Category Archives: Horses

Become A Horse Betting Master

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Whether you’re a beginner, a veteran. Once you enter the Grandstand — the area where everybody hangs out and gambles — you’ll need to know a few things to start tapping that bankroll and making a penny or two. Here’s a basic horse-betting primer:

For beginners:

  • The most common horse-betting increment has been $2. Sure, you can bet a crisp $100 bill, too, but we’d suggest starting with a two-spot.
  • If you bet the favorite every time, you’ll have approximately a 33% chance of winning.
  • You’ll be betting in a parimutuel environment, meaning all bets of a specific type are put into a pool. Winnings come out of that pool. So it’s unlike poker or blackjack, where you’re betting against the dreaded House. Here, you’re up against other horse bettors.

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  • Normal or “straight” horse bets come in three forms: Win – You’re betting on the horse to cross the finish line first — i.e., to win the race. Place – You’re betting on the horse to come in either first or second. Show – You’re betting on a horse to come in first, second, or third.
  • Horse betting is all about the odds. If you bet $2 on a horse to Win with 2-1 odds, you’ll more than double your money to $6. In other words, multiply $2 x 2/1 + your $2 initial bet. Third-grade math skills go a long way in adult life.
  • At the track, beginners should place bets at a betting window, manned by a human being. There is a level of comfort you reach standing face-to-face with a person and reading your bet to them — rather than using an electronic gambling machine or ADW.
  • Horse betting follows a sequence. Let’s say it’s the 5th race and you want to bet on horse No. 4: approach the betting window and declare to the teller, “At Aqueduct, in the 5th race, I’d like to put $2 to win on the No. 4 horse”. That’s how you place a bet at any track: Racetrack, Race, Dollar Amount, Bet Type, Horse Number.
  • Once your bet has been placed, the teller will hand you a ticket, which will have your exact bet on it — and, like a lottery ticket, you can exchange it for cash later if your bet is “in the money”.

Gambling Veterans

Typically, it takes awhile to get good at horse betting, so don’t get down on yourself if you lose some money upfront. Being a degenerate gambler is not really about how much you make, money-wise; it’s more about the thrill of the game, being a savvy operator, and beating the odds. Here’s a primer for taking the leap into multi-wager or “exotic” betting:

  • The horse-betting veteran will be looking at just about every piece of data in a horse’s past and present to try to get an edge on an upcoming race, including: the horse’s trainer, its bloodline, the day’s weather report, racetrack conditions, how fast the horse ran in his/her previous race, and even the equipment on the horse.
  • You will have bought the Daily Racing Form, basically the Bible of past-performance data for horses. NOTE: For an even fresher perspective, you may have also brought the day’s paper, which has some local handicapping information in it. For example, the New York Daily News’ horse racing analyst is Jerry Bossert.
  • Bets can be combined in a number of ways to maximize your winnings. They cost a little bit more to place, but the payouts can be much higher, depending on the horse’s odds. Here are the basics: Exacta – You pick the first two horses in order, the Win and the Place horses. Quinella – You pick the first two horses in either order. Trifecta – You pick the first three finishing horses in a row: Win, Place, and Show. Daily Double – You pick the winners of two consecutive races.
  • At Aqueduct, besides the normal multi-pick wagers, you have the chance of picking even more winners and getting even bigger payouts. File these under “almost impossible”, but as a savvy horseplayer, it’s entirely possible that you’ll hit one or more of these a year, if you do your homework: Superfecta – Pick the first four horses in order; i.e., Win, Place, Show, 4th Horse. Grand Slam – Pick a horse to finish in the top three in three straight races, capped by the winner of the fourth race in the sequence.
  • Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 6: These are as they sound — pick the winners in 3, 4, and 6 consecutive races. The races are predetermined by the track, so you can’t just pick any three races.


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Dodging Bullets wins Queen Mother Champion Chase

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Dodging Bullets clinched glory in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham for trainer Paul Nicholls.

Winner of the Tingle Creek at Sandown and the Clarence House Chase at Ascot already this season, the seven-year-old was third in the betting at 9-2 for the two-mile championship behind former winners Sprinter Sacre and Sire De Grugy.

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The 9-2 chance won by one and a quarter lengths from Somersby (33-1) with Special Tiara (18-1) third.

Last year’s winner Sire De Grugy finished fourth while the 2013 victor Sprinter Sacre – in his second run in 15 months after a heart scare – was pulled up.

Defending champion Sire De Grugy was under the pump a long way from home, while Sprinter Sacre, so brilliant in this race two years ago, did not jump well and appeared a shadow of his former self after stopping quickly from the home turn and being pulled up.

Twiston-Davies said: “What a horse, Harry Derham and the team have done a great job – Harry rides him all the time and wouldn’t let Frankie Dettori ride him at home when he came down the other day..

Victory gave Twiston-Davies and eight-time champion trainer Nicholls a double after Aux Ptit Soins won the previous race, the Coral Cup.


The Champion Chase, in which Champagne Fever was a morning withdrawal, was billed as a battle of the champions.

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A horse racing unlikely duo

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His jockey is 54-years-old and has never ridden in the Run for the Roses. His next Grade1 win will be his first. He hasn’t even won a Grade 2 stakes since 2009.

His trainer, John P. Terranova II, has started just one horse in the Kentucky Derby and that one — Falling Sky — finished 19th in the 2013 Derby.

The horse himself is not even his owner’s most highly regarded 3-year-old. And yet, after winning Saturday’s $400,000 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct, El Kabeir re-positioned himself as a major contender to be at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May.

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Last month, much of the luster fell off El Kabeir when he pressed the pace and finished a disappointing second in the Grade 3 Withers. But on the first Saturday in March, owner Ahmed Zayat’s safety valve for 2-year-old champion American Pharoah surely looked like Kentucky Derby material at chilly Aqueduct. The grey son of Scat Daddy showed off a new dimension by lingering in ninth in a field of 10 and then launching a strong 4-wide rally under veteran jockey Chucky “CC” Lopez to win the Gotham going-away by 2 ¾ lengths over promising second-time starter Tiz Shea D.

American Pharoah may be the Zayat horse with the Eclipse trophy on the mantle, yet the division’s reigning champ has yet to start at three and has not raced since September due to an injury suffered in the week leading up to the Breeders’ Cup. His dazzling recent works indicate he may be as good as ever, yet with no real margin for error on his path to Churchill Downs, one small misstep in the coming weeks could be enough to knock him off the Triple Crown trail.

Meanwhile, all El Kabeir does is turn out one solid effort after another.

The Grade 3 Gotham was his third graded stakes win in his last four starts and that lone setback, the Withers, was anything but a sour effort in Terranova’s estimation.

Whether El Kabeir would be able to carry his speed over a demanding 10-furlong mountain like the Kentucky Derby had been a big question mark hovering over Zayat’s “other” 3-year-old. Yet how the Gotham played out helped to erase at least some of those concerns. More will be known if all goes well and El Kabeir returns to the Big A on April 4 for the mile-and-an-eighth Wood Memorial on the oval’s main track, but now the Gotham and his strong closing kick were steps in the right direction.

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