When a player bets a 50-1 horse, the player will often do so with a hope and a prayer that the horse will finish somewhere on their winning tickets. But such a cross-your-fingers mentality isn’t always necessary. In fact, there are occasions when a longshot finishing in the money is almost guaranteed. In other words, the public will hate the horse but the scant minority of players (you) will not. You, in fact, will be happy such a nearly-guaranteed money-making betting opportunity has come along.

Does this sound too good to be true? Not at all. Race 2 at Woodbine on Saturday had a horse that’s a perfect fit for finishing in the money at boxcar odds. Which means if you take careful note of the particulars on this horse, you’ll be ready to take advantage of this lucrative opportunity the next time such a horse comes along.

Knowledgeable players were licking their chops when #1 Taradar, a four-year-old gelding, went off at odds of 50-1. They knew this horse was highly likely to figure into their exotics ticket bets. Sure enough, Taradar finished third, setting up a $1 triactor that paid $670 and a 20-cent superfecta that paid $425 when the 8-5 favourite won the race. Which meant if you played a $1 triactor wheel with the favourite on top with “all” for second with Taradar for third, your cost would have been $7 to collect $670. There were nine horses in the 7-furlong $5,000 claiming race.

So what made Taradar such a “catch” for knowledgeable players? Two things: (1) the gelding had shown blazing early speed (127 and 119 pace figures) in two route races and was cutting back to a sprint distance (2) he was making a huge drop in class from “starter optional claiming” races to a straight claiming race. This is always, always, always — did I mention “always”? — important to look for in ALL claiming races. Are any horses coming into the claiming race from starter optional claimers? Even if they have a terrible record in those races, many horses show rapid improvement on the drop into straight claiming.

Think about it. When you wager, where do your winnings come from? From other players. So if you do something successful that they don’t do, their money finds its way into your pocket. And there are few glaring examples such as this that will really bulk up your bankroll. Be thankful that most players seem not to differentiate “starter optional claiming” races from ordinary claiming races and, if they see a bad record, they will automatically dismiss that horse from their betting. You should be doing the opposite.