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A bettor way to play
Monday, May 05, 2014 - by Frank Cotolo

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I loved Tim Bojarski’s trip to the Google Play Store to find apps for harness racing and his discovery of one for Swedish harness racing and two for North American harness racing.

At the risk of sounding self-serving, as a harness bettor, I don’t see the harness-racing app I want, which is the one that I think may provide a way to keep bettors and create new ones. That’s because the app I want does not exist.

I already hear people saying to me, “Then create that app.” Certainly it may become a lucrative project for