As is true with all betting on sports, success in making wagers on the horses depends on having better information (or intuition) about the likely outcome of a race than whoever it is that takes the other side of your bet. This implies two different kinds of knowledge: first, how horse racing itself is conducted at the various tracks around the world, and second, how to formulate a good bet once you are in the Las Vegas race book.
Successful horserace betting requires discipline, data and technique. Just like making wagers in a sports book on, say, the outcome of a pro football game, betting on a horse races is a two-step process. First, the wagerer needs to do âhandicapping" and then secondly, formulate the bet and register it at the betting window.
Handicapping is itself a multi-stage process, in which the wagerer first acquires the ârace cardâ â the list of races scheduled for a given track on a given day. Then all available information about the respective entrants in a race needs to be organized. Finally, some form of analytical thinking must convert all these details into a prediction of how the race will be run. That will lead to conclusions about the most likely winners and losers.
Once the race has been clearly visualized, the wagerer moves to step 2: the financial decision to bet or not to bet, and if so, in what way, and then, of course, how much.
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It is possible, of course, to place a bet on a horse without caring about handicapping or thinking about the underlying probabilities.
This would be the equivalent in the casinos of playing a random slot machine. For serious horse race fans, a good bit of the fun involves trying to act skillfully, to maximize the financial pleasures of racing, which can last much longer than the momentary excitement of seeing the horses run.