I am not sure when or where, but decades ago I read something like this: “Never let the tote board influence your betting.” The sad thing is at the time I thought those were words of wisdom; that finding THE winner was all that was important. What was I thinking? One of the fundamental aspects of wagering is finding a worthy bet. It took me thirty-some years before I finally grasped that concept. Had I not done so, I would have remained a losing horse player.
The only way to profit from betting on horse races is to compare the realistic chances of a horse winning the race to its actual odds. That is how you find Value Plays. That is where your focus should be.
Let me illustrate with a recent example. The Gallorette Handicap was on the under card at Pimlico on Preakness day. Based on their morning line odds, I determined the three horses that warranted consideration were Samitar, Pianist, and Old Tune. Samitar was the morning line favorite at 5-2, and do to over betting by the public, left the gate at even money. Pianist opened at 4-1, and edged up to 7-1 just before post time. Old Tune started the day at 4-1 and was bet down to 3-1 by the public.
Which horse offered the best value? Pianist, of course, and on this particular occasion the horse rewarded me with a $15.40 payout to win and a $7.80 payout to place. This is a perfect example of choosing the best wager over the seemingly best horse, in this case Samitar, who finished a well-beaten fourth.
You should also be aware of two things: the odds on Pianist dropped after the simulcast wagers were added to the pool, and, most importantly, the place payout on Pianist was higher than you would have received had you placed a win bet on Samitar, and he had won the race.