Obviously it is a lot more enjoyable if you are winning at horse racing – which really is NOT that difficult if you remember two things. One, you are playing against fellow horse bettors, not the House, and two, racing percentages do NOT lie.
Because you are playing against fellow horse bettors, any self discipline you can muster up will give you an immediate edge on the crowd. Using that edge along with percentages that are really NOT difficult to understand, will give you an edge on 90 percent of the horse bettors you meet at the racetrack.
The techniques described below assume you have absolutely no handicapping skills at all. If you are an average handicapper who knows the difference between a playable and an unplayable race (too many unknown factors); you should be able to benefit even further from these simple strategies.
First, let us look at some North American horse racing percentages you can take to the bank. These percentages can vary slightly for short time periods, but year-in and year-out they remain constant.
Public betting favorites win approximately 33 percent of all races and finish second 53 percent of the time. Second choices win approximately 21 percent of all races and finish second 42 percent of the time. So the top two choices win 54 percent of the races and finish second 74 percent of the time.
Additional percentage facts to consider are that public favorites in 6-horse fields win approximately 40 percent of the time at an average win price of just over even money, while public favorites in 12-horse fields win approximately 27 percent of their races at an average win price of almost 2-1. Basically, public favorites in larger fields win a lower percentage of the time but pay better as you can see.
The key to winning with the above percentages is being able to determine which of the top three choices actually has a real chance to win and which the public is making a mistake on. Again, assuming you have no handicapping skills, but have the ability to understand the basics of the Daily Racing Form, you can use a few additional percentages to slant the odds in your favor.
Remember, jockeys who win at a clip of 15-20 percent are worth a second look, but jockeys who win at a clip of 20 percent or better can be like money in the bank in the right situation. Jockeys who win a high percentage of the races they ride in NOT only have their choice of the best mounts, but they also generally have skill sets that are much better than their fellow riders.
The difference between a 12 percent jockey and a 24 percent jockey are not always easy to see for the average horse bettor, but the percentages do NOT lie. A 12 percent jockey usually receives less talented mounts, but there is more to it than that. Occasionally these low percentage jockeys will get the best mounts, but they almost always find a way to screw things up. They get into trouble, they cannot stop a horse from lugging in, they get left in the gate, too many little things to mention suffice it to say they have less talent and make too many mistakes on a regular basis to make them worthwhile investments over the course of the year. Can they win? Sure, but NOT often enough to make them part of a profitable strategy.
You will often find that the top percentage jockeys are on at least one of the top three public choices in a race and sometimes on all three. While a top percentage jockey often has a chance to win regardless of the odds, the horses you want to watch for them on are those among the top three public choices. You can then look at the trainer percentages and the jockey-trainer combo percentages to see if these numbers improve the odds even further in your favor.
If you see a 24 percent jockey riding one of the top three choices for a 15 percent trainer the horse probably has a decent chance, but what you are really looking for is one of these top jockeys on a horse trained by someone with a 20 percent clip or better. These trainers win at a 20 percent clip for numerous reasons brains, talent, the ability to attract the best jockeys, medication and numerous other factors but they win consistently more races then their competition.
The next statistic to look at is the jockey-trainer combo percentage.
Always look for a top trainer. Partnered with a top jockey and a top-three betting choice, high percentage trainers can win at good rate.
This statistic tells you how many times over the course of the year and at the current meeting, that this jockey and trainer have hooked up, and what their win percentage is when working together.
The top trainer-jockey combos have excellent percentages and almost always indicate the trainer is trying their best to win. If the jockey-trainer combo win percentage is good, the third element of the percentage puzzle is complete.
The final statistics you want to look at, in my opinion, are the basic trainer patterns. These trainer patterns are based on the horse’s current situation in this race and show percentages such as dirt to turf switches, 61-90 days off a layoff, route to sprint, etc. Again, high percentage trainer pattern again increases the odds of winning in your favor.
So find the top three public choices on the tote board (preferably the top two) then look at the percentages. If the percentages are good all around, bet the horse to win and place. Bet twice as much to place as to win, just in case a long shot happens to beat the percentages and win.
If the percentages are NOT solid all around, do NOT bet this is where the discipline to wait comes into play. Everyone wants action at the racetrack, but you have to wait for the perfect opportunity if you want to win long term.
In summary, there are two things you absolutely must do if you want to make money at horse betting: apply the proven percentages and have the discipline to wait for the right horse in the right race.
See you at the cashier’s window!