Dogs are scratched or removed from races when they can’t run because they’re sick or hurt or just not up to par. This usually happens right before the race when it’s too late to substitute another dog. This means that there’s a dog missing when the boxes open. Which dog this is can mean a good payoff for those who know how to play these races.
There are two parts to how a missing dog will affect a race. First, which position will be empty? Two, where do the other dogs run in relation to that space? Which dogs will benefit? Which dogs will get out better or not have to contend with another dog on its preferred part of the track?
One very important scenario is when the scratch leaves a gap between two dogs that break. I’ve cashed a lot of tickets on 4/6 quinielas when the 5 dog was scratched or 1/3 quinielas when the 2 dog was scratched. Of course, this is something that a lot of people notice, so you probably won’t get great odds, but it’s surprising to me how often bettors overlook this.
Another common situation with scratches is when the 6 dog is scratched and the 7 and 8 get out well. Maybe because they have more running room, this can result in some nice 7/8 quinielas. I once had a 7/8 quiniela, with the 6 scratched, that paid $84! Why so few other bettors saw this coming is beyond me, but I’m not complaining.
These are just some of the ways that scratches affect the race. If you examine past programs for races with scratches, you can probably come up with some good bets, yourself.