How to Bet Horse Racing Online – Bet the 2018 Kentucky Derby

It’s that time again……….. Horse racing fans everywhere are beginning to think about the “Derby”. In America, that means The Kentucky Derby, “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports”! I’m sure lots of people would like to bet the 2018 Kentucky Derby, but don’t know how to bet horse racing online, and don’t plan to travel to Louisville, KY on the first Saturday in May.

Even people who have absolutely no interest whatsoever in horse racing know the name of America’s premier horse race. It seems the entire world eagerly awaits “The Run For The Roses”.

The-Kentucky-Derby
The Kentucky Derby

No doubt some of those people wish they knew a way to place a bet or two on the Derby, even if they’ve never placed a wager before, and don’t know how to bet. Many of them probably believe that the only way they can place a bet is to be at Churchill Downs on Derby day, but a lot has changed in the 21st century. The internet has changed the way we humans do almost everything! From research, shopping, enjoying music and entertainment, to online wagering.

Nowadays, it’s really easy to bet horse racing online through a number of different sites, but my favorite is a product of Churchill Downs itself – Twinspires.com.

The 2018 Kentucky Derby Future Wager pools are already open on their site, long before the field is set for the race. There are four pools, offering a chance to place bets on likely entrants for both the Kentucky Derby and The Kentucky Oaks. Those pools typically offer bettors a chance to get better odds on their individual choice(s) for the race. Sometimes much, much higher odds than on race day! Pool 2 of the Future Wager will be open February 9-11 this year.

Kentucky-Derby-Future-Wager
Kentucky Derby Future Wager

 

 

 

 

 

Advanced Deposit Wagering

An account with Twinspires is known as an “Advance Deposit Wagering Account” because members deposit money into an account with Twinspires before they plan to wager, then place their bets through the site, using real-time odds. There is no cost at all to sign up, membership is always free, and the minimum deposit to get started is very small. There are several ways to deposit money into your account, including a number of online options, which are listed below.

Kentucky-Derby-Hats
Kentucky Derby Hats

That description is rather “bare-bones”, but having an account affords a member more benefits than just being able to bet the races being run at Churchill Downs online. For example, the Twinspires site offers wagering on races being run all over the world, live streaming video of races being run, and replays of races as well. Because the site is owned by Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby, all the latest news and developments about their premier event are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week as well.

OPEN YOUR ACCOUNT WITH TWINSPIRES AND EARN A $100 BONUS!

I’ve had an account with Twinspires since they first launched the site in 2007, and I love it! The site is extremely easy to navigate, and placing bets is as simple as 1-2-3. Any wager that can be placed at the track can be made on the site, from board bets like Win, Place, and Show, to Superfectas, Pick 6’s, etc. And all wagers are at real-time odds.

For newcomers at a race track, it can be uncomfortable, even a little intimidating, trying to place a wager at a teller’s window. Especially if there’s a line of impatient players behind them, and they really don’t know what to say to make their bet.

Lines-At-The-Betting-Windows
Lines At The Betting Windows

I know, because I’ve been through that myself. And the closer it gets to post time, the more impatient the people in line become. They’re afraid they’ll be “shut out” and not be able to get their bets down before the start of the race.

But put that same first-time bettor in front of their computer, in the comfort of their own home, give them all the time they want to decide which horse they want to bet, what kind of bet they want to make, and how much they want to bet, and it’s an entirely different story! There’s no rush, no pressure, and no discomfort. Just fun! That’s only one of the advantages to online wagering. There are lots more!

What You Need To Know

If you want to open an account with Twinspires, there are rules and regulations that must be met. There are also a number of guidelines and restrictions, all of which are thoroughly covered on their site. The Twinspires website covers everything in great detail, but here are a few basics:

  1. Must be 18 years of age (Washington State must be 21)
  2. Must be a legal resident of a state where the Twinspires wagering system is available
  3. Must have a valid email address
  4. Must have a valid ID
  5. Must have a valid telephone number
  6. Must agree to all the terms and conditions

Pretty simple, isn’t it? Of course, setting up the account is just the beginning. Once you have your account, you need to fund it by depositing money. Naturally, Twinspires makes that as easy as possible!

Funding Your Account

There are a number of options for depositing money into your Twinspires wagering account:

  1. Mail a personal check, money order, or cashier’s check
  2. Transfer funds via wire transfer
  3. PayPal
  4. Debit or ATM card online
  5. Credit card online (MasterCard or VISA)
  6. MoneyGram (39,000+ locations)
  7. Bill Pay (EZ-Bank)
  8. PayNearMe (CVS, 7-Eleven, Family Dollar)
  9. Green Dot @ the Register
  10. EZ-Money

Both EZ-Money and Bill Pay are completely free to use, unless your bank or financial institution charges a fee. Personally, I set up my account using EZ-Money. My Twinspires wagering account is linked directly to my checking account, so transferring money is as simple as a click or two, and done! My favorite part of the process is whenever I’m transferring money from my Twinspires account into my checking account!

2am – And They’re Off!

For all the night owls out there, here’s some great news! Twinspires is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and there’s live racing going on somewhere! I’ve been sleepless more nights than I care to remember, so I logged into my Twinspires account, and began betting races in California, England, Ireland, South Africa, South America, Korea, Australia…………….. so much racing, so little time!

Flemington-Race-Track-Australia
Flemington Race Track Australia

Before you begin wondering, the answer is no! I didn’t and couldn’t handicap those races. Everything I’ve learned along the way has been about North American Thoroughbred racing, from blood lines to track biases, to trainer strengths and weaknesses. None of that knowledge could be applied to racing elsewhere.

I was going on hunches, post positions, horse names…………… You name it. It’s called counting on Blind Luck! I don’t recommend betting horse races counting on pure luck. That’s a recipe for disaster! But I’ve done it occasionally, just for fun. Small bets only!

Luck Is Alive and Well, Thank You

My sister was a huge fan of horse racing. She and I went to watch live horse racing every chance we had. She didn’t have any desire to learn about handicapping, so she relied entirely on “blind luck”. She never missed a chance to bet a horse whose name included the name of anyone she knew. Very scientific, right?

Maybe not, but sometimes………… We were at the track one day, and my sister wanted to bet on a horse that hadn’t raced in over a year. Such a long layoff is a sure sign that the horse was injured in its last start. Otherwise, the owner would have continued racing him. Plus, on this day, the horse was making its first start ever on the grass! One never knows how a horse will react when asked to do something for the very first time.

Everything I had learned told me not to bet that horse, and since he was 99-1 on the tote board, everyone else seemed to feel the same way. However, the horse’s name was Frankatthebank, and my sister just had to bet on him.

Frankatthebank won by five lengths, and paid over $240 for her $2 Win ticket. Of course I was happy for my sister, but gimme a break! How can that ever happen? I guess that’s why it’s called “Gambling”! LOL

Horse-Race-On-The-Turf
Horse Race On The Turf

But then, my sister never missed a chance to play “The Holy Ghost” horse, if the opportunity arose at the track that day. The Holy Ghost theory (Based on the trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost) holds that the first post position to win two races on that day’s racing program, would win a third race, completing the trinity, before the end of the day. Crazy, huh?

