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Handicapping & Wagering Guide

Getting Started

Bankroll and Budgets

When and How Much to Bet

Straight Betting

Exotic Betting - Intrarace

Exotic Betting - Multirace

Working with Favorites

The Notepad



Across the Board - Is a Win, Place and Show bet.  So if you told the mutuel clerk you wanted a $2 bet on the #3 horse Across the Board you would receive a $2 Win, $2 Place and $2 Show bet totaling $6.  

Blind Pool
-  Bets where you don't know what the payout will be before the race.  When betting the Exacta you can see the payouts on the toteboard, so you know what that bet will return before placing your wager.  But, the Trifecta and Superfecta as well as the Pick 3,4,5,6's are all blind pools.

- The race favorite based on the odds (horse with the lowest odds).  Remember the odds are not the horses actual chance of winning, but how the public is betting the race.

Chalky Day - Means the majority of the favorites have won.

Pari-Mutuel Wagering - Pari-mutuel wagering replaced the old track bookmakers.  Pari-Mutual means you are betting against the other people in the same pool and not odds given to you by a bookmaker.  The more money the public bets on your selection(s) the less it will pay and vice versa.

Overlay - Describes a situation where the odds on a horse are higher than their actual chance of winning, thus making the horse a good bet.  In other words, the potential payoff is worth the risk of the bet.

Takeout - The percentage of money that the track takes out of the pools before the odds are posted.  The takeout money is used to cover the tracks expenses.  At tracks with a lower takeout percentage the payouts will be higher because there is more money left in the pools to be distributed amongst the winners.  For instance if the takeout at a track is 15% and $100,000 is bet into a certain pool, then the track would keep $15,000 and the winning tickets would split the remaining $85,000.  Take that versus a track with a takeout of 25% with the same $100,000 pool.  That track would keep $25,000 and only $75,000 would be left for the winning tickets to split.  That may not sound like much but consider this:  Let's assume each track had 1000 winning tickets.  At the track with a 15% takeout the payout would be $85, but at the track with a takeout of 25% the payout would be $75.

Toteboard - The big board in the center of the track that list the odds, pools and exacta payouts.  You can also find these online.  The best one I've found is at Daily Racing Form -

Underlay - Describes a situation where the odds on a horse are lower than their actual chance of winning, thus make the horse a bad bet.  In other words, the potential small payoff is NOT worth the risk of the bet.

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