Wrapping your head around the following race example could put you in the catbird seat for future successful play. That’s because many races fit into this template. It’s a template geared to your winning superfectas and even rich super hi-5 pools.

Look at race 4 at Santa Anita on Saturday: the $100K Speakeasy Stakes, a 5-furlong turf race for two-year-olds. The winner, #2 Slider, was the unanimous choice of DRF expert analysts to win the race. Going off at odds of 4-5, you weren’t going to make much money betting the horse to win.

But was there value in the vertical exotics? You bet there was. The winner seemed to be a solid choice and so did the horse you had to love for second: It was #1 Dark Vintage whose trainer/jockey winning percentage was — get this — 62 per cent. Have you ever seen a jockey/trainer stat that high? And that stat resulted from 27 starts where jockey Juan Hernandez rode Peter Eurton’s horses. Huge! That colt’s odds were 4-1.

Okay, so where was the value then? Underneath those two. Some years ago, a top Kentucky handicapper in a panel discussion in Las Vegas said his top money-making angle was betting horses cutting back to a sprint race after showing early pace in a route race. That’s because horses with early route speed can be ridden in a sprint race where they conserve their energy for a late move. Those kinds of horses do win their share of races but, more commonly, route-to-sprint horses will be closing late to complete superfectas and super hi-5s.

In perusing that Santa Anita race, you’ll notice there are two horses who had shown early pace in route races; now they were cutting back to 5-furlongs. Those horses, #5 Des Doights, and #7 Bear River went off at spectacular odds of 116-1 and 40-1. They were the only horses in the race cutting back to a sprint race after showing speed in a route race.

And where did they finish in the 10-horse field? Fourth and fifth. Do you see how logical the superfecta play was – and even the super hi-5 which, by the way, was not won. So if you had played it, you might have scored the hi-5 pool of $12,500. Your $1 wheel ticket might have looked like this: #2 with #1 with “all” with the two cut-back horses, #5 and #7, for fourth and fifth. Cost of your ticket: $12.

But, more likely, you would have opted for the superfecta simply by taking the top two horses with “all” with both of the cut-back horses for fourth. A 20-cent ticket paid $266. And remember, this is in a race where you could say the top two finishers were standouts.

You’ll be facing many similar race set-ups in the future, so making this race your template will go far in padding your bankroll. When handicapping sprint races, you should automatically scan the field to see if there’s a horse (or two or three) cutting back to a sprint after showing early speed in route races. You’ll hit some biggies – guaranteed! And because you have a template in mind for making such a wager, you’ll be able to say, “Hey, that was simple!”