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Playing The Pick 4 With Added Value At Cal Expo
Tuesday, April 26, 2011 - by Mark Ratzky, Publicity – Cal Expo

For the next two Thursday nights, the Late Pick 4 on Thursday night (April 28) at Cal Expo comes with a $10,000 guaranteed gross pool, and both the Early and Late Pick 4’s on Thursday feature a reduced 15 percent takeout.  Meanwhile, Saturday nights also find both Pick 4’s with the reduced 15 percent takeout rate and the Late Pick 4 guaranteed gross pool was recently boosted to a $15,000 figure.  Additionally, for winning wagers made on the Late Pick-4 online at or on track at Cal Expo, a bonus payout of 17.65 percent of the gross Late Pick 4 mutuel payoff will be paid.
In hopes of shining a light on the four-race sequence, we went to author and handicapper Barry Meadow, who has plenty of experience negotiating exotic wagers of all kinds.
“When playing the Pick 4, you have to understand that you can’t play everything with everything,” he said.  “Instead, eliminate the obvious tickets, like the ones that would have the top two favorites in each of the four races combined, because they’re going to be over-bet.
“In my opinion, you need to beat two of the favorites to make the ticket worthwhile.  When in doubt, include any horse you think has a chance to win but will be under-bet, while eliminating any horse you think has a chance to win but will be over-bet, unless you can combine them with better-priced horses in the other legs.”
Barry is a big proponent of playing wagers that offer some type of reduced takeout, which is the case here with the Thursday and Saturday evening Early and Late Pick 4’s.
“In the contest between low-takeout bets and high-takeout bets, low-takeout bets are always better because your money lasts longer,” he explained.  “As an example, if an average player invests $1,000 into a series of bets with a 14 percent takeout, they will wind up with $860, while the same person who wagers into a 23 percent takeout will wind up with $770. That’s a serious difference.”
Tim Maier Approaching Earnings Milestone
Tim Maier comes into this week less than $48,000 shy of the $10 million earnings plateau, with 2,246 trips to the charmed enclosure in his career.
In Thursday night’s (April 28) feature at Cal Expo, a $2,700 conditioned contest, Maier will be guiding his stakes-winning 3-year-old pacing filly Racetrack Diva.  It won’t be easy, as she will have to overcome the testing No. 9 post position if she wants to get the job done. 
Racetrack Diva is a daughter of Little Steven who races for Robert Bacon and Tim’s wife Denise.  She recorded two stakes victories last year, including the $20,000 Championship in November, but has had to settle for minor awards in the two big-money events for the division this season.
Poor House, who picked up her first stakes trophy last week, got the best of the draw with the cozy one-hole.  Another Little Steven offspring, she was making her first start since being purchased privately by trainer George Reider, Rick and Marlene Thomas and Dave Haness in the aforementioned mile.  She came rolling late with James Kennedy and nailed favored Whip And A Prayer on the wire for the biggest win of her career. 
Completing the field are Sonic Wave with Scott Cisco; Achy Breaky Art and Dine N Wine from the Vickie Desomer barn; Heartbreak Ridge; and a trio from trainer Rick Plano in Math Wiz, Patty’s Courage and MJ’s Last Dance.  An 11-race program is on tap.
Friday (April 29) and Saturday nights (April 30) at Cal Expo will find the California-New Zealand Friendship Challenge, with four amateur drivers from Down Under, including a married couple, taking on the locals in a six-race event.
The Challenge will cover three races on Friday and three on Saturday.  Steve and Karen Hollander, Derek Moore and Danny Blakemore make up the New Zealand squad, while eight of our amateurs will compete in the series.  Free full card past performances and selections from TrackMaster for these two programs will be available at
Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Thursday (April 28) and continues through Saturday (April 30).  Post-time on Thursday is 5:30 p.m. (PDT).  Post-time on Friday (April 29) & Saturday is 6:00 p.m.  On Thursday and every live card, Cal Expo offers free admission, as well as free preferred & general parking after 4:30 p.m.  Also on Thursday night from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Cal Expo offers a complete Lasagna dinner, which includes salad and bread, for just $3.00.  Additionally on Thursday, beer & wine can be purchased for $3.00 each as well.