Speed kills. Or at least it was a killer for a lot of players in the final leg of the pick-5 at Woodbine Saturday (race 6) when 24-1 Elektronic sprinted to the lead from post 1 in the 5 1/2-furlong dash and carried his speed to the wire. Bettors could only gaze wistfully at the resulting payoff: A $1 ticket was worth $65,000; a 20-center was paying $13,000.

But was Elektronic so difficult to add to their tickets? Not at all. Those who use Equibase programs would have seen that the PACE number of the 6-year-old gelding was 112 – which was considerably higher than the pace figure in the previous race of any other horse in the race. See the program page here.

That’s not to say the race favourite, #9 Reconfigure at 6-5, was not deserving of that status. After all, he had a conditioning edge in the field of eight with two second-place finishes at Gulfstream – and he had accomplished that in “starter” type races which are tougher than mere “claiming” races.

But speed can get away in short races and that’s what happened here – even though we might not have backed up that analysis with an actual wager. Sigh. Watch the race here:



The favourite finished third. If he had won, the pick-5 would have paid $1,063 for 20-cents – which certainly wouldn’t have been chump change either. There were about 79 20-cent tickets on the favourite compared to a scant six on the winning longshot.

So what’s the moral of today’s piece? That it’s easier to spot the most likely early speed in Equibase race programs than in the Daily Racing Form which shows only overall speed numbers, Beyer figures, and not pace figures.