Or, is it?

On Breeders’ Cup Day, 1993, my sister and I drove to River Downs racetrack in Cincinnati, so we could watch and wager on the live races there, plus the simulcast of that year’s Breeders’ Cup races. Next to the Kentucky Derby, the Breeders’ Cup races are the biggest horse racing event of the year, and we didn’t want to miss the chance to watch and wager.

As we watched the horses being saddled for the Classic, my sister asked about the Holy Ghost horse. I explained that because the races were from two different tracks, there wouldn’t be one. Despite my explanation, she bet $2 to Win on “her” Holy Ghost horse, number 11.

“Her” Holy Ghost horse not only won, but paid $269.60 for her $2 wager. Arcangues, at 133-1, the longest odds in Breeders’ Cup history, swept past Bertrando in the stretch for the win. Naturally, Bertrando just happened to be my pick for the race!

 

Arcangues-Winning-BC-Classic-at-133-1-Odds
Arcangues Winning BC Classic At 133-1 Odds

By the way, Arcangues was not a “Holy Ghost” horse, but my sister believed he was, and that’s all that mattered to her!

Long-held beliefs, theories, hunches, and opinions are dear to most horse players, and they won’t give them up despite any and all evidence to the contrary. Most gamblers are that way, including me! Those beliefs and theories will make for some interesting reading in a future article.

Those Days Are Gone – Good Riddance!

When I first became a horse racing fan, there was no live racing in my state, so I had to drive over 100 miles each way just to see horse racing. Back then, there were only a few races shown on national TV, big races like the Kentucky Derby and a few others. Of course, there was no way to bet on those races, unless you knew a “bookie”.

I’d buy a Daily Racing Form on my way home from work on Saturday, then handicap races until bedtime. The next morning, my sister and I would drive to the track and stay for the entire 10 race card, betting every race. Back then, I lost a little more often than I won, but I had a great time! Time passed, and I got better and better, winning more often than losing. Then, along came simulcasting……

Today, I don’t need to drive anywhere to watch horse racing. I can watch and wager from the comfort of my own home. No traffic, no cigarette smoke, and no loud-mouthed poor losers to tolerate. Just me, my computer, and Twinspires!

 

 

Online-Wagering-Computer-Monitor
Online Wagering

There are several other online wagering platforms available, and they all have their good points and bad points. You may find one you prefer over Twinspires, but Churchill Downs is the home of America’s premier horse race, the Kentucky Derby, and that should reassure anyone that their online wagering platform will be the absolute best, bar none!

May the Horse be with you!

Frank

Questions and comments are always welcome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fastest Race Horse = Today’s Winner?

Logic might dictate that the fastest race horse in any given race should be today’s winner. Correct? The fastest horse has already shown that it can cover the distance faster than any other entrant in the race. All that horse needs to do is run this race in the same time as its last race, and it will simply outrun the other horses. Do you agree?

Too many times, the fastest race horse not only does not win, but doesn’t even hit the board! Today’s winner proves to be a horse that wins the race in a slower time. How can that be?

A savvy handicapper needs to know before the race that the fastest horse’s speed will likely be compromised today, and it won’t be able run as fast as it has before.  The reason?  Track variants.

If you hope to win betting on horse races, “track variants” can be a major factor in the outcome of the the race.  What you don’t know about those variants can be costly, but this article will provide some “inside” information that horse trainers and owners cope with on a daily basis.

Speed Is Always Dangerous

A Thoroughbred without speed is a horse that needs to find a different job, because it will never become a successful racehorse. Speed can not be trained into a horse. Whatever ability the horse has at birth, courtesy of its genes, is all the speed (or lack thereof) that horse will ever possess.

Dr. Fager-Fastest-Mil;e-Record-Holder
Dr. Fager, Fastest Mile Record Holder

Don’t misunderstand, a horse that “can’t outrun a fat man uphill” can still be trained and raced. It just won’t be successful. Of all Thoroughbred horses that make at least one start (indicating that it must have received enough training to pass a race track’s requirements) over half, roughly 55%, never win even one race!

Zippy-Chippy-100-Losses-Zero-Wins
Zippy Chippy, 100 Losses, Zero Wins

“Zippy Chippy” was a Thoroughbred that went to post 100 times, and lost every time! But his record didn’t eclipse that of “Thrust”, another horse who lost every one of his 105 starts.

Any horse with no “early foot” is usually left behind the field at the start of the race, sometimes 10-20 lengths or more, and may seem hopelessly beaten. But most horseplayers know that the race isn’t over until the finish line! The horse with no early speed may be the best closer in the field, passing the leaders down the stretch to win the race.

If a horse has “early speed”, it will usually outrun the rest of the field during the first part of the race, but may not be able to carry its speed far enough, and “fade” in the stretch.

But if a horse is gifted with “tactical” speed, it has the ability to turn its speed on and off at the jockey’s command. Such a horse is the most dangerous type of speed horse, because it can use its speed whenever needed, whether in the early running, the middle of the race, or during the stretch run.

Still, if today’s race is at six furlongs, and Horse A ran its last two races at that distance in 1:09.5, while no other horse in the field has ever run six furlongs in less than 1:11, then Horse A should win pretty handily, by five or more lengths.  Right?  Time to “take a stand” on Horse A!

Whether Horse A had early foot or late speed is unimportant. The horse ran six furlongs in 1:09.5 not just once, but twice! That proves the first time was not a fluke. That’s consistency! So, it’s a sure thing! Right?  Bet that horse with both hands!

Before you take out a second mortgage to bet on this sure thing, you should consider this information…………..

All Race Tracks Are Not Created Equal

When a horse racing track is first built, the construction of the racing surface is put down in layers, like this:

  1. A sub-base of large stone is put down, leveled, and tightly packed so it doesn’t shift or move.
  2. A base of smaller stone is put down over the large stone, but laid with a slight, 2% slope toward the inside rail, steeper in the turns.
  3. Often, a third layer of very fine “flume stone” is laid over the smaller stone, at the same degree, and packed tightly.
  4. The next layer is usually clay of some type, to reduce seepage into the base and facilitate drainage to the inside rail area.
  5. The final layer is the actual racing surface, usually a composite of sand, loam, clay, etc. that varies from track to track.

 

Cross-section-View-of-a-Race-Track
Cross-section View of a Race Track

 

The top layer is called the “cushion“, and is designed to do exactly that – cushion the horses’ feet as they hit the ground when they run. Since horses wear metal shoes, instead of sneakers, the racing surface must act as a shock absorber.

Using a human analogy, if you went jogging barefoot on a beach, could you run faster where the sand was tightly packed by waves, or in the dry, loose sand above the water line? Which type of sand would slow you down the most, and which would tire you the fastest?

