There is no discussion on field size and its affects on betting. The tracks understand the issue of field size as the most important factor to their bottom line. They try to attract new owners to the sport and purchase young horses to race. Field size can make or break a track. Less money is bet on small fields and less money is then churned back to the track the next day. The average handicapper will bet around $150 a day. The track says that amount of money will be turned over about 8 times. This is the churn from players who cash bets in small fields. Is field size a factor to the player or is it not? Betting handle increases significantly with 10 betting interests as does attendance. Tracks have to increase field size or they will eventually close.
The “take out” in small fields is an issue for players because small fields produce small pools and payouts. The track “take” out is around 25% for exactas.
5 and 6 horse fields are predictable and unplayable races to me for two reasons; small fields produce low odds and the “take out” becomes larger as the payouts become smaller. I pass many big stats to bet because of small field size and it is very disappointing to have to pass. I know my profitability is compromised. That is a problem not betting stats that have an advantage because they are unprofitable in the short or long run. The current field size for racing is 8 runners per race. An 8 horse field is playable because the field size and the “take out” is acceptable only because there is no choice to bet more 10 horse fields. Unpredictable races offer value in 8 horse fields that are not there with small predictable 5 and 6 horse fields. Field size is the barometer on the health of the sport.
Horse racing is the greatest gambling game in the world. What can break racing is field size the reason is they will break the player first. That is why field size is a problem. Tracks have to get field size up above 8 horses a race to keep players betting on their racing product. Until the tracks figure out how to increase field size which they have to do I will only bet into pools and field size big enough to offer value on each bet. This is what I am forced to do.
Low payouts in small fields are considered a problem to most players however, most players bet small fields anyway. One reason is because there is no other choice. 7 horse fields are common. I consider this a good field size for exacta betting. The exacta has the largest pool sizes in racing. I key a horse with two fillers is my exacta in 7 horse fields.
How do trainers or jockeys perform by field size? The trainer would think it is easy to cash in 5 and 6 horse fields and probably makes no adjustment to his horse or rider. There is less chaos in small fields.
The jockeys ride more tactical in 5 and 6 horse fields and this can be a very interesting race to watch.
As a handicapper part of the grind is in knowing how jockeys race and who may try to trap the favorite or the speed horse on the rail and keep him boxed in as long as possible even though they may not have a chance at winning. Corey Nakatani in Southern California is that type of jockey. He will try to beat the 5th place horse if he is the 6th placed horse in a 6 horse field. Also speed has an advantage in 5 and 6 horse fields. When there are two speed horses running together in a race and they clear the field then the race develops into a jockey’s tactical race.
On Saturday Santa Anita has two 6 horse fields and two good stats.
Race 9 # 1 Mother Mother 4/1 Mike Smith and trainer Bob Baffert at Santa Anita in 6 horse fields are 10-8-80%. Favorite is 9/5.
Race 11 # 5 West Coast 7/5 Mike Smith and Bob Baffert at Santa Anita in 6 horse fields 10-8-80%. The favorite Accelorate has a 3/5 morning line.
Ed Bain author of new exciting horse racing Novel
“Libraries, Yellow Cheese Sandwiches and 38,880 Running Lines”
A COMPELLING PERSONAL STORY OF HOW LIFE EVENTS LEAD TO A CAREER IN PROFESSIONAL HORSE BETTING Excerpt
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