It was the first horse I threw out in my race analysis – but players betting Woodbine’s Saturday card bet that horse down to 3-5. No surprise to me, the horse wasn’t close to winning. He finished third in a five-horse field.

Even my partner in a betting group who should know better had keyed the horse in a group pick-5 ticket. “You can’t do that,” I argued. “But there’s absolutely nothing in the field,” he said. “I’ll give you the rest of the horses in the field and bet you $10 he beats them.”

It was similar to a bet an ASD handicapper of the year made with me a few months ago for the same kind of horse under the same circumstances. His key didn’t even finish in the money.

So what kind of horse gets this kind of support—being bet down to 3-5 with $24,413 in win bets—and is a horse I think is among the worst wagers in racing? It was a horse in race 3 at Woodbine — #2 Warp Ride– who had been dropped to a $15,000 claimer after racing previously in a $50,000 optional claimer. See the program page here (note that #3 and #5 were scratched).

C’mon. Isn’t that suspicious? No sound horse gets dropped from $50,000 to $15,000. Anecdotally I’d say that kind of horse wins about 20 per cent of the time, maybe less. I actually love when this kind of horse is in a race, though, because I know I’m going to get great odds on other horses and the payoffs on pick-4s and pick-5s, etc. will be a lot bigger. The pick-5 in which this losing 3-5 horse was my partner’s key paid $1,963 for 20-cents.

What I find bewildering is why so many players fall for a horse that should be an automatic toss-out. I bounced this question off my partner yesterday, telling him I would be writing about this in my column. “I don’t know. I just don’t know,” he admitted. “I just fell into the trap. On paper, he was the best horse in the race.”

In other words, it seems players just can’t help themselves. They allow themselves to get seduced. I’ll bet my partner bets this kind of horse again — but maybe he won’t key it. LOL.

What are the “rule” picks tonight at Assiniboia Downs and tomorrow at Fort Erie?

TONIGHT’S ASD RULE PICK: You already know that non-winners of two races lifetime (nw2L) is the most chaotic condition in racing. There are THREE such races on tonight’s Assiniboia Downs’ card. Anything can happen. One angle, though, is to pick a horse who’s likely to establish a clear lead. #4 Adjournment in race 1 seems to be the main speed, given his high pace figures, so he’s the rule pick. But #5 also has early speed and could possibly upset.

Last week’s rule pick, Chicago’s Gray, (dominant speed in a 5-furlong dash) finished second. Will he go all the way in his next start with that race under his cinch strap? Last Monday, the opening day of the ASD 50-day meet, also saw the jackpot pick-5 worth $13,397 USD being taken down by someone in the U.S. with a dead-on 20-cent ticket. Was it a quick pick?

TOMORROW AFTERNOON’S FORT ERIE RULE PICK: Let’s go to race 6, a rare maiden stakes race, on the opening card of Fort Erie’s 2024 meet. The general rule in maiden races is to look for horses with the lowest added-up numbers. You add where the horse finished last time with the horse’s position at the FIRST CALL of the horse’s previous race. #1 Ami’s Girl has an added- up number of six (2 + 4).

But another rule is in effect in the race: #2 Among the Roses is dropping in class from maiden special weight to a race with maiden claiming horses. This is one of the biggest drops in racing. #1 and #2 should finish 1-2, in either order, unless you have reason to feel uncomfortable with #2 because he hasn’t started this year.

Note that #4 Knotty and Nice was supplemented into this race with the connections paying an extra fee to enter. Does this mean #4 will finish somewhere in your exotic bets, perhaps underneath in your superfectas?