Sandy-Beach-and-Ocean
Sandy Beach

While the differences in track surfaces might not be quite that dramatic, there still are huge variations from track to track! Not only that, but each track is maintained differently by their maintenance crews. To further complicate the issue, many tracks prepare their surface a different way for certain races, especially their Premier events.

Churchill Downs would probably deny this, but the folks who work around the track, trainers, jockeys, grooms, farriers, and veterinarians will tell you that the racing surface is “scraped down” for the Derby. A thinner cushion for the race will help ensure that the times in the Kentucky Derby that year will all be fast!

The Belmont Stakes, the third contest in the Triple Crown, has at least three nicknames. “The Test of Champions” refers to the 1 1/2 mile distance, the longest race most three year olds have ever run. “The Graveyard of Favorites”, alludes to the fact that so many horses, after winning the first two legs of the Triple Crown, have gone to post as the favorite, only to lose in the Belmont. And, to those who train and race there, Belmont Park is known as “Big Sandy”, because of the 1 1/2 mile track circumference, and the sandy consistency of the cushion.

Aerial-View-of-Belmont-Park
Belmont Park

One has to ask why so many Triple Crown hopefuls fail to win the Belmont Stakes. Some people believe it’s because the Belmont is the third demanding contest in a short, five week period, and that is just too much to ask of a three-year-old horse.

Samuel D. Riddle, owner of the immortal Man O’ War, declined to race his horse in the Kentucky Derby, because he believed asking a still-growing 3YO to race 1 1/4 miles on the first Saturday in May was simply too much, too early!

Some contend the reason for so many failures is that the race is 1 1/2 miles, farther than virtually any of the horses have ever raced, and therefore too demanding for young horses that aren’t even fully grown.

No doubt both of those are factors when favorites and/or Triple Crown threats fail in the Belmont. But I believe that the deep, sandy track is just as great an influence on the outcome of the race as the other two, if not more so.

What do you think?

What Does That Mean To Me?

If you plan to bet on horse racing, and don’t understand track variances, you’ll be a severe disadvantage.  I can guarantee that many of the bettors wagering on any given race are well aware of the differences, especially the “regulars” at their favorite track!

You might think that six furlongs at Gulfstream Park in 1:09.4 would be no different than 1.09.4 at Indiana Grand Racing and Casino, or Santa Anita, Tampa Bay Downs, etc.  If that were true, then a horse that runs six furlongs in 1:09.4 at one track, should be able to run 1:09.4 at any other track. Right? But that isn’t the reality of comparing speeds at one track to speeds at a different track.

Every race track has a different composition in its cushion. Some cushions have more sand than others, some have more loam, and some have more clay. The ingredients are all mixed differently by each Track Superintendent. Their goal is to provide a safe and fair surface for horses and riders. How they choose to accomplish that goal is one of the variables a handicapper must weigh into any calculations.

Track-Maintenance-Equipment
Track Maintenance Equipment

While it’s not as simple as looking up Track Records for different distances, sometimes those statistics can provide a clue as to whether or not a track tends to produce faster times on a regular basis. That knowledge may be the edge you need to out-handicap the other handicappers!

If the other players are only looking at the final times each entry has posted at the distance of today’s race, they may be tricked into believing a horse is faster than it will prove to be in the upcoming race.

What If The Track Is “Off” Today?

A wet race track changes everything! Some horses seem to love the mud, while others simply will not run well on a wet track. Just like children – some enjoy playing in the mud, and some don’t! Past Performances will give a handicapper a pretty good idea of whether or not a horse is a “mudder” or not, but there are variables with wet tracks too.

Wet-horse-racing-track
Wet Race Track

 

Generally, wet tracks will be labeled one of a few different ways by the host track. Each description is based on a racing officials opinion, so it may or may not agree with your opinion or mine. Track conditions and my opinion of how it can affect a horse’s performance are:

  1. “Wet Fast” – The track has a little extra moisture, but not enough to make any noticeable difference in the race.
  2. “Muddy” – There is enough moisture to affect the consistency of the cushion. But all “muddy” tracks are not the same. Not by a long shot! If this track has a higher percentage of loam, or any clay, it will become “tacky”, sticking to the horses’ hooves and slowing them down. Conversely, if the track has a high percentage of sand, it won’t stick to their hooves.
  3. “Heavy – The officials are saying that there’s enough moisture in the track that, in combination with the loam and/or clay, has a consistency that will stick to the horses’ hooves badly. If you’ve ever walked in mud that was so sticky that your feet got bigger with every step, you understand what “heavy” means!
  4. “Sloppy” – This track condition is the real fooler. If you think “sloppy” is worse for speed than “heavy” or “muddy”, you need to think again! The reality is that the cushion becomes “soupy” and gets thin enough that it no longer cushions the horses’ hooves. Instead, their feet pass completely through the cushion and hit the clay beneath it. Doing so might be hard on their joints, but the hard clay allows the horses to actually run faster than on a “fast” track!

    Sloppy-horse-racing-track
    Sloppy Track

In the above picture of horses running on a sloppy track, notice how deep their hooves are going into the cushion!

That tidbit of knowledge is something else I learned while owning racehorses, and few handicappers are aware of the effect certain wet tracks have on how horses perform. Using that knowledge should give you another advantage over the other players, and help you cash another winning ticket!

My First Horse – Lesson Learned

Racehorse ownership opened my eyes as a handicapper to factors I didn’t even know existed before that time. I’ll take you back to 1997, the year my very first racehorse, Run The Luck, began her racing career. Being an Accredited Ohio-bred, meaning sired by an Ohio stud and foaled in Ohio, my plan was to race her in races restricted to those conditions.

That subject needs to be covered more thoroughly in a later article, but race conditions” are a potent handicapping tool as well!

Thistledown-Race-Track
Thistledown Race Track

At that time, there were three race tracks in Ohio for Thoroughbreds.   River Downs in Cincinnati, Beulah Park just outside Columbus, and Thistledown in Cleveland. Our trainer was based at River Downs, and “Lucky” had trained exclusively on that track, so that was the logical place for her initial outing.

We entered her in a restricted race, a Maiden Special Weight for Accredited Ohio-breds, fillies and mares, 3yo and up. The favorite in the race was a 5YO mare who had run 31 times previously, but had never won a race.  “Why would the owners continue running her in MSW races, when she’s shown she can not win?” I asked myself.

A year or so later, I discovered the answer to that question, when I was faced with a decision about Lucky.  The owners were not willing to risk losing their horse by dropping her into a Maiden Claiming Race, even though she probably could have won at that level.

In her first start, Run The Luck ran a creditable third, breaking well and running in the second flight of horses, but unable to catch the leaders. Encouraged by her effort, we entered her in another race with the same conditions. Unfortunately, we drew an outside post, the nine “hole”.

Despite the trainer’s instructions of “whatever you do, don’t get hung out wide in the turn”, the jockey kept her near the lead, and she was hung out six-wide throughout the only turn in the one-turn race. Lucky made her move at the head of the stretch, but she had run a longer race than the rest of the field, and tired to finish sixth.

