Bart Calendar spent 10 years as a journalist for Gannett covering murder trials and rock and roll.
Since then he has traveled the Earth gambled in the best casinos in the world.
You may have heard or come across the pick 6 horse racing bets online or on days out at the track. What is it and how does it work? More importantly, is there a pick 6 horse racing strategy you can use to try and hit the jackpot? Can you use this strategy with a horse betting sign up bonus? This page is all about this somewhat unique type of wager, so let’s get on with it and give you the lowdown on this form of a bet.
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How does Pick 6 work in horse racing?
A pick 6 bet requires you to find the winner (or a horse that finishes in a place) of six consecutive races.
These are all from the same racetrack on the same day, so you cannot put a pick 6 horse racing bet on across multiple venues.
There is a bumper jackpot up for grabs because of the difficulty of getting all 6 legs of the bet to come off.
Pick 6 bets give you extra interest in the minor races on the card when you are watching.
Now that you know what this type of bet is, how does pick 6 work in horse racing we hear you ask?
Traditionally, this wager isn’t made with a fixed-odds sportsbook but through the tote.
Short for totalizer, a separate pool of money is created out of which you get paid if you come up with all the winners (or placed horses) in each race.
Like a normal multiple bet, the pick 6 odds accumulate from leg to leg.
You cannot take a price, however, and tote returned dividends are often different to fixed odds bets starting prices on the same horse.
The tote prices are determined by the amount of betting interest in the pool a particular horse has generated.
Placepot or pick 6 in horse racing
Picking 6 horses to win is a challenge even for regular bettors in the space of a week! Trying to do it at one track on a given day really is tough. What tote betting services have done in order to try and make things a little easier for bettors is come up with what is called a Placepot. This differs from a pick 6 bet in that you can still win if you find horses that run into a place.
Place terms in horse racing are determined by the number of runners and the type of race. No place bet will payout in second place if there are four or fewer horses contesting a race. If there are five, six, or seven runners, then the place terms are first or second. Eight to 14 horses in a race extend this to third. For races where there are 15 or more entries, then a Placepot may even payout on fourth place.
The tote’s returned dividends for a place will differ from standard fixed odds place, show, or each way bets. They use fractions – a fifth or a quarter again depending on the number of horses and type of race – of their win-only dividend to calculate the return on a horse that places or shows. The upside of a Placepot over a standard pick 6 bet is you can still get a return on the bet as long as all your selections run into a place.
Again, the odds accumulate from leg to leg. Some totes will even allow you to bet on more than one horse per race, but this will increase the unit stake on a Placepot or pick 6 bet. It is well worth considering Placepots as an alternative.
Key elements of a pick 6 horse racing strategy
Now you know the answer to the question “how does pick 6 work in horse racing”, it’s time to think about approaches to try and win this extremely difficult bet. The first thing to do is to look at the type of races specified as part of the pick 6 wager. These are usually the first 6 races on the card that day. It is highly likely to contain a variety of events. A combination of stakes races, claimers, and handicaps is what you are probably looking at.
These all have different conditions and terms. Weight-for-age is a key factor in stakes races if such events are open to horses of different ages, while a horse’s official rating determines what weight they carry in handicaps. Claimers are races where only certain types of jockeys – those who claim an allowance – can ride in the race. You need to know what events you are dealing with.
Next, it’s all about studying the form before placing your pick 6 horse racing bet. In order to arrive at selections in all the races, you need to know who the main contenders are and what they have done last time out or in previous runs at the track. Try to come up with a shortlist of runners, factoring in the quality of opposition beaten, what conditions and distance a horse acts best on and over, and how much potential for further improvement they have.
You have to arm yourself with all this information and more. Trainer and jockey form is just as important as the horses they are involved with. A rider that you don’t rate very highly can be enough to put you off backing a horse. The principle is magnified even further here because you’re having to pick 6 in a row!
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Tying all the elements together
Once you have all that information to hand, it should guide your pick 6 horse racing strategy and help you arrive at your selections. Some races that feature will be more competitive than others. It is the most open race, as dictated by the betting odds on offer either through regular fixed odds, betting exchanges, or tote channels, that will give you the biggest headache.
Do you side with a previous beaten favorite? Were they unlucky in their last run? Could horses that have met before confirm or reverse past form? It’s all well and good having how does a pick 6 work in horse racing explained to you, but the complexity of the bet really is high. There are so many different factors to consider.
It can be worth your while forgiving a horse a bad run, but there is the issue with older horses of it becoming more difficult for them to maintain and replicate their peak form. Even with as much data for you to process as possible and support your strategy, the fact is a pick 6 bet takes a lot of luck to pull off.
No system is foolproof. Equipping yourself with all the stats to make an informed choice is what you are doing here. Do not expect to win a pick 6 bet the first time you put one on. It will be more down to beginners’ luck and good fortune than judgment. Even seasoned pros still find success with this type of wager elusive.
A word on other horse racing betting strategies
If a pick 6 is proving too much of a challenge, then there are easier strategies and the best horse racing system will be available for you to find individual winners. We cater to these too and in many ways, some of the other approaches recommended here on the site are simpler.
For instance, you can discover the wisdom behind always trying to seek an each way bet where you at least get your money back if a horse runs into a place but doesn’t manage to win. There are also times where it is appropriate or you to know how to hedge bets and be on more than one horse in a big field handicap.
Those two strategies can combine together quite nicely, but – if you want to be at the cutting edge of horse racing – trying some in play betting on the sport through bets in running on the exchanges could provide extra thrills. You need a dedicated strategy for that type of gambling, though, because in play betting horse racing isn’t available through fixed odds sportsbooks.
You can be the envy of all your friends who like to wager by answering the question, how does pick 6 work in horse racing when they ask. It is fair to say that this type of wager is both complicated to research and difficult to pull off at horse race betting sites. Yes, skill can play its part but there will always be an element of fortune with lady luck smiling upon you if you can land a pick 6 horse racing bet.
There are no real shortcuts here. You have to have a clear pick 6 horse racing strategy in mind and execute it well. That is going to take experience and patience. Our best advice is to start out with Placepots where the margin for error is smaller and the terms more forgiving as your bet won’t wipe out if a horse finishes second in race three or four. Pick 6 bets are designed to be a bit of fun, so always keep that in mind when gambling.