A parlay or all-up bet is a way of making money. If you win. And losing money. If you lose. Which is the more likely?

The latter, of course. Making money is everyone's dream if they bet on horses at all. There are few other sane reasons for betting.

I know two chaps at the Sydney courses who do bet for the fan of it. They have been seen to take 13,/4 when 7/2 is available elsewhere, and they rarely compare the tote with the bookies to get value. These two fellows are literally rolling in the stuff we are all after and they bet in fives and tens for the fun of it.

The afternoon is a social one and they have somehow managed to inveigle their way into the inner sanctum over a period of years, so that they enjoy all the privileges the courses are capable of providing. Good luck to them with their fun but don't follow them into the ring!

No, most of us are after money, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that betting on parlays and all-ups is not the way to personal independence. On the other hand, what about long-term cautious betting, with a bank to stand the rough patches?

Say you are a regular bettor and that you like a bet in every race. Say you are a fair judge, like most of us, but that a lot of the time things do not go according to plan. Recently Michael Kemp's Eye--catchers had a run of horses that "nearly" got up at big odds: 25/1 for a head second, that kind of thing. If you gave up all ideas of picking to win, and concentrated on placing, how correct, how accurate could you be over a period of, say, six months?

Let's first look at your bank. Say you want to bet $200 per weekend. Too much? Restrict the bets to four or five races, then. But let's say $200 maximum. Let's say you restrict your betting activity to one city. Let's say you bet Saturdays and there am mostly eight races on the programme.

OK, we have place parlays on every race. Every one, at 50 cents a shot. Say we start with doubles leading into parlays. Like this: Call the races A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H. We start with AB, BC, CD, DE, EF, FG and GH. So a race-to-race double means a return and sets up a pattern.

The parlays with the double AB will be:


Then with the double BC they will be:


And with the CD double they will be reduced again, so that by the time you get to the final four races there will only be one parlay, EFGH. In eight races distributed this way there will be 35 parlays (quick maths 15 + 10 + 6 + 3 + 1 write them down and see if in doubt). Each will contain 11 bets.

There will be consequently 385 bets in total. Of these, 210 will be doubles (with as much as 15 units on a combination), 140 will be trebles (as much as five units on a combination), and of course 35 will be single accumulators or quadrellas.

A yankee or parlay bet is made of six doubles, four trebles, and one accumulator or quadrella or fourtella or whatever you want to call it. So 35 of these will cost you 35 x 11 = 385 units, which at 50 cents a unit is $192.50. Remember that $200 per week we were talking about? Put the other $7.50 in the bank.

So let's say that you try to pick eight places on the programme. If you lose them all you lose the lot, but a double would be as much as a $7.50 double. Three places could mean three $7.50 doubles and a $2.50 treble.

Four places could get you six doubles at $7.50 each, four trebles at $2.50 each, and an accumulator at 50 cents.  And so the returns go up and become more assured as you hit more places.

Writing out the 35 tickets is no great joy but it is easy enough once you get the hang of things, and imagine the thrill of getting all eight into a place:

210 doubles.
140 trebles.
35 accumulators.

Total outlay $192.50.

Let's say the place dividends work out at an average of a dollar each for the 50 cents unit. (Some states won't take 50 cents, so you might have to adjust your bets to half the programme or make other modifications if the costs get too high, but let's say we can have 50 cents for this exercise).

Doubles each return $2.
Trebles each return $4.
Accumulators each return $8.

This might not mean much but when you add it up it is quite substantial.

For the 50-cent unit you would receive

$420 + $560 + $280, a total of $1260.

One decent hit per quarter should mean a very significant profit.

For example, in 13 weeks the entire outlay would be $2502.50, and two days where you hit all eight places at an average of a dollar would return all of it. If you could maintain regular, more realistic days where you hit five or six places this could be a very enjoyable way of making money at the races.

There are all sorts of modifications you can make to these figures, and all sorts of short cuts. For example, only taking the best four selections and having a $17 parlay would cost you $187, with chances of a fortune but far less cover. Once again it is a case of making a decision and sticking to it, but this is surely one way of having a most enjoyable day most Saturdays and rarely missing out on a few collects.

Also, remember that one big place dividend would reflect itself up to 15 times, depending on where it fell, and could certainly generate big trebles and accumulators regardless of where it fell!

By The Optimist