The Daily Double bet has been around for nearly a century, first introduced in 1931 at Connaght Park Racetrack in Ottawa.
It was the first exotic wager and at most tracks it was only offered on the first two and last two races on the card. Now most tracks have “rolling doubles” and you can start a Daily Double bet on just about any race.
The wager is as simple as it sounds—Pick the winners of two consecutive races. The wager must be made prior to the running of the first of the two Daily Double races. Most tracks now offer the wager in a $1 increment.
One of the advantages of playing a Daily Double is you can see the “Will Pays” or the probable payoffs for your different combinations. That will help you seek out value and combinations that are offering value.
If you like two favorites, you might see a very small will pay, which offers little value. Look to see what the will pays are for your second, third and fourth choices and look for overlays.
A simple $2 Daily Double bet using one horse in each race is of course $2. If you use two horses in each leg of the sequence the cost would be $8. Using three horses in each race would cost $18.
Obviously if you are playing three horses in each leg, you won’t want to play horses at short prices and would be better off keying one leg of the sequence and going deep in the other.
If you have a strong opinion on one horse in the first race you could go with four horses in the second leg, a $2 wager costing $8 in total. If you can narrow the second leg to two horses, play a $4 Daily Double with your single for the same $8.
The key is matching up your opinion after handicapping the races to how you play your tickets.
During the Triple Crown look for special daily doubles that cover two days of action. For the Belmont Stakes there were daily doubles combining races from Friday and Saturday. There was a Daily Double that included Friday’s Belmont Gold Cup and Saturday’s Belmont Stakes.
Churchill Downs offers a Daily Double covering the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby. These special wagers usually offer some value with large fields and huge betting pools on racing’s biggest days.