Got socks on? In last week’s column, I promised to knock them off with a brand new, totally original handicapping angle. So let’s see if I can make it happen. I have to admit, this is exciting and I think you’ll agree.

The genesis of this new angle was the pick-6 on Kentucky Derby Day. It paid $1 million for a 20-cent ticket. There were two tickets.

Our betting group at Assiniboia Downs spent just over $500 to play it and missed two legs — the first leg, which was won by the longest shot on the board, and the third leg, which was won by a 14-1 outlier. We actually had two solid keys, both of which won. So it was basically a 20-cent pick-4 ticket we were playing. How could we not have shared in the $2 million if it were seemingly that simple?

That got me poring over our missed legs with extraordinary intensity.

What I noticed is that the longest shot winner in the first leg, Nobals, had gone off at odds of 6-1, 3-1, 3-1, 3-1 in his previous four starts. But players obviously thought he was outclassed in the Twin Spires Turf Sprint. And the 14-1 horse we missed in the third leg, the American Turf? He had previously gone off at odds of 4-1, 3-1, 1-1.

Do you see where this is heading?

What if our group had only played horses that had gone off at low odds in their previous starts? Eureka! For an outlay of $645, we would have been the third winning ticket and would have collected about $700K in the pick-6.

This was totally original. No veteran players I talked to had ever used odds as a basis for handicapping on big days such as Kentucky Derby Day when horses ship in from various tracks and no one could have complete confidence in how they would perform against other shippers.

But it didn’t end there. In fact, the concept got even more exciting when I pulled out old race programs saved from past big race days. It was, to say the least, staggering to see the results in some races.

One of the first programs I looked at was the Breeders’ Cup from 2016 at Santa Anita. I was soon emailing racing friends in glee. Here’s what I discovered:

In race 3, the 14-horse Ken Maddy Stakes, I circled only the odds that were below 5-1 in each horse’s previous start. It took seconds. Seven horses fit that criteria. A $1 superfecta box would have cost $840. The superfecta paid $15,951.

Okay, move on to race 4, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Six of the 12 horses in the race had gone off at odds of less than 5-1 in their previous starts. A simple $1 superfecta box would have cost $360. THE SUPERFECTA PAID $25,892.

Are your socks still on?

In the 12-horse Distaff in the 2007 Breeders’ Cup at Monmouth, another program I chose at random, just betting a $1 superfecta box ($24) on the four horses that had been TOP FAVOURITES in their previous start would have yielded a payoff of $3,418.

So what was my conclusion—and probably your conclusion, too? Looking at horses with low-odds in their previous start is a “thing.” I surely don’t have to tell you this doesn’t work for every race where horses are shipping in from various tracks. Nothing works all the time in handicapping. For example, when I looked at playing a pick-6 on a past Derby card, five of the races were won by previously low-odds horses but one leg was won by a higher-odds horse.

Oh yes, about pick-3s. This method did land pick-3s on big race days but you had to be willing to play tickets that cost $300 to $400 in some cases for a $1 wheel with all the horses you needed. But often the payoffs would exceed $2,000 so the expenditure paid off. Finding a key in one leg would be the way to go.

So how did our ASD betting group perform playing the 20-cent pick-6 at Pimlico on Preakness Stakes day? We started off well, with this new “rule” resulting in having the 15-1 longshot in the first leg. But a higher-odds horse in a later race ended our pick-6 pursuit. We had keyed the loser, Kentucky Derby winner Mage, in the final leg of our $235 ticket anyway. But getting the first longshot leg because of the “rule” was encouraging.

Our next major opportunity will come in two weeks, on Belmont Stakes Day, when horses are again shipped in from various tracks for the big stakes races. Aside from that, I’m starting to look at other races that have attracted shippers. This past Saturday, in fact, two shippers from Los Alamitos, having previously raced at low odds, finished one-two in race 5 at Santa Anita, a claiming race, beating the 3-5 Lunatic. The winner, #3 Wrong Turn Cupid, paid $40.20 and the $2 exactor with #2 Tropicana Girl paid $204. They had previously gone off at odds of 2-1 and 3-1 at Los Alamitos.

So has this got you thinking? What this does indicate is that a modest outlay could land you a small fortune. And the reason for that, of course, is that this handicapping method scoops bombs-away horses you would never take using any other method.

Okay, you can put your socks back on.

It’s Day 3 tonight at ASD; will you watch “ASD Live”?

The track that divides Canada in half, Assiniboia Downs, comes into Day 3 of its 50-day season tonight at 7:30 p.m. buoyed by two million-dollar plus nights of racing (last Monday and Tuesday) and pick-4 pools of $70K and $93K.

Clicking on the “Player Portal” at will take you, at 6:45 CT, to a comfortable handicapping show called “ASD Live” featuring track announcer Kirt Contois and pro golfer/long-time player Glen “Stretch” Sirkis. Introduced during pandemic times, the show provides background to the night’s action, with a few nuggets you may find valuable, but be extremely cautious with their betting suggestions, especially this early in the season. On Day 1, Kirt picked two winners. On Day 2, Kirt picked four winners, Stretch picked three.

Did you nail the best bet Saturday at Woodbine?

While race 5, a $7,500 claimer for fillies and mares, was loading into the gate at Woodbine on Saturday, #2 Quiet Maddelena was 7-1. After the race was off, the odds dropped to 3-1 and, since the filly was my best bet of the day and a key in group plays, I turned to my betting partner, Larry, and said: “Wow! Someone really chunked it in at the last moment—but I don’t blame that person.” And neither will you if you look at the Equibase program here and see that the pace number on #2 is 112. And what is the next-best horse? Way, way, way lower. And Quiet Maddelena was dropping in class, too.

Dropping speed is one of the best bets in racing; in fact, my first-ever $1,000 wager (in 1994) was on that kind of horse at Northlands Park. A horse that had shown early speed in an $8,000 race was dropping to $5,500. And, yes, he won—at juicy odds of 9-2.

So consider this a reminder about dropping speed. What was so surprising is that only one of the three DRF Pro Pick specialists, Pete Shewchuk, picked this horse to win the race. Ron Gierkink took #1 Murder Hornet, as did Sheri Riddoch who called it her best bet of the day. (Murder Hornet finished third.) I’m not about to call them out, however, since they are DRF specialists and there are no PACE numbers in the Daily Racing Form as there are in the Equibase program. So they wouldn’t necessarily see the jump-off-the-page pace number, way ahead of others.