Show me some edges in horseracing.
July 6, 2004 2:27 AM   Subscribe

Any horse handicappers here? What are your favorite techniques? Which race
do you tend to zero in on? What sort of betting strategy or angles do you employ? Do you parlay? hedge? do straight tickets? dabble in the exotics? play it ultra-conservative? do birthdates?

Understand, I haven't been to the track or placed an actual bet for well over a decade. You'll have to take it on faith that although I attended regularly for 2-3 seasons – I was not hardcore in any sense of the world. I never placed more than 2 dollar bets, was quite content to sit back with my drink and skip races – biding my time for better odds, and I never took more than $20 bucks extra to the track with me. Never. The track was right next to campus and my interest was kind of academic; I was learning how to use databases, spreadsheets and general programming at the time and it was easier to learn with something concrete to code. (One can only write so many check-balancing or loan amortization apps).

Back then, I calculated my own Beyer's Speed Figures and track biases -- and did quite nicely with them. That won't work so well now that the "Daily Racing Form" supplies them for you. My former edge is diluted since 80% of the track population is now aware of'em (they might not understand their significance, but they know they are useful and so bet the hell out of'em). This can be a good thing in some regard. I can spot an inflated or flukey Beyer pretty quick and shift my attention to a better horse while the crowd is still piling money on an inferior choice. Somewhat of a consolation, I guess.

Anyway, I've starting handicapping the field again lately. Been doing it for the last month. I have not gone to the actual track – just betting an imaginary $50 stake on paper. This is not always conducive to good mental health, since I "won" and imaginary several hundred dollars on a couple of exotics. Still, the object remains the same as earlier – an ironic replay of a decade ago – I'm using it to learn some current applications and coding strategies.

To that end ... I'm curious to test other strategies(*) people might have when they go to the track. I have about three weeks of data already in MySQL and would be interested in re-examining old races using different criteria coupled with varying betting strategies.

(*)Not just strategies to discern which horse will win. Though fascinating, I'm equally interested in betting strategies.
posted by RavinDave to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (1 answer total)
I'm pretty inexperienced, but my general betting strategy is to pick one or two horses i like, and then make a combination of $2 exotics (mostly exactas and a few trifectas, i've never bet superfectas) such that any winning ticket would at least cover all of the other bets, if not much more. FWIW, my belmont strategy that I didn't have an opportunity to employ was to bet $2 exactas with every horse in front of smarty jones. IIRC it would have been $18 to bet, with about $150 payout. Then again, for the derby all my money was on tapit, so what do i know?
posted by rorycberger at 3:13 AM on July 6, 2004

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