It’s You Against Your Competitors


Drawing by Stacey Mayer. Print available at

Understanding yourself, knowing what works for you when it comes to horse racing, is often the key to making money from your wagering endeavors. Most people have a herd mentality, and they tend to bet on horses not because they think they have found the winner, but because they are afraid the winner will elude them if they fail to follow the lead set forth before them by their fellow bettors. They look at the tote board at three minutes to post, see a horse that was 3-1 on the morning line listed as the 8-5 favorite, and for some reason only the gods have an answer for, they come to the conclusion that somebody must know something they do not.

So, they allow the 8-1 choice they spent who knows how long deciding was the best bet of the day slip by the wayside. They end up joining the crowd and they wager on the favorite, driving the final odds even lower while their first choice creeps up to 11-1. Moments later, they are kicking themselves in their backside as they watch the favorite finish a well-beaten fourth, four and one-half lengths behind the winner, the original selection they talked themselves out of betting on. The horse that paid $24.80 to win.

A bad beat, to borrow a poker term, is difficult to shake off, so they spend the rest of the day second guessing themselves. As a result, they end up a significant loser when they could have been a big winner had they not allowed the public sway their decision-making process. The number one piece of advice I can give you when it comes to handicapping races, whether you handicap the horses or you handicap the handicappers as I do, is to isolate yourself from your competitors and do not allow yourself to fall victim to outside influences.Horse_50x50

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