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Do those studies yourself! I must be crazy to just give it away! Tired of traditional handicapping methods that involve a lot of number crunching? Do you want a quick and easy way to handicap a race that's a lot more fun than analyzing the charts?
Well, Mr. Punter, have I got the answer for you! Try conformation handicapping, instead. No, I'm not asking you to be on the lookout for bowed tendons, cow hocks and pig eyes; it's not the horses conformation that I want you to scrutinize. What you really need to be taking a good, hard look at in order to pick winners are all the fabulous babes at the track. That's right, sir, the secret to cashing tickets is to simply make your picks in each race the horses that have the finest looking female connections.
Be she a darling young jockey, a gorgeous middle-aged trainer, a "tough-broads-are-cute" groom, an owner's dynamite trophy wife or even his adorable teenaged daughter or--what the heck, how about that tomboy lass of an escort pony rider? Personally, I find so many eligible contenders within the entries' various female connections, that I have to resort to a hierarchy to make my final selections. The jockeys, of course, always have priority.
This system grew out of all my Julie Krone bets. The trainers follow, and then come the other connections in equal order. If there's a filly jock in the race, she becomes my top pick. If there is more than one of the tender sex on horseback, then I rate them according to my own private ranking of the talented and attractive young ladies in our local jockey colony. Never mind what my personal standings are! If there are no female jockeys in the race, then I make my top pick the horse with the best looking female trainer.
Again, I have private rankings for those, too. I must say that the older I get, the better looking "mature" women become. If there are no female jocks or trainers in the race, then I pick the horse with the best looking other female connection, regardless of who or what they are. My friends, I have even bet on a horse because the jockey's mother is a looker! If you can't decide between the various contenders, then just bet them all! That's called "chump" betting, though I always liked the English word better: "mug.
You may think this method is insane, but check the results here. And you laughed at my system, didn't you? Exactas and doubles are more common than you might think, too. The tri's and bet threes are more sporadic, but they always feature good payoffs. Mind you, I'm only talking about playing one track on the weekends. Imagine how I would clean up if I went to the track everyday and played all the simulcasts! You go girls!
Are you striding forthrightly to your seat in the grandstand because you've just plunged on your five-star, can't miss, no-fail, lock-of-the-card long shot and you're looking forward to a huge payoff, when suddenly, some guy steps in front of you and asks, "Who do you like in this race? Whatever you do, don't give him your pick! He and his friends might put enough money on the horse to drive its odds down. Instead, give him the horse with the same number as the race. If it's the first race, give him the one, if it's the second, give him the two, etc.
And when your long shot finishes last, you might as well go ahead and bet this system anyway, for all the good your regular handicapping has done. Update: I should have followed my own advice! Last Saturday a guy asked me for my pick in a certain race and I went ahead and gave it to him.
Did he bother to thank me? His tone left no mistake that he thought I was a complete idiot. Well, sir, my pick placed and paid almost as much as the favorite did to win. Or to put it another way, I am only a partial idiot! Here is the single, most popular "handicapping" method of all for exotic wagering: play your lucky numbers! If you've ever stood in line behind some dear old girl at the mutual window while she bets a bunch of superfectas based on her grandchildren's birthdays, then you'll know the appeal of this technique.
I used to use it myself years ago, but I have far too much respect for the magnificent sport of horse racing in my mature years to employ such a crass method. Actually, I was making exotic wagers based on the odds employing all sorts of wild and crazy "systems," but it's the same principle.
I now reserve this technique for the dogs and for the guys who throw a round rock against a wall with funny shaped baskets strapped to their wrists. In other words, I couldn't handicap greyhounds or jai alai to save my life. Lucky number betting works best at the dog track, where exactly eight dogs run in each race and you're able to bet on fourteen races one right after the other. Practically any three or four numbers you choose out of eight will come up at least once per card if you bet them consistently in perfecta, tri and super boxes.
Sooner or later, you'll hit that three figure perfecta, four figure tri or five figure super. The Bet Against the Handicapper Method. Take your favorite "expert" handicapper and make a note of his top three picks in each race. Then toss those horses out. Instead, bet to win every other horse in the race with morning line odds of less than Vary the amount you wager on each horse according to the tote board odds to ensure a profit no matter who wins.
