There are numerous ways to approach wagering on horse races. The key to success is finding a process that works for you; a process you can repeat every time you choose to make a bet. As a tote board handicapper, I have learned to look for betting anomalies that offer substantial payouts for Win and Place wagers. I seek horses going to post at odds of 8-1 or higher, but I am not opposed to betting a horse at 5-1 odds in a four- or five-horse field. It all depends on how the betting has progressed.
The most important aspect of traditional handicapping is preparation. It is unlikely you will profit from your endeavors if you choose to buy a Racing Form upon arrival at the track. There are too many distractions; too many ways to lose your focus. Back in the days when I sought to find THE winner of every race, I spent at least five hours of uninterrupted study per race card before heading to the track. During this period of my handicapping career, I picked the winner of the races I bet on a steady thirty-seven to thirty-eight percent of the time. I can only guess how poorly the outcome is for people who peruse the Form between races.
When it comes to successful (i.e. profitable) betting, the single most significant aspect overlooked by the typical bettor is documentation. Without documentation, how can you know you are consistent in your approach?
Document every wager. Keep track of how much you have wagered and your return from those wagers. Note the type of wagers you make on which you cash tickets. Document. Document. Document. If you do not know how well you have performed in the past, how can you possibly know what needs changing?