River-Downs-Race-Track
River Downs

Trip handicapping” is another subject that needs to be covered in a later article, because it can be crucial!

Lucky’s third start, under the same conditions, appeared to be much tougher than her previous two starts. The favorite was a “shipper” from Thistledown that had shown blazing speed in her only other start. On paper, Lucky seemed to regressing after finishing third, then sixth, in her two races.  She went off at 17-1 odds.

Just as I had done in her two previous starts, I asked the trainer his opinion of her chances in the race. On paper, it didn’t look as though she could keep up with the favorite, the “speedball”.

His reply stays with me still. “Don’t worry about that horse. Thistledown’s cushion is thin, and horses run faster there. River Downs is deep and sandy. That horse doesn’t have a chance. She’s gonna get really tired and she’ll be doing good just to finish the race.”

Armed with that knowledge, plus my personal knowledge that Run The Luck had been hung out six wide in her last start (That information did not show in her PP’s for the race.), I bet my 17-1 horse pretty heavily. Then I went down to the rail, right at the finish line, a habit I still have today.

The gates sprung open, and the speedball took off like a rocket, with two horses in close pursuit. Lucky settled in the second flight of horses, about five lengths off the lead. I learned after racing her for a while that she was comfortable in that position. It was her preferred “running style”, and she always ran well when allowed to “run her race”.

As the field rounded the final turn and headed into the stretch, the speedball shipper began to shorten stride and was passed by the two stalkers right behind her. Just then, Run The Luck unleashed her run! Down the stretch, she shook off the horses trying to run with her, then caught and passed the last two challengers. She opened up by five lengths and coasted to the wire! The only “closer” in the field made a run at her, but the outcome was never in doubt!

Race-horses-down-the-stretch-they-come
Down The Stretch They Come!

To this day, as I recall that race, the excitement, the thrill, the exhilaration…………WOW! I still get chills!

 

Numbers DO Lie

The “regulars” at River Downs knew about the track variance between “The River” and Thistledown, and vice versa at Thistledown. They used that information to help them in their handicapping. If those veterans had known about Run The Luck’s poor trip in her last outing, she would never have gone off at 17-1 odds. You can bet on that!

With the advent of simulcasting, handicapping changed dramatically, because players were often betting on horses they couldn’t see “in the flesh”, and the nuances of track variations became less well known among bettors far removed from local tracks.

Nowadays, millions of horse players watch and wager from the comfort of home, using Advance Deposit wagering systems. They never even see a horse, or a race track, in person. Perhaps you fall into that category. That’s fine! As long as you remain a horse racing fan, I’m happy!

But before you place your next wager simply because a horse ran a faster time, at a different track, than the rest of the field, remember this…………… All final times are not created equal! Carefully evaluate where that race was run, and whether or not that track’s cushion is known to be deep, or thin, sandy or full of clay. Then compare the other track to today’s track, and factor the differences into your betting decisions. Give yourself an advantage by using information that most other players have no clue about!

May the Horse be with you!

Frank

 

Comments or questions are always welcome.

 

 

 

Betting Horse Races – Winning At Horse Racing

If you’re a fan, and you plan on betting horse races, you need to learn what winning at horse racing requires.  If you want to win, and win more consistently, you need to become as knowledgeable as possible about all the myriad factors that must play out exactly as planned, and come together at just the right time to win a race.

Most horse racing fans don’t know that the average  racehorse only wins about 20% of their races.  That’s right.  One in five races.  That means they lose four out of five races.  And 20% is a good winning percentage for horse trainers!  If  your plans include betting horse races, you need to know why winning percentages are as low as they are.

Why is that the norm?  This article will begin addressing some of the reasons race horses lose so much of the time.  But understanding how difficult it can be to win just one race might help you appreciate the accomplishment of a horses like Zenyatta, Cigar, Citation, and Kincsem.

Chances are, you’ve never even heard the name “Kincsem“.  Most people haven’t, because she raced in Europe in the 1870’s, where male and female horses raced against each other on a regular basis.  Kincsem raced 54 times, and won every time!  Her record was 54-0-0, the best race record ever recorded.  She never lost!

Picture-of-the-undefeated-Kincsem
The Undefeated Kinscem
54-0

Murphy’s Law

Murphy’s Law states “Anything that can go wrong, will, and at the worst possible time.”  As a racehorse owner, one of the first things I was forced to accept was that I was probably going to lose four out of five races, so I’d better be a good loser!  There are so many things that can go wrong, before and during a race.  Many of the things that go wrong in a race are never disclosed to racing officials, record keepers, or race fans.

I’m not implying any evil wrongdoing on anyone’s part.  Not at all.  So many of the things that go wrong are just seemingly small things, but even small things can affect the outcome of a race.  Something as seemingly small as a groom grabbing the “wrong” bridle for a horse.  There was nothing wrong or illegal intended, just a mistake anyone could easily make.  But the fact remains that the groom picked up a bridle with a bit that was different from the training bit that the horse trained with every morning.

Race-horse-half-cheek-bridle
Half-Cheek Bridle

Horses are creatures of habit that are disturbed or stressed by any change in their routine.  Confused by the feel of a different bit, the horse might run poorly.  No surprise there!  One of its four losses out of five starts.  No doubt that groom was chewed out by the trainer if the mistake came to light, but in all probability, only three people would ever know it happened – the groom, the trainer, and (maybe) the owner.

Racing horseshoes are typically made of an aluminum alloy, to keep weight to a minimum.  So, the horses’ shoes are thin and light, but that means they lack tensile strength.  When the gates spring open, racehorses are trained to leap out of the gate and get up to racing speed as quickly as possible.

If a horse leaping out of the gate happens to catch the back of a front foot with the front edge one of its hind feet, it could easily bend the shoe or pull it off completely.  Either situation will have a negative effect on the way the horse runs, and a bent shoe can be much worse.  If you doubt that, try running wearing only one shoe, or with one shoes having the sole torn loose and flapping, and tell me how well that works for you!

A track’s racing program, the Daily Racing Form, Equibase, and most other informational sources will note whenever there’s any change being made in a horse’s equipment, physical changes (i.e. gelding), Lasix, etc. since its last race.  “Blinkers On” and “Blinkers Off” are noted, but most people, even regular racing fans, may not understand the differences in blinkers, specifically, the type of “cup” used in the blinkers.

The most common types of cups are full cup, half cup, and quarter cup (sometimes called a “French cup”). The horse in the photo below is wearing a half cup set of blinkers in a white hood, probably to match the owners’ silks.  As an owner, I wanted to use my own silks and blinkers, in my own colors and design.  So I provided my trainer with three sets of blinkers in my colors, each with a different size cup.

Race-horse-in-white-blinkers-with-full-cups
8th Race, Joe DeNucci, SD27 Oct, 2012
bradfordst219 from Long Beach, USA

 

Generally speaking, blinkers are used to help a horse focus its attention, and direction, forward.  Being by nature a prey animal, horses have a very wide range of vision.  But a horse won’t go where it can’t see, so if a horse tends to change lanes or veer in or out during a race, a trainer will try using blinkers to correct that problem.  The fuller the cup, the more narrow the horse’s field of vision, encouraging it to keep a straighter path.

