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Basic Horse Betting Training
by Greg Melikov

People that frequently go to the horse racetrack, but lack the basic knowledge when it comes to handicapping and wagering always puzzle me.

I excuse first-timers that lack expertise while wanting to experience racing. I've taken quite a few friends to South Florida and Texas tracks, who had a
great time, especially when they experienced beginner's luck.

But I recall several occasions when I came across horseplayers, including veterans, that didn't know what was going on at the track.

I recall a woman being asked by her elderly mother why two horses were favored over her daughter's selection. The daughter thought briefly and replied, "I
don't know."

I couldn't help volunteering the answer: "The track is sloppy and the pedigrees of the other two horses indicate they'll run better on an off track than
your daughter's pick"

They both did.

"Not everybody knows that," the daughter said. "That's really valuable information."

It's not like such information isn't available to all. Horse Racing websites and publications list what thoroughbreds have done on wet, sloppy and muddy

I especially remember an older man wondering what wager type exactas were. And he was no novice. I had seen him often in the press box at South Florida

"How many horses do you play?" he asked.

"As many you want," I explained. "But two must run first and second."

He explained the procedure to his wife and they bet the last race on the program. I played the same contest, boxing the 2-5-9.

The winning exacta: 2-5.

The man asked me if he'd won, showing me two tickets: 2-7 and 5-9.

"You would have," I replied, "if you had boxed all four on the same ticket."

I've overheard conversations like this at tracks:

"I should have played that horse."

"I thought you liked him."

"I did, but I went for the other one."

You must have faith in your picks. Doubt leads to waffling. The more you change your mind about selections, the less chance you'll cash tickets.

Remember that beginner's luck seldom lasts very long. Handicapping is a serious business, but isn't so difficult if you master the basics.

One key aspect of handicapping begins right after the race ends. Professionals take stock of results pertaining to past records of each combination of
horse, rider and trainer.

I also notice that much too often the more some people win, the more they bet even if they don't really have an opinion in succeeding races.

"I feel lucky," they say.

When you're hot, you're hot, but luck isn't always a lady, especially when you press it without handicapping.

For those who try to recoup when they're on an extended losing streak, I advise: Cut your losses, go home and come back another day.

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