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Horse Racing – Putting the Odds in Your Favor

There was a total of $10.5 billion wagered on horse races in the United States in 2014, and it was a down year. It is known by the insiders in this game that less than about 5% of the people betting horse races win money consistently. Being a professional handicapper and author of horse racing books, I listen closely if someone can share some of the knowledge required to be in that top 5%.

It is important to understand that horse racing betting is not a game of chance, as are most casino games, lotteries and even bingo. It is a game of skill and statistics, and you must remember you are playing against the other bettors that have made wagers on the race. This money makes up what we know as the ‘pool’, and will be distributed to the winning bettors according to pari-mutuel betting.

Basically, the more money wagered on a particular horse, the lower the odds are (which means a lower payout). The less money wagered on a horse drives the odds up. In simple terms, the odds are listed as 2-1, 3-1, 4-1, etc. This means that you will win the first half of the statement for every second half you bet. 2-1 equals $2 won for each $1 bet, and so on. There are scores of betting tables and odds guides published which you can easily find. They usually have some version of it in your local track program.

So, I talked about skill and statistics, and here are some of the particulars. You get your racing information, known as past performances, from Daily Racing Form, or Brisnet.com, or Equibase.com, or a reputable supplier. The most important set of skills is deciding what handicapping factors you are going to use, and there are dozens. Some of the basics are speed, class, condition, trainer, jockey, and current form. Again, there are dozens of versions of how to figure all this out (what a great time for me to sell my books, right?).

The statistical part is fun for me, but I’m a numbers guy and eccentric to boot. I have a process that includes 20 handicapping points and it takes me an hour and a half to figure a race card. If there are ten races, I am doing well to find four playable races. Why? Because I am putting the odds in my favor by only playing races that I figure I have a solid chance to win. The past performances contain a lot of statistics that can do the same for you, including trainer and jockey angles that win as often as 30%, 40% or more.

Horse racing can be fun and entertaining, whether you are able to go to the track in person or you are going to watch and play on an ADW service. There are many Advance Deposit Wagering services available, and you can bet and watch the races online. Another example of the statistics that exist in this game of horse racing:

If the typical field in a horse race is 9 entries, and you have nothing helping you decide who to play, you have an 11% chance of winning (1 out of 9). Let’s say you only played one trainer with one angle worth 40%, you just multiplied your chances of winning by 4. Want more tips and info like this? Put the odds in your favor! Check out the books, services, news and links available on my website at www.bobbyzen.comThere is even a free book to get you started just by asking for the info.


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