I think we are all glad 2020 is coming to an end. Despite the pandemic, horse racing was able to continue running, and I do not think the sport as a whole received the recognition it deserved for that. I also think this new way of playing the game may have given us a glimpse into the future of what racing will look like. We may be saying bye-bye to cash betting on track, packed grandstands, and will be relying on our ADW’s to handle everything racing related.

This is a good time to reflect on how you did in 2020, and why and how you play this game.

It is also a good time to start the new year with some achievable goals in racing and to make improvements in your approach and technique.

I played professionally and successfully for a long time. It is not easy, but it is doable. I’ll share some of the fundamentals I found essential for long term success, survival, and to beat this ultra-tough game of skill. Think of this as a blueprint, if you will.

First things first. Start keeping records. A profit and loss, if you will. I include the cost of any past performances, speed figures, or any handicapping tools I use in my expenses, along with my wagers. It helps to do it by month, or meet, by you should definitely know where you stand at the end of the year, like now. No business can be efficient without knowing where they stand and how much goes in and how much goes out.

Look to improve off 2020 even if it was a good year for you. Your expenses will likely stay the same. Your wagers can be reduced. Bet smart. Don’t be afraid to include fewer horses and combinations. Narrow down your opinion. You can cash fewer tickets but win more money. Instinctively we want to cash cash cash and include every horse we can. Long term, it is a recipe for disaster. You have to have an opinion and not be afraid to back it.

Stop hedging and playing defensively. If you are in on your play, then stay in. Keep the red column as light as you can. If you didn’t use those horses on your ticket, don’t be afraid of them now that you are alive. If you don’t like the favorite or any horse, don’t add them to your play just to not let them beat you. All these moves add up and cost money. This is a marathon and not a sprint. In the long run, adding costs cuts into your profits. In a game that has takeout, adding to your costs cuts into your profits more than most can afford to be profitable. We will all be wrong more than we will be right. That means you have to bet smart. Boxing horses will lead to cashing more tickets, but that doesn’t automatically equate to winning more money. A $1 three-horse exacta box is $6. I’d sooner take two straight $3 exactas. The box player may cash more, but I bet they won’t win more money.

Betting place is a hedge. You are betting against your opinion of who will win. I don’t remember that last horse I bet to place. We are talking decades.

Don’t beat yourself. Study and do your homework. Never say I missed that because you skimmed the past performances. That is on you. Come prepared for every race you put your money on. Rest assured, you are playing against some who did. Don’t give them the edge before the gate opens.

Watch more replays and watch them correctly. Watching replays is an art. Learn it. You can get some good insight here.

The Learned Art of Watching Replays

Use the tools your ADW offers. AmWager offers some great and unique tools that can help you. They can help you bet more than one horse to win in the same race and turn a profit by dutching. They have fair price grids and more. Check out these features as they can only help you.

AmWager Features

Be selective. It is up to you which races you bet on. If you don’t like a race or sequence, bet on one you do.

Budget your bankroll. All races and opportunities are not created equal. Bet more where your opinion is strongest, and you have the best possible return. Bet less on spots you like but aren’t all in as I like to say.

Step out of your comfort zone once in a while. I am not suggesting betting more than you can afford. I am saying sometimes when it feels and looks right, take a nice shot. Maybe more than your normal shot but still within your budget. If you don’t swing for the fences a few times, it is hard to hit a grand slam.

This may sound easy, but it takes some discipline. It may not be for everyone, but these fundamentals can help you get into the black, and that is what counts at the end of the meet.

May you all close out the year on a winning note and all the best in 2021!