After decades of going to the horse races and making a living (well what passes for a living around here) off the races, I have some thoughts and ideas about what constitutes a good bet and how to make a profit betting on horse races.
I know it’s not a lot of fun to get all bogged down with the details and worrying about money when you’re trying to pick winners, but if making some money once in a while sounds like fun, here are some thoughts and a little bit of advice about horse racing.
First of all, the insiders do make some money off horse racing and they really are the ones you’re trying to beat when you wager on the horses. But before you start forming a grudge against the folks who own horses and the people who train and ride them, think about the game from their viewpoint. They pay the bills.
While it seems like they have an unfair advantage, that edge you think they have may not be so great and also, they do pay for it. Owning and supporting a race horse isn’t cheap. A cheap claimer and a graded stakes winner both eat the same amount and both have vet bills and other expenses that come out of the owner’s pocket.
I used to sometimes groom and exercise my own horses, but I still had to pay a trainer and sometimes a groom and I also had vet bill and other expenses. Spending thousands of dollars on one horse is a tough way to make money with inside information because you’re competing new york horse racing against other people who are trying to crack the same nut and who don’t necessarily feel like sharing information with the competition.
Yes, I knew when my horse was ready to win, unfortunately, I didn’t know if other horses in the race were ready. I sometimes had some info from seeing them workout, but that can be misleading. So inside information isn’t all it’s thought to be and tips from insiders aren’t usually worth much unless you can get the dope, so to speak, from the rest of the owners or trainers who have a horse in the race. A tip on a horse from the owner is not the best bet.
The best bet is a win bet on a horse that is ready to win, but since owners are biased, it is better to handicap the race using all the factors available and to form your own opinion. Stick with win bets if you’re serious about making a profit. Find a horse that has a reason to improve or move up from its last race. It will usually go off at pretty good odds and surprise a lot of people because many people who wager on horse races compare the horses using the past performances and expect the horses to run exactly the same and just as fast or slowly as they did in their last race.
That being said, it is still very difficult to make a profit, but if you’re careful and stick with horses that are improving because they’re rounding into form, you may make a profit. On the other hand, if you want to double your money quickly at the races, here is a good strategy. As soon as you walk into the race track, take your money out of your pocket and count it. Then fold it in half (thereby doubling it) and walk back out and go home.
When your spouse asks you how you did at the races you will be able to tell him or her that you doubled your money at the races. Just be warned that if he or she thinks you made a profit, you may be expected to share some of that money or to take him or her out to dinner.