Summer Showdown strategy: the longer you go the easier it gets

Profile Picture: Ed DeRosa

Ed DeRosa

July 17th, 2013

But such is the task that awaits players looking to stake their claim at the $50,000 up for grabs in the Summer Showdown promotion that starts today with race 1 at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.

To win (or share) in each day's $1,500 prize, all you have to do is make a winning $10 show bet on every race of the card at the designated track (this week it's Del Mar, next week it'll be Saratoga; for a full schedule, click scheduled & results on this page).

If nobody picks 8 (or 9 or 10 or 11 or 12) then that day's $1,500 prize carries over into the next day. Each week is its own contest, meaning that Sundays are must-win days. If nobody runs the table during the week then Sunday's prize is $7,500 split among those who run the table or last the longest.

Each day's contest begins with race 1 at the designated track, and only your first $10 show wager counts, so you can't dutch or buy a race. Also--unlike Let 8 Ride--this is not a parlay contest, so if you advance to the next race be sure to do a $10 show bet on your selection before placing any other bets (i.e., you may want to parlay, and you can--just split your bets. E.g., you bet $10 to show on a horse who hits the board and pays $3.60 to show. If you want to "let it ride" by betting $18 on the next race first bet $10 to show then $8 to show).

The title of this post alludes to my strategy if I were able to compete for the $50,000 in prizes. There are two considerations when making a wager: The likelihood of something happening, and the price you get if it does.

Without the $1,500 (or more!) carrot each day, anyone wishing to bet $10 to show should do so on the horse s/he feels offers the best value in that pool, but adding a bonus for sweeping the card changes that dynamic somewhat.

The balance is that you are making live bets, so after your first bet you're -$10. If that initial bet pays $4 then you're +$10 and it's now "free" to play the rest of the day. If you cash two $3 payoffs then race 3 on is free, etc. For that reason, unless there is an absolute lock in the first couple-few races, I'm still betting the value, but once you're in a spot where you're up $10, going for the $1,500 (or more!) is more important than cashing value.

That's another riff on my Players Pool conundrum post from a few weeks ago: winning underlay or losing overlay. If you've hit nine show bets in a row today at Del Mar, I would hope you put your $10 on the horse most likely to hit the board--even if the value is terrible because the value for you isn't collecting that $2.20 payoff when it should be $3.00, but it's in hitting the $1,500 bonus.

Some have asked how I would play today's races. I'm not eligible for any additional prizes, but there's nothing wrong with hitting some $10 show bets, so I gave it a go. Below is my ABC grid for opening day at Del Mar plus an extra column labeled "SHOW" that indicates the horse I would use on day 1 of the $50k Summer Showdown.