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 over bet 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.
Superfecta key wagering savings
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 straight box of any sort makes little sense.
The superfecta key strategy illustrated above requires you to ensure that your keyed horse finish 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 favorite.
• 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 Red Smith Stakes (G2) is a turf marathon contested at a mile and three-eighths and this year a full field of 12 has been assembled including two trained by Chad Brown. The runners largely exit turf races including five at Aqueduct, four at Keeneland and one at Saratoga. The final two runners come out of off-the-turf races run on dirt at Laurel and Aqueduct. The field has combined for an in the money rate of nearly two of every three starts overall and slightly better at the distance. The runners have combined for a lead at the second call only five times in over 100 lifetime starts. The lack of speed should provide an advantage to runners on or near the lead.
One of the Brown runners is No. 1 Highest Honors who has been up close two of his last three tries at marathon distances and I expect the same in this race. He was switched to turf six starts back and has never finished worse than fourth. He is your key runner at odds of 5-1.
No. 10 Beacon Hill is one of the runners coming out of an off-the-turf race and while in general he looks a little slower overall than most of his competition, his recent races have been at mid-Atlantic tracks with largely shorter difficult to grade out turf meetings and he also was running less than marathon distances. He has tactical speed and showed that at Belmont in a marathon event last October finishing second. Give the pace scenario, he is going to be a strong factor until deep stretch at overlay odds of 20-1.
Mike Maker saddles No. 8 Temple who has been in the top four nine of his last 10 starts with the one poor performance a failure on the undulating Kentucky Downs course. He should grind his way to a solid placing from mid-pack or better at odds of 8-1.
Christophe Clement sends out the runner who looks fastest here in No. 9 Soldier Rising but the pace is against him as an entry with a 12 of 14 overall turf record. He will be coming from far out of it and will have a difficult time getting up in time as the morning line favorite.
The other Brown runner, No. 3 Balthus, has the fewest starts in the field and the most upside potential not having the lead at the second call in seven lifetime tries but within two lengths of the leader in three of those tries. He is getting better with each start and is bred to run all day. His odds are 9-2.
$.10 superfecta key 1 with 3, 8, 9 and 10. Total wager: $9.60.
At Churchill Downs
This maiden race for 2-year-old fillies at a mile and one-sixteenth on the dirt attracted a full field of 12 including two trained by Norm Casse. Nine of the runners exit Keeneland dirt races, two exit Churchill dirt races and the final runner comes out of a Keeneland turf race. Six of the runners are trying a route of ground for the first time and one is trying dirt for the first time. The field has combined for an in-the-money rate of about 40 percent across 26 total starts and the same rate at the distance with only five total starts. These runners have had the lead at the second call four times in 26 total tries. The race is wide open combining the age of the runners with the number of runners trying a route of ground for the first time.
No. 1 Wits and Wagers has shown improvement across three starts including a solid fourth last time out at Keeneland at today’s distance. She should be moving late and be a strong stretch factor at odds of 8-1 and is your key runner.
D. Wayne Lukas saddles No. 6 No Guilt who closed seven spots on debut to finish fifth at seven furlongs. A slightly better early effort will put this runner in the mix late with the added distance at odds of 12-1.
Trainer Ken McPeek is especially good with young horses going long distances and is not a sprinting-driven trainer. His entry of No. 3 Roses and Rozay ran on pace at today’s distance at Churchill after a marginal debut at Keeneland in a sprint. The track was sloppy that second start and she finished well. Expect improvement in her third try at odds of 6-1.
No. 12 Theroanrunner comes out of a Keeneland debut at the about distance of seven furlongs. She was on the lead and faded to fourth. The added distance should be favorable for a runner who should be close to the pace early. Her odds are 5-1.
Brad Cox sends out No. 7 Comparative for her third route try after logging two straight third place finishes. She should grind her way to another solid finish at odds of 9-2.
