War Pass Demonstrates Why Bridge Jumpers Shouldnt Jump

by Horstradamus

posted on March 15, 2008 in General Discussion, Help/Educational Articles, Other Events | 3 Comments >>

War Pass is no longer undefeated. Perhaps he lost because of a bad start or because he had a fever earlier in the week. Regardless, the 1-20 “lock” failed to Show (he ran dead last in a 7 horse field). Yes, we also thought War Pass was a “sure thing” (despite the fact the winner Big Truck was also in our top tier).

For those of you who are not familiar with the term, “bridge jumpers” are people who look for horses that are heavy favorites, and then bet the farm on them to Show. The logic behind this is that regardless of the lopsided proportion of money on the heavy favorite to Show, the track is obligated to pay a minimum of $2.10 on a $2 bet (5% return). So, for example, one of these people may put $20,000 on the horse to Show, to get a “definite” $1,000 return when the horse finishes in the money. However, this type of bet is not as “definite” as you may think…

Doing a little research from our extensive database, I discovered that since the end of 2004, there were 35 entries that had win odds of 1-20 (the shortest odds a horse can have) in a race with available Show wagering. Of these 35, only 31 actually finished in the money (88.6%). This equates to an expected LOSS of 5 cents on every $2 wagered. If you extend the search to horses that had win odds of 1-9 or shorter, ironically you have slightly better results (but still not good). Of the 228 matching entries, 204 finished in the money (89.5%) which equates to an expected LOSS of 3 cents on every $2 wagered. These expected returns obviously assume that the bridge jumper has enough funds to wager the same amount even after a loss (which may not always be the case).

In conclusion, simply based on the win odds of a horse, bridge jumping is not the way to go. Of course, there might be cases where you could determine that a horse is over-bet and really shouldn’t be 1-9 or 1-20 (and skip these races). However, War Pass was probably not one of these cases.