If you ask professional or serious horseplayers their opinions on show betting, most will tell you to not waste too much time with this type of bet. As the easiest bet to hit on the wagering menu, payouts are low. Even if you are an excellent handicapper, it is hard to make money betting on horses to show due to factors like breakage and the other horses that you’ll need to split the show pool with before final payouts are calculated. Of course if you like cashing tickets, there’s nothing better than a show bet. But cashing tickets for $2.60 on a $2 bet can get old pretty fast.
However, there is one proven betting angle where show betting becomes as exciting as playing the Superfecta or Pick-6 and that is when a “bridge jumper” is involved. Simply stated, a bridge jumper is a bettor who places an unusually large wager on a single horse, usually to show. While these bets vary in size it’s not unusual to see them approach $100,000 or more. Because show pools have a mandatory payout of $2.10 or $2.20 (depending on racing jurisdiction) no matter how low the odds actually are, if a bridge jumper is successful, he’ll get a small return on his huge bet no matter what the true odds are. This creates something that tracks refer to as a “minus pool” because more is paid out to the bridge jumper than the track receives via the takeout. Of course if the bridge jumper’s horse finishes out of the money, this will result in huge show payoffs for the other horses in the field, and the bridge jumper may just feel like hopping off the nearest bridge to the racetrack.
It goes without saying that the overwhelming majority of bridge jumpers cash their huge bets. Unless they are a sick degenerate gambler who is randomly betting huge sums of money because they like a horse’s name, jumpers usually stick to “mortal locks” that will finish in the money unless something totally unforeseen happens.
A great example of a bridge jumper who may now be contemplating suicide happened just yesterday in the 7th race at Calder Race Course on Saturday, September 3rd. The 4-5 favorite Motovato, a graded stakes placed horse, and six-time winner who has never finished worse than 2nd in nine lifetime starts at Calder looked to be a safe bet, even for a bridge jumper. As the horses went to post, Motavato had around $190,000 bet on him to show. After breaking poorly and not finding the best footing on a sloppy track, Motovato tried to make a move but faded and finished dead last. The result was a windfall for show bettors who put down even a small bet on any of the other horses in the field.
Take a look at the official chart to see how the race went down. Payoffs are below.