This is an easy to follow method that I am going to explain because I want to show you how critical it is to use a systematic method, a system, to handicap and wager on horse races. Now admittedly, this is a pretty simple method and a large number of punters spend hours reading a racing form or playing with computer programs to figure out the contenders in a race. Some people call handicapping an intellectual sport and do it for fun or the challenge while others do it for profit. Because it costs money to play the races, if you aren’t making money, it can be an expensive hobby. With that thought in mind, let’s look at how we can at least support the hobby with winnings from the races.

The goal of tickets for horse racing making a profit should always be somewhere in mind, if you want to support your handicapping. Keep it in the back of your mind while you read the race and determine the contenders. You may think that all the people who are cashing tickets after a race are winners, but such is not the case. If you are a pro at gambling and handicapping, you know what I mean. Cashing a winning ticket does not make you a winner in the long run.

How can that be? Well the people who cash tickets after a race may have spent too much for that ticket and didn’t actually make a profit on the race. Others may have profited from that race but didn’t manage their money well and wound up losing for the day, week, or month. Here is what I am getting at, the professional gamblers and horse players are not only good at picking winners, but they are also good at picking bets that are profitable over the long run. In order to be successful, you must be good at picking horses and bets.

Let’s do a little exercise that will help you to start thinking along the lines of odds in comparison to a horse’s real chances of winning, the basis for picking good bets.

We’ll start with 100% of the money invested in a horse race by all the bettors and then subtract 20% which is approximately the track’s take out, or vig. We are left with 80% of the pool, the amount that will be distributed to the winners.

Then we’ll consider the number of horses in the field. Divide the 80% by the number of horses in the field. If there are 8 horses in the field, then each horse accounts for about 10% of the pool because 80 divided by 8 equals 10. Let’s go one step farther and call that 10% a unit.

Next we will consider the factors of a horse race.

1. Consistency of the runners is determined by dividing the number of races a horse ran by the number of times it won. So a runner that won 2 out of 10 races has a consistency rating of 2 out of 10 or 1/5 or 20%. The horse with the highest consistency rating gets the 10% for that factor. The horse who wins each factor gets 10% for that factor.

2. Class is arrived at by dividing the amount of money the horse has made in its lifetime by the number of races it has run. So if a horse made $10,000 and ran 10 times it would have averaged $1,000 per race. If the horse has raced at least five times in the current year you should divide this years winnings by the number of races it ran this year. If it raced less than five times, use lifetime races and earnings.

3. Jockey’s are easy to compute. Just find the jockey’s winning percentage.

4. Trainers are also easy to figure, once again, use the winning percentage.

5. Speed in last race. Find the horse with the fastest speed rating in its last race.

6. Overall Speed is computed by finding the fastest speed rating in the last 60 days. If they don’t list speed ratings, use raw times at the distance, for instance, 6 furlongs at 1:10 or whatever.

7. Won Last Race (if two or more horses won their last races, give the 10% to the one who won in the classiest race.)

8. Just won at the same distance on the same track (if two horses have done it, give the 10% to the one who did it at the highest level, if it is still a tie, give each one 5%)

Now let’s put it all together and see if we can’t make heads or tails of the runners to figure out what fair odds are for each racer…

1. Each factor listed above is worth 10%. The horse with the highest rating for each factor gets 10%. It is actually possible for a horse to be the leader in all categories and to get the whole 80%, but that doesn’t usually happen.

2. The next step is to determine what amount of money should be allotted to comprise realistic payoffs, good bets.