The odds have it

Thousands of dollars were on the line here. First up – an exacta box on Victim of Love, Mr. Apple Cider and Money X Change. Battle of Hastings was the favourite but the odds too low to make it worth including. I was hoping and playing for an upset. There were also a couple of place wagers on J T’s Pointe and Hopeful Blazing. With odds of 20 to 1 and 35 to 1, respectfully, the return on investment on these 2 alone could be in the hundreds. Minimum. I was too late for the Daily Double but I’m not a big fan of it either as the payout has been low in the past. For fun, I also threw in a couple of superfectas on the top 4 entrants on 20-cent boxed bets. The agent prints out my golden tickets and I hastily snatch them up and run to the course.  In a few moments time, the gun will sound and off they’ll go, carrying my monetary dreams on their heels.

Another season of Horse Racing officially kicked off in Vancouver on Saturday, April 24th, 2010. Running until October 11th, 2010 there will be 71 horse-betting days available for all gambling enthusiasts. Many waited all year for this day to come -myself included. I encourage you to grab a group of like-minded friends, head over to the track and prepare for the fastest 5 hours of your life. If done well, you leave the track with a slight buzz, a little sunburn (freckles are in!) and most importantly- a pocket full of cash.  Ideally, if you can’t win the thousands, then you want to at least make back the money you spent that day.

Look at the pretty horsies!

Hastings Racecourse – Racing Basics

  • 9/10 races per day
  • Races take place mainly on Saturdays and Sundays, with all summer holidays, some Fridays and a few random days in between (check the schedule)
  • Approximately 30 minutes between each race
  • You can place your bets via the teller, automated machines or online
  • You can also bet on horse races at other race tracks and in other countries
  • There’s plenty of expert information available aimed at helping you make informed decisions (although it sometimes just serves to make your head spin)

Betting is fun. Losing your life’s savings – not so much.  It should be a relatively clear line between gambling enthusiast and degenerate gambler. Not sure where you fall? Here are a few clues:

You can’t wait to spend a little money and have fun with your friends = gambling enthusiast

You hope to make enough money to pay off your rent/mortgage/previous gambling debt = degenerate gambler

When your horse loses, you yell out “Glue! Glue! They should turn your ass to glue!” = degenerate gambler

Your horse doesn’t win, place, or show. You think ‘oh well’ and move on to bet on the next race = gambling enthusiast

You’re happy your friends are winning and plan to copy their bets for the next races = gambling enthusiast

You’re happy your friends are winning and plan to rob them of their winnings after the race = degenerate gambler

You’re more concerned about getting your next drink (“Where’s the beer wench!?”) than getting in your bets for the next race = gambling enthusiast (and potential alcoholic)

I planned to get to the racetrack in time for the 1st race @ 1:40pm. Arriving promptly at 3:25pm, I’m just in time to place my wagers on the 5th race. Going on instinct alone, I throw out a lot a guesses and a lot of money. Bets placed, I set forth to locate my cronies. Sitting in heated booths at the top I find them all with faces aglow from their recent wins ($116, $73 and $60 respectively) and I suspect from the many empty beer cups on the tables. Looking to catch up with my happy friends, I signal to the waitress to order a mixed drink only to get horrible news: this bar only serves beer, wine and coolers to this section. This would unfortunately turn out to be my first, of many, losses for the day. Annoyed, I sit back and watch the race on the TV screen in front of us.

Nelley’s simple guide to having fun @ the track:

  • Set a budget and stick to it. You can place bets as low as 0.20 cents so balance out your cash wisely
  • If you’re serious, do your research in advance and get to the track ready to place your bets
  • Rent a booth/table. There are plenty of free seats available but these heated tables with bar service are worth the $5 (per person) price tag
  • Bring a lunch – save your money for the horsies
  • Or, try the weekend brunch buffet. For some, this might be the only sure bet – a full stomach
  • Where’s your drink? Mint Juleps are historically the drink of choice at these events
  • Have fun. Odds are, you probably won’t leave with thousands – but you COULD! Therein lies the fun.

In the end, I’m up one good time but down in actual cash.  My biggest wins were the hot dog with fried onions (yum!) and a few of the best spicy Caesars Vancouver has to offer.  I came, I saw, I lost but I had a great time while doing it.  Also, the Kentucky Derby is coming up (May 1st) giving me another chance to win back some losses.  Plus I could use the week to calm down because as we watched the 9th and final race of the day and my long shot horse continued to remain a long shot by finishing in last place, I think I may have heard myself inadvertently yell out:

Dammit! Glue!They should turn your ass to glue!


The Basics of Wagering

WIN A horse bet to win must cross the finish line first.

PLACE A horse bet to place must cross the finish line either first or second.

SHOW Any horse bet to show must finish either first, second, or third.

EXACTA The object is to correctly select the first two horses across the finish line in the exact order. For example, if you placed a “2-3” exacta, the #2 must win the race and the #3 must finish second. This is more difficult than any win, place or show wager but will reward with a higher payoff. Exactas can be BOXED or WHEELED

TRIFECTA The trifecta is basically just an extension of the exacta. The object of a trifecta is to select the first three horses across the finish line in the exact order. An example trifecta would be “2-3-6”. The #2 must win, the #3 must finish second, and the #6 must finish 3rd in that exact order. Trifectas can be BOXED or WHEELED.

SUPERFECTA A winning superfecta must select the first four horses across the finish line in the exact order. Superfectas are one of the most difficult wagers to hit but routinely pay hundreds and often thousands of dollars. Superfectas can be BOXED or WHEELED.

DAILY DOUBLE The object is to correctly select which horses will win two consecutive races. Take for example a 6-3 daily double placed in the first race. The #6 must win the 1st race and the #3 must win the 2nd race. Daily Doubles can be WHEELED.

PICK-3 Correctly select the winners of three consecutive races.

WHEELED: Wheeling a selection in an exacta bet means wagering that selection with all other betting choices in order to cover all possibilities of finish. If the selection is the winner, the wheeled exacta bet is a winner. The greater the number of betting choices, the greater the cost of covering the wager.

– Want more? Go to the source:

– Mint Julep source

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