What if you lose your first bet of the day?

Joe Takach

Article Library



The good thing about publishing the weekly SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA HORSES TO WATCH is that I have a very sophisticated audience with a very healthy thirst for knowledge that can be turned into more profitable play---be they weekend warriors or hardcore like myself who need a fix of “horse” every single racing day!

A long time a valued client called this week and asked me what I did if I lost my first bet of the day.  Rather than give her a quick answer, I told her to read this week’s handicapping article in the SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA HORSES TO WATCH.

I thought her question an excellent one, because there isn’t a handicapper alive that hasn’t been faced with this specific situation and most likely faced with it at least once a week!

How we react to that losing first wager can often make the difference between a winning and a losing day.

Before I offer my reply to her, lets look at this scenario.

We’re up half the night handicapping tomorrow’s card and come up with only 1 “playable spot” for the next day.  It comes in the 2nd race. 

We bet and we lose.  Boo-hoo.  It isn’t the first time, nor the last time this will occur in your betting career.  You learn to live with it!

What’s next?

We can do 1 of 2 things at this point.

We can stick to our “game plan” and keep our hands in our pockets for the rest of the day not betting again while taking copious notes for the future, or we can try to “get out” for the day. 

Those of you not familiar with the term “getting out”, it merely means recouping all of one’s losses for the day by the end of the last race.

It matters little exactly where you lost or how much you’re behind for the afternoon.  If you’re financially “even” for the afternoon (after being in a sea of red ink) as you exit the track, you are said to have “gotten out” for the day avoiding a disastrous dent in your betting bankroll.

Sticking to your “game plan” and merely taking notes all day for potential future bets is highly advisable, but tough to implement and religiously stick to.  This is doubly true if your only “pick” for the day was in an early race.  

Professionals can pass with little or no problem because they know that they’ll be back tomorrow, so there’s no need to panic and try to “get out” or rush a marginal bet. 

Pros don’t live in day-tight compartments where their self worth comes down to a single bet (win or lose) for any specific afternoon.

Pros look at the bigger picture.  They concern themselves only with how they are doing for the meet (or year), not with single events (race, races, or simply a bad day) along the way. 

Seasoned but non-professional players are a bit different and always seem to have a “hunch” in every race even though the professional knows that certain races might not warrant a bet under any circumstances. 

Any “day-tripper” knows that in the long run, his bankroll will quickly deflate by wagering on “hunches” every race for betting “action”.   

Since seasoned players are usually not in attendance on a daily basis though frequent participants, they almost feel like they are “obligated to bet” because they can only wager a day or 2 a week instead of 5 or 6 like a pro.  If they do bet every race or nearly every race, they can only end up in the red, because betting nothing more than a “hunch” will literally bury them in the long run. 

Nobody gets rich betting hunches! 

Those betting “hunches” are all the lost souls walking around trackside with nothing more than a program in hand.  No homework, no day work, no paddock work---just betting jockeys, trainers, post positions etc. or “hunches”. 

Granted, even if planning to stick to your “game plan” of only one wager for that specific day, a horse might jump out at you on rare occasions as you are doing your paddock work for future bets. 

There is nothing wrong with intensely following this horse right up until loading and wagering if and only if you have a very valid reason to do so. 

Such reasons might include the scratch of the prohibitive race favorite or the race favorite showing up in the paddock with new negative equipment such as a barshoe, martingale, “blowout” or a “stop”.  Or perhaps he looks a physical wreck and is having a “bad hair” day! 

Nothing is carved in stone in our great game and opportunity could be around any corner in any situation! 

But if you find yourself betting past your intended stopping point (win or lose) every single day or most of them, you’re “pushing” bets, you’re positively pushing your luck and eventually you’ll be pushing yourself into a hole!

The only way to really judge yourself in this game is with a balance sheet at the end of a year much like the stock market and one’s investment portfolio.

Do you buy every stock?

Of course not, so why should or would you bet every single race? 

Just as some stocks aren’t worth the investment and potential loss, some races offer nothing but very steep downside risk! 



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