The Ultimate Wagering Sport: Horse Racing

One of the most popular horse racing events is taking place this Friday and Saturday. The 2012 Breeder's Cup is set to take place on November 2nd and 3rd. This is the first time many people will see the horses that will take place in the Triple Crown next year.

Americans love a good wager, as evidenced by the fact that an estimated 80% of U.S. citizens engaged in some sort of gambling activity over the past year. Gamblers have a wide variety of options to choose from, including casino gaming, lotteries, legal (and illegal) sports wagering, and card games like poker.

However for many players, nothing beats the thrill of matching wits with other handicappers and betting on the exciting sport of thoroughbred horse racing. Here are just a few reasons why horse racing is the ultimate betting sport:

The Mental Challenge

Bettors are faced with analyzing a wide array of factors when handicapping a thoroughbred race. Key handicapping considerations include race conditions, pace analysis, post positions, track conditions, race distances, speed figures, as well as jockey and trainer patterns.

The handicapper’s challenge is to consider these various factors and develop an estimation of the fair odds for each horse in the race. Often handicappers will consider racing tips from other knowledgeable sources as part of their analysis. Contrast this fascinating mental exercise with the mind numbing boredom of most casino gaming.

It doesn’t take much mental acuity to sit and pull a handle on a slot machine for several hours, or simply being a passive participant at a roulette table. Few types of gambling offer the stimulating mental challenge of horse racing handicapping.

Positive Expectation Game

Thoroughbred race betting is a positive expectation game, which is simply a fancy way of saying that the astute handicapper actually has a chance to win over the long haul. The reason is simple; horse racing betting is a game of skill in which players are competing in a pari-mutuel system against other handicappers.

The racetrack is the “house”, but they have no financial interest in the outcome of a given race. They simply collect the wagers, take out a percentage for purses/profit, and distribute the balance to the winners. Casino gaming is a different story. Casinos structure most games like slots and roulette to ensure the house will win.

These negative expectation games involve no skill from the player and guarantee a losing experience over the long haul. State lottery games are similarly structured and usually are the most onerous in terms of “takeout”, with only 60% of total revenue ultimately being distributed to the winners.

Potential For Huge Payoffs

The expansion of horse racing wagering menus to include more multi-race betting and so called “exotics” , like trifectas and superfectas, has resulted in the potential for huge windfalls for talented handicappers. The 2011 Breeder’s Cup races offered smart bettors a chance to earn some staggering payoffs.

For example, the Pick-4 on the last four Breeder’s Cup races returned an astonishing $187,256 for a $2 wager. The superfecta payout on the 2011 Breeder’s Cup Turf Mile returned a whopping $26,000.

In addition to being a game of skill, the expanded racing menus now offer bettors the chance to make a lottery type score. Racing tips from qualified sources can also enhance the ability of handicappers to spot potential high payoff opportunities.

If you enjoy a stimulating mental challenge and the potential for significant financial returns, check out the great sport of thoroughbred racing.

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