Bet these 4 superfecta keys Saturday at Saratoga and Del Mar

For me, one main attraction to superfectas is that a superfecta probable payout pool is not displayed making this bet an unknown endeavor relative to an exacta and even trifectas in some circumstances where the probable payouts are available. However, if you observe the pool results over a long period of time, you will come to realize the heavily wagered-upon runners tend to be overbet in the superfecta pool and when outsiders come in especially in the top two positions, explosive payouts might result .

This is why a 10 cent superfecta is a great leveraged wager if you select one runner you strongly believe will land in any one of the top four positions.

The table below summarizes the reduction in your outlays for superfecta wagers when you key one runner essentially boxing it with four to seven other runners.




































There are books out there and it is common logic that the box wager makes no sense unless all horses are valued equally by the handicapper. Without getting too technical here, it is obvious if you have an opinion on a race, a box of any sort makes little sense.

The superfecta key strategy illustrated above requires you to ensure that your keyed horse finishes in one of those top four positions. To maximize return, I am looking for three conditions to create potential for a high payoff.

The conditions are:

  • Betting interests of at least nine entries but not more than 12
  • The ability to confidently key a horse that is not an odds-on or a heavily bet favourite
  • Field that has runners seemingly ignored in the pool that would be at very high odds at post time but could be in the top four randomly

The Saturday cards at Saratoga and Del Mar provide four opportunities on dirt and turf.

At Saratoga

Race 8

A field of 10 allowance runners will square off in this seven furlong elongated sprint for 3-year-olds and up including two runners each trained by Chad Brown and Todd Pletcher. Runners exit dirt races only including seven at Belmont, two at Churchill and one at Saratoga with two runners saddled by new trainers including one coming in off a layoff. The field has combined for an in the money rate of better than one in two starts overall and two of three at the distance. The combined rate of having the lead at the second call is one in seven starts for races that show. I anticipate a moderate to fast pace with the advantage to runners coming from just off the lead along with closers.

No. 7 Money Supply trained by Chad Brown has had trouble in each of his four tries and has a first and third in four lifetime tries with his two off the board runs at this distance. He should be a huge factor with an untroubled trip and at 9-2 looks like an overlay as your key runner.

Doug O’Neill takes over the training duties for No. 2 Anejo who is trying a dirt sprint for the first time and this runner is fourth of five in the money after two poor turf tries. He looks like an overlay at 15-1 off his last several efforts and should like the turn back in distance as a runner with tactical speed.

Another runner with a new trainer is No. 6 Hometown now in the Rob Atra’s child. After failing on debut this runner reeled off four straight in the money finishes before backing up last time out against a very tough field running extremely fast fractions. He has tactical speed, and this is his first start since last September with a very solid recent work. His odds are 8-1.

No. 9 Osbourne has run at four different tracks in his seven lifetime tries with six in the money finishes including three for three at this distance. He tends to run forwardly and has a balanced running style and his debut at Saratoga should be solid for trainer Ron Moquett at attractive odds of 6-1.

Todd Pletcher sends out the probable favorite in No. 8 Saint Tapit who won on debut at 6.5 furlongs. I anticipate him to be an underlay and if there is more speed than forecast he may have problems in the stretch but is also a must-include.

The Play

$.10 Superfecta Key 7 with 2, 6, 8 and 9. Total wager: $9.60.

Race 11

The Saratoga Derby Invitational (G1) exclusively for 3-year-olds attracted a field of 11 runners including three trained by Todd Pletcher and two trained by Graham Motion. Nine of the runners exit last out turf races at Belmont, one exits a turf event at Delaware Park, and the final runner comes out of a Thistledown race on the dirt and is trying turf for the first time. One runner has a new trainer. The field has combined for an in the money rate of two of every three starts overall and at the distance. Runners have combined for a lead at the second call nearly one in four starts for races that show. I expect a swift pace with the advantage to closers.

One of the Graham Motion runners is No. 8 Sy Dog who was beaten under two lengths in the Belmont Derby (G1) at a similar distance as one of seven runners exiting that race. He will have more pace to chase in this event and at 12-1 is your key runner.

A wild card in the field is No. 11 Ethereal Road for Wayne Lukas who is trying turf for the first time. I expect him to be one of the trailing runners and make a bid for a placing late simply by passing tiring runners. His overall record of doing that on the dirt includes five top four finishes in nine tries. His odds are 15-1.

