Posted by Bob Heyden on Thursday, June 30, 2011 4:36 PM

Move over Pick-4-there's a new kid on the block. The Pick 5 debuts at the Meadowlands this week-and it has just made the Pick 4 the SECOND BEST wager in town. Here's why:
1) 50 cent option. Now everyone is in play. You can loosen the drawstring a touch. Spread out the papers on the table. You can feel emboldened when $30 invested gets you 120 options. I love the Hollywood Park and Santa Anita big pools and carryovers, but the $2 minimum on their Pick-6 usually leaves me out. Now-with the Pick-5 on tap at the Meadowlands, that bet has drifted even further into the back of the drawer.
2) Why is this-The Pick-5-better than the Pick-4? Because the same reasoning applies to the Average Joe even more so with the extra race. The first and last parts of the Pick 4-now the Pick 5 are races where the favorites are far more likely to be played-and thus overplayed. A quick perusal of the five fields-to the guy spending 20-25 minutes or so on it, will likely find him looking for something to 'Get Him Going" (AKA Race ONE) and finish up with something chalky or close to it ("Hey-I don't want to catch a couple of bombs and NOT be live") There's a guy on the Paddock Level-I see every time I do the show. He ONLY asks one question per night-"Hey Hollywood-WHO'S the SINGLE in the Pick 4?"
3) The positioning of the Pick 5 as the first five races also makes it more attractive. You don't have to wait for ANYTHING. And-if you get lucky and nail it early, you can go into that night Pick 4 oozing with confidence. Fatter wallets have a way of doing that to you. I don't know about you-but I'm far more dangerous to CONTINUE on a roll and winning when I'm ahead than I am to come back and think 100% rationally when down.
4) The 50 cent option on the Pick 5 and the $1 minimum on the Pick 4 come into play when-say you look at the overnight program and like two horses the next night. But one races early and the other one late. This enables you to then single those-for the minimum-and shop around in the other events.
5) The early Daily Double Pool-Is it likely to be affected? Yes. BUT-if you feel strongly early in the Pick-5-by all means keep the double tickets coming. Is there anything worse than catching a couple of 5-1 shots in the double and NOT cashing because you got a touch greedy? Earlier this year-I had a Pick 6-carryover ticket as a partner with a few others. We caught the first three-and the Pick 3 paid $6,900 and change. No-we were NOT in on that-we had the Pick 6 going-but I had lukewarm feelings on the final three races and really wasn't even excited-knowing the unlikelihood of catching three more. I was right-not a sniff. Nada.The first three big-priced winners eventually didn't amount to a hill of beans.
6) Finally, the outer posts can be overlooked-well-simply because they are the outer posts. I did it last year-catching the first three legs of a Pick-4 that was coming back strong. I looked at my 2 live horses, 3 and 5, and somehow came to look at #9 and couldn't figure out why I left him off. I had to admit-I didn't even look that FAR OUT. I actually did not look at all at the outside three horses-and got royally burned. That's bad strategy and management on a half mile track-but much worse on a miler.

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