Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Winning Strategy

A trip to the race track or a session on your computer with can be a winning one or a painful loss.  So let's take a look at both situations and see if we can identify what may be 'a winning strategy'.

First, a look at the 'behavior of betting' is in order because the individual's mind set is behind the bets he makes. The first thing to consider is the size of your bankroll.  Your bankroll is money you have put aside to bet with.  There is a saying that goes like this: "you can't win them all but you can lose them all".  What does this mean?  It means that it is quite possible to lose every bet you place.  If that should happen to you then you may end up with a zero bankroll.  This is the very worse situation.

We will look at a strategy that will put money bet, that we win with, back into our bankroll.  So when we win a bet we will put this winning ticket aside and not use it again during the current betting day.  Quite simply what this will do for us is to make sure any winnings we have we do not roll over into losses.  Rolling winnings back into betting again with the proceeds and losing is the way many a horse player ends up with empty pockets at the end of the day.

Putting winning tickets aside and back into you bankroll is a strategy for at least preserving part or all of your bankroll for the day.  The second step in a 'winning strategy' is to never bet more than your have in your bankroll for that day.  For example, if you start with a bankroll of $200 you might want to allocate $10 in bets for each race if you have 10 races on the card for that day.  That assumes you want to bet every race.  If you have some discipline in your betting you may not bet every race but choose races that you have the greatest confidence in winning.  You can measure the size of your bets but never exceed your bankroll for that day.

A profitable day is one where your winnings exceed your bankroll that you started with at the beginning of the day.  In fact you may want to stop betting when you reach a profitable level that meets your expectations.

May the racing gods be with you.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Where do you look for likely signs that a potential long shot could win in a horse race?

Let me enumerate 9 possibilities below.

1 In a race there should be horses with toteboard odds of at least 10/1 in the race.

2 When the favorite tote horse in the race is less than even odds.  The smaller the odds of the favorite the better.  Remember that the statistical odds of the favorite winning is 1 in 3 or about a third of the time.  Two thirds of the time one of the horses other than the favorite will win.

3 When at least one half of the horses in the race are going off at 10/1 odds or  greater.

4 Always consider the last race of the day on the card.  This is especially true if there are more than 10 horses in the race.

5 The last race in a pick 4,5 or 6.  Many times the last race is a spoiler.

6 A Grade I, II or III race with 10 or more horses.  Most of the time because these are the highest quality horses that any horse in the race on his best day could potentially win.

7 A stakes race with 10 or more horses.

8 Any Breeders Cup race with 10 or more horses.

9 The Kentucky Derby.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How to Structure a 10-cent Superfecta - for Fun and Profit

Many of my friends have asked me for a simple but effective approach to structuring a 10-cent superfecta.  Let me keep it as simple as possible and at the same time show the cost of the approach.

Since there are four positions that you have to decide on I just write down 1,2,3,4 (win,place,show,4th).  Starting with position 1, the win position, I look at all the horses in the race and determine the horses by post position that have the best chance of winning.  It could be just one horse or two horses or in some instances all the horses in the race.  For arguments sake, let's assume I can decide on one horse, say, the number 5 horse.

So for
Position 1: #5

Next, we look at position 2, the place position.  We scan through all the horses again and decide on our selections.  For example, let's say I believe
 there are 4 horses that have the best chance to place.  For example, 1,4,6,10.

So now we have
Position 1: #5
Position 2: #1, #4, #6, #10

To come up with the place position selections you can use many factors to help you decide.  Here are a few factors for those of you just starting out to consider: morning line, profit line, DRF last 4 races, jockey, trainer, owner, pedigree and tip sheets.

Positions 3 and 4 are simply the hardest to figure out so I like to bet all of the horses in the race for those positions. Taking this approach the cost of the bet may be a determining factor so let's look at this.

Our bet now is

Position 1: #5
Position 2: #1, #4, #6, #10
Position 3: ALL
Position 4: ALL

Depending on the number of horses (ALL) in the race a 10-cent superfecta will cost

#Horses  Cost
   7     $8.00
   8     $12.00
   9     $16.80
  10     $22.40
  11     $28.80
  12     $36.00

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The 10-cent Superfecta Revisited

Use the 10-cent Superfecta in place of exactas and trifectas.

Some examples are: a $1 exacta 12/1234 costs $6.  A $2 exacta costs $12.  A $3 exacta $18, etc.  An equivalent 10-cent superfecta 12/1234/123456/123456 with 6 horses in the race would cost $7.20.  With 7 horses in the race 12/1234/1234567/1234567 would cost $12.  With 8 horses in the race 12/1234/12345678/12345678 would cost $18.

The payoffs from 10-cent superfectas can be sizable.  I have conducted an experiment at Remington Park where I have compared the payoffs from 10-cent superfectas with payoffs from exactas and trifectas of equal costs.

You may not have thought about it in this way but you can structure an exacta or a trifecta using a 10-cent superfecta so that if the exacta or the trifecta is a winning ticket then the 10-cent superfecta will be a winning ticket.   You ask "why would  want to do that"?  There is a good reason.  You see if there are 6-12 horses in a race the 10-cent superfecta will allow you to take advantage of horses that are really longshots that come in third or fourth to multiply the payoffs substantially.