Suppose a horse has been training every morning in a half cup blinker, but in this race, for reasons unknown, the horse shows up to race in quarter cup or full blinkers.  When faced with this new development, in this case an unexpected equipment change, the horse might become confused or uncertain, and run poorly.  A bettor would have no way of knowing the horse was wearing the “wrong” blinkers, nor that doing so could adversely affect its performance in the race.!

1,000 Ways To Lose

As an owner, I quickly became aware of another adage.  “There’s a thousand ways to lose a race, but only one way to win one”.  Truer words were never spoken!  Never forget Murphy’s Law!

Too many times, fans are quick to point a finger at the jockey who rode a losing horse.  “He/She is a bum!  Can’t ride worth a darn!”  “Did you see what that jockey did?  It’s fixed, I’m telling you!”  Sometimes the trainer and the owner join in the criticism.  Maybe it’s human nature to look for a reason, or a scapegoat.  It couldn’t be just bad racing luck, could it?

It not only could be, but probably is.  Don’t misunderstand me, because jockeys can and do make mistakes.  They are human, after all!

One of the greatest riders of all time, Willie “The Shoe” Shoemaker, misjudged the finish line aboard Gallant Man in the 1957 Kentucky Derby.  He stood up in the irons at the 16th pole, thinking he had won the race.  But he was wrong, and his actions cost him the race that year!

I watched a jockey pull up my horse in a race, and have it vanned off the track in the equine ambulance.  Talk about feeling sick to your stomach!  Back at the barn, I discovered (to my tremendous relief) there was nothing at all wrong with the horse, but the rider thought the horse had taken a bad step and wasn’t “moving right”.  He took the action he did to protect both himself and the horse, so I couldn’t question his judgement.  Make that 1,001 ways to lose a race!

If you ever question why a rider makes a decision like that, I suggest you climb aboard a racehorse, ride it at breakneck speed in the middle of ten or more other horses, and decide in a split second what to do if the horse feels like something isn’t right!  I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t take any chances of hurting myself or the horse.  I would pull up too!

I once owned a horse that had been racing without Lasix.  When he started fading in the stretch, we had our veterinarian “scope” him after a morning workout.  He had begun bleeding in his lungs, which prevented him from breathing right, so we made the decision to race him with Lasix.  Of course, that information was duly noted, “First Time Lasix”, in the Program and the Daily Racing Form.

To many handicappers and bettors, “First Time Lasix” is seen as a betting angle.  A horse showing recent poor performances might have been needing an anti-bleeding medication, and by getting Lasix for this race, the horse could improve dramatically.  They’ll bet the horse just for that reason.  Unfortunately, my horse ran a horrible race, because he suffered some type of allergic reaction to the Lasix.  The vet said that was extremely rare.  Murphy’s Law, once again.  Make that 1,002 ways to lose a race!

 

Racing Luck, or Rider Judgement?

Often, it’s nearly impossible to decide whether a horse loses because of the rider’s poor judgement or mistake, or it it’s just another of those 1,000+ ways to lose a race.  But I can tell you this – jockeys make riding hot-blooded, excited Thoroughbreds look easy.

Jockey-standing-in-the-stirrups-on-galloping-horse
Bangor on Dee
25 Feb, 2009
Paul

Think about this for a minute.  Those riders are basically balancing themselves in two very small iron stirrups, crouched down low over that tiny excuse for a saddle.  If they fall off that animal at 30+ mph, they run the risk of broken bones, permanent disability, or death, a risk made far worse by the risk of being trampled or kicked  by other horses.  So, before I ever started “armchair quarterbacking”, I thought I’d better consider that!

If a rider is “bumped” by another horse and rider during the early part of the race, especially if the bump occurs right out of the gate, the Track Stewards will probably disallow a “Jockey Objection” on the basis that it didn’t affect the outcome of the race.  The logic is that having happened so early in the race, the incident didn’t really make a significant difference in the way the race was run.

In my experience, track officials really don’t like changing the results of a race.  The incident needs to be both major and obvious to require changing the finish order.  If the finish order is changed, there will be a lot of unhappy bettors, so they had better have a very good reason for the call.

But what if that bump caused the rider to lose a stirrup?  Remember, that’s one half of the rider’s two points of balance.  The jockey will be forced to sit down on that tiny saddle and get his/her foot back in the stirrup.

Doing so might only take a second or two, but in a race, that amounts to five or more lengths.  That could easily cost the horse a win or an “on the board” finish!  One of the Stewards might see that, and initiate an “Inquiry” of their own.

Inquiry-sign-on-tote-board
Inquiry Sign

In either case, an Objection or Inquiry might not change the finish order, because the bump didn’t seem serious enough to affect the outcome of the race.  It comes down to the Stewards’ judgement, and they do not like taking down a horse’s number!

In the stretch run, occasionally a horse and rider change course and cut off another entry.  The rider that was cut off has the right to file an Objection, and the Stewards then have to decide if the infraction was:

  1. Severe enough to alter the outcome of the race
  2. Intentional on the part of the lead rider
  3. Avoidable by the rider changing course

Sometimes, it’s a situation in which the rider is simply unable to control the horse enough to keep it from drifting into the other rider’s lane, despite the rider’s best efforts. In that case, an “Interference” ruling would be unjust.

Whenever a rider is cut off, he/she knows the danger of “running up” on the other horse.  If that happens, both horses and both riders could go down, and their spill could trigger a pile up with the horses behind them. A fall, especially if they’re kicked or trampled could result in broken bones, full or partial paralysis, or even death!

Perhaps the rider erred on the side of safety by instinctively pulling up their mount.  I would, and I think you would too!

Have you ever slammed on the brakes when someone cut you off?

If a rider dropped their whip in the stretch run, that might be rider error, but what if the whip simply broke?  That would put the horse and rider at a severe disadvantage during the stretch run, yet wouldn’t give any cause for an objection, inquiry, or a claim of foul.  It might never even be mentioned in future Past Performances, yet it could be just another way to lose a race. Hello, Murphy!

Race-Horses-Coming-Down-The-Stretch
Down The Stretch

What if the saddle slipped during a race?  Whose fault would that be?  The trainer?  Equipment is their responsibility, after all.  The assistant who actually saddled the horse in the paddock? Perhaps it just wasn’t tight enough?  But if the equipment was okay when it was checked, and put on the horse properly, then something in the equipment broke, whose fault would that be?

Murphy!   Make that 1,002 and 1,003 ways to lose a race!

The Starting Gate

In my personal opinion, the starting gate and the start of any race are the areas responsible for many of the 1,000+ ways to lose a race.  Keep in mind that these racehorses are asked to enter a small, confined space, and to be locked in there.  Prey animals instinctively depend upon flight for survival, so simply walking into the starting gate can be a traumatic experience, because it goes against all their instincts.  Young horses are usually the worst about the gate, but some horses have trouble loading into the gate throughout their racing careers.

