 6 payouts have such a wide range it is extremely important to cash as often as you can and for as much money as possible. The most desirable result should include cashing more than once on any individual winning ticket.  This can happen when you have both the first and second place finishers in any given leg, or basically having the exacta in that race. Obviously bigger payouts will happen when your place horse shares the finish with a long shot, thus diminishing the number of people that will share the pool.

I have established a standard 50¢ Place Pick 6 play that costs $36.  The ticket has combinations of: 1 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 3 x 3 for 72 total combinations at 50¢ each.  Choosing three horses in any leg works like an exacta box increasing the chance of hitting both place positions and thus producing multiple winning tickets.  Also, at Monmouth, there are usually large fields that are really tough to handicap and having 3 horses in those wide-open races increases the chance of staying alive. With this type of ticket there are 5 races where you can hit exactas and this makes the wager even more fun. On a few occasions I have hit two exactas and thus have ended up with four winning combinations.  This strategy seems to be working as I have hit the Place Pick 6 twelve times for a positive ROI in the 48 days that I have posted a wager.

I always smile when I play the Place Pick 6 because it makes me think of one of my favorite movies the 1973 classic, The Sting.  You remember the climactic scene when Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford) and Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman) complete the sting on banker/gangster Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw).

Doyle Lonnegan: I put it all on Lucky Dan, half a million dollars to win.

Kid Twist: To win? I said placePlace it on Lucky Dan! That horse is gonna run second today.

Since Hooker and Gondroff made money on a place bet, then why shouldn’t the rest of us?

I like to gamble and I like action like most horseplayers, but I don’t have a big bankroll.  Sometimes it’s big enough to make a solid play at the Pick 5 or the Pick 4, but it is never adequate to attack the two dollar minimum standard Pick 6.  However, for $36 the Place Pick 6 provides a great chance at a really good payout.  There is plenty of time left to get involved with this new wager as the Monmouth meeting runs until November 6.

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About andyscoggin

Matt Shifman, the man behind AndyScoggin, is a featured blogger covering NYRA and Monmouth Park for HorseRacingNation.com. "Racing at the Jersey Shore" covers the racing scene at Monmouth Park and "A New York State of Racing" will discuss NYRA. Matt votes for the Top 10 Thoroughbreds in the NTRA Polls at www.NTRA/polls.
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