See System Four. On an average day, you'll win a third of your bets which will make you every bit as good as the "expert" handicapper. On a good day, you'll win a half to two-thirds of your bets, which will make you a phenom. Don't get cute and bet the shots, though, "just to be sure. If you want to hedge, keep the handicapper's third choice in the mix. My all-time favorite handicapper to bet against is the ring tout. The track's--ahem!
I know this must be a good system because I hear so many people complain about the guys and the girl who are the ring touts for Calder, Hialeah and Gulfstream. I immediately revised all my bets and made several wagers in a loud voice, none of which included the tout's horses. That'll show 'em, right? My "picks" lost and the tout's won. But you get the point, anyway. Don't you? What, you think I'm stupid or something? Here's a guaranteed win on an exotic bet for all you neophytes. Wait for the race with the most horses in it.
Hint, hint!!! Good luck, because if you take any of this seriously, you'll need it! All right, already, for all you plungers out there, here's how I really try to make money at the track. Just bear in mind that when you bet like I do, you have to have a lot of patience because winners don't come too often, but when they do, they set you up for a long time. I primarily look for overlays using a variety of easy-to-spot angles that leap out of the charts at you.
I must know every angle in the book by now. If you think angles only consist of "beaten favorites" or "last out in the money" horses, think again. Try instead, "a horse who never got on the board in his last three races coming off of a claim in less than thirty days with a better trainer, a new jock and an equipment change. I bet these horses to win and place. All you "smart" players out there who pooh-pooh back hole bets unless they're overlays on the tote board, go back to digging up those unpublished maiden two year old workout times--even though they're faked!
I also put my overlay in an exacta and a tri along with the other contenders in the race. Sometimes I'll play a super, too. Hitting a good overlay to win, as well as getting the exacta, tri and super is the grandest feeling there is. At least at the track! You gotta love those high end, four figure pay-outs! Alas, I have never won in five figures. Because I'm not a Turf Club high-roller, nor am I one of those geeks who pull numbers out of thin air to put into a super and sometimes get very, very lucky.
At least when I lose, I can say to myself, "That was an intelligent bet; it just didn't come off this time. Go play the lotto, instead. My overlay is subject to the impression he makes upon me in the paddock and walking ring, of course. I hate it when any horse drags himself around the ring with a shortened step, drooping head, tucked tail, wilted ears and dull eyes. I bail off of him fast if I'm considering him anywhere on one of my tickets. And I silently curse the trainer and the track vet for letting such an obviously ailing animal race.
I could kick myself for all those years I never budged from the grandstand and bet on horses that probably stumbled around the ring in an obvious unsound state before dying--alas, sometimes literally--in the stretch.
Fellow plungers, go the paddock and ring before you bet! Another tactic I like to use often is betting several horses to win a single race. I only do this in races featuring a vulnerable favorite who has been bet down leaving the other contenders at , , , , etc.
For what it's worth and in my most humble--but experienced--opinion betting multiple winners in select races is the most consistent method for earning a steady, if modest profit. This is a grind-it-out method of beating the races and it is bereft of glory, but at least it will not leave you chasing your loses trying to finally hit that one big tri or super.
If I ever retire to the track, this is the technique I'll use. As far as picking the run-of-the-mill contenders in each race is concerned, I usually leave that to the pros. I am not in any way, shape matter or form a chart geek. As Menckin said, there's a certain kind of mind that can quote you, "How many tons of lard were shipped by rail across the state of Pennsylvania in ," but that's not me, although it's the perfect description of the mind of a professional handicapper.
You neophytes would not believe how simultaneously deep and mundane a subject thoroughbred handicapping can be. Some of its leading lights are seriously anal and can dissect every single, infinitesimal parameter of a race to the nth degree and beyond. Sheesh, get a girlfriend, guys!
You would think your average major league horse handicapper was talking about astrophysics, though, from their seriousness. Crunch those second call numbers guys! I'll be up in the grandstand having a beer and eying the nice butt of a pretty girl at the rail through my binocs while you're figuring out which horse will win at I've got my money on the horse with the peaking form.
