San Diego proved a perfect spot for ‘bridgejumpers’
by Dick Powell
There’s an old horse racing saying about “They all get beat.”
While that is not always true, it certainly did not seem like it would apply to ARROGATE (Unbridled’s Song) in Saturday’s San Diego Handicap (G2) at Del Mar.
Sent off at 1-20 odds in a five-horse field, at no point in the race did he look like he was going to win. It was like he was stuck in quicksand and never showed any of his patented acceleration. Only because EL HUERFANO (Tannersmyman) lost his irons at the start did Arrogate not finish dead last. Still, he was beaten a shocking 15 1/4 lengths and after the race, trainer Bob Baffert said that there was nothing apparently wrong with the colt that had been so dominant.
When the race went official, the toteboard lit up. The winner, ACCELERATE (Lookin at Lucky), paid $17.60 to win, $32.60 to place and $22.00 to show. Second-place finisher DONWORTH (Tiznow) paid an incredible $119.80 to place and $67.40 to show, and third-place finisher CAT BURGLAR (Unbridled’s Song) paid $38.20.
There was well over $2.457 million bet on Arrogate out of a total of $2.671 million so the “bridgejumpers” took a beating. Or did they?
What many people miss is that Saturday’s San Diego Handicap was the perfect spot for a bridgejumper; win or lose. Yes, they crushed Arrogate so why do it when you need 19 winners of your next 20 bets to get even?
The false assumption is that the bridgejumper bets the heavy favorite and nobody else. But they are able to use their bankroll to guarantee a profit since the Del Mar has to pay a minimum $2.10 to show based on California law. This makes it a profitable venture if you have the money to put up since he really should have paid $2.01 to show.
For example, if I bet $1,000 to show on Arrogate, I would get $1,050 back if he finished in the money. But that would not be my only bet. I would then bet $20 on the other four horses to show as well. Now, I have $1,080 invested in the race. If Arrogate finishes in the money, I would get $1,050 back and probably $21 back on the other two horses that finished in the money for a grand total of $1,092 back on my $1,080 bet.
With net-pool pricing, there is a small chance that the other two horses might pay more than $2.10 to show with Arrogate in the top three but it’s way too complicated to explain.
When Arrogate finished out of the money, the $20 show prices added up to $1,276. So I would have bet $1,092 and made a $184 profit. Each way I made a profit. Add a few zeros to the bets and you have a bridgejumper’s dream scenario.
Under the above betting scenario, I take the risk of only winning $8 as my worst-case and a $184 profit as my best-case for each $1,092 I bet. There are better ways of doing it since you might not bet $20 on each horse to show but might bet $40 on one and $13 on the other three.
The track and the simulcast site where the show bets were made lose on the minus pool and I give Del Mar credit for taking win, place and show bets. It worked out for them since the race attracted $2,671,939 in win, place and show bets even with Arrogate entered.
Dick Powell handicaps New York tracks for Brisnet.com. You can find his Daily Selections for the Saratoga meet here