Having said that, let’s talk about some of the things that can go wrong at the gate.  Problems like refusing to load, flipping in the gate, or other unfortunate events can cause a horse to be scratched from a race.  If scratched, a horse won’t be a factor in the race.

With all the adrenaline flowing due to the anxiety and tension leading up to the start, it’s a wonder that a lot more doesn’t go wrong!

A race track official, “The Starter” is responsible for making sure that all the horses and riders are set to go before starting the race.  The horses must be in the starting gate, the gates closed front and rear, all four feet on the ground, looking forward, and the rider must be seated properly on the horse.  Then and only then,  the Starter pushes the button, the bell sounds, the gates pop open, and “They’re Off!”.  Hopefully.

 

Race-horses-breaking-from-the-starting-gate
Breaking From The Gate

Occasionally, in the split second between the button being pushed and the gates opening, a horse might rear, and be caught with only its hind feet on the ground when the gates spring open.  “Broke in air”, or “Broke awkwardly” would be the comment in that horse’s Past Performances.  The horse could easily lose several lengths to the rest of the field, enough to compromise its chances of winning or hitting the board.

Race-horse-rearing-at-the-break
Rearing At the Break

Or the horse might just decide to have a look around, and have its head turned sideways at the break.  The horse isn’t breaking “badly”, but loses ground to the rest of the field.  Remember, one second equals five lengths at full speed.  How many lengths does a horse lose in that situation? Perhaps enough to cost it a win or a placing, anyway.  “Away slowly” would be the comment in the horse’s Past Performances.

Another scenario may occur if a horse stumbles as it tries to leap out of the gate, often falling to its knees, in all probability costing it any chance whatsoever of getting back into the race.  Even if the rider manages to stay aboard, getting the horse back on its feet and running takes seconds, not just part of a second.  “Stumbled Start” would be the PP notation, but still another way to lose a race through bad racing luck.

Horse-falling-to-its-knees-at-start-of-race
Stumbling At the Start

Any of these situations could cost the horse the race, because it basically got a late start, spotting the rest of the field several lengths or more.  To make matters worse, if the horse needs to be on or near the lead to run its best race, it would be taken completely out of its preferred running style.

Preferred running styles is a subject that needs to be, and will be, addressed in a later article.

In each gate, an Assistant Starter is positioned, standing on a ledge inside the gate, usually to the left of the horse and rider.  It can be an extremely dangerous position, being confined in that small space with such a large, unpredictable animal.  And the horse can be dangerous too!

The Assistant Starter helps calm and steady the horse, holding the horse’s head with bridle or rein.  He/she must release the horse at the bell.  Being even a split second late with the release could cause the horse to hesitate and not break cleanly, and cost the horse any chance of winning.

What an easy way to fix a race, you say?  All that Assistant Starter would have to do is hold the horse in the gate for an instant, and have someone bet the race accordingly.  Right?  Whenever enough money is involved, cheating can rear its ugly head, but there are safeguards in racing.

To ensure that doesn’t happen, the Assistant Starters never know in advance which horse they’ll be handling until the last possible minute, just as the horses are being loaded into the gate.  Far too late to communicate with an accomplice.

Race-horses-loading-into-starting-gate
Loading Into The Gate

Do you remember the balancing act the riders perform during each race?

Jockeys know all too well that when those gates open, the horse they’re on is trained to leap forward and get up to racing speed as quickly as possible.

Many, if not most or all, riders twist the horse’s mane into their grip with the reins just before the break.  When the horse leaps forward out of the gate, their grip on the horse’s mane helps the rider avoid being thrown backward, losing their balance, and perhaps being thrown off the horse.

So, what happens if the rider doesn’t have that grip on the mane, and isn’t ready for the lunge out of the gate?  In that situation, the rider has two feet in the stirrups and both hands on the reins only.

As the horse leaps forward, the rider is thrown backward, and has only the reins keep from tumbling off the rear of the horse.   “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”  The laws of physics apply to race horses and their riders the same as everything else in the universe!

Blame it on instinct, or blame it on the laws of physics, but the rider will yank the reins, jerking the bit forcibly into the back of the horse’s mouth.

Jerking hard on the reins is telling that horse to stop!  The horse is trying to follow its training by leaping forward, but the rider is telling the horse to stop. “Whoa!” is a command that’s instilled deeply into the horse in early training, so it will try to stop.

It’s called “catching the horse’s mouth“, and will cause the horse to lose its momentum, getting away from the gate behind the rest of the field.  Such a mistake could cost several lengths, depending upon how quickly horse and rider can recover, but it easily be enough to lose the race.

I doubt you’ll ever hear a rider admit to making such a mistake, though.  Would you admit it?  I know that I wouldn’t want to confess to such a careless mistake!  Count that as another of the 1,008+ ways to lose a race.

If you ever begin to believe that Murphy and his Law are no longer alive and well, just buy a Thoroughbred and start racing.  You will become altogether too well acquainted with Mr. Murphy.  I can guarantee that!

The End Result

It’s  easy to see that even a small error on the part of a jockey, a groom, a trainer, track personnel, or the horse itself, can cause a loss.  No amount of study or handicapping can predict occurrences like those I’ve mentioned here.  So, what is a bettor to do?

Past Performance records might offer a clue, but only if a bettor is knowledgeable enough to interpret incidents like the ones I’ve just described.  For example, how badly did the horse stumble out of the gate?  Did it fall to its knees or merely “stutter step”?

My recommendation is to try focusing on the factors that might be more indicative of a race’s potential outcome, with a better understanding of how to “read between the lines” whenever a horse shows a “trouble line” in its last race.

I hope you’ve gained some insight into why losing four out of five is the norm in horse racing.  There are just so many factors, and so many variables that are totally unpredictable.

In closing, if you are ever told that a horse in an upcoming race is a “Sure Thing”, a “Mortal Lock”, a “Safe Bet”, a “Can’t Lose Bet”, or any other similar description, always remember this.  In horse racing, there are NO sure things!

 

May the Horse be with you!

Frank

 

Comments or questions are always welcome.

 

 

Winning Tips – Handicapping Secrets

This site is meant to offer some winning tips, handicapping secrets, if you will, to help each and every horseplayer out there. During nearly twenty years of owning, racing, and gambling on Thoroughbred horse races, I learned a great many things about this great sport that the average handicapper has no knowledge about. In fact, many of the so-called “professionals” or “experts” aren’t aware of the information I plan to share with you.

Everyone wants to win money when they gamble, but most gamblers lose, and they lose consistently.  Casinos certainly aren’t willing to give you any winning tips,  because they plan for you to lose!  Casino games are always structured to give the “house” a winning edge, so a bettor is hoping to be better at any game than the house.  The odds always favor the house.

Picture-of-casino-games
Casino Games

But that’s not the case in betting on legal horse racing!  A player only needs to be better at picking winners than the other players.  The “house”, meaning the race track or affiliates, deducts their percentage from the total wagers placed on any given race, and pays all the rest to winning ticket holders. That’s parimutuel wagering in a few words. Franks Winning Tips is designed to give you an edge over the rest of the horse players.