Here are some results from May 26, 2013 at Remington Park. To verify these results you can go to, click on Results, then Historical Charts, select Remington Park and 5/26/2013 from the calendar.  Each race is listed and you can select one race at a time from the list.

The $1 exacta in the 4th race paid $9.40, but the 10-cent superfecta paid $51.42.  In race 7 the exacta paid $152.80, the 10-cent superfecta paid $3,347.40.  In race 8 the exacta paid $50.30, the 10-cent superfecta paid $2,440.  In race 9 the exacta paid $46.50, the 10-cent superfecta paid $93.  In race 10 the exacta paid $46.00, the 10-cent superfecta paid $109.30.  In race 11 the exacta paid $68, the 10-cent superfecta paid $309.20.

You may not have hit all of these exactas but I think it apparent that the 10-cent superfecta does have better payoffs in most instances.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Out of the Box Betting

The nice thing about betting on horses is that seemingly ridiculous bets can win a high percentage of the time.  Let's take the following statistic into consideration.  Empirical statistics show that the favorite horse in a race wins only about 1/3 of the time.  It doesn't matter if you choose the morning line favorite or the tote board favorite.  It makes sense then to study each race and figure out whether or not you believe the favorite will win.  If you believe the favorite will NOT win then the odds are with you because 2/3 of the time you will be right.

This approach to betting I'm going to call "Out of the Box Betting".  So how does one use this to his advantage?  Well, for one thing there is another statistic that can help.  Empirical statistics show that one of the first five morning line favorites will win about 85% of the time.  In a particular race that you are focused on, if you really think that the favorite will NOT win you can leave that horse out of your bet and bet just the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th morning line favorites to win.  Using $2 bets (for example) it would cost you ($2 x 4) $8 for the bet.  If the 2nd morning line favorite goes off at 3/1 or better you will at least get your money back ($2 x 3 + 2 = $8) from the bet.  If any of the 3rd, 4th, or 5th morning line favorites win you will make money on the bet.

There are an endless number of ways to play this "Out of the Box Betting" approach.  For example if you were to increase the size of the bet to $5.  This would cost you ($5 x 4) $20 for the bet.  If the 2nd morning line favorite goes off at 3/1 or better you will at least get your money back [($2 x 3 + 2 = $8) x 2.5 = $20] from the bet (compared to a $2 bet).  If any of the 3rd, 4th, or 5th morning line favorites win you will make 2.5 times the money on the bet.  Experience with this bet is important before you have confidence with increasing the size of the bet.  You must become good at determining whether the favorite will NOT win in a race.

Note that this bet will pay off about 50% (85-33=52) of the time.  The best way to prove this to yourself is to follow a track for at least a week making paper bets (not using any real money bets) and recording them, along with the results.  This will show you how good you are in picking races where the favorite doesn't win.  It will also show you whether you have made a profit or not after a week.  I always test my betting strategies on paper first before going live.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Positioning your bets to win

I have spent a lot of time over the years at the race track and I've talked with lots of horseplayers as well as observed their habits and actions.  Let me share with you some things I've noticed .  Have you ever seen a horseplayer pour over the Daily Racing Form searching for the horse that will win?  Have you ever seen the guy who rushes up to the teller window at the last minute to place a bet on a horse that he has finally decided on at the last minute?  Have you ever heard several horseplayers discuss after a race how they "shoulda, woulda, or coulda" won that race?  Have you ever seen the horseplayer with several tip sheets trying to determine what bet or bets he'll make?  Have you ever picked up losing tickets on the floor after a race and seen the exotic bets that were made with small amounts of money?  There are certainly as many ways to bet as you can possibly imagine.  Also notice that in every race someone places a bet on every horse that is in the race.  It doesn't matter what the odds are there is always someone who is placing a bet on that horse.  There are some horseplayers who love to bet high odd horses. One way to look at it is that no win bet is really a bad bet because any horse in the race could potentially win.  When you consider that a morning line favorite horse in a race wins only about 1/3 of the time.  This means that a non-favorite wins 2/3 of the time.

So how does one position his bets to win?  Over time there are three  principles that lead to success: careful study, personal knowledge, and gut feel.

Careful study should start with doing your homework ahead of time.  This, in the worse possible case, means don't just go to the track unprepared.  There are so many ways to prepare the night before or the day before using the (printed) Daily Racing Form or or  This will enhance your LUCK tremendously.

Personal knowledge is something you acquire by getting to know the horses, jockeys, trainers, owners, and tracks.  As a suggestion at any track you should become familar with the winningest jockeys and trainers.  Also get familar with the winningest jockey-trainer combinations.

With experience over extended periods of time you will acquire a 'gut feel'.  This is true of any endeaver but especially horse handicapping and betting.  You'll know you have enough experience when the 'feel' is apparent in your awareness.

I have numerous articles in my blog that tell you about many betting strategies as well as many handicapping approaches.  Browse through my blog and take a look.

The very best of luck to each of you.