For people who are looking to make a nice profit by betting on the Kentucky Derby and are willing to do a bit of extra research, one of the best ways to seek out the best chance at profit is by betting inter-race exotics. We’ll look at what they are in more detail in a moment, but basically they are bets in which you have to pick the winners of two or more races in a row including the Derby. It’s incredibly hard to pick the winner in the Derby, so it might seem daunting to have to pick the winner in other races as well. The advantage, though, is that the other races that precede the Derby aren’t nearly as tough to pick as the Derby – the field sizes are smaller, the challenges are less daunting, and the puzzle is easier to figure out. If you want to make a significant profit on the day you have to bet exotics of some point, and it’s likely easier to pick the winners of different races then it is to pick the horses that will finish in the top four or five spots in the Derby. Here’s a look at the four most common types of inter-race exotic bets that handicappers utilize:
Daily Double – To win a daily double bet you have to pick the winners of two consecutive races. If you want to bet a daily double that includes the Kentucky Derby you can include the race before it or the race that follows it. You can bet any dollar amount you want on the bet, though most tracks have a $2 minimum. Because you are only betting on two races the payoff isn’t likely to be massive unless there are upsets in both races. As a result, you really can’t afford to bet a whole lot of horses in both races or the cost of the bet could easily exceed the payout – especially if favorites come in. There is no better way to feel stupid than to cash a nice exotic ticket and still lose money.
Pick Three – The name of the pick three makes its meaning clear – you have to pick the winner of three races in a row. Most tracks, including Churchill Downs, offer rolling pick threes. That means that a new pick three starts on each race. That means you can bet on more than one pick three that includes the Kentucky Derby. Pick threes are a happy medium for casual bettors – they are not impossible to pick and they can be bet at a reasonable price, yet they offer the potential for a pretty solid payout and return on investment if a couple of unexpected horses make the winners circle. One of the biggest mistake that people make when betting the pick three or any of the other inter-race exotics is automatically picking the same number of horses in each race. It makes far more sense to go really deep in a race that you are uncertain of, and only pick one or two horses if the race seems more clear. By doing that you can keep your costs low and give yourself a better overall chance of winning the bet. On Kentucky Derby day you’ll likely want to go very deep in the Derby because of the uncertainty in that race and limit your picks in the other races.
Pick Four – This is the same as the pick three except you have to pick four winners in a row. Unlike the pick three, though, there are only two pick fours on a card – one at the beginning of the card, and one at the end. Pick fours can be played at most tracks for $1 or more, and the payoffs can be quite large – often several thousand dollars on big race days. The problem for casual bettors, though, is that the price can get very high for these tickets if you aren’t careful. If you were to pick four horses in each race, for example, then a $1 ticket would cost you $256. The return on investment could still be good if you win, but the risk is high and that could be hard on a lot of bankrolls if you aren’t a winner. One way to keep the costs lower is to buy several smaller tickets that cover some likely combinations instead of picking a whole bunch of horses on one big ticket.
Pick Six – This is where the big boys play. The pick six can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars on big race days like the Derby. It’s not a bet for casual bettors to mess with, though. The minimum bet is $2, so the prices can quickly become very large. Picking just three horses in each race would cost you $972, and three horses is not a lot of depth in the Derby. To properly bet this race, serious bettors invest thousands of dollars – often in a syndicate that combines the resources of many bettors hoping to combine for a big score. If you aren’t a serious bettor and strong handicapper then your time and money are probably better spent elsewhere.