HRR

Daily Double, Pick 3, 4, 5 and 6 Basics

Horse Racing Radar
Rich Bieglmeier
Monday, September 28, 2020

Horseplayers have the option of betting across multiple races at the same track. To win, you need to pick the winner in consecutive races, for example the winner in race 2 and the winner in race 3.

Types of Across Race Bets:

  • Daily Double – you need to pick the winner in two consecutive races to win a daily double wager.
  • Pick 3: you need to pick the winner in three consecutive races to win a Pick 3 wager.
  • Pick 4:  you need to pick the winner in four consecutive races to win a Pick 4 wager.
  • Pick 5: you need to pick the winner in five consecutive races to win a Pick 5 wager.
  • Pick 6: you need to pick the winner in three consecutive races to win a Pick 6 wager.

At many tracks, daily doubles wager requires a minimum bet of $2, some tracks allow $1 minimums.

Pick 3, 4 and 5 wagers are usually made in $0.50 increments at most tracks, some dip as low as $0.20.

Pick 6 wagers can many tracks start at $0.10.

The cost of these race to race bets can become expensive depending on how many horses you pick to win in each race. The key is to keep the cost of your tickets to a minimum in order to maximize payouts relative to the odds you are getting if your ticket pays out. 

For example, there are 216 possible combinations with a Pick 3 and six horses in each race. If you pick one horse, also called singling, for each leg, you have a one in 216 chance to win; so, you'll want the payout to be more than $216 for every dollar you bet.

To calculate the number of possible combinations, you multiply the number of horses in each field. For example, a Pick 4:  leg one has eight horses, leg two has six horses, leg three has nine horses and leg four has seven horses. The equation looks like this:

8 x 6 x 9 x 7 = 3,024 possible combinations.

If your ticket has a single in one leg and three horses in the other three legs, the calculation looks like this:

1 x 3 x 3 x 3 = 27 possible combinations.

From a straight math standpoint, your odds of winning are one in 112 (3024/27). That means for every dollar you bet, you want to win at least $112 to get paid evenly compared to the odds you are taking.

When you are betting across races you might consider a few factors in putting together your tickets.

We suggest identifying your top pick for each race (more on this later).

Look for vulnerable favorites and live value/longer odds horses. You'll want to toss vulnerable favorites and add value/longer odds horses behind your top choice.

Understand track post position and distance/surface speed biases. For example, if the rail wins at 20%, you might want to add the rail horse no matter the odds. All this info is available in most past performance programs i.e. Brisnet and DRF.

In constructing your pick 3, 4, and 5 tickets, you might consider the following ticket building strategy.

Ticket number 1: A ticket with just your top picks, i.e. a Pick 4 would look like this

Top Pick with Top Pick with Top Pick with Top Pick (this will make more sense in a minute).

Add on tickets:

Top Pick with Top Three Picks with Top Three Picks with Top Three Picks

Top Three Picks with Top Pick with Top Three Picks with Top Three Picks

Top Three Picks with Top Three Picks with Top Pick with Top Three Picks

Top Three Picks with Top Three Picks with Top Three Picks with Top Pick

If your Top Pick wins all four legs, you'll win the Pick 4 four times.

If your top pick wins three times and you hit the other three legs, you'll win the Pick 4 three times and so on...

It's not necessary to pick three horses in each leg. If you like two, go with just two. If you like four, consider using all of them. We would not suggest going beyond four horses in any leg as it will jack up the cost of the ticket. The exception is if you have a single in more than one leg. For Pick 5s and Pick 6s, we suggest having a single in at least two legs.

With tip sheets and Pro Picks, you might consider making best bets singles, definitely included in top three for sure. If you see a long shot being bet down substantially, consider adding it to your list of candidates. Experience says overlays are good to add as well. For example, if a horse has morning line odds of 5/2 and its at 7/2 or higher, consider adding it.

To determine the potential odds of horses in leg two, look at Double will pays. Typically, there is a relationship between will pays and post-time odds. If a horse is the morning line favorite but has the third highest payout for the Double, then the horse is likely to be an overlay. Races three and beyond are more difficult to quasi-forecast.

Hopefully, implementing sound money management strategies with well-considered selections will help you create more winning Doubles, Pick 3s, Pick 4s, Pick 5s, and Pick 6s.

Get today's full picks for all tracks and races at Guaranteed Tip Sheet.