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Strategy Guide

There are a number of different things to consider when betting on horse races. This strategy guide was written to help teach you some of the key factors to look at when planning out your bets.

Remember, horse betting is only for adults over the age of 18 and should be done in a responsible manner. Read over some over some of these strategies and slowly begin to apply them.

In due time you’ll start to master it and you’ll be picking your horses in no time!

  • Horse’s Weight – The horses weight can play a big role in the race, especially in short 300-350 yard races. Lighter horses tend to move faster and although this may not play a huge role, it’s definitely something to look at and take into consideration.

  • Jockey’s Record – Look over the different jockey’s in the race and their past racing records. The jockey is an important role and a good jockey riding a bad horse can definitely still win the race!

  • Horse’s Record – This can play a huge role in your bets! Do your research and see how the horse has performed in the past. Has the horse ever won a race before? Has it ever even been raced before? How has it done in the past on similar terrain (dirt or turf)? These are all important questions to consider and look at. A good jockey on a good horse will usually make for a good safe bet!

  • Trainer/Jockey Record – It’s not uncommon for the same horse and jockey to work together often. Look over previous results for the jockey and the trainer and see if they’ve worked together in the past. If they have worked together, how did they place? How has the trainers record been lately?

A Wagering Plan for Thoroughbreds

Having the right horse races betting plan, which will enable you to construct the right wagers is just as important as betting the right horses. And just as difficult. Whether it’s an online horse races betting or offline, there are so many variants we we have to face and so many possible wagers to choose from.

Thirty or so years ago the options were fewer in number. Win, place, show and daily double were about it. Now, as we all know, there’s a wide array of different wagers available to us for almost every race. And it can be confusing to say the least.

Here’s the horse races betting plan that considered to be the highest percentage plays, the win bet and the exacta. Obviously, the win bet has a much higher hit rate than the exacta.

Following is a betting plan that may be of interest to many serious players. You can print out this plan so you can keep it in front whenever you’re ready to construct wagers.

With the odds showing on the board and all of the statistics that you will find in your racing form, here are the important questions that you should be asking.

Edge – “Do I have an edge?” If this not clearly the case, one in which you feel very strongly about the contender(s)? If there is any doubt lingering in your mind, skip the race.

In order to have a strong feeling about a horse, it must stand out above the others in one way or another. An example would be a “move” play, getting a significant final fraction advantage, or both.

In order to maintain a positive return on investment, you should be especially selective and only bet when you feel completely comfortable with a race. The playable races are the ones that you can answers yes to the 2 questions of edge and value.

Value – “Does this race have enough value?” If you are thinking about betting on horses with the intention of winning money overall, you have to choose horses much like investing in stocks or commodities. The potential return on investment must be worth the risk.

Establishing Value Lines is extremely useful in determining value situations. If a win proposition (or propositions) has near-post odds of greater than my value line, the win bet is a go. What this means is that you will need to calculate how much money you would win if you box or wheel an exacta or trifecta. If it costs you $24 in $1 bets, the wager should at least pay 1.5 to 1 or about $35 on a win.

Wagering Options – If you have answered “yes” to the two questions above, you will be ready to proceed with your wagers. Make a checklist of all available wagers and make sure you come up with the most appropriate for the situation at hand.

For example, if the race in question were the 7th at Saratoga, my checklist would include: win, win-place, exacta, trifecta, and superfecta as potential plays.

Then, you should structure your wagers according to the situation. The biggest determining factors include the field size, the number of contenders and preference from among the contenders.

Right Situation and Wagers

Is this race the “right” situation to bet? If so, what wager(s) will you best benefit from in this particular situation?

Right Situations

Small field – less than 7 entries – maximum of 3 contenders and no periphery plays

Mid-size field – 7-8 entries – maximum of 3 contenders and 1 periphery play

Large field – 9-12 or more entries – maximum of 3 contenders and 2 periphery plays

Small Field

3 contenders in the field. If you have a preference of 1 horse over the others, bet the top choice to win at the value line or higher. Then, you should key in 2 slots in the exacta and/or 2 or 3 slots in the trifecta:

You will place a bet on 1/2-3 and a smaller wager on 2-3/1 for the exactas. You will place a bet on 1/2-3-4/2-3-4, and a smaller wager on 2-3-4/1/2-3-4, and 2-3-4/2-3-4/1 for the trifectas if the trifecta is playable)

Always make sure that you are going to get value on you bets. If the exacta or trifecta pays out less than it costs to box or wheel your bets, don’t bet on that race.

3 contenders in the field. If you have a preference of 2 horses over the other, you should decide whether to bet to win on higher odds of top 2 picks at the value line or higher or whether you should place a wager on both if odds on each are minimum 8-1. You should key both horses in top 2 slots in exacta and/or trifecta plays as described above.

