First, let's just assume that #8 wins that first single point,
'cause if they don't, they're not up again until the end of the
second round (with ZERO), so we aren't optimistic about their
exacta chances. I'm sure Craig can tell us how often #8 wins when
they don't get the first point, but it's not a lot.
Actually, despite his misstatement (below), Jim was getting quite warm with his earlier "Here's my take on it" post. A quick look at Craig's Rotation Board shows you the situation after #8 wins the first point:
You can dole out those first round points any way you want,
but if #8 wins their first point (and we said they pretty much
have to), they will play #1 or #2, who will always have
ZERO at the time, hence a 50% chance they will drop to the bottom
of round 2 (again, with ZERO points). Awfully tough to gain Place
from that position.
That's less likely with 3, 4 and 5.
Great question, Craig. It shows how something that's really simple isn't always intuitively obvious, and how there's always more to learn.