5 Tips for playing Horizontal Exotics: Part 2

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

April 8th, 2020

The popularity of multi-race plays has ascended rapidly in recent years, and the growth of them doesn’t appear to be slowing down, either. Part 1 of this segment was focused on explaining what horizontal wagers were and how to implement them into your betting practices. I will go a step farther in this piece.

Below are five vital things I process before playing the horizontal exotics:

Identify Vulnerable Favorites

In general, there is a correlation between the win mutuel of the first-place finishers in your horizontal play, and the payout for the exotic wager itself. They are obviously separate pools, but the parlay of the winners can often reflect similarly to the horizontal return. Which makes finding price horses so valuable.

The first order of business when I map out a horizontal wager, is determining if there are any favorites that I expect to be defeated. This is the case when I attempt to cash a Double, Pick 3, or Pick 4 ticket. (In Pick-5 and Pick-6 plays, I shift to a survive-and-advance mindset).

Betting favorites will be on most tickets in the horizontal pools, and the real value of these bets comes when popular horses get upended. And if you are so lucky to knock off a prohibitive choice, even a medium-priced winner can be worth much more than the win mutuel reflects.

Have Conviction

A key factor for me in determining if a horizontal wager is worth a play is to have a strong feeling in a particular race, or races. This doesn’t equate to necessarily finding a single, or singles, in a sequence. If you expect that a particular event will come down to two or three contenders, consider that to be a good starting point for putting together a wager.

Focus on the Horses

I have been guilty, on numerous occasions, of getting ‘cheap’ with my horizontal wagers and missing out on some hefty windfalls. And while some still haunt me to this day, I have learned a lot from my miscalculations.

The way I have been constructing my horizontal investments has changed for the better in recent years. I format my multi-race endeavors with solely the horses of preference in mind, regardless of what the resulting cost of the ticket will be. I then see if the play fits into my bankroll.

My advice is to never structure a horizontal wager based on how much money that you have to invest. I learned this lesson the hard way.

Be Selective

Most cards offer rolling doubles and Pick 3s on a daily basis, starting in the opening race and running through the penultimate contest of the day. And some venues will offer up to three Pick 4’s on a slate. So my advice is to be patient and pick your spots with some thought involved.

It’s safe to say that a vast majority of handicappers have a limit as to how much that they are willing to invest on a particular race or card. Being selective allows bettors to invest more on their preferred sequences, thus increasing the chances of cashing tickets.

Utilize the ‘All’ Button

As the saying goes, ‘you can beat a race, but you can’t beat the races.' And when playing multi-race exotics, it is important to keep that in mind. This is where the ‘all’ button can be an invaluable option.

The results of horse races can defy logic on occasion. We have all witnessed massive longshots, that appear to be hopeless on paper, coming through and blowing up the tote board.

If you lack conviction in a particular contest, or if you feel that any contender in a certain field can win, then do not be afraid to ‘buy the race’ in your horizontal play. Clicking the all button essentially condenses your bet (a Pick 4 play becomes a virtual Pick 3, etc.) and allows more room for error.