$.10 superfecta key 1 with 3, 6, 7 and 12. Total wager: $9.60.
The Golden Rod Stakes (G2) at a mile and one-sixteenth on the dirt for 2-year-old fillies attracted a field of 10. Nine of the runners exit dirt races including four each at Churchill and Keeneland and one at Aqueduct with the final runner coming out of a Keeneland turf race. Three runners are stretching out to a route of ground for the first time and one is trying dirt for the first time. The field has combined for an in the money rate of nearly two of every three starts overall across 30 starts and is four of seven at the distance. These fillies have had the lead at the second call about one in every four of those 30 combined starts. The pace should be very fast with the advantage to mid-pack runners and closers.
No. 3 American Rockette saddled by Bill Mott makes her second route try after winning on debut and finishing fourth the last two starts both Grade 1 stakes. She is a confirmed closer and should make a very solid and potentially winning move late at overlay odds of 10-1 as your key runner.
D. Wayne Lukas saddles No. 9 Take Charge Briana who has four top finishes in five tries with her one off the board effort a very poor route try in a Grade 1. That race is a complete toss-out. Expect her to improve and be a solid stretch factor at odds of 15-1.
The turf to dirt runner No. 6 Knockyoursocksoff is an unknown on dirt after three top four finishes in three turf route tries all at different venues coming from third, fifth and ninth in those tries. She is going to be a very solid stretch factor inheriting a placing passing tired runners and her odds are 12-1.
Brendan Walsh has one of the runners trying a route of ground for the first time in No. 1 Pretty Mischievous who looks as fast as anyone projecting to today’s distance. She will take a solid amount of money as one of the betting favorites.
The likely betting favorite is No. 4 Hoosier Philly for Tom Amoss. This runner is going to be able to rate off a very fast pace and be a solid player throughout but is facing a tough field of rapidly developing fillies and is going to be an underlay.
$.10 superfecta key 3 with 1, 4, 6 and 9. Total wager: $9.60.
At Del Mar
The Seabiscuit Handicap (G2) is a mile and one-sixteenth turf race for 3-year-olds and up and this year’s edition attracted a field of nine including three trained by Phil D’Amato. The entire field exits turf races including five at Keeneland, three at Santa Anita and one at Del Mar. The field has combined for an in the money rate of two of every three starts overall and nearly three of four at the distance. The runners have combined for a lead at the second call nearly one in four starts for races that show. Three runners dominate the early speed. I anticipate a very fast pace with the advantage to mid-pack runners and deep closers.
Trainer Brad Cox ships in No. 8 Set Piece a mid-pack to deep closer who has won nearly half his lifetime starts and has been in the top four seven of his last 10 tries. He is going to pass horses late and will be a very huge stretch factor at odds of 5-1 as your key runner.
No. 9 Kentucky Ghost is going to come from further out of it than No. 8 Set Piece and the pace scenario is very attractive for this confirmed deep closer who is going to be as fast as anyone late off this hotly contested pace. He has a solid record of seven of eight at the distance and is 20-1.
No. 4 Smooth Like Strait reeled off nine consecutive top three finishes with one win prior to backing up in his last start the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1). His overall record is 19 of 22 on turf, he should be near the lead, and is just too good to ignore. His odds of 4-1 look generous here.
One of the D’Amato runners is No. 3 Hong Kong Harry who is trying this distance for the first time and has been in the money all ten of his turf tries. He is a mid-pack runner and will take a solid amount of money as one of the lower priced runners.
No. 1 Santin for Brendan Walsh, similar to Hong Kong Harry, is trying this distance for the first time and has been in the money six of nine turf tries as the runner with the fewest starts in the field. He was showing improvement up until his last try and the race was so poor it is a complete toss out. He will be mid-pack and has a solid chance to grind his way to a solid showing at relatively low odds.
$.10 superfecta key 8 with 1, 3, 4 and 9. Total wager: $9.60.