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Old 09-12-2020, 11:37 AM   #1
KingAnon
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Betting on races with less horses vs races with more horses

Why don't people bet on races with less horses instead of races with more horses?

On the surface, you have a much better chance of winning something in a race with 4-6 horses than a race with 10+ horses.
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Old 09-12-2020, 11:49 AM   #2
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I've gravitated toward only playing races with 8 or more in the field. It's all about odds/ROI. Payouts on small fields have far less potential due to the average odds on each entrant. You also have to pay attention to pool size.
Pick your spots and prosper.
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Old 09-12-2020, 01:52 PM   #3
JerryBoyle
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Originally Posted by KingAnon View Post
Why don't people bet on races with less horses instead of races with more horses?

On the surface, you have a much better chance of winning something in a race with 4-6 horses than a race with 10+ horses.
It makes sense when I think about it, but my system bets much more on races with fewer runners. For anyone using kelly AND able to find overlays, this makes sense, as kelly will suggest a larger bet on events with a greater likelihood of happening.
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Old 09-12-2020, 01:58 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by KingAnon View Post
Why don't people bet on races with less horses instead of races with more horses?

On the surface, you have a much better chance of winning something in a race with 4-6 horses than a race with 10+ horses.

you will get a better price on your horse with a larger field and it's all about ROI so larger fields are better in my opinion.
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Old 09-12-2020, 02:06 PM   #5
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Value isn't exclusive to only races with big fields, particularly if your selection(s) need a trip behind horses. Is the value frequency higher with big fields? Most definitely.

Horses in big fields on the improve, who figure to set the pace or be near the lead, are generally good propositions for me.
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Old 09-12-2020, 02:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingAnon View Post
Why don't people bet on races with less horses instead of races with more horses?

On the surface, you have a much better chance of winning something in a race with 4-6 horses than a race with 10+ horses.
any reseach will show that horses win according to their odds with biases for short price horses. (the game is unprofitable for most of us mortals because of the track take out)

the public's final odds determination is profound.
they adjust for may factors, not the least is field size.

the horse may be even money in a 4 horse field, but will certainly go up in odds in a larger field size.
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Old 09-12-2020, 04:37 PM   #7
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I've got a pretty good handful of professional players who use my software and/or services.

I find it interesting that almost all of them have told me that they actually prefer the 5,6,7 horse fields to 12+.

The reason is that there are simply less moving parts; less that can interfere with good handicapping assessments going bad.

The nature of racing today is that low odds horses dominate the winner's circles because the best horses really do win most of the time.

I concur with their attitude.
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Old 09-12-2020, 07:13 PM   #8
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The problem with this question is that you have to be a winning player to give a meaningful answer. We all like to convince ourselves that we are the kings of handicapping and we can beat this game, but often the year end score cards if one actually keeps one paints a different picture. If I am going to lose 10%+ on the dollar year in and year out I don't think it will make a huge difference to my bottom line if I play 5 horse fields or 12 horse fields. If I am a winning player, or approaching being a winning player then that it a whole other story. Then I need to track these bets and see if they are having a meaningful negative impact on my results or not. In theory, it makes sense that the more horses in a race for the public to make mistakes on, the more opportunity for value elsewhere. But no law says the public can't go nuts on one horse betting him to 1/5 when he is more like a 1-1 shot in your opinion. I see it all the time, unfortunately they win far more often then my predicted 50% of the time. Ultimately it is up to the player to track his results using field size as a variable. That way over time he can answer whether there is a negative impact to his results by playing short fields. I would think yes, but ultimately it is each player's results that actually matter.
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Old 09-12-2020, 08:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingAnon View Post
Why don't people bet on races with less horses instead of races with more horses?

On the surface, you have a much better chance of winning something in a race with 4-6 horses than a race with 10+ horses.
If the goal in this game were to "win something"...then we would be overjoyed with the plethora of odds-on winners that we see. But we are not...because we were originally attracted to this game by its "bet a little to win a lot" aspect. And this expectation can hardly be fulfilled by the promise offered by the 4-6 horse field.
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Old 09-13-2020, 10:49 PM   #10
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It doesn't happen very often, but every now and then, I can get a really choice superfecta in a short field of horses (6 horses or so). You can pick 2 horses to finish 1st and 2nd (if one of them is a price, using both in both spots) or 3 horses to finish 1st, 2nd, and 3rd (with two prices and all three in three spots) and then all of the others to finish 3rd and 4th or just 4th. Depending on the odds, what you consider a price, and what you're willing to bet.

Of course, this only works if you're getting three prices between 1st and 4th.

Again, that doesn't happen often. But I've caught this scenario several times. Especially on off tracks.

Last edited by dryrunguy; 09-13-2020 at 10:50 PM.
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Old 09-13-2020, 11:24 PM   #11
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I don't mind 6 horse fields. Either I identify a horse capable of beating the likely 3-5 shot, or I pass the race.
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Old 09-14-2020, 07:12 PM   #12
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I like bigger fields for reasons already given here by others.
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Old 09-15-2020, 09:53 AM   #13
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Years ago I used to prefer large fields because there would always be a few longshots that would take way more money than they should. It was like a small "take reducer" for some of the serious contenders. Now, the pools are more efficient. I don't think it helps as much if at all.

An 8-10 horse field seems like the sweet spot for me now. It's large enough that some horse may get overlooked but not so large that it's going to take me extra time to handicap or take trip notes.
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Old 09-15-2020, 11:04 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by classhandicapper View Post

An 8-10 horse field seems like the sweet spot for me now. It's large enough that some horse may get overlooked but not so large that it's going to take me extra time to handicap or take trip notes.
I have noted a flaw in my own handicaping in that I often get "PPS fatigue" when reviewing races with large fields (Kentucky Downs is a great example). My view of the race becomes more and more solidified (and therefore, less malleable) the deeper into the field I get and I've been beat many times by obvious outside horses that I missed because I was tired/bored/whatever by the time I get to the last couple of horses.
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Old 09-15-2020, 11:19 AM   #15
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I've had some pretty big hits in 5 and 6 horse fields in So. Cal., although they were maiden races. The thing is, if you like a horse that's 8-1 in a 6 horse field, even though the odds are supposed to be the same, it sure seems like you have a better chance of winning than if you're betting an 8-1 horse in a 12 horse field.
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