What To Bet, And When To Do It

ProfessorI was asked by one of our WinningPonies members, what type of races I like to play and which ones do I leave alone. That may be the million dollar question for a gambler, but there is an answer for me. Everyone has their own method to selecting races, and others fire at will. But, there can be nice middle ground where you will find the races more enjoyable, and hopefully profitable.


Following Tracks

One thing I know for sure, is that you cannot play every race and expect to win. I call it “tap dancing” as you jump from race to race. For me, I follow no more than three tracks. Of the three, I will make no more than 10 wagers for a day at the races. I have always said, this is where your handicapping information can play a big role. Let WinningPonies do the homework, and you may toss in a race or two that could turn a handsome profit. I would choose my favorite ovals, and follow them by watching and wagering, and combing back over the races watching replays. Let the professionals do all of the legwork, and you can better focus your attention.

Skip It

Handicappers would argue until the cows come home. For me, I like to skip cheap maiden claimers, conditioned claiming events, and races that have been taken off the turf. The cheap runners never hold their form, and are unpredictable. The same goes for cheap claimers, as they have no other level to run. When races come off the turf, I would toss that heat out completely. This cuts down your work load, and allows you to focus on better races to turn a profit.

Play Time

The weekend always has the best races. This is when the “weekend warriors” get to come out and enjoy the races. The country watches more intently as the races are the marquee events of the week. I get stoked on Thursday, and by Friday, I have my weather reports and handicapping information. Planning prevents poor performance. Or, you could have more fun at the races being prepared. Either way, it pays to think ahead.


This stands for win, place, and show wagers. Some track hounds call them “whips.” They are the basic wagers, and they never go out of style. You should start slowly with some win and place wagers, or begin a place parlay. Your money will go further, and if you start doing well, you can reach out and play some exotics. But don’t lose the basics. They will carry you farther than you have ever expected.

Hot Under The Collar

When you are doing poorly, do not wager more. This is like throwing good money down the drain. When it is not your day, just drop back and bet a little less. You should always employ the 10% rule. Never bet more than 10% of your bankroll. If you are doing great, the 10% will be more, but don’t drift too far from this model. I have seen many that play the races for a living, and having discipline is the most important tool in a handicappers box. Money management, and not letting your emotions rule your bankroll. Take a deep breath, and walk off and get a hot dog. That is the best investment you can make, and you may be surprised that the little break away will clear your noggin’.

I try as we all do to keep these rules at hand. But, we are all guilty from time to time to go a little overboard. Just keep your cool, plan ahead, and stick to your wagering plan. This is more than half the battle, and I’ll bet you’ll find the races getting more exciting as you have a renewed discipline. Best of luck as always, and if you play your cards right, I bet old Ben Franklin will show up in your wallet more times than not.