Road To the Derby $1-million Showdown

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Ed DeRosa

February 20th, 2013

Look, I'm not going to sit here and tell you how easy it is to win $1-million playing's $1-million Road to the Derby Showdown.

Sure, the show wager is the easiest bet to hit when playing the races, but 20 in a row on races we pick makes it a lot more difficult.

Difficult. Not impossible. ran this promotion last year but required 23 consecutive winning $20 show bets--20 before the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and then the three Triple Crown races. This year 20 total is the magic number, and if someone starts off with 17 in a row as was the case last year, then s/he would be a Show Crown away from $1-million.

Again, easier said than done, but if winning a million dollars were easy anywhere (even the track) then you'd never have heard about a bet called the Rainbow^6. And it's not as if it hasn't almost been done. If five people can go 18/20 and one person can do 17 in a row, then 20/20 is doable.

Really, though, the $1-million prize is just a nice bonus if you get lucky and run the table. The benefit of the Road to the Derby Showdown beyond the million is that you get to keep your winnings and take a run at both a guaranteed $10,000 prize pool for sweeping the Triple Crown and tickets to next year's Kentucky Derby for cashing the most show bets during this year's prep season.

Because each of the prizes reward being right more than being smart, the proper strategy is to always select the starter you think is most likely to finish third or better. With--at minimum--a share of $10,000 up for grabs, it is pound foolish to try to find value in the show pool when playing this contest. Building shares should be your focus during the prep season with survival being essential during the Triple Crown (you only cash in on a share of the $10k if you hit all three classics).

Last year 17 individual players split the $10,000 with 200 shares among them making each share worth $50. Mona Weaver was one of five players with 18 shares but the only one to sweep the Triple Crown to earn $900 for her efforts.

This year, there will be 15% fewer races for building shares, and if the ratio stays the same then that means each share would be worth $54.05. At that price point, it's easy to see how hitting 10 bets at $2.20 makes more sense than 8 at $4.

So fund your account, study up on this weekend's races (including watching the TCI video below), and start on your path toward $1-million!