Racetrack-programs-losing-tickets
Programs & Tickets
DSC_1492, 27 Oct 2012
bradfordst219 from Long Beach USA

This site isn’t designed to teach you how to read Past Performances, or understand basic handicapping.   There are several really good websites to help you with that, but always remember that PP’s (Past Performances) will only show you what the horse did, not what it will do!  And therein lies the challenge.  Instead, I want to help you learn to dig up tidbits of information that other players may know nothing about, which gives you an edge.

First, a word about “systems”.  There are lots and lots of systems available that promise to provide a mechanical, no-brainer method of finding the horse that will win the race you’re handicapping.  The reason mechanical systems don’t work, even if the system has some validity, is because no system can factor in race day variables.  And there are always variables!

When I first became a horse racing fan, I wanted to learn how to bet, and win at the track, so I bought a dozen or more systems, spending hundreds of dollars to buy them, and hundreds more testing them.  While each of them had some good ideas or pointers, and some narrowed my betting choices, I personally never found one that consistently provided winners.

Using-a-System
Using a System

If you choose to use any kind of mechanical system,my advice is to test it with small wagers while you decide if it has any merit.  Don’t jump in with both feet and risk a lot of money because you believe you have a “sure thing”.  In horse racing, there are no “sure things”.

The first system I bought pointed to a horse in the second race that I really didn’t think had any chance of winning, but that was their pick, so…………

I bet the way I usually did in those days.  I bet my first choice in the first race to Win and Place, my second choice to Place, then boxed the two horses in an Exacta Box.  For the second race, I bet the system’s pick to Win and Place, and my choice to Place, then boxed those two horses in another Exact Box.  The board bets were all $5 wagers, and the Exactas were $2 bets.

For the Daily Double, I used my two horse in the first race with the two horses in the second race.  At $2, the total wager was $8.  At post time, I was at the rail, right at the finish line (my preferred viewing spot), with a grand total of $46 on the line.  I was excited!

In the first race, my 1-2 choices finished second and first respectively, so I cashed two place bets and the exacta, and I was live for the Daily Double!

Race two started, and my two picks were leading the field!  Oh boy!  Turning for home, the system pick got the lead and opened up to win by about three lengths, with my choice finishing second.  I couldn’t believe it!

Down-The-Stretch-They-Come
Down The Stretch They Come!

After Race Two, I went to the window and cashed my winning tickets.  I can’t remember the total payout, but it was somewhere between $400 and $500, an awfully good return on $46 of wagers.  I remember thinking “This is easy!”

That was the one and only time that system ever produced a winner.  I’m sure I” gave back” every dollar I won that day trying, though!

Common Mistakes

One of the mistakes handicappers often make is studying a horse’s Past Performances, and assuming that horse will perform the same way in its next race.  Always remember these are horses, not machines!  They are living, breathing animals.  As such, they have good days, and they have bad days, just as we do ourselves.

horse-lying-down-feeling-poorly
A Little Under the Weather

Have you ever had one of those days when all you really wanted to do was go back to sleep and do nothing at all that day?  You weren’t sick, you had no fever or symptoms of any kind.  You just didn’t want to go to work.  But, you had to go anyway, like it or not.  What was your job performance like that day?  Somewhere between poor and terrible?

Race horses have bad days too.  Since they can’t talk, they just go on to “work”, and race that day. If their horse isn’t showing any alarming symptoms, the trainer will race them.  Trainers don’t like to scratch a horse unless they have no other choice.  There are numerous reasons for that, and I’ll cover them later.

And their performance that day?  No Past Performance information can prepare you for that!  The experts will say the horse just “threw in a clinker”.  Hindsight won’t save you from a losing wager though, will it?  But, what if you could judge a horse’s readiness before the race?

What To Do?

If you owned a racehorse, you could ask your trainer about your horse’s readiness before a race.  The response is usually the same every time.  “He/she has been training good!”  If the horse was “off its feed”, not eating right, or had a fever, the trainer would have had a veterinarian examine the horse.  If the vet felt the horse wasn’t 100% ready to race, the horse would be scratched from the race.  So, the trainer thinks the horse is ready to run.

If the horse runs poorly, most of the time all the trainer can say is “I don’t know what happened.  We’ll get him/her back to the barn and try to figure it out.”.  Even good trainers can be wrong.  The fact is that a horse may not be showing any overt problem, but still perform badly.

So, what is a horse player to do?  Some players don’t know that most trainers don’t usually walk the horse over to the paddock to be saddled.  Major races, like the Kentucky Derby, are exceptions because those trainers want to be seen on TV.  Most of the time, a groom walks the horse to the paddock, and an assistant trainer (basically a trainee) will saddle the horse, while the trainer watches on a monitor.

Here is a key factor:  Even if the trainer senses that the horse isn’t acting quite “right” in the minutes leading up to the race, he or she probably will not scratch the horse from the race.

“Why not?” you ask.  The answer is that if a trainer scratches a horse just before the race, without the approval of a veterinarian or a Steward, he or she could be penalized in a number of different ways.  The penalties vary, depending on the racing jurisdiction, but you can be assured that there WILL be penalties.  So, the trainer will let the horse race, as long as they believe the horse will suffer no harm from racing that day.

Horse-in-poor-physical-condition
Poor Physical Condition

Telltale signs

  1. The first thing I notice about a horse being walked to the saddling area is the horse’s body language.  Walking with its head down, disinterested in its surroundings, is a bad sign.  It says “I don’t want to be here!”
  2. A horse with a dull, lifeless coat often indicates health problems.  That could include having worms, poor quality feed or hay, unbalanced electrolytes, ulcers, or even more severe problems.
  3. If a horse’s eyes seem dull, that indicates much the same potential problem as walking with its head down.  Usually, a horse will show both signs at the same time.
  4. If you see a horse that’s sweating profusely, “lathering up”, or trembling badly, it usually indicates that the horse is either nervous or afraid of the race ahead.  That horse may expend too much of its energy just being saddled, and “leave its race in the paddock.”
  5. Some trainers believe a racehorse should be “drawn up”, meaning being rather wasp-waisted, with ribs showing.  Of course, a horse could also be fat, which isn’t good either, but a malnourished animal just can’t run its best race.
  6. I like to see a horse in good flesh, neither too thin nor too fat, with a shining coat, a spring in its step, and its head held high while it checks out its surroundings with a bright eye. To me, that’s a happy, healthy horse, rarin’ to go!
Sneaky-Lady-racehorse-entering-paddock
Sneaky Lady, DSC_1131
27 Oct, 2012 Suffolk Downs. bradfordst219 from Long Beach USA

Here’s an Interesting Statistic

Both an average racehorse and a successful trainer only win at about a 20% rate.  That’s right – one race in five.  And most trainers can’t even win at a 20% rate!  Think about that for a minute.  Most racehorses, and most trainers, lose four times out of five!  There can be lots of reasons for losing so many races, and we’ll explore more of them as we go along.

