“Uh-oh,” I thought when the experts’ picks for Woodbine’s first race Saturday were posted during the track’s broadcast. All seven analysts picked the 4-5 favourite #6 Lets Run Two to win the 6 ½-furlong sprint. All I could think was: “They’re asking for trouble.”

Why? Because this race was the dreaded non-winners of two races lifetime condition (nw2L), the most chaotic condition in racing where anything can happen. My studies have shown the favoured horse loses 75 per cent of the time; the average payoff for winners in this condition is almost $13.

Sure enough, despite having leading jockey Kazushi Kimura aboard, the filly gave way at the top of the stretch and finished second-last in the field of seven. What was a surprise, though, was that every single selector took this favourite. Sure, the horse looked logical but most of the time the logical horse doesn’t win. That’s the vagary of nw2L.

So what are the experts (and players, of course) to do when faced with the challenge of the nw2L condition? Look beyond the favourite. In fact, the longest shot #7 Delightful Dreamer at 36-1 had perhaps the best angle of all horses in the race: this mare loved to finish second (7 out of 26 starts) and she loves a synthetic track, having finished in the money on this surface in four out of 10 races.

And what happened? She did finish second. That might be fine for bettors — and for the second-place pick of race selectors — but analysts are forced to pick the winner. What do they do?

Here are three possibilities other than taking the favourite: Look for a horse that could clear the field to go gate-to-wire, look for a class-dropper, or look for a horse that has among the highest speed figures somewhere in their past performances. #1 Tapiture Way actually fit this angle and was the race winner, paying $15.60.

If you’re a regular reader of this column, you already know about the chaotic nature of nw2L so hopefully you capitalized on this knowledge by avoiding the big favourite. Even a 20-cent superfecta box of all seven horses at a cost of $168 proved to be very profitable. It paid $594. Or, for much less money, how about a wheel with the horse who loves to finish second? The ticket of ALL-7-ALL-ALL cost $24 and, as already indicated, paid $594.

See the program page for that race here. (#2 was scratched). The race result was 1-7-8-4.

Quick-Pick Ticket Takes Down Entire $387,000 (USD) Jackpot Hi-5

A player with a Twin Spires account in the U.S., a Churchill Downs-operated betting platform, spent a mere $1 Sunday to buy five tickets at 20 cents each on Woodbine’s Jackpot Hi-5 in the last race and took down the whopping $387,658.88 (USD).

“A pretty big one. Wow! It looks to be a 20-cent quick-pick,” said Jamie Dykstra, Woodbine’s director of communications, in reporting to the Bettor’s Edge that the five tickets on the 13-horse field contained these numbers: 7/2/6/4/3, 2/7/6/10/3, 11/13/2/8/10, 2/3/13/4/1 and 6/1/7/13/4. It was the fourth combination (in bold) that won. The odds on those five horses were 5-1, 18-1, 18-1, 24-1 and 3-1 (the race favourite.) Can you imagine the celebration that ensued after the bettor won with a mere $1 stab in the dark? Talk about luck!


Is your pulse quickening a bit as we close in on ‘Horseplayer Christmas’, the Breeders’ Cup, in less than two weeks? You can do yourself a big favour by Googling DRF’s Breeders’ Cup Clocker Reports with Mike Welsch. His daily workout reports on likely Breeders’ Cup entrants are simply a must as I’ve discovered through the years – and will figure into my rule-based picks you’ll be able to see in this space on Friday, Nov. 4.