How to succeed at horse racing without really trying
July 4, 2012 1:49 PM   Subscribe

Going out to the race track today at Lonestar Park in Grand Prarie, Texas. Problem: I've never been to a horse race before. I don't even know how they work. I would like to place one or two bets, but I don't know anything about the competitors. Any suggestions for a first timer in general? Futhermore, (if you are familiar with today's race), which horse would be a safe bet?
posted by Krazor to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Response by poster: Whoops...
posted by Krazor at 2:01 PM on July 4, 2012

There's no such things as a safe horse bet.

I go to the track about two to four times in a lifetime. I go when they have novelty things like camel or ostrich racing.

THey have betting guides and generally gamblers are a friendly lot. People will be happy to explain the betting.

I think I won $5 while I was there and I made several bets.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:20 PM on July 4, 2012

The other thread's great, but yeah, $2 bet most every race and assume you will not win anything and you will have a good day. It's fun!
posted by restless_nomad at 2:22 PM on July 4, 2012

I bet horses in that pay between 5:1 and 7:1. Not longshots, not favorites, and if a couple pay off in your trip, you break even or come out a little ahead.
posted by hwyengr at 2:28 PM on July 4, 2012

Don't bet a lot. (DO NOT bet any money you can't afford to lose.) $2 per race is just enough to get you involved. (And if you can't even afford that, then you shouldn't be there.)

Bet on Quinellas. Take the two favorites for each race. That is, take the two horses with the lowest payoffs to place, and bet a quinella on those two.

A quinella bet is where you try to pick the two top finishers, no matter which order.

The reason that quinellas are fun is that if they hit, the payoff is a lot higher.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:39 PM on July 4, 2012

It occurs to me that I should explain what a "favorite" is.

"Win" means the horse comes in first. "Place" means that the horse finishes first or second. "Show" means the horse finishes no worse than third.

The "favorite" is the horse which has the lowest payoff. The track's computers constantly monitor all the bets which have been made, and they adjust the payoff so that the track will win a certain amount. When more bets are made on a particular horse, then the payoff on that horse will drop. The "favorite" is the horse that has the most money bet on it, which is why the payoff is the lowest.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:46 PM on July 4, 2012

My Dad's betting method involved gathering details, researching the horse's racing history, what kind of track the horse preferred, the horse's parents and THEIR histories, the horse's siblings' history.... and on and on before he'd place a bet. My mother's method was simpler: always bet on the grey horse, because its easier to see on the far side of the track. (If no grey horse was running, she'd choose by the color of the jockey's racing silks, then by the horse's name.) It drove my father crazy that my mother's method was just as successful as all his research.

As Chocolate Pickle says, don't bet more than you can afford to lose. Bet to have fun, don't even think you can bet to make money.
posted by easily confused at 3:15 PM on July 4, 2012

Don't bet the horses, bet the jockeys. The best jock is usually up on the best horse. Find a grizzled old better and ask them who the best jockey is. Works a treat.

Or you can bet on the pretty ones, my friends SO who knows nothing about horses has a frustratingly good record betting the pretty horses!
posted by fshgrl at 10:44 PM on July 4, 2012

There are only two ways to win at the track:

Pick up discarded stubs and hope they change the results


follow the little old lady who bets on No-name-nag because she thinks the jockey's color's are the same as her grand-daughters eyes.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:30 AM on July 5, 2012

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