A few days ago, one of the birthday gifts I bought for my Mom was a lottery scratcher ticket. On this particular ticket, it said there were over 13 prizes of $5 million and that you have 28 chances to win any prize on a single ticket. This particular ticket cost $20 which is the highest one you can purchase in California. While Mom did not become an instant millionaire, it got me thinking maybe there is a way to make some horse racing wagers more interesting using this higher cost/higher payout idea.
In recent years, many exotic wagers in horse racing have had their minimums dropped to $1 and even a few dropped all the way down to $.10. This gives the horseplayer a higher chance to collect a ticket with multiple combinations at a lower cost. The only one that I can think of that hasn't changed is the straight Pick 6 (not the Pick 6 where a large percentage of the pool is only paid out if there is only one ticket selecting all six winners). In Southern California, the Pick 6 has become a mainstay and has attracted carryover pools into the millions which can lead to a six-figure payoff. This is a minimum $2 wager which helps keep the chances for a carryover much higher as the chances of winning are low and tickets can get expensive fairly quickly.
What if there was an exotics wager that required a minimum $5 or even $10 bet? I think for this to work it would have to be something like a Double or maybe even a Pick 3, but it would have to be a separate pool than the consecutive/rolling Double or Pick 3 that is offered (i.e. races 1-2, races 4-6 etc.). The current tote machines can handle such a wager as there is the Kentucky Oaks/Kentucky Derby Double wager available which is two races on two different days.
This type of wager would likely have to be offered in the middle of a card as money starts to flow better whether people are churning money from their winnings or people still trying to cash a ticket. I can see a $5 Pick 3 offered for races 3, 5 and 7 while a $10 Double might be for races 4 and 7. While I would not expect to see a huge increase in pool size, I could see it becoming more popular with time as people become excited and attracted to the bigger payouts. Also, with a higher minimum it would increase the chances for a carryover especially in a Pick 3 pool.
While I do enjoy the lower minimums in exotics wagering, I feel there should be a wager or two that offers a chance for a higher payoff. I'm not a Pick 6 player as I feel the chances of me winning are slim especially with a slim bankroll. However, I may dive into a high-minimum Double or Pick 3 as there would not be as many combinations covered which would lead to a higher payout. I think a horseplayer with any size bankroll would find this attractive as we are all looking for that big score.
Maybe next year Mom!