A Mug’s Game?

A Mug’s Game?

Is horse race betting a “mug’s game?” Does a player really have a shot at making a success of it, or is it just the old ‘snowball up a hill’ thing?

Maybe the better question in our current economic climate would be . . . is the goal of financial security in any form a mug’s game?

The sad truth is that what our Grandparents paid $20 for in 1913 – we have to cough up $467.31 for today! What my parents paid $20 for in 1948 (the year I was born) – I’ve got to pay $191.96 for today.  The estimates are that the dollar has lost 95% to 98% of its value since the 1913 to 1920 period.

That kind of puts the question of ‘saving’ and ‘earning’ for the future in a different light doesn’t it?  The goal of earning and saving part of those earnings is to have more at a future time – right? But the reality of wealth loss (though it is actually being confiscated by others, so lets call it what it is – wealth transfer) via the declining value of our currency sort of turns the whole thing into a mug’s game.

Okay – okay – bit of a rant there – apologies.  And, of course, there are ways to counter the inexorable decline of the purchasing power of the dollar – but that’s a conversation for another day.  So back to the question at hand – success at the races . . .

Race betting is a situation where the deep bite of the track take, the ever present shadow of Murphy’s Law, and a player’s own lack of patience and wagering discretion almost assures bankroll attrition.  The great question is:  can it be turned from a gamble – into a ‘survive and thrive’ business?

Certainly it can. 

It has been done – is being done – and will continue to be done by some sharp players.

Ideas often evolve in a predictable pattern:  Thesis  /  Antithesis  / Synthesis.  Let’s apply that pattern to the idea of race betting success.

For the positive and optimistic personality – it might go like this;

–  Thesis (i.e. the idea before the actual application has begun)
“I can make big money betting the races.”

Antithesis (i.e the deflated appraisal after testing the thesis with actual money)
“I can lose my shirt betting the races.”

Synthesis (i.e the maturing of the approach for the dedicated player)
“I can make meaningful profits betting the races.”

For the negative and pessimistic personality – it will begin with the second statement above – and likely become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  But if he is a pragmatic sort, has an open mind and perseveres, a similar pattern to the above will evolve – only with the second statement coming first, and then the second statement becoming something like, “Maybe I can make a few dollars betting the races,”and then on to the same synthesis realization.

It has been said “Ingenuity can sweep away negative assumptions.”

I know that statement applies to beating the races – and I can only hope it will one day apply on the larger scale to our failing economy. It will require a few gullible ‘mugs’ changing the way they see things, changing their expectations, and synthesizing a new and successful approach. 

As always – comments requested and welcomed.


Regards   – Gary


  1. Bob Kriebel

    Hi, Gary!

    Thought-provoking discussion, as usual. I would hope that those of us in the game for decades, even if it’s off-and-on, can evolve over time to positive results. With tools like the ones you provide, we’re on the right track.

    Bob Kriebel

  2. Gary,
    Maybe the Antithesis could read “I will lose my shirt playing the races IF I bet too many races, especially races when my judgements don’t include any thoughts of what am I going to get paid if my guesses prove correct.”

    • Nick – I like it . . . that kind of thinking though – only comes later in the evolution of most players, and moves more towards the Synthesis realization I was trying to indicate.

  3. your story showed us the truth reality we are facing not just being players but also trying to made ends meet the racing form in fla is 7.00 plus tax 48cents the take on all bets has gone uo it was 25cents for form 45years ago plus every track has slot club next to it they cut back on real live clerks and put machines in the love i had for the track is gone it is so cold maybe i just getting older and cannot keep up keep up the good work gary at least someone cares vince the prince bayonne n.j. now hallandale fla 33009

  4. Arlo R. (aka "Hap") Hansen

    Gary, It was a very sad day, almost one hundred years ago in 1913, for the people of this country, when Congress abdicated its authority to coin money, by giving it to bankers, through creation of the Federal Reserve and passage of the Federal Income Tax, via the adoption of the sixteenth amendment, to the United States Constitution.

    Although thrift was still championed as the way, via savings, to financial security, many of those, who opened savings accounts in banks after that date, lost the funds they had therein during the “bank holidays” created by FDR in the early years of his first administration. The purchase of “War Bonds” during WWII, and the steady decline of the value of the dollar, since that time and now, the laughable pittance earned by bank savings accounts today, emphatically emphasize the foolishness of that activity, compared to those who bought property, or tangible goods, which have increased in value, and as the result, are much better off today.

    Horse racing is one of the few activities still available to people, that has the potential to generate enough dollars to, not just keep up with inflation, but to actually increase one’s wealth, by actual number of dollars one’s winnings add to his betting bankroll!

    You, as the brain behind Horse Racing Gold, are providing a valuable service, to those astute enough, to take advantage of the sensible approach, to horse race betting, your programs provide!

    Arlo R. (aka “Hap”) Hansen

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