How to turn $100 into $10,000

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TwinSpires Staff

June 9th, 2017

by John Scheinman

When you’re asked to write a piece explaining how to turn $100 into $10,000 on Belmont Stakes Day, the assigning editor is either laughing at you or thinks you’re a genius.

I’m going with genius.

The options of how to to spin this cotton into gold are myriad and all fraught with peril, but I’ve decided that the best way to approach the challenge is via a parlay.

I’ve always considered myself, like many horseplayers, sharp at handicapping, weak at betting. One thing I’ve learned, however, is the only way I can successfully attack a live-money handicapping tournament is by making large – and even all-in – bets and parlaying the winnings. Using this strategy, I finished second last fall in the Laurel Champions Tournament, beaten on the final race at Saratoga by a guy who made up a computer algorithm. He took the money, but I was not impressed.

When I play tournaments, I set a goal I figure I need to reach to win, and so the goal here is $10,000.

Let’s get to it…

All bets are based on the morning line and save the finale are all-in wagers.

We’ll start with the 3RD race, a rematch between Send It In and Tu Brutus in the Grade 2, $400,000 Brooklyn Handicap. I think Tu Brutus looks like one of the best horses in the country, and now he gets to flaunt his controlling speed in the third start of his form cycle. A dead-fit Send It In beat him by a half-length April 8 in the Excelsior. I don’t see it happening again.

$100 to win on Tu Brutus at 2-1 brings our bankroll to $300.

We roll right back in the very next race, the Grade 1, $700,000 Acorn with Salty for Mark Casse, who won the G2 Gulfstream Park Oaks by 4 1/2-lengths as the even-money favorite. The Kentucky Oaks, in which the filly had a woeful trip and still finished beaten just four lengths, is a toss. Her penultimate work for this race signals tremendous preparation, and we will bet her to turn the tables on Kentucky Oaks winner Abel Tasman.

$300 to win on Salty at 4-1 brings our bankroll to $1,500.

The scariest bet in this master plan is the next – Songbird at 1-2 in the Grade 1, $75,000 Ogden Phipps. It’s scary because a sizable win bet at 1-2 on a horse coming off a long layoff can be looked at as absurd by players who instinctively hunt for value, but I simply could not resist the easy money.

$1,500 to win on Songbird at 1-2 brings our bankroll to $2,250.

Last year, I believed Pure Sensation was the fastest turf sprinter in the country. The Christophe Clement-trained gray rocket scored twice in intensely fast six-furlong turf stakes race at Belmont Park.

Pure Sensation came back from his winter break with a bust at five furlongs at Churchill Downs. Now, with the rust shaken off, he returns to his favorite track at his favorite distance, and I will side with a return to form in the Grade 3, $300,000 Jaipur.

$2,250 to win on Pure Sensation at 3-1 brings our bankroll to $9,000.

Finally, what the French call the pièce de résistance – the victory that puts us over the top: Celestine to go gate-to-wire in the Grade 1, $700,000 Just a Game at a mile on the turf. She won this race last year running against a closer’s bias and is in top form. The horse she beat last time out in the Grade 2 Honey Fox, Mississippi Delta, won the Grade 3 Intercontinental on Thursday at Belmont to validate Celestine’s form.

$260 to win on Celestine at 3-1 brings our bankroll to $10,040.

The extra $40 above the $10,000 goal is a tip you should send to me. If Celestine loses, you still go home with $8,740. Not bad for a five-horse parlay with $100 on Belmont Stakes Day.

Photo courtesy of NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography