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How to Enjoy a Day at the Races Without Losing Your Shirt

By: Jason Markum

I love going to the races… but I hate losing all my money by making bad bets! If you think about it though, the point of going to the races shouldn’t really be about betting, it should be about enjoying the race. At least enjoying the race without losing your shirt! So how do you enjoy the race without feeling miserable from losing all your money with bad bets? That’s what I am going to talk about in this article today.

The first step is to decide how much money you are willing to lose. Set aside between one fourth and one fifth of that amount for entertainment betting, you know just for fun. The rest of that amount should be used for serious betting.

Next you need to control your spending. In order to do this, just bet around 20% of your capital every time you bet. And this doesn’t matter if you are winning or losing… even if you are winning, still continue to only bet about 20% of your capital each time.

Remember that 1/5 that we set aside for entertainment betting? Here’s what I suggest you do with it. Select a horse by name, or by jockey, or by appearance… or for any reason you want to under the sun. The point is, don’t put a lot of thought into it, just have fun and you may even get lucky and win a 10th of your bets this way.

On the other hand; for serious betting, stick to your tried and true rules. Always get rid of maiden races, that is, horses that are racing for the first time. Two-year-old races may also fall under this category. Also get rid of any horse that has never won before. Of course, these are just my personal suggestions and you’ll have your own.

In order to select the two or three horses most likely to win in any given race, check the handicappers choice in the racing form and tip sheets sold at the track. I usually look especially for handicappers who give as much detail as possible about each race. Look for things like how the race will be run, who the suggested front runners are, and who the “come from behind” horses may be. Also find ones that list suggested outcomes as there is usually some sort of logic behind these suggestions.

Next, consider the elements. Is it raining? In the racing form you will see what is called mudders, these are horses that have a history of doing well when it rains outside. Usually they are indicated with an asterisk. The more it rains, the more the track is softened by the rain, in the more the chances of these specific horses improve.

There are several types of bets that you can make at a horse race. You can bet to win, and that only pays out if the horse comes in first. You can also bet to place, and this pays out if the horse comes in first or second. Finally, you can also bet to show; and this pays out if the horse comes in first second or third. A combination of those bets such as a win and place or a show and win will usually increase your chance of a payoff, but in these circumstances the return will probably be smaller.

So there you have it! How to enjoy a day at the races without going broke and losing your shirt…

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