It's called, "looking for value" and "having an edge. Or, to put it another way, I'm betting on your "scare horse. Yet, despite all this, I still respect Andy Beyer as God, and I readily admit that any of you out there who make your own speed figures, class par times, odds, etc. I, on the other hand, most decidedly do not go to any such lengths, and as most days I roll into the track just before post time for the first race, where I see the program or the Form for the first time, I don't have much of an opportunity for serious handicapping; what little I have is used in searching for those elusive overlays.
I am the classic weekend plunger, perhaps a little less clueless than the average, but still an "amacher all the same. Of course, I do break down and handicap occasionally when I have the time , because it is an integral part of the overall track experience. I use a rudimentary method that borrows a little from this system and a little from that.
Its most notable virtues are its ease and speed, but it is accurate enough to give me the same three horses that all the other handicappers out there come up with, although my exact order may be different from theirs, and I'll live with that. The hard part, of course, is trying to decide which one of those three horses will win the race. There's no method or system for that; you're adrift in a sea of intangibles. Can he stretch out another panel?
Is this drop back done out of desperation or confidence? Is he going to get in a suicide duel with that other burner in the race and allow the closer to sneak by? He's never run on the turf before; does he have the breeding for grass? This is a big class jump for him; does he have back class? He has front bandages, but doesn't his trainer always use those as standard equipment on his horses?
Blinkers on, blinkers off, can't that trainer make up his mind? Boy, he sure is oozing a lot of kidney sweat today, but wasn't he sweating just as badly on the day I saw him win big a couple of weeks ago? Look at the cheekbones stick out on that jockey, he's as pale as a sheet; purge city, baby; he must be as weak as a kitten!
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At the track, an across the board bet is a wager on the same horse to win, to place and to show—effectively betting all the way across a single line of the board. At the track, the results of each race would post the top finishers as well as the rest of the field. This phrase has been used in horse racing coverage since the midth century to describe races where a horse was so far ahead of the pack that the jockey could loosen his grip on the reins and lower his hands. This type of confident finish came to be known as winning hands down.
Today this expression refers to something being incomplete or unfinished until the last possible moment, but it originated in hotly contested horse races. The last stage of a project or journey is also another expression we get from the racetrack. A form can be very intimidating if you have no idea what any of the names and numbers represent, but once you learn the vocabulary it can be as beautiful as a priceless work of art.
Learning to read a racing form will help you to understand the four basic pillars of handicapping: speed, pace, form, and class. Simply put, "speed" is related to how fast the horses run the entire race; "pace" concerns how fast the horses run at different points of a race; "form" is related to the current condition of the horse and whether it has been running good or bad in its recent races, and "class" relates to the level of competition a horse has been competing against.
A set of past performances provides clues to all four of these handicapping pillars, clues that the player must decipher in order to place a winning bet. Learning to read a set of past performances isn't difficult but it's also something perfected over time. Once you master an understanding of what the data means, you then can move on to determining how much weight you want to give certain factors in making your wagering decisions.
You'll also start to develop you're own handicapping style, which is when the game starts to become a lot of fun — when you start picking winners based on your own theories and conclusions. If you want to watch live racing from the comfort of your own home you've got essentially two options: you can watch on one of the two TV channels that cover racing, or you can watch live streaming video over the internet. Both networks broadcast the live simulcast feeds from the tracks and have on-air personalities that handicap the races throughout the day.
Most cable companies offer TVG, although many have it as part of a sports pack or something similar. If you don't get TVG from your cable or satellite provider, you can still watch all the action through the wonderful world of the internet. Live video streaming is provided free by a few tracks too few, if you ask me.
Tampa Bay Downs, for example, is one track where you can go to their website and watch all of their races live. They also provide free replays. Keeneland also provides live steaming during their spring and fall meets. If you want to watch the action from all tracks over the net you can usually watch through a wagering website if you are a registered member. The next section deals with wagering websites, or ADWs. Just watching horse racing is great, but the true thrill of the game is the ability to put your money where you mouth is and bet on the horses.
