The sport of Thoroughbred horse racing has many fine attributes. As a person with a real competitive spirit, the chance to be a part of the game through wagering is one of the best. With a vested interest in the outcome, the excitement ramps up exponentially. Or in simpler terms…the hootin’ and hollerin’ gets louder!

A win bet is always great when you hit it. There is nothing quite like being right about something. Saying you knew is great, but proving it with a ticket is even better. But let’s take it a little farther and utilize one of the modern marvels of horse race handicapping. The 10 cent superfecta box is without question the Dalia Lama of the betting game.

A superfecta means you are picking the top four finishers in the race. Wait a minute…it’s hard enough to pick the winner…how in the name of Pete will you ever figure out who the top four is going to be? That is where the adrenaline starts to flow and visions of grandeur begin dancing in your head. If I can pick the top four…that means I really know a little something-something, right? Well, in today’s world image is everything and if you can walk back to the window with a winning superfecta ticket, folks might just believe. Of course, the facts will still be the facts, even if they don’t know them.

Now here is what makes this particular wager so nice. The bet itself in the box form comes to only $2.40. Of course you want to “box” it because that means no matter how the horses come in, as long as you have the top four on your ticket, you win. If the correct horses finish and the longer shots finish higher, the $2.40 could literally pay off in hundreds and maybe even thousands. On June 6 at Santa Anita the second race paid $1,272.52 on the 10 cent superfecta. In a word…Woosh! So that means the potential to risk very little and win a lot is real.

Gambling is just that. Taking a risk means you have to be prepared to lose. The thought of winning a lot is very attractive. The idea of risking much to do so may not be quite the beauty queen, especially for a low roller like me. So, as you peruse the program and think about getting paid, that 10 cent superfecta is looking like Marilyn Monroe.

Now here is where the story gets good. Each year some dear friends accompany me to the track. As a horse racing junkie, I am eager to inject others with the intoxication the game provides. The excitement is always grand, but a pony payoff can get you hooked for life. So as they look to me for advice, I simply tell them my thoughts are gotta hunch betta bunch…back a horse and get paid. But for good value, let’s play the superfecta together and it will add to the fun.

So, here we are at Churchill Downs on Stephen Foster day playing the super on virtually every race. The money thrown down is minimal, so as the tickets find the trash can, the mortgage is not yet in danger. Another great thing about the superfecta, often times you only have to hit one and your day is a success. Faith in the process told us to keep going despite the blame game we had played through 7 previous races. With the Foster itself next on tap, I told my buds to make their picks and I would get the ticket on my way to the actual Downs dirt. In doing my journalistic duties, I needed to be in the winner’s circle for post-race interviews. After all, the headliner of the 11 race card was a half million dollar event with a guaranteed berth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on the line. Whilst I made my way to the window in search of sooth, they would continue to enjoy the amenities of millionaire’s row.

While waiting on the race to go off in the shadow of the finish line, I felt good about our race ticket. We had 2,4,5,and 6. The 6 was a longshot, but that number had been in the money quite frequently throughout the night. The 2 horse was the favorite, the 5 horse had paid off for me before at Churchill and my hunch horse was the 4 in Noble Bird. It was starting to get later in the night so maybe this would be the one.

When the gates opened and horses passed by the first time, things were setting up. Noble Bird was just off a good pace and the 5 horse was a little farther back than expected, so needless to say the nerves were a little more ramped up than usual. As the horses made their way up the back stretch the adrenaline really started to flow. The 6 was way back, but the pace told me he was not out of it and the ticket in my pocket still had life. As they turned for home, a stretch duel between the 4 and 2 horse became all encompassing. Yes, we had both of them, but an across the board ticket on 4 and the fact he would make the super payout bigger by winning meant I was focused on the finish. As Noble Bird courageously triumphed, I knew I had at least one winning ticket. The 5 had held on for third, but wait a minute, who got up for fourth?

A quick glance at the huge screen showed the finish in slow motion. There was the 4, the 2, and then the 5. As I watched intently, the slow motion of the screen was almost seemingly in super, super slow mo. Who got up…I could feel the ticket getting warm in my pocket. Then there it was, the 6 horse came out of the night sky and finished fourth. I quickly pulled out the ticket, made sure it said what I thought, then instinctively looked toward the fourth floor balcony of the clubhouse and gave a big fist pump. I did not know if our party was out there, but it was a gesture of sheer unadulterated joy. Fact is however, they were there, did see me, and whooped it up right back at me.

The walk back to millionaire’s row was one of complete joy. Chest was stuck out a little more and confidence was oozing. Superfecta ticket…yeah! A nice payout ensued, but the high fives, camaraderie, and feeling of accomplishment was way more valuable. Thanks to the 10 cent superfecta we all left feeling like winner, and it had nothing to do with the extra money in our pockets…but that did help!