WHAT IS PICK 4 IN HORSE RACING?
EZ Horse Betting is often asked about exotic horse racing bets like the Pick 4 (also see Pick 3 bet, Pick 5 bet and Pick 6 bet). What is Pick 4 in horse racing? It is a challenging bet that requires the bettor to pick the winner of four consecutive horse races. Prepare to have your handicapping abilities tested when you decide to make this bet. You can also expect a nice return when you win the Pick 4.
What is the Pick 4 Horse Racing Bet?
The Pick 4 in horse racing is a type of special bet that is called an exotic wager at American horse racing tracks. In the UK it is called a multi-wager because it involves multiple horses and multiple races. Even though the bettor is making wagers on more than one race and one horse, the Pick 4 is considered one single bet. Each combination of horses chosen equals a new betting slip. The base cost of the Pick 4 wager is usually $1.
The Pick 4 is contested over a sequence of four successive races on the same racing day at the same race track. For example, the Pick 4 could consist of races 5,6,7, and 8 at Oaklawn Park. Most race tracks try to structure the Pick 4 so that it includes races in the latter half of the race card. The reason for this is that the most challenging races are usually reserved for the end of the card. More challenging races makes it more hard to pick winners in each of the races.
The bettor makes a betting slip which includes one or more selections for each race on the card. When more than one horse is chosen in a specific race, a new betting slip is created. Each combination of four horses amounts to a single Pick 4 bet. There is no consolation prize for this wager. The bettor is required to pick all four winning horses. If just one horse fails to win its race, the bet is lost.
Why Play the Pick 4?
Professional handicappers who play the Pick 4 do so for a number of reasons. By far the most important of these is value. A better profit can sometimes be made by betting four horses in a Pick 4 than the bettor would make by betting all of these horses individually to win. This is especially true if the horses are considered favorites and offered at even money or less.
By value betting with the Pick 4, a smart handicapper is able to effectively increase the price on individual horses. The return on a Pick 4 for a $1 bet can easily be $100 or more. That’s odds of 100-1 on your bet. You would never get odds of 100-1 on each individual horse in a Pick 4 sequence, especially if those horses in the sequence were all favorites.
When betting on horses is it crucial for the bettor to get value if they expect to make a profit in the long run. The key to profitable horse racing betting is to bet a little to win a lot. The Pick 4 is a horse racing bet that allows you to do exactly that.
Strategies for Playing the Pick 4
Before you jump into playing the Pick 4 in horse racing, you should think about betting strategies. Just like all horse racing bets, there are right ways and wrong ways to make the Pick 4 bet. One of the most successful strategies that is used by professional handicappers to play the Pick 4 is often referred to as spreading. This means choosing more than one horse in one or more legs of the Pick 4 events. Let’s look at an example of spreading and then look at how this affects the cost of the bet.
The Pick 4 sequence in our example includes races 4,5,6, and 7. Here is a basic Pick 4 ticket with one selection in each race:
- Race 4 – #2
- Race 5 – #7
- Race 6 – #1
- Race 7 – #3
The cost of this horse racing ticket is $1. It includes one selection for each of the four races. All four horses must win for the bettor to win the bet.
Now, let’s consider a spreading strategy in which the horse bettor plays more than one horse in some legs and uses a single in one race.
- Race 4 – #4, #5
- Race 5 – #1
- Race 6 – #6, #10
- Race 7 – #3, #4, #7, #9
The cost of this ticket is determined by multiplying the number of horses used in each leg, and then multiplying this result by the base cost of the wager:
- 2 X 1 X 2 X 4 = 16 X $1.00 = $16 total cost.
The reason for this is that there are 16 total tickets in this wager. Each ticket is one chance to win. The bettor has now given himself 16 chances to win the Pick 4 bet instead of just one. Spreading is good when you feel confident in one selection but not so sure about the others. You may not be able to decide between two horses in one of the legs because they are evenly matched. Spreading allows you to choose each of them for an improved chance to win.
Pick 4 Race Horse Betting Online
What is Pick 4 in horse racing when betting online? It is the exact same bet that you would make at the live race track. The online version of the Pick 4 still involves picking four winners in four consecutive races at the same track on the same day. The race is paid from the same pool that is collected on the track. All online racebooks today are tied into the betting pools on the track.
Are there advantages to playing the Pick 4 horse racing bet online? We think so. For starters, you can usually get the handicapping tools you need to pick the winners at your online racebook for free. This would include past performances for all of the horses in the racing events. It would also include access to a library of race replays so that you could watch a horse’s recent performances before you decide to bet on it.
Finally, betting online simply gives you access to more betting opportunities. You can choose from a wider variety of race tracks in the US and abroad. All you need to do is search out Pick 4 horse racing sequences at the different tracks until you find the best betting opportunities.
Betting Pick 4 in Horse Racing at Major Racing Events
One final topic to conclude our answer of what is Pick 4 in horse racing? Sometimes there are big racing events like the Kentucky Derby which offer Pick 4 betting opportunities that are worth exploring. The reason for this is that the betting pools on big racing days tend to be bigger than usual. There are more people betting on the track and online. More people betting means that there is more money there for you to possibly win.
The thing to remember about these big days in horse racing is that the Pick 4 sequence can be much more difficult to handicap. The reason for this is that every race in the sequence will be competitive. You will most certainly need to spread your ticket in order to win, and it will be harder to choose a single in one of the legs.
With this being said, playing the Pick 4 on a big horse racing day can yield large profits. There have been times when a single $1 bet on the Pick 4 has returned more than $1,000. Getting 1000-1 odds on your bet is certainly getting value for your betting dollar.
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