If you want to wager on all the action and you don't want to drive to your local track or OTB, AND you live in a state that allows ADW Advance Deposit Wagering , you can wager over the internet or the phone through one of several sites. Below is a list of a few of the larger ADWs that people use to wager.
Every site is different; some provide free video streaming, others charge a monthly fee or a "per wager" fee depending on your handle, and some give you rebates depending on how much you wager. If you decide to sign-up with an ADW, make sure you read all of the rules and requirements. Many ADWs are going to no-wagering fees and free video, but you should always do your homework before you leap. Make sure you check what tracks each site allows you to bet on because you don't want to sign up with an ADW that doesn't allow you to bet on Keeneland if you really like to bet Keeneland.
Go to one of the websites and try to sign-up. When you put in your address, the system will let you know whether they can take bets from you or not. Below is a short list of the big, well known ADWs. There are many others out there - some good, some not so good. We make no representation about any of these; some we've used in the past, others we've never played with.
Okay, with that little bit out of the way, let's take a look at the betting lingo and the types of wagers one can make on an equine athlete. Below is the smorgasbord of wagering opportunities offered by Churchill Downs on Derby Day:. WIN: A bet on a horse to win if you don't know this you probably shouldn't be betting. Those are the standard bets that everybody is familiar with. They are simple, straight forward, it's easy to calculate the cost, and they are easy to make.
Where things start to become more complicated is with what are known as the exotic bets. Below are the exotic wagers offered by Churchill Downs this weekend:. Wagering on horses is done via pari-mutuel wagering, a system of wagering where each player is betting against other players, not the house. The odds represent what percentage of the total pool each horse is receiving.
Below is an odds-percentage conversion chart for typical odds in horse racing. To figure you how much you'll get paid if you hit your win bet, simply divide the numerator of the odds by the denominator, multiply that number by the amount bet, and then add the amount bet. Place and Show payouts are more difficult to calculate since tracks don't display the odds on those bets.
Usually, they pay less than half what the winning odds play unless the horse is a huge longshot and the favorite doesn't finish in the top three. Figuring out the payouts on exotics are a mixed bag; tracks display the "Will Pays" for exactas and daily doubles, but you won't have a clue as to what your trifecta, superfecta, Pick 3, etc.
Generally speaking, trifectas and superfectas will return larger amounts, but be careful, playing all the favorites in a trifecta is likely going to return a small amount especially when compared to how much your bet cost. The key to hitting larger scores is to find some longer priced horses to play along with shorter priced ones. We've got all of these exotic bets where you're trying to pick the order of finish or the winners in multiple races. Many first time bettors think that to play a exacta or tri or any other exotic requires you to use just two or three or four horses in your play.
You can select as many horses as you want but the more horses you select, the more expensive your ticket becomes. The first step in determining what a specific bet will cost is to know the minimum amount required for each bet. At Churchill Downs, here are the minimum amounts required for each bet offered:. Two additional exotic betting terms that are relevant to wager cost are "BOX" and "WHEEL", and they apply specifically to exactas, trifectas and superfectas.
For example, say you like the 1, 2, and 3, you want to play them in an exacta but you don't know which one you want to pick on top to win. You could "BOX" those three horses in an exacta and you would win if any of those three finish first and second. For example, let's say you like the 1 to win, but think the 2, 3 and 4 might finish second. In that situation you would bet an exacta wheel where the bet would be set up to pay if the 1 wins and either finish second.
If any of win and the 1 finishes 2nd, you would not win with that exacta wheel. You might be thinking, "Why would anyone NOT box an exacta, trifecta, or super since our picks can finish in any order, while with a wheel there is less margin for error?
A box bet is calculated by multiplying the bet amount by the total number of horses selected, and then multiplying that by the total number of horses selected, minus one. Or, stated another way:. Make sense? For trifecta and superfecta boxes you calculate the cost the same way but keep subtracting one from the total number of horses in each leg.
For example:. You can see how the costs start to escalate in a box situation since you're playing every possible combination with those numbers. With a WHEEL bet, the cost is kept down but you need to decide which horses you like in certain positions. Let's take the above situation again.