Hittin' the Trifecta and SALT

May 2017 By Mark F. Sommer
Bloomberg BNA

Let's talk about what really matters: horses. We'll soon have a new Kentucky Derby winner. One leg of the Triple Crown will be over. Will you bet the big race? Will you “cash?”

The really big question is whether you “hit the tri.” That's Bluegrass for cashing a trifecta ticket – a hugely popular, and oftentimes very profitable bet: pick the first three finishing horses, in order, for a $2.00 bet. This is one of about 15 different bets (each having even more variations specifically) which are called exotic bets, and generally the trifecta is the most popular one.

Wagering on relatively untested three-year-old thoroughbreds, massive in size (Secretariat's heart alone weighed 17 lbs. – twice the average) running 1 1/4 miles in around 2:00 minutes at an average speed of 45 mph – exciting, risky and rewarding (hopefully) all at once. Or perhaps disappointing, doubt raising or, in some instances, tragic. But almost always just a great time with a modicum of risk such that it is exhilarating, all the while involving the type of effort where most involved at least read up on the topic, study the players involved and try to understand the risk, and then make a bet and literally watch to see if it pays off. Sounds familiar – kind of like SALT planning or controversy matters.

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