|NJ Horseplayer considers bucking|
the "no guts, no glory" lure of
In my small sample of live-money contest participation (maybe 8-10, all at Monmouth, in the last 2-3 years), impatience and greed have at times gotten the best of me - i.e., playing too many races on a multi-track card, solely making win wagers on long-shots rather than building a bankroll throughout the day merely to survive and make one well-place wager toward the end. To be sure, I observed two top finishers from Monmouth's simulcast contests last winter about double their $100 starting bankroll and hit nicely with a $200 bet in the final contest race.
Now, granted, any contest success comes down to excellent handicapping, but bankroll management and timing of making a "big" bet are equally important.
Results from my Equibase contest picks (under tfbill, if the link does not work) two days ago got me to analyzing a "what if" scenario. Assuming a $100 contest bankroll and $20 place wagers down the line on each of the eight contest races (four each from Kentucky Downs and Belmont Park), I would have netted $177, with four second-place finishers paying $8.40, $6.70, $3.80 and $2.80. As only two of those four horses won their races, a combination of $10 win-place wagers would have netted less.
Granted, hypothetically speaking, five straight losses would make for a short contest day, but a 77% return without a win bet is a tempting proposition, considering the minimization of risk and my endorsement of long-shots.
I tinkered in one contest with win-show strategies to no avail; typically, the show payouts, even on some longer-priced horses, were not enough to justify embracing such a strategy, in my view. The show bet would serve well in terms of capital preservation (i.e. holding onto a top-3 spot toward the end of a contest card) but not accrual. Place wagering, based on my simple Equibase analysis, might prove more beneficial to contest players like me, who can always find value but are inexperienced in bankroll management and do not necessarily like to stick to the sidelines in races with deep fields.
Please share your thoughts on this notion, and whether anyone has had success or failure with place-focused wagering or contest strategy.