The Principles Of Winning At Horse Racing

If you want to make money at the track, I suggest that you follow my plan for winning at horse racing

If your reading this, then I assume that you want to win at horse racing.  Most people do NOT win at horse racing since they fail to follow my advise below.  Do NOT be one of those people!  It is estimated that 95% of all horse bettors lose money at the game.   In my opinion, it is because they do NOT study horse racing and handicapping information. They do NOT have a game play for handicapping and betting on horse races.  In short, these so called horse bettors are content to throw their money into the pari-mutual pool blindly and hope they get lucky.  We, on the other hand, should be thankful for these people.

Follow my plan below for winning at horse racing.  Please be forewarned: Winning at horse racing takes effort. If winning at horse racing were easy, everybody would be doing it!

Principle #1: Employ a Sound Money Management Strategy

It is impossible to win at horse racing, or any other type of gambling, if you do NOT have a sound money management plan.  The question is, what constitutes a sound money management plan when it comes to horse racing?  In my opinion,  the answer is Optimal Betting.

Optimal Betting is based on a mathematical principal called the Kelly Criterion.  It recommends that you bet a percentage of your bankroll based on your “edge” over the game.

Optimal Betting theory holds that a horseplayer should bet 3-4% of his/her bankroll on each wager.

With Optimal Betting, it is imperative that you always know your edge.  This means that you must keep betting records so that you know your win percentage, and average win mutual.  Betting records will also help you to identify your strengths and weaknesses as a handicapper.  I will discuss this later.

You should adjust your edge with every 100 wagers or so.  If your edge decreases, so does your wager.  If your edge increases, your wager increases.  Please be careful when increasing your wager.  Remember, it is foolish to wager more than 5% of your bankroll even if your edge justifies if.  The reason for this is simple – there can be long losing streaks when you are betting on horse racing.  If you bet 5% of your bankroll per race, and lose 20 races in a row, you are tapped out.

A more conservative approach to money management is to bet a flat percentage of your bankroll on each race.  This could be 2%, or if you are really conservative, just 1%.

A compromise between Optimal Betting and flat percentage betting is to bet a higher percentage on lower priced horses and a lower percentage on longshots.

Principle #2: Maintain an Adequate Bankroll Dedicated to Horse Race Wagering

The size of your bankroll depends largely upon the amount that you are comfortable betting on the races.  Many wagering systems, theories and guidelines are built around an assumed bankroll of $2,000.00.

If you are using a bankroll of $2,000.00 and plan to bet 2% of your bankroll per race, you will be limited to $20.00 wagers.  Your standard wager size is also commonly referred to as a “unit.”  A much more conservative estimate of how large a bankroll should be is to use to take your average win mutual, expressed in odds to 1, and multiply if by your standard betting unit, then multiply that amount by 100.

An example using the above criteria follows.  Using a $20 betting unit and 5-1 average win odds, we would need a bankroll of $10,000.00 (5 x 20 x 100).  This is, in my opinion, far too conservative.

A good rule of thumb to follow is to have a bankroll of at least 50 times your normal betting unit, but 100 times is even better.  The underlying factor regarding bankroll size is that you want to have enough money to ride out long losing streaks.

Principle #3: Always Insist on Both Value and Price Before Placing a Bet

Limiting your wagering to situations where you have both value and price is an important winning factor that many horse bettors often overlook.  Contrary to popular belief, being a winning horse bettor is NOT about picking a high percentage of winners (SAME APPLIES TO SPORTS BETTING, IN MY OPINION).  Rather, it is about finding good betting opportunities based on value and price.

So exactly what are value and price?  Simply put, price is your reward for taking a risk.  The greater your risk, the greater your price should be.  However, I’m greedy and always insist on price even when my perceived risk is NOT that great.  The minimum price I always want is 5-1 odds. I actually want better than that, but will settle for 5-1 if I really like a horse.

Value is a much more complicated subject than price.

Principle #4: Be Selective – Be Willing to Pass Races and Don’t Force Bets

Even on the slowest of racing days, there are many horse races that run in th United States.  On prime racing days, there are literally hundreds of races run.  Each race represents a betting opportunity.  These opportunities, however, are NOT created equal.   In fact,  most horse races are poor wagering opportunities.  Successful horse bettors wait for good betting opportunities, then pound the hell out of them.

I suggest that you spend your time on a racing circuit.  I spend my time on the Southern California which, at the moment, involves 3 racetracks.

These days, most of the people who go to the track to watch live races are either (a) losing players, or (2) are “old school” folks who do NOT have an Internet connection. Why are most of the players who go to the track losers? They are losers because they are there, in my opinion, for the social aspect of racing and are prone to betting every race on the card.  I am generalizing here and understand that there are always exceptions.

The winning horse bettor is more likely to be betting on horse races at an Off Track Betting (OTB) venue or in the privacy of their own home.  Why? Because they can review many races and bet only the races where they can get both value and price.

Principle #5: Master Your Handicapping Method

Here is a winning factor that you do NOT really see discussed that much.  A common axiom among horse bettors is that there are many different ways to win at racing.  Some handicappers use a speed-based method, others use pace, while others still use esoteric ratings of their own creation.  Each handicapping methodology, and there are lots of them, has its own advantages and disadvantages.  The important thing is that a horse bettor master whatever method they use.  I’ve been using for years Betting Scientist: How $15 Safely Makes $157.28 In An Afternoon 

Too many horse bettors, in my opinion, decide to purchase a handicapping book or buy handicapping software, then quickly discard it when it fails to be a Black Box.  Horse handicapping, no matter what method you use, involves a lot of reading between the lines.  If finding the winner were as easy as always choosing the highest rated horse, we would all be millionaires.  Horse handicapping, however, is not that easy.  The true secret to horse handicapping is to correctly interpret the information being presented and to then apply it correctly when structuring wagers.

Winning at horse racing takes work.  The work can be very rewarding when you are a winner.

Principle #6: Have a Game Plan

If you do NOT have a horse handicapping plan, you are going to be a loser.  All successful gamblers, whether they are card players, card counters, sports bettors, craps players or horse bettors, have a plan.  Thus, have one!

In order to have a plan, you must first determine what kind of horse bettor you are.  Are you conservative?  If so, you need to be willing to grind out a profit playing straight bets (win, place, show) and exactas.  Conservative players try to hit a high percentage of winners at overlaid prices.  They do NOT go overboard going for large exotics scores.

Maybe you are more inclined to go for the big score than you are to grind it out.  If this is the case, then you need to focus on trifectas, superfectas and serial wagers such as the Pick 3 or Pick 4.

Or, maybe you like playing pricey winners (but always with value) and going for exotics scores.  Whatever type of horse bettor you are, you must have a plan.  This plan must encompass everything involving your horse betting game including the contender selection process, money management, correct bet structuring and record keeping.

Principle #7: Keep Records of All Your Bets

Record keeping may very well be the most important aspect of winning at horse racing.  After all, how do you even know whether or NOT you are winning or losing if you do NOT keep records?

Keeping records of your horse racing bets does more for you than just telling you if you are ahead or behind.  In addition, it also helps to show your strengths and weaknesses as a horse handicapper.  Perhaps you are awesome at picking winners in juvenile (2 year old) maiden races, but terrible at graded stakes races for older horses.  What if you did NOT know this?  What if you thought the opposite were true?  Do you want to be a successful horse bettor!

Record keeping will tell you how well you are doing at handicapping races, betting them, and where your strengths and weaknesses lay.  In short, record keeping is truth.  Winners keep records while losers remain in denial.

If you follow my advise above, you should be a successful horse bettor.  And is that NOT your goal!