Brad Free, in a column for The Daily Racing Form, in the mid-2000s, wrote in part: “It is downright stubborn to ignore unusual betting action without considering the possibility the action is meaningful. Backing a high-odds horse is acceptable, even recommended, as long as one understands the reasons the horse is being ignored by others.” The first question that entered my mind when I read that was, “How do I determine why a horse is being ignored by others?” Sure, it is obvious by looking at the odds when a horse is being ignored, but without being a psychic capable of reading the minds of thousands of bettors across the nation, how do I determine “the reasons the horse is being ignored?”
Since Free never addressed this question in his column, I can only conclude he does not know the answer. As an individual who watches the tote board looking for horses entering the starting gate at higher odds than their morning line odds indicate they should be, I can tell you two things based on my experience. One, “meaningful betting action,” in this day and age of off-track betting parlors, online wagering sites, and inter-track betting is nearly impossible to determine, and two, understanding “the reasons the horse is being ignored by others” is not necessary to capitalize on the fact that they are being ignored.
It is, however, necessary to understand that in order to take your handicapping experience to the level of profitability you must do the opposite of what the typical race bettor does. What better way to do that is there than to wager on horses that are being ignored by the general betting public? Remember, you should look for the best bet in a race, not the best horse.