Rob’s 5 Rules for Making Money at the Races

Jun 21, 2013 | Handicapping, Live Racing


This person followed Rob's rules :)

This person followed Rob's rules 🙂

Rob’s ASD Best Bets, Weekend Longshots for June 21-22

by Rob

Picking a winner and betting are difficult tasks under any circumstances, but many people make it even more difficult by playing and thinking in ways that are counterproductive in the creation of value at the racetrack. Here are my top five rules for streamlining your handicapping and wagering.

#1. The Harvey Pack Rule

Hardly a man alive can pay the mortgage at 3/5. Playing a horse at a miniscule price that is not Secretariat running against a bunch of cheap claimers is a good way to go broke at the racetrack. Think about it, favorites win 34% of the time and favorites under even money only win 48% of the time. So if you bet a 3/5 shot which returns $3.20 a person would have to win 100% of the time to make a 60% return on their money. Just to break even on 3/5 horses a person would have to pick over 70% winners. This makes it incredibly tough to win money betting on favorites. These short-priced horses can be exploited in other bets by keying in multi-race wagers or by hitting other value spots.

#2. Play an Opinion – Yours

Nothing is worse than liking one horse on a card and the horse wins, but at the end of the night you go home down money. This normally happens because you strayed from your opinion or blew the bankroll on horses that were less than your strongest opinion. When your best horse of the night wins it should create an opportunity for a financial windfall, especially when the right horses come in around that winner. The whole game is based on everyone having an opinion and thinking their opinion is better than everyone else’s. If you just play along with the majority it becomes very hard to make money. You might want to pre-bet a horse just so you know what bankroll you’ll have for bets that would be considered action bets. It’s just such a gut wrenching feeling to pick a good winner and to be sitting on the sidelines, so don’t let it happen to you.

#3 Picking a pool to play is just as important as picking the right horse

Identifying which races and horses create the most value in each pool is a higher level handicapping practice that can help increase profitability. Knowing your strengths as a handicapper can also help you with this. I am a multi-race wager player, so I’m always looking and talking about spread races and key races along with races that I think have keys for some bettors that I might not like. This is where value is found in multi-race wagers. An even-money shot might be a good key in a Pick-4 but a bad flat bet. Checking the exactor and quinella probables on the television is a simple way of checking which pool is paying better and thus worth playing.

#4 Be Flexible, Be Patient

The ability to change and the ability to flat out pass a race are underrated skills in modern handicapping. The ability to change on the fly in adapting to a late scratch, a bad feeling in a post parade, or a price that is unacceptable, is something that takes time. Visualizing how the race may change because of the changed factor is a tricky thing to do. Take for example a late scratch of one of two speed horses, which leaves one horse in the race that is the controlling speed. This horse probably becomes a good bet. If a race is indecipherable, or you lack a strong positive feeling on it, the ability to pass and just watch the race is important. Taking a guess really is no better than just picking a number.

#5 Handicap Early, Make a Plan

The wagering line is no place to be planning out a big wager. Before you arrive at the track your basic plan of attack should already be formulated. This gives you plenty of time to adjust to scratches and track condition changes. Each race takes between 30 minutes to an hour to truly handicap and that time cannot be made up during the course of the card. If you start handicapping early it will allow you to be more flexible during the card, since you already have an idea where you stand and aren’t playing the races as they come along.

Organization really is a key to good handicapping and making money. Having a legitimate plan of attack and staying within your limits and comfort zone are huge factors in becoming a winning horseplayer.

Rob’s Best Bets and Weekend Longshots

Record-to-Date: 7-4-0 from 21 starts

Wagered: $126.00 Returned: $111.80 Profit: $-14.20

Friday Best Bet: Race 1 – Prairie Eclipse

Friday Longshot: Race 8 – Swiss G’s

Saturday Best Bet: Race 4 – Daddy’s Vision

Saturday Longshot: Race 5 – Beejaykay

Next Post Time for Live Racing: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 22, 2013