A Quarter of the Way to $1-million

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TwinSpires Staff

February 24th, 2014

No one said winning $1-million in the Road to the Kentucky Derby SHOWdown would be easy, and one of the reasons it’s so difficult is a bettor’s tendency to overthink things.

We’re a quarter of the way home (5 races down, 15 to go), and 348 players are still alive for the $1-million prize. All that stands in the way of them and a big novelty check is successful $20 show bets on each of the next 14 prep races plus the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands.

Those 348 players represent about 15% of the 2,308 players who began the $1-million quest five races ago with the Robert B. Lewis Stakes on February 8 at Santa Anita Park. The 85% attrition rate is somewhat surprising considering that the favorite—while failing to win a single race in question—has hit the board in all five races. I.e., anyone who took the favorite in each race (Midnight Hawk, Enterprising, Strong Mandate, Top Billing, and Vicar’s In Trouble) would still be alive.

I’m not throwing stones, though. My glass house cracked in the Risen Star Stakes when Rise Up didn’t to the occasion and sunk a lot of battleships, including mine. There were 778 players still alive after the Fountain of Youth, and many of the 430 who missed that race did so because of Rise Up.

If you’re one of those who missed one race, you’re not alone, as 625 players are tied with four successful wagers. The player with the most successful show bets after the prep season concludes wins 2015 Kentucky Derby and Oaks tickets, and anyone with at least one successful bet is eligible for a share of the $10,000 prize pool for hitting your Derby show bet.

Still, if the current trend continues, and 68.5% of players advance each week, then 1 or 2 would still be alive for the $1-million going into the Derby.

Over on Twitter, only four people remain alive in our “last longest” competition for $500, a far worse attrition rate than pari-mutuel players, representing less than 5% of the starting players. Interestingly, all four remaining players used both Enterprising in the El Camino and Intense Holiday in the Risen Star, and no one has used more than three favorites.

The four remaining players are @CHERYL_SZ, @FAKEMAVEN, @JBOSWALD68, and @RSAMAROO46. Follow them (and @twinspires!) on Twitter to see who they’re picking in the Gotham Stakes on Saturday at Aqueduct (click the stakes name for FREE Ultimate Past Performances with comments).

Also this week is the third Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool and the only pari-mutuel Kentucky Oaks Future Wager. Stay tuned to this blog for analysis of both the Gotham and Future Wagers.