Avoid Betting on Fixed Races and Getting Stiffed at the Horse Track

Avoid Betting on Fixed Races and Getting Stiffed at the Horse Track

Horse racing, like any human activity that involves money and risk, is sometimes a crooked game. In my opinion, after 50 years at the races as everything from a groom to an owner, most races are not fixed and the people who work at the race track are usually pretty honest. On the other hand, there is occasionally a fixed race.


If you are handicapping horse races to make a profit, you may be very close to actually making money, but seem to fall a little short. The reason may be that your handicapping needs a little tweaking, though it may also be that you are betting on fixed races and they are sapping your profits.


It is bad enough when you lose money because your horse falls down or fails to run up to your expectations, but when someone steals money from you by fixing a race, that is downright painful. Here are a few suggestions to help you avoid getting robbed at the races.


First of all, keep track of the jockeys and how often they fail on the favorite. The easiest way to fix a horse race is to get a jockey to “stiff” a favorite. Most jockeys are good hard working people who do a difficult and dangerous job and do it well, but there are a few riders I will not bet on and in fact, I avoid races they are riding in. The reason is that they have a tendency to fail on favorites and the races they are riding in often have some strange results.


A good rule of thumb, if you are really serious about avoiding races that are fixed, is to avoid betting on favorites, altogether, and any race with a prohibitive favorite at less than even odds. By less than even, I mean odds of 1-1 or less. When that much money is heaped on one horse, the chances of chicanery go up and the incentive for fair play go down.


Another good rule to follow is to avoid races with small purses. If the purse is high enough, the incentive to win is higher, but if there isn’t much money to be made from the purse, the riders and trainers may try to make it by betting on or against their own horses. By following these few simple rules you can avoid the occasional fixed race and improve your chances of making a profit betting on horses.

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