THE TRACK TAKE
How familiar are people with the term "track takeout?" TRACK TAKEOUT is the amount of wagering money, following the state regulations where the track is located, removed by the track before the winning bettors are paid. A higher track takeout means that the winners get a smaller remaining percentage of the pool. Each pool has its own level of takeout. Generally 15% is the takeout for win, place and show bets; daily doubles and exactas have a 20% takeout; and more complicated exotic wagers have 25% takeout.
While I agree with all players that race tracks should experiment with their business models to find out if their revenue could be enhanced with a lower takeout structure (some economists point out that lowering track takeout could actually INCREASE revenue for the tracks, because people would get more money back and they could "re-bet" their extra winnings back into the pools), but today I am going to propose some ideas in keeping more of YOUR dollars.
LOWERING YOUR PERSONAL TAKEOUT
I think following these suggestions will help you wager better at the races.
(1) Try to do your own research and develop new concepts for your betting.
What new or innovative research do you do that separates you from the betting crowd? Do you do pedigree research? How about looking at trainer stats or trips? If you are starting out as a handicapper, have you looked at reading some of the better authors? I would recommend Derek Simon (of YouBet.com), Jeremey Plonk and Joe Kristufek (of Horseplayernow.com), Cary Fotias, Tom Brohammer (the book "Modern Pace Handicapping"), and Steven Crist (the book "Exotic Betting," and Steve's blog at DRF.com).
(2) Watch video replays
Can you determine what a good trip was, versus a bad trip? How does PACE and POST POSITION affect trip? Do you know where to find good video replays? Some tracks like Tampa Bay Downs post all their video replays on the internet for free. Most tracks put their races on sites like RaceReplays.com - 100 free replays for $12.95 a month. Bloodhorse.com has FREE replays for all maiden, allowance and stakes races in the US and Woodbine.
(3) Don't jump on the bandwagon
The broad consensus before the Kentucky Derby was Lookin at Lucky was the best horse in the Kentucky Derby field. Why that was so was unclear, as he had never run fast enough to be considered a clear choice. Try to look for angles on horses that run COUNTER to public opinion - that's the only way to make money in our game.
(4) Have the right amount of capital to make the bet
If you want to play a serious pick 6, consider this advice from Bob Neumier: "If you have $1,000 and you want to play the pick 6, find a friend with another $1,000 and combine resources for the bet." Advanced exotic bets are fun, but require a fair amount of capital to play. If you are low on capital focus on win and exacta betting.
(5) Don't bet money you don't really want to lose
This isn't an anti-gambling rant, but in my experience when people get emotional they make poor wagering decisions, usually by "holding back," rather than playing the right horse at the right time.