3 contenders in the field. If all three horses are fairly equal, you should bet highest odds to win providing that horse is at or above the value line. You should box all in exacta if all 6 combinations pay at least $35; box all in the trifecta only if the odds of all 3 contenders total at least 15 (i.e. 6 to 1, 5 to 1, 4 to 1).

Mid-size and Large Fields

The same basic process is used for these situations as for the small field situations. There should be no more than 3 contenders and 1 or 2 periphery plays, respectively. Review and decide on the proper wagers, including the win wager, and which of the contenders should be in which slots.

Playing Superfectas

Superfectas are real tricky since you have to pick the top 4 finishers in the correct order. This is one bet that takes skill and a lot of luck to win. If you have the superfecta, you obviously had the triactor selected in your ticket. Do not get mad if you played the superfecta and missed the tri because it is going to happen. The choice of what exotic you play is totally up to you. Here are a few examples of the way you can play superfecta’s. Playing the same style as we explained for the triacta’s works quite effectively also.

Example: $1.00 superfecta box #1, #2, #3, #4. This will cost $24.00. All horses must finish in the top 4, it does not matter what order.

Example: $1.00 superfecta #1 with / #2 with / #3 with / #4, #5. The cost of this ticket $2.00. The 1 must win, the 2 must finish 2nd, the 3 must finish 3rd, and the 4 or the 5 must finish 4th.

Example: $1.00 superfecta #1 with / #2, #3, #4 with / #2, #3, #4, #5, with / #2, #3, #4, #5, #6. This ticket costs $30.00. The # 1 must win, the #2, #3, or #4 must finish 2nd, the #2, #3, #4,or #5 must finish 3rd, the # 2, #3, #4, #5 or #6 must finish 4th.

Now that we covered some ways to play ex’s, tri’s, and superfectas. We will show you a few examples of playing Win 3s and Pick 6s.

Win 3s and Pick 6s

Win 3’s and Pick 6’s are the wagers that are fun and also take a while before you find out whether you win or lose since these races consist of more than one race. Unless you get knocked out in the first leg, then it is not much fun. You do have a chance at winning even if you lose. How is that, you ask?

Sometimes there will be no one that has correctly wagered on the combination of wagers. This means a Win 3 could pay for 2 out of 3 correct winners and Pick 6’s also pay for 5 out of 6 winners if no one has correctly picked all 6 winners. Here are a few popular ways to bet these combinations.

Win 3s:
Example: $1.00 Win 3 #1 with / #2, #3 with / #4, #5. This will cost $4.00. In this example the #1 must win the first leg, the #2 or #3 must win the second leg, and the #4 or #5 must win the third leg.

Example: $1.00 Win 3 #1, #2, #3 with / # 1 with / #1, #2, #3, #4, #5. This will cost $15.00. The #1, #2, or #3 must win the first leg, the #1 must win the second leg, and the #1, #2, #3, #4, or #5 must win the third leg.

You may add as many horses in each race as you think is needed to win your wager. You have to remember that the more horses you bet on, the more expensive the bet. Sometimes, you will find that the wagers will cost more then the actual payout.

What do you mean? If all three favorites happen to win, the payout will be small.

Let’s say you took 5 horses in first leg, 2 horses in the second leg, and 5 horses in the third leg. This ticket would cost $50.00 for a $1.00 ticket. The payoff for a $1.00 Win 3 could be $18.00 you end up winning, but lose $32.00.

Pick 6s

This works the same as the Win 3s. The only difference is you must select the winners in 6 consecutive races and the more horses you have in each ticket the price goes up very quickly.

If you can possibly find a couple key horses that are locks for a couple of races, it will keep the cost of the ticket down. Remember those key horses must win in order for you to have a chance to win.

Example: $ 1.00 Pick 6 #1 with / #2 with / #3 with / #8 with / # 3 with / #2, #6. This will cost $2.00. The # 1 must win the first leg, # 2 must win the second leg, #3 must win the third leg, # 8 must win the fourth leg, the #3 must win the fifth leg, the #2 or #6 must win the last leg.

If you decide to play 2 horses in each leg of the Pick 6 the cost for a $1.00 ticket would be $64.00. 2 (horses) x 2 (horses) x 2(h) x 2(h) x 2(h) x 2(h) = 64 different combinations x $1.00 = $64.00.

Tip: If you can find 2 or 3 Key horses and add extra horses in other legs this will increase your chances at winning.

Example: $1.00 Pick 6 #1, #2 ,#3 with / #9 with / # 2 with / #2, #5, #6 with / # 5 with / #7, #4, #8. This will cost $27.00. In this example there is 3 key horses they must win. The 3 other legs there is 3 horses, of those horses in each leg one of those must win.

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