The Parlay Bet

In the late 90s Ed and I were guests of the Reno Hilton during the Preakness Stakes and while there the Casino manager wanted to share an idea with Ed that he had about Parlay Bets and how he could apply the concept of baseball parlays to racing. Enthused about conveying this idea to Ed and making sure to have his full attention he made reservations for us at their finest Italian restaurant aware of this being Ed’s and my preferred cuisine after reading about all the times we dined at our favorite restaurant Pines of Rome when we enjoyed a big day at the track.

To the manager’s disappointment, Ed wasn’t able to attend because he got food poisonings from breakfast so he was left explaining this concept to me. And even though by this time I had acquired a great deal of knowledge towards betting exotics, the only understanding I had about Parlay bets is I recalled learning after the fact of Ed making his first and only parlay bet to this date that happened to be on 7 races at Santa Anita Park, of which he made it through the first 6 and mentioned that he made the bet when the final leg opened wagering and someone joked “look some idiot just put $30,000 to show on the 6 horse” and Ed confessed. 🙂

We happened to be standing and talking with a clocker friend we met during this Santa Anita trip and he and I both said, why did you make the parlay on 7 races? Why not stop at 3 or 4? And Ed’s reply was this was the first opportunity that he had to make an actual parlay wager on racing and they offered your choice of win, place or show finishing positions. So rather than bet each race, which was actually extremely difficult for Ed to do, even while on vacation he was disciplined as he Only Ever made the specific days bets no matter where he was placing them, so this was a way he could wager on the first race and if hit, he can sit through and enjoy every leg as the day moved on. Made sense and he did admit that he really did not expect that the initial $200 wager would evolve to $30K by the last race and when reality struck, he said next time I know to limit the number of races however next time never came because Santa Anita stopped the parlays. I believe they offer them again however only on track.

Another part to this that is a must share is often times people have a misconception about me and I understand why because I love horse racing with a passion, have knowledge on whose who, who’s related to who, who gives the best mounts to who and can basically recall every big hit and who the trainers were that this same passion flows over into other sports and that is not at all the case. I absolutely know Nothing about any other sport, except maybe for what a 3 point basket is or when someone has a touch down but other than the basics, I always relied on Ed to translate and since he was absent, I found it necessary to explain once Steve the casino manager began talking.

Well…… this concept did not fall on deaf ears and I was actually able to explain this to Ed and this is how it works:

Bet X amount on your selection at any track to either win, place or show and then parlay these winnings over to any other selection at any track to either win, place or show and stop there.

Then duplicate this ticket Only add another race parlay on a selection at any track to either win, place or show and stop there.

The concept is if you make it through the first two, you cash so if you miss the 3rd leg you still make money. The sky is the limit meaning the number of races you wish to add as long as you duplicate the originals.

The Casino offered to book the bets for Ed however we would have had to live in Reno and that wasn’t an option so Ed, the most self disciplined person I ever met, began making his own Parlay bets.

Putting this into numbers will relay how difficult making these wagers yourself can be. As an example, bet $200 to win on a horse that pays $10 means, you’d manually be rolling over the $1,000 you just won into your next bet and once you have the $1,000 in hand the option to not roll over is easier than putting the full amount into the next bet. I for one could not do it and even Ed couldn’t continue so essentially the parlay bet dissipated from our options until………..

We have been granted this option through our Zen account though only on the Santa Anita and Del Mar tracks. So I am in the process of adding this wager to our routine. Starting small in order to figure out the best way, however, I view this as one of the biggest opportunities we have to date because unlike baseball parlays where you have to pick the winner, we can choose to bet win, place, and/or show and since our potential bets run 60% in the money, this could be quite lucrative. Albeit contained to these two tracks, once down, it’s a matter of size though you can see from Ed’s initial investment of $200 was worth $30K by the time he reached the 7th race.

When we first discovered on track parlay bets at Santa Anita they offered parlays between the Southern and Northern California tracks. In other words you could bet a win parlay in the first leg at Santa Anita and then choose those winning to roll over to a race at Golden Gate and go back and forth through the day. By the time Ed made his first live parlay wager this was no longer the case but it gave him an idea that he actually discussed once with a person who worked for auto tote. If pari-mutual wagering offered parlays that cross to different tracks that this would be a boom to the industry since the tracks money is made from the amount wagered.

To explain, say you make a $200 win wager at Fair Grounds and it hits for $10, then the next bet is at Gulfstream where $1,000 would then wager on their track and it hits and pays $6, then the $3,000 would roll over to the next track say Santa Anita and so on. Great idea however at the time Ed was told it would be an almost impossible option cause you’d have to coordinate such through all the various tracks. Today may be different especially if coordinated with the corporations that own multiple tracks.

We had an overall break even week last week. We bet several parlays at Santa Anita and though we bet small, it was the parlays that bought us to about even. All our wagers can be viewed at the following link:


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