The Inside Track with David Milch: Pick Six

HBO: What makes Jerry's Pick Six so effective?

DAVID MILCH: Typically, in the race that Jerry has singled (bet just one horse to win) you would "spread." That means it looks like it's a race that is wide open; any of the horses could win. Therefore, if you were being "safe" in your approach to betting it, you would bet as many horses to win as you could afford. What Jerry is doing is just the opposite, which is to say: "I'm either going to make it or break it in this particular race."

HBO: So if somebody else has bet that horse as part of a spread, does singling it put you ahead?

DAVID MILCH: Well, what it's done is it's saved you an awful lot of money, and Mon Gateau is probably the last horse you would include in a spread bet. So what he has done is absolutely reversed the logic and said: "If this horse wins, I'm going to be one of the few people who has bet it at all and I'm certainly going to be the only person who has singled it."

HBO: Can you describe what syndicate betting is?

DAVID MILCH: A syndicate is a group that has gotten together to pool their money so they can cover more contingencies. If I come to track with, say, $200 and I join a syndicate of 20 people, each of whom can bet $200, we can spread our bets and that gives us a better chance of winning. It also, of course, reduces the pay out if we win, because the pay off is then going to be divided twenty different ways.

HBO: What is it about Mon Gateau that Jerry knows that others may have underestimated?

DAVID MILCH: Marcus explains what it is Jerry knows: He's really not trying to figure out anything about the horse. He's trying to understand the psychology of the trainer. And Jerry understands that there's something very perverse about the logic of how Escalante organizes his training. And the one thing Escalante hates is to be thought ill of - to be regarded as a loser. For Escalante to set up a situation where everything looks wrong: The jockey looks like he's not very talented, the horse hasn't run for two years, the horse has very slow workouts. There is an accumulation of improbabilities which is contrary to the logic of the one thing Escalante hates: to be thought of as an outsider. And that's what persuades Jerry that the horse is worth a bet. He is betting the trainer and not the horse.


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