Trainer Charles Appleby sends out No. 4 Nations Pride coming out of the same race as No. 8 Sew Dog finishing second. He has a solid closing punch and made up the most ground in the stretch just missing in that event and will be one of the wagering favourites.

No. 10 Stone Age also exiting the Belmont Derby (G1) is a closer similar to No. 8 Sy Dog and he finished third in that race and while his odds are 9-2, he looks like a solid competitor and an underlay at this price.

One of the Todd Pletcher runners is No. 6 Annapolis who is trying a turf marathon for the first time after three wins and a second in four lifetime starts all on turf. His running style is from off the pace although he has been near the lead in two of those tries and with the additional distance he should be very solid when they are coming down the stretch as one of the favorites in the field.

The Play

$.10 Superfecta Key 8 with 4, 6, 10 and 11. Total wager: $9.60.

Race 12

A field of 11 including one two-horse entry (one is an also-eligible) will challenge each other in this state-wide inner turf maiden race at a mile and one-sixteenth for 3-year-olds and up. There is one first time starter and all other runners exit turf events including five at Belmont, four at Saratoga and one at Aqueduct. One runner is stretching out on turf for the first time and another has a new trainer. The field has combined for an in the money rate of one in three starts overall and a slightly better rate at the distance. Runners have combined for a lead at the second call about one in nine starts for races that show. I expect a slow to moderate pace with the advantage to be on the lead or just off the pace runners.

No. 3 Curlin’s Wisdom has one third place finish in one turf try and an overall record of six in the money finishes in eight tries. This runner has tactical speed and should be a factor throughout at odds of 8-1 as your key runner.

No. 10 Conquist ran on pace at a longer turf distance in his only turf start after showing some ability in one of two dirt sprints. Expect him to be near the lead and benefit from the cutback in distance at odds of 15-1.

Chad Brown sends out the one first-time starter in the field in No. 7 Walk Em Down. Brown does fall short with debut runners compared to his overall numbers, but the likelihood of being in the top four is still very solid with an overall in the money rate of greater than one in two starts. He is 6-1.

No. 9 Biondi saddled by James Bond has been on or near the lead at the second call in each of his four tries on turf at this distance finishing in the top four in each try. Expect more of the same today as one of the betting favourites.

Todd Pletcher trains No. 2 Your Mission who has two second place finishes in three tries at this distance encompassing all his career starts. He was not on the lead in any of these efforts but made up substantial ground on debut to be near the lead at the second call. He should be one of the wagering favorites at post time.

The Play

$.10 Superfecta Key 3 with 2, 7, 9 and 10. Total wager: $9.60

At Del Mar

Breed 1

This maiden claimer for 3-year-olds and up will be contested at 6.5 furlongs on the dirt and it brings together a field of 10 including two first time starters. Six of the eight exit dirt events including two each at Santa Anita and Los Alamitos Race Course and one each at Pleasanton and Churchill. Two runners exit turf events at Churchill and Del Mar and four runners have new trainers.

The field has combined for an in-the-money rate of one in seven starts overall and has only three tries at the distance with one in the money finish. Runners have combined for a lead at the second call one in ten tries. I anticipate a moderate pace with the advantage to runners just off the lead with the leaders showing some weariness in the very late stages of the race.

No. 3 Midnight Majesty had a bullet work one week ago and finished fourth on debut running evenly in an eight horse field at six furlongs. This is your key runner as a huge overlay at odds of 12-1.

No. 2 Kai’s Statement is off the claim and ran evenly in two efforts at shorter distances running in the middle of the pack in each try. A similar effort today puts him in the mix at odds of 20-1.

Shelbe Ruis has had limited starters this year and is the new trainer of No. 5 Raisedaroofcharlie who showed little in two seven-furlong tries against maidens but was close enough at the second call to be considered here at odds of 12-1.

Ron Ellis has a very strong record with first time starters and No. 8 Sproston is working well enough to be competitive in this field when compared to the aggregate of the competition. He is 6-1.

Doug O’Neill sends out No. 7 Still On the Books who has demonstrated some speed in his only two dirt tries running relatively balanced in each instance. I expect him to be forwardly placed and show some strength in the stretch as one of the wagering favourites.

The Play

$.10 Superfecta Key 3 with 2, 5, 7 and 8. Total wager: $9.60.

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