Handicapping horse races in a traditional manner is time consuming. It requires ‘alone time’ to process all of the information available in this age of information overload. The recreational handicapper buys a Racing Form and a program as he enters the gates of his local racetrack or satellite facility, finds his favorite spot to hang out, and then proceeds to handicap each race as the day progresses. This places him at a distinct disadvantage with his fellow handicappers in the competition to find ‘the winner.’ Under such constraints, losing most, if not all, of his money by the end of the day should be expected.
If the intent of the recreational handicapper is simply to enjoy himself, to relieve the stress he faces at work, to get away from his family for four or five hours, then there is nothing wrong with the above scenario, provided the money he loses is money he can afford to lose and is not money that would be better spent putting food on the table for his family.
Of course, not every handicapper falls into that category. So, what about the handicapper who buys the Form the night before and stays up past midnight perusing its contents, making notations in his own form of shorthand with a felt pen? Does he fare any better? As an individual who once did this on a regular basis for more years than I care to count, I have to acknowledge it is possible to stay ahead of the game following such a process. I did it for several years. However, it is not the road to riches, and spending ten to twelve hours of one’s day, day after day, in pursuit of only a small potential profit takes its toll on one’s psyche.