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Blog - GAMBLING

Handicapping a horse race is a science unto itself, but that doesn’t mean it has to be nuclear chemistry. Newcomers to the sport of Thoroughbred racing should be aware that there are hundreds of ways to pick the winner of a race, but don’t let that intimidate you. It’s not as difficult of a process as that might sound.

America's Best Racing blogger Bob Ehalt produces a regular feature called Betting Basics, which provides readers with a series of easy-to-understand guides to betting on the races as well as several different gambling strategies. Enjoy this library of Betting Basics blogs, and good luck! (FOR MORE ON EACH STORY, CLICK THE HEADLINE)

Betting Basics: Speed Figures


Ehalt Speed Figure Blog Hero

Here’s a handicapping riddle.

When does 1:12 equal 1:25 or 1:38?

Easy. When you’re constructing speed figures.

Speed figures have become an increasingly popular handicapping tool which helps to level the playing field when horses that have been racing at different distances clash.

Betting Basics: Learn From Longshots


MtBEhalt

It doesn’t happen that often, but from time to time a horse at extremely long odds will win a race or figure in the exotics.

That’s all fine and good if you happen to wager on that upstart, but if you didn’t, it can lead to a perplexing moment or two when that horse returns to the races.  Suddenly, there’s a decision that has to be made. Was that last race reflective of a rejuvenated runner who deserves backing in today’s race? Or should you put a stick on your shoulder and dare the dark horse to knock it off?

Betting Basics: Trip Handicapping Part II


BettingBasicsHero

In recent years, little has changed about horse racing. The basic premise, as it was say 15 years ago, was one horse running faster than several others and someone placing a wager on him.

That’s still the name of the game, but playing the game has changed a bit.

Take trip handicapping. Back in the 1990s a trip handicapper needed a closet to store boxes of VCR tapes and a top-grade cable package.


Pace Makes Race


DeltaHero

Pace makes the race is an old racing axiom – and one that plays out every day at racetracks across the country.

Races as big as the Kentucky Derby (G1) or as obscure as a $5,000 claimer are often decided by early fractions that can be too fast, too slow or something in between.

As easy as it might be to determine the impact of internal fractions on a race once it’s over and the betting windows are long closed, an understanding of why a particular horse went gate-to-wire or stopped on a dime at the eighth pole can pay dividends down the road.

Lessons Learned from 2012 Breeders’ Cup

LittleMikeHero

With another spellbinding edition of the Breeders’ Cup now a part of racing history, some important lessons in handicapping were offered that should be stored away for next year’s return engagement at Santa Anita Park.

While the names of the horses and some circumstances might be different a year from now, certain angles that surfaced this year could very well be in play again in 2013 – and perhaps next time they won’t sneak under the radar.

Wet Tracks


SloppyHero

After watching one nasty political advertisement after another at this time of year, it’s hard to believe that something other than an election involves mud.

Like your neighborhood postman, horse racing takes place rain or shine and handicapping on those days when an umbrella is needed is an experience that can get messy without the proper insight.

As obvious as the difference between a wet and dry track may be, predicting how a horse will handle the surface falls into a gray area.

Handicapping Keeneland


EhaltHero

August has Saratoga.

October, and April, too, for that matter, has Keeneland.

Nestled in the scenic countryside of Lexington, Ky., Keeneland offers one racing’s purest pleasures.

Yet as picturesque as the racetrack and its surroundings may be, Keeneland also provides a challenging test for handicappers.

Taking Chances Pays Off


GamblingHero

It’s a fairly safe guess that someone interested in cashing mutual tickets on a regular basis will most likely gravitate toward playing favorites.

It’s surely the easiest path to the cashier’s window, with the chalk winning about a third of each day’s races. Yet from a dollar-and-cents standpoint, it may not make much sense.

A $4 winner out of every three bets is not going to pay the rent in any town.

An Easy, Creative Betting Strategy

ProgramHipsterDude

A few weeks back, one of this space’s blog posts focused on how the win, place and show pools could be a ticket to success at the races.

Now, let’s view the never-ending quest to turn a profit from a different angle. One in which an exotic wager, such as an exacta, can supplant a place bet.

Uncovering Another Piece of the Puzzle



EhaltBlogHero9-7

Anyone who has ever placed a wager on a horse race or a bought lottery ticket or entered an NFL office pool has probably daydreamed about seeing tomorrow’s newspaper today.

How great would that be? Knowing today what will happen tomorrow. Unless, of course, it turns out to be a Twilight Zone tale in which after seeing the racing results on page 64 of your favorite tabloid, you turn some pages and find your obituary on page 42.

Well, on a less harrowing note, there is a way for handicappers to glimpse into the future without any frightening consequences.

Basics of Trip Handicapping



TripHandicappingCheck

Go back in time to 1979 when VCRs first started to appear on the scene and a racing fan would be lucky to tape and then review one or two races per week.

