Horse racing handicapping involves what is called pari-mutuel betting. In essence, the odds on individual horses are determined by what percentage of the total wagering pool is assigned to each horse. With this type of wagering, which Frenchman Pierre Oller created in the mid-19th century, gamblers basically bet against one another. Horse racing handicapping is not the only wagering that incorporates this system. You’ll also find it in effect in greyhound racing and jai alai contests.
Horse Racing Handicapping and Pari-mutuel Fundamentals
When you study the daily racing form to start your horse race handicapping, you’ll note that in each race every horse is assigned odds. But those odds start to change as soon as bets are placed, and they’ll continue to be adjusted until the final wager is taken on that race. When bets are placed tote boards or totalizators at the race track display the developing wagering patterns. With odds changing up until the opening of the gate, many who engage in horse race handicapping like to wait until just before the start of the race when the odds are close to being finalized.
Once the bets are placed, all of the money minus the rake is placed in a pool. The house will keep the rake, which goes to paying any expenses and taxes. The percentage of the pool that goes to the rake is anywhere from 15 to 25%. The folks with winning bets will then share the rest of the take.
Horse Racing Handicapping and Payouts
Here’s how pari-mutuel betting works. If the cash pool after expenses are paid is $1,000 and the first horse is 3- 1 and the second is 5- 1, the payouts are dictated by these odds and they’re different for each horse. These odds are determined by how much money is wagered on each horse.
The first horse would pay $6.00 on a $2.00 bet, while the second pony has a $10.00 payout on a $2.00 wager. Horse one had 333 bets placed on it, while horse two had 200 bets. The horse with more wagers on it pays less because more people have to split the cash. Thus, in horse racing handicapping the pari-mutuel system is the final arbiter of the odds.
Consider this in Horse Race Handicapping
With pari-mutuel odds changing until the start of the race, it’s best to wager just before the horse race begins. That way you’ll know exactly what odds you’re getting. In horse racing handicapping, pari-mutuel betting can be both confusing and exciting for the gambler. Watch the changing tote board carefully. Depending on betting patterns, you may be able to get great odds on a favored horse.