We at HANA realize that many players have rarely played a Pick 3, and even some players never played it before.
I won't go all preachy here by going into why the Pick 3 is one of the best value plays available to horseplayers. But we want your support in this venture, even if it is just for a few bucks.
Normally, a Pick 3 at Tampa Bay has a pool size of around $12,000 or so. Not bad if your longshots come in and you don't have to split the pool with many other handicappers. I'm going to go out on a small limb and state that the pool size for tomorrow's Pick 3 starting in Race 6 will be over $30,000, and hopefully a lot more. Well worth taking even a quick pick.
There are two main school's of thought when handicapping a Pick 3. One is to find a key or two, or a key and couple of contenders in another leg, while spreading out the leg that you are not sure of. The other way to bet it is to throw mud against the wall and hope for the long ones to come in. When the pool is the size that we are expecting tomorrow, the latter approach is probably the best way to go. If you get lucky enough, you could wind up with a nice score, as long as horses picked on the program don't win any legs. I've even been known to wind up cashing a few pool shots doing it this way.
Normally, I don't like spending more than $27 on a pick 3 (3 onto 3 onto 3) on one ticket, but if field sizes are large in each race I've been know to bet $36 (3 by 3 by 4, not necessarily in that order) or even $48 (3 by 4 by 4).
Steven Crist in his book Exotic Betting, tends to like keying different races on different tickets, giving the player a chance to hit the Pick multiple times if the right key horses come in.
And of course, there are bettors who confidently take $5 or $10 straight tickets which may rely on a couple of keys while throwing in a couple to 5 horses in the other leg.
It is impossible to say exactly how I will play the Pick 3 tomorrow until I know the scratches and if the 7th race will remain on the grass. But here comes my help just the same. The important thing is to find the contenders.
The sixth race is a filly race. Perfect for a Pick three because fillies are very erratic, and somewhat more unpredictable than the boys. The key contender is Silver Truth (#2). She has the best figures, and could be unbeatable if she ran back to her race on March 10th. That being said, she has run two very good races in a row and the best she could do was run second at this same price tag. She is due for a bounce. I have to pitch Number Uno Lady (#4) because her figures are inferior to Silver Truth, and she has won a couple of races in a row, now moving up from NW2 to NW3. Yankee Victress (#5) might be ready to cycle back into contention. She has run OK numbers in the past. And Ontherockswithsalt (#8) has been prepping well ready for her first start of the year, while taking a drop in class. Celebration Dance (#7) is another pitch. I don't cheap horses off between 30-60 days unless they are trained by someone hitting at over 18%. Anne's Dancer (#9) is even a long shot contender. She was way too close to the pace last time and figures to improve a bit if not more.
I'm going to handicap the 7th race for grass only. The program choice is Doctor Carina (#2), and I will probably pitch her. She barely qualifies on my 30-60 day elimation rule, and I just don't like the fact that she has a problem running twice in any month. She has put together quite a few five furlong works, which is a positive, but for my money, the fact she is picked on the program, I have to eliminate her. Barefoot Babe (#3) is a must use, but I think she is very beatable. I'm not crazy about horses that come from 7th or worse in order to get up. I'm much more attracted to Vivi's Book (#1). Her last race shows a bit of a middle move followed by a bit of a hang. That doesn't sound that great, but I've seen many winners coming off similar form lines. She had the one post last time as well. For many horses that could be an intimidating post the first time they have it. If Icy Glance (#12) gets in, she could be dangerous after over extending herself early first time on the grass, while bouncing off a nice win. She'll be a nice price. On Lake (#6) looks OK off a layoff. I'm a little concerned that she hasn't worked over 4 furlongs, and the trainer is winless this year. Maybe that is why she hasn't had a longer workout. Dovita (#8) is making her third start off a layoff and quit last time after going too fast too early. She was off a win, and figured to bounce in her latest. This time she figures to progress. The race is a tough one as it is full of many fillies who haven't even raced 10 times in their life. I don't usually press the ALL button, but considering the expected pool size, it might not be the worst option for this race.
The eighth race looks like the easiest race to handicap. There are two main contenders. African Angel (#1) is taking a class drop and his last two numbers is better than any recent form from anything else in the race. Again, I'm not crazy about his running style. But class tends to overcome running style in many instances. See I A (#3) looks like he will be able to dictate the pace. Another major class dropper, he tends to stop to a walk if another horse breathes on him. However if you look at his first lifetime start against maiden 12,500, he did pass horses, meaning he might just linger much longer and might just go all the way in this one.
I'm pitching This Is My Game (#6). He is on the vet scratch list and has been off 30-60 days. Plus his numbers are inferior to my first two selections. As possible throw ins, Tigerglider (#2) is not impossible. Good post, and four starts ago, he did win at the exact same distance in pretty good time. He is very erratic though and doesn't appear to be a horse that will benefit from today's pace. One who might benefit is Unethical (#7). First time going two turns, he could find himself with a great trip, not too far back, and he might just get up by default if See I A packs it in naturally, and African Angel doesn't quite get up in time.
My mud against the wall ticket before scratches or changes in surface ($1 base amounts):
2,5,8 with 1,3,6,8,12 with 1,3,7 Total cost $45
The Steven Crist type play:
2 with all with 1,3 $20
2 with 1,3,6,8,12 with 1,2,3,7 $20
2,5,8,9 with 1,3 with 1,2,3,7 $32
2,5,8,9 with 1,3,6,8,12 with 1,3 $60
The multi-dollar key key key play:
$5 ticket 2 with 1,3 with 1,3 $20
One of the best things about the Pick 3 is that, lets say you took most of my advice and pitched the 4 horse with leading rider Daniel Centeno aboard in the 6th, and this horse winds up winning the first leg. You can always dust yourself off and take a Pick 4 starting in the 7th race, or even a daily double which includes the 7th and 8th races, since Tampa Bay features daily double betting starting in every race, except the last, of course.
I do encourage everyone to make their own selections of course. Don't forget about using the free resources that HANA members and supporters have contributed to our cause, especially the free program from Trackmaster.