Spot Plays in 7 Dog Races

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.

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Don’t Fall for This Losing Bet

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve seen the crowd make this mistake, I wouldn’t have to bet on dogs any more, that’s for sure. It happened again just the other day at Wheeling Downs. You might have been there or seen it on a simulcast at your local track.

There’s a young dog there who’s burning up the track and he was in an A race. Now, he’s moved right up through the grades, winning every one of his races from M through B. He’s definitely a very good pup and may well be a future superstar. He’s out of good parents and his littermates are doing well also.

I’m not taking anything away from this dog when I tell you why I didn’t bet him in that A race. Yes, he’s good. Yes, he was in the 8 box, which is a good post position at Wheeling Downs. And, yes, I thought he had at least a chance of running in the money. I thought he might even win. So why didn’t I bet him?

Well, he was listed at 3-1 in the morning line. When the odds first came up, he was at 5-2. But almost right away, someone dumped a ton of money on him and he went to really low odds that got even more ridiculously lower as time went on.

By the time the race went off, this young puppy, who had never run in Grade A before, was at 1-9. The next best favorite, the 1 who had just come out of AA, was at 4-1. I couldn’t believe it! The 1 box is hot at Wheeling, always has been, so I went to the window and bet on the 1 to win and place.

Well, I was very glad I had because when the race went off, the 7, an older female who has run in stakes races, looked over at that young puppy and veered right over in front of him and knocked him out of the running. She came in fourth and I swear she had a very self-satisfied look on her face. (Older females can be pretty overbearing with young male dogs who try to outbreak them.)

The 1 paid $10 to win and $6.20 to place and the 2 was second at 5-1, so the quiniela was large. I should have bet it, but I didn’t want to risk too much on that race, because of the uncertainty of how the young dog would make out.

I’ll give the young dog credit, he came back to take 3rd and I’ll be watching his future career with interest. He has heart and stamina and when you combine that with youthful energy and speed, you have the makings of a winner. That’s for sure.

But it’s also for the future. In that race, he was outclassed, outgunned and outrun, just like I figured he would be. No untried puppy should be at odds lower than 5-2 in my estimation. When I see one that is, I pass it by and you might want to consider doing the same thing.

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