What do poker and horse racing have in common? For one thing, you can make money at either one, if you are very good. Good horse racing handicappers that learn the art of anddatos americanas hoy money management and how to find good bets can make money betting on horses. Good poker players who can read the cards and their opponents to find good bets can make money, too.
If you notice a common theme there, you’re right. It is all about finding a good bet. Horse players sometimes have to spot a bluff and to know when to call it. In Holdem poker, good players learn to count the outs and figure pot odds. In horse racing, handicappers learn to rate a horse’s chances of winning and then put a fair value on that.
One place where you will find a lot of bluffing in horse racing is in claiming races. Claiming races, also known as selling races, are a study in human nature and deceit. When a trainer has a good horse and wants to win a race, he or she must put that horse at a level it can win at. Unfortunately, in the claiming ranks, that means another trainer or owner can claim the horse. Some of the most astute judges of horse flesh are masters at the claiming game.
While it is a great boost to the ego to win a big stakes race, such as the Kentucky Derby, when it comes to horsemanship, saying that a trainer made his or her living on claiming races is a great compliment. It means that he or she really knew horses, how to spot a good one, how to patch one up, and how to keep it long enough to make some money with it.
If you are handicapping horse races for money and want to make money on claiming races, you’d better learn to spot a bluff. One way that trainers will bluff is by using front wraps on a horse, even if it doesn’t need it. Obviously, front wraps may mean lameness, or tendon problems. Not many trainers want to claim a lame horse or one with bowed tendons. But if a trainer uses that trick too often, the others will get wise and the front wraps won’t keep his or her horse from being claimed.
Just as in poker, a bluff should be used rarely to insure that when you do bluff, the other players won’t call, in horse racing, using wraps will only work if you use them sparingly.
Other bluffs are very slow works, switching to a no name rider, a sudden and dramatic drop in claiming price, even starting rumors that a horse has a major problem. You may be sitting in the track kitchen having breakfast and overhear a trainer telling someone that a horse is all washed up and has a bad problem. A few days later you see it take a dramatic drop in class and it wins easily, but no one claimed it out of the race. You were probably meant to hear that rumor and also to spread it around.
You may never know if it was true but the trainer overcame whatever problem the horse had, or if it was just a fib to keep you from claiming that horse. So how do you, a horse racing handicapper manage to make money off these situations? First of all, you need to keep good notes and be observant. That means you can’t play a lot of tracks at once. If you can physically get to a track, go to the saddling ring and look at the horses and make notes about equipment.
Then see how those horses do. Almost every track has a few trainers who are masters of the claiming game. If you can figure them out, you can make a living betting their horses because you’ll know when they are well meant. I used to watch a certain trainer who had cheap horses and made a living in the claiming ranks. When he sat down in the first row of the grandstand, I knew his horse was going for the win, they didn’t always win, but at least I knew they were well meant.
When he sat up higher, where he got a better view, I knew he was just watching. The reason for the seat change was that he had trouble, at his age, walking down to the winners circle and getting there in time for the photo from the higher perch. For a while this trick worked pretty well, but then he foxed us by sitting down low when he had no notion of winning. We bought anyway and bet his horse, only to watch it take a little breeze for exercise. You have to know when they are bluffing, but we made a lot of money until he caught us a few times and we paid some of it back.