Narrowing your betting selections by eliminating horses you don’t believe are ready to race their best will give you a definite advantage when you put your money down!

May the Horse be with you!

Frank

 

Comments or questions are always welcome

Win Betting – Handicapping Secrets

I can show you how to win betting horses, using the handicapping secrets I gathered during all the years I owned Thoroughbreds, and “played the ponies”.  I’ll be working with the premise that you already know how to read a program, and understand the information shown in Past Performances.  If you have yet to learn how to read and understand the information, one of the best sites to learn is at The Daily Racing Form,   drf.com.  They not only gather, compile, and publish the information, they will teach you to read it as well!

Race-Horses-Coming-Down-The-Stretch
Down The Stretch

This site has no products to sell you, so nothing in my posts is a sales pitch of any kind.  My personal experience has been that there simply is no such thing as a mechanical “system” to bet horse racing that works.  None.  Nada.  Zilch.  And even the most basic systems require you to be able the read a horse’s past performances.  Many of them contain some useful information, but it can be expensive to acquire.

As for  the “experts”, most are only right about one third of the time.  How many experts (other than weather forecasters) do you know who can keep their jobs with those kind of percentages?  They do become expert at making excuses for being wrong two-thirds of the time, though!

I base my opinion on the dozens of “systems” I bought and tried when I first started going to the races regularly, back in the 1980’s.  I spent hundreds of dollars on systems, only to find that they either didn’t work at all, or all the calculations pointed to the favorite in the race.  Giving me the favorite in an upcoming race was no help at all!

Using-a-System
Using a System

 

The Daily Racing Form, or the track program gave me that information at a glance, although the only odds that really matter are post-time odds.   And I bought “Tip Sheets” at the track to help me in my betting.  Like all the other experts, they were only right about one third of the time, and that was usually on heavy favorites!

Don’t get me wrong.  All the research and studying did help further my education, but I still lost money regularly at the track.  Sometimes I lost because of poor selections, and other times I lost because of poor betting decisions.  No, I didn’t lose all the time, or I would have given up.  But I won often enough to cause me to want to learn more about horse racing, and betting on horse racing, to continue.

My learning curve took a steep upward curve when I became involved in race horse ownership.  Of course, my wife just said that all I had done was to take my gambling addiction to the next level!  Over the next seventeen plus years, I became more and more deeply involved in horse racing, including buying, selling and breeding Thoroughbreds.  And, I continued to play the ponies!

What I plan to share with you in a series of ongoing posts is the insight I gathered over the years.  Information you won’t find in any publications about betting on horse racing.  I will undoubtedly repeat some things you already know, or have seen, heard, or read elsewhere.  But I will also share the insight I gained from my own personal experiences, whether from ownership (information you can’t get any other way) or from continuing to enjoy the races as a fan and bettor.

May the Horse be with you!

Frank

 

Comments or questions are always welcome.

 

About Frank

I became a fan of horseracing in 1983, with just one visit to Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, KY.  I was really smitten by the beauty of the horses, the thrill of the races, and, better yet, cashing winning tickets!  I knew absolutely nothing about horse racing or betting.  I was sitting at a table with three guys I had just met the day before at a corporate training session.  All three of them were from Kentucky, and all were avid horseplayers.  I asked the man on my right who he liked in the first race, and he pointed out the horse in the betting program.  I’ll never forget that moment!  The horse he pointed out was a gray horse named “Iron Age”, who was 25-1 on the tote board.  So, I asked him why he liked that horse.  He replied that he had seen that horse race several times at Churchill Downs, and that the horse loved the mud and always tried his best to win.  By the way, some fans believe you should always bet a gray horse in the mud or on the grass.  More on that at a later time.  Knowing nothing about other wagering possibilities, I went to the window and bet $20 to win on that horse.  Can you imagine how I felt as the field turned toward home, and Iron Age took the lead and began drawing away to win by about five lengths?  I still remember the thrill! I won over $500 on that race.  If I had only known how to bet more effectively, I could have won thousands!  Live and learn, right?

Betting-on-the-Favorite
Picking A Winner

Over the next few years, I read every book or article I could find about horse racing and betting.  I spent hundreds of dollars buying “systems” that were guaranteed to help me win at the track.  Every system I bought proved to be either a complete waste of time and money, or pointed me to the favorite in the race.  But, with each trip to the track, I learned more and more about the art of handicapping horse races.

Using-a-System
Using a System

By the early 90’s, I was so excited about horse racing that I decided to buy my own racehorse.  That process alone was an education!  I’ll gladly share that story with you later.  I learned so much more as an owner, primarily because of the close relationships I developed with the trainers I used.  All the information and insights I gathered over the next twenty plus years of racing, breeding, buying and selling Thoroughbred horses gave me a unique advantage when handicapping races.  To some, the things I learned might be considered “insider” information, but everything I learned, I learned the hard way – by trial and error.

But you don’t need to spend twenty years learning those lessons, because you can learn from my mistakes, not yours.  I’m ready to share with you the “insider” information I gathered during those years.  Information that will help you cash many more winning tickets!  What I’ll share with you is NOT a “system” of any kind, and there is absolutely NO COST to you.  I won’t be asking you to spend hundreds of dollars buying a product that won’t help you anyway.  That’s my promise to you.  There is no “easy” way to win at the horse track, despite any claims to the contrary.  But I can offer you an “edge” that will help you make better wagering choices.

Keeneland-September-Yearling-Auction
Keeneland September Yearling Auction

Please understand, I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything, but I can tell you this –  the only thrill that even comes close to watching your own horse  taking the lead down the home stretch and winning, is watching the horse you picked at good odds widening its lead down the stretch, and hitting the wire first!  Believe it or not, if you own that horse, you’re not even thinking about how much money you’ll win.  No, you’re just caught up in the excitement, the thrill of the competition.  Cashing a big winning ticket is just the icing on the cake!  I truly believe I can help you accomplish that.

I love horse racing!  Period.  I love everything about it.  From the sheer beauty of these magnificent animals, to the tradition and pageantry of the “Sport of Kings”, to the opportunity to win money betting the races.  And I want more people to gain the same pleasure from it as I do.  You know, professional football fans think nothing of spending $200 or more for an afternoon at the stadium, watching their team.  But an afternoon at the track, using the same $200 for wagering, could provide hours of fun and excitement, and might allow you to return home $1,000 richer!  WOW!  I believe that, if I can help you accomplish that,  you’ll want to go back again and again.  Not only that, but you’ll probably tell your friends, or take them with you.  That will help keep the sport I love so dearly alive and growing.   See you at the track!

Race-horses-roundin-final-turn-heading-for-home
Rounding The Final Turn – Heading For Home

I want to help you learn to handicap horse races, without hours of calculations and study.  With a basic understanding of the information available, you should be able to win far more consistently at the track by a better interpretation of the factors that go into shaping a race’s outcome.  I want you to win, win, Win!

May the Horse be with you!

Frank

 

Comments or questions are always welcome.