Anatomy of a Losing Pick 4 Ticket


Is there anything to be learned from a losing $36 Pick 4 ticket?  I’d say there is always at least something to be learned. The lesson may not be all that profound.  And you may learn you were right to make the play you made.  But losing is something to be avoided and you need to learn from your mistakes wherever you can.  So let’s take a look at my losing Pick 4 play from Saturday at Fair Grounds.

Your classic 3x3x2x4.  72 combos.  $36 for $0.50.   Let’s look at the results from Leg 1.  As we know, program numbers are often different from post numbers.  So we’ll use names.

We used Unholy Alliance, Lady TNT, and Istan Council.  And Istan Council was our “sneaky opinion” who tried to be so sneaky around the track during the running of the race that she decided to finish as far behind the winner as possible to avoid detection.  I don’t feel stupid because a number of well-known public handicappers also picked her on top, but she was awful.  Lady TNT just didn’t have it.  And Unholy Alliance broke like a giraffe with a leg injury and then tried to brush the outside fence right out of the gate.  She probably would have won with a cleaner trip. Alas, we were dead after Leg 1.  No real lesson here I don’t think.  In yesterday’s episode of Pull Out Your PPs, I said I could make a case for all of them.  The winner was no surprise.  On to Leg 2…

Believe this or don’t, but had I known that Beau Recall would be 5-1, I would have skipped the Pick 4 and just bet her to win. Yes, I know she was 9/2 on the ML but I didn’t buy it.  As I said in Pull Out Your PPs, she reminded me of Capla Temptress last weekend, who was also a non-favorite with a big class advantage.  My guess was she’d be 3-1 at best. I cannot believe that bettors jumped on Take These Chains.  I didn’t like her and didn’t use her.  I said I thought Full of Zip was interesting but it wouldn’t surprise me if she ran last, which is exactly what she did.  The one surprise out of this leg was that I’m Betty G didn’t make the lead.  So we ran 1st-7th-Last in here.  On to Leg 3…

I mean, this is the perfect example of the day for me.  As I said in the video, I was going to single Thirstforlife after deciding it was fair to draw a line through his last two, but in the end decided to include Tom’s d’Etat as well out of fear I’d look stupid if he won without me.  So, 1st and last for us in here. Can I even really claim I hit this leg?  On to Leg 4…

We sorta nailed this one, with our three running 1-2-4.  Not exactly a stupendous accomplishment given the odds.  And I won’t take credit for excluding Oscar Nominated since he appears to have suffered something mid-race.  I only used Teodoro because his form on firm turf has been solid and word from the track was that there wasn’t a ton of give in the ground.

All in all, we lost our bet but didn’t really miss out on much money.  Was the right move going ALL-single-single-single?  Had we done that, we’d have lost since we preferred Thirstforlife to Tom’s d’Etat. Realistically, the best we could have done would have been to go 9x1x2x1, singling Beau Recall and Great Wide Open, both of whom were our top picks.

Lesson of the Day: Pay attention to class droppers with a closing kick on turf.  I feel like I’ve seen a number of them win recently, and not as favorites.  May be something.  May be nothing.  I’ll watch and see.


  1. Rich on December 24, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    Be ready for long losing streaks if you use 3 singles in a Pick-4. It’s hard enough with 2 singles.

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