Odd Reason Bets

Disclaimer: I am not recommending this as a system, and I know that there is such a thing as serious handicapping. Just thought that stories of the (few) times that you or someone you know threw a system completely out and picked on a whim and actually had it pay off might be interesting/amusing.

I hit a nice bet today on a medium-shot when I had no idea of horse, trainer, jockey, etc. I am strictly a $2 bettor, maybe a couple of weekends a month. That’s all. Just a little fun and entertainment. But I usually do try to have some rational system of picking horses such as trainer, jockey, workouts, pedigree, how the race sets up tactically, watching the body language in post parade.

Today, I went to TwinSpires to put down $2 on a horse that I liked, very promising second in her debut, now back for second race. However, I had forgotten which race at Ellis Park she was in, so I was scrolling through the field for each race, and I ran into a horse in a prior race who shared my gelding’s name. Shrug. $2 win, place, show, just for the smile of encountering that unusual name unexpectedly. The name was Toccata.

The horse in the later race that I intended to put a bet on placed 4th. Toccata won, and the profits on that one more than paid back my losses on the other. I finish the day three times ahead. Again, just with $2 bets, but still…

When have others decided to throw some money at one now and then for a purely illogical reason and scored?


Congrats on the win!

I’m a pretty cheap wagerer, too. One of the better bets I ever placed was on Animal Kingdom to win in the Kentucky Derby. Why did I place it? I was at Retama Park and the place was packed to the gills for Derby Day. The lines at the windows were insanely long, so I went and placed my bets at one of the machines. When I was done with my planned wagers, I had a $5 balance left over. As long as those lines were, there was no way I was standing in them to cash a $5 voucher. I used to work for Animal Kingdom’s trainer, so even though I didn’t think he had a snowball’s chance in heck of winning based on his form, I put my remaining balance on him to win just so I wouldn’t have to go to the window. Standing in line wasn’t so bad for that payout!


Not something that I’ve done, but I was acquainted with a bettor who had played in Connecticut’s OTB system where they replaced horse numbers with letters (1=A, 2=B, etc.) He said he and his buddies would place Pick Six or multi-horse wagers by trying to spell words.

Also, on the rare occasions when the order of finish is program number sequential (1, 2, 3, 4 or 4, 3, 2, 1,) notice that payoffs for superfectas are extremely low, even with higher odds horses in the sequence. So there’s a lot of folks just playing sequential numbers for the sake of it.

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I read back years ago about an experienced handicapper who took a newbie friend to the track on the day of the Kentucky Derby. It was 2002. His friend said that he wanted to bet War Emblem and Proud Citizen as a “patriotic” exacta since it was the first Derby after 9/11. He thought that it must be meant that patriotic horses would do well that year. The handicapper tried to talk him out of it and gave him all of the official handicapping reasons why War Emblem and Proud Citizen were deserved longshots and that you were bound to lose if you relied on systems like “patriotic names” as a strategy. His friend insisted that he liked the patriotic exacta.

$$$$ exacta. The handicapper lost on everything. His newbie friend certainly had a fun experience his first day at the races, though. :slight_smile:


I watched the coverage leading up to the 1999 Derby.
Saw that nice looking Chestnut, had to sleuth a little to find out who it was (It was a clip showing him being hand grazed)
I only had 5 bucks to bet on Charismatic that year. :slight_smile:

My aunt would look at the horses in the paddock and bet the ones that pooped. They were now lighter, she explained. I do not remember her winning percentage, but apparently, it works on greyhounds as well!


I do Pretty Horsie bets. As in, that’s a pretty horsie! $2 show bet.


I’m a “I like that goofy/clever name” bettor. Can’t say it’s been a rich strategy but I have fun. I was just checking the program for the weekend (seeing if any horses I “know” are running) and noticed a two-year old with my name entered… is that worth putting $2 on :thinking:


lol, of course!
I bet he runs faster than you!

I put my minimal money on the horse I like best in the pre-race paddock. My mother and I went on a short vacation to Malta where harness racing is hugely popular. We stood at the railing before the race and I said “I like that one” and it went out and won. Second race, I pick a horse and that won too. Third race, another winner. Obviously, my eye was in that day. Fourth race, watching the horses, my mother nudges me and says, quietly, “There’s a man watching us and trying to hear which horse you pick”. I think that race the horse didn’t win!

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Without a doubt! I have a good walk but my canter is more hunter speed :rofl:

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When I lived in Kentucky occasionally I would go to Keeneland and my method was to pick the bitchiest acting mare in the saddling paddock and bet on her. It worked out as often as not.

When I was a kid I went to Ak-Sar-Ben in Omaha with my parents once. There was a 99-1 longshot named something like “Let’s Go Bananas.” We all loved the name and my dad liked to pick longshots, but I think felt this one was a little too long. He should have put his $2 down on this one, though, because the horse won.

I have an Aunt who will always bet on a grey horse if there is one. Personally I usually just go with a name I like or the horse I have a gut feeling about. Like most things with no real strategy behind them, sometimes that works out and sometimes it doesn’t.

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My first year out of college I worked as barn security on the backside of a TB racetrack. Now, us security people couldn’t bet (and frankly I probably will never attempt betting on a race as I’m pretty sure I’d be terrible at it. I just like to see the horses!) but there was one old guy who worked security who was convinced the gray horses were the best ones (doubt that - more just they stood out when they did win b/c of the color is my thinking) and I think I’ve heard the “bet the ones that poop in the paddock” theory before somewhere.

[quote=“Texarkana, post:2, topic:763463, full:true”]
I’m a pretty cheap wagerer, too. One of the better bets I ever placed was on Animal Kingdom to win in the Kentucky Derby [/quote]

I am also a cheap bettor and I think there is nothing wrong with making a few that just intuitively make sense to you.

I wagered Animal Kingdom to win becaue he was foaled on my birthday. However when he stepped out onto the track that day, he looked absolutely majestic…so I felt pretty confident.

Other times I wager circumstances, i.e. a hardly-ever trainer shows up in a certain race and there seems like intention there and it’s a longshot. .The “out of place seems like they don’t belong” jockey, horse or trainer is often a good bet if you can find something to like about them

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