These days, in a digital era, there’s no shortage of races to watch, either on the Internet or through one of the numerous online wagering outlets.

As a result, there are few mysteries about what happens in a race, be it at Del Mar or Finger Lakes, but interpreting performances remains as judgmental as ever.

Trip handicapping is one of the best ways to target horses to watch long before their next start, but the process demands a discerning eye.

No Business Like Show Business


HandicappingBasicsParlay

One of the numerous misconceptions about pari-mutuel betting is that an exotic wager, like a trifecta, or pick six or superfecta, is the only path to a truly successful day at the races.

While “success” might carry a different meaning to a variety of people, so long as you’re not looking for a means to early retirement or to finance an 80-day around-the-world cruise, simple win, place and show bets can indeed hold the key to a profitable day.

The Role of Jockeys



The Role of the Jockey

The role of a jockey in a horse race is probably the easiest element in the game for a newcomer to understand.

Just like athletes in a major professional sport, such as baseball, all jockeys are not equal in terms of talent and success. Some are more skilled and more daring and win at a higher rate than others. In a nut shell, that’s why riders play a key role in most handicappers’ search for a winner.

Just look at two baseball players, say the Mets’ Jason Bay, Mr. 150 batting average, and the Yankees’ Robinson Cano, who’s hitting .313 this year. The law of averages says that in any one trip to the plate, either Bay or Cano can get a base hit. But, as reflected in their batting averages, over the course of this season, Cano is twice as likely to get a base hit as Bay.

It’s the same way in horse racing.

Making Sense of Morning Workouts

Racing101-MorningWorks2Lukas

Athletes can prepare for a game or match in any number of ways at sessions known as practice.

Thoroughbred racing has the same process, only it bears a different name.

Morning workouts are the tools trainers use to sharpen their horses and put them on their toes for the demanding challenges they will face in the afternoon.


Past Performances or the Chart


BasicsHorsePlay

To the best of my limited knowledge on the subject, no one has ever determined whether it was the chicken or the egg that came first.

Then again, I don’t follow Stephen Hawking on Twitter, so I might have missed the answer somewhere along the line.

As that ages-old riddle occupies a chunk of my gray matter, allow me to ponder a similar quandary facing newcomers to horse racing.  As a fledgling handicapper, should you learn first about past performances or results charts?

 

Winning Isn't Everything


Monarchos

Winning is a relative term when it’s applied to handicapping a horse race.

You can pick the winner of a race and wind up losing money on it.

Conversely, you could pick a loser and walk home with a wallet overflowing with Benjamins.

As illogical as that may sound, it will make complete sense once a novice handicapper embraces the true challenge inherent in attacking the betting windows with gusto.

The Basics of Beginner Handicapping

ProgramPartyCrew

Handicapping a horse race is a science unto itself, but that doesn’t mean it has to be nuclear chemistry.

Newcomers to the sport of Thoroughbred racing should be aware that there are hundreds of ways to pick the winner of a race, but don’t let that intimidate you. It’s not as difficult of a process as that might sound.

Image Description

Bob Ehalt

Bob Ehalt has been an avid fan of Thoroughbred racing since that day in June of 1971 when he and his father walked from their Queens Village, N.Y., home to Belmont Park to see Canonero II fall short in his bid for the Triple Crown. A veteran sports writer and correspondent for Thoroughbred Times magazine, Bob has covered horse racing for more than 20 years and has won three awards in the Associated Press Sports Editors national writing contest for his coverage of the sport.

Now working at the New Haven Register in Connecticut, Bob has also owned Thoroughbreds since 1995 and was a member of the syndicate that raced Tale of the Cat. He also writes a racing blog for ESPNNewYork.com and is the co-founder of the New York Hot List handicapping service, which is offered at InterBets.com.

His NTRA.com blog received first-place honors in the 2008-09 Breeders' Cup Media Awards, winning in the initial year of competition in the Social Media category.  You can follow him on Twitter at @BobEhalt

 

Image Description

Bob Ehalt

Bob Ehalt has been an avid fan of Thoroughbred racing since that day in June of 1971 when he and his father walked from their Queens Village, N.Y., home to Belmont Park to see Canonero II fall short in his bid for the Triple Crown. A veteran sports writer and correspondent for Thoroughbred Times magazine, Bob has covered horse racing for more than 20 years and has won three awards in the Associated Press Sports Editors national writing contest for his coverage of the sport.

Now working at the New Haven Register in Connecticut, Bob has also owned Thoroughbreds since 1995 and was a member of the syndicate that raced Tale of the Cat. He also writes a racing blog for ESPNNewYork.com and is the co-founder of the New York Hot List handicapping service, which is offered at InterBets.com.

His NTRA.com blog received first-place honors in the 2008-09 Breeders' Cup Media Awards, winning in the initial year of competition in the Social Media category.  You can follow him on Twitter at @BobEhalt

 

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