Horse Racing Handicapping

Horse Racing Handicapping

Handicapping a horse race is one of life’s great pastimes. It’s challenging, and rewarding both intellectually and (potentially) financially.  Now – handicapping yourself is not quite as appealing, yet to take this game from a (kind of expensive) hobby to an endeavor that brings in a steady income – handicapping oneself is crucial.

So – how do players handicap themselves?

First, of course, is that you must keep complete and meticulous records of your handicapping and betting. Not only the results, but also make quick notes on each race as to why you made the decision you did, and/or even more importantly – why you changed your decision at the last minute (if you did).  You should keep track of the odds at which you were willing to bet (what you considered “fair odds”) the night before the race, and the odds you actually accepted when betting the race.  (for more on this – see our post on “Modeling Your Handicapping“)

The thing here is that you had a reason before the race – you have a handicapping method, a system, the HRG Index – whatever – that has pointed certain horses out to you. Now . . . if you have “changed your mind” since – you need to keep notes on why you changed your mind, and how it worked out money-wise versus staying with your original plan.

Keep accurate records of which kinds of races you do best at; Stakes, claimers, maidens, routes, sprints, turf, artificial, dirt, etc.  As well as at which tracks you do best.  What kind of wagers are making you money and what kind are losing you money; win, place, exacta, trifecta, daily double, show parlays, etc. All of this will help you understand where your ‘illusions’ are about your handicapping and betting – and where the profits actually are. Again we often use the panning-for-gold metaphor.  Where are the nuggets – where are the flakes even, but crucial to your betting success is distinguishing . . . where is the “fool’s gold?”

Never hesitate to weed out the money burners. Continually seek to optimize everything about your own game, and your unique approach to both handicapping and betting. Try not to let all those old “hossy sayings” and “cigar-chomper aphorisms” work themselves into your brain and sabotage your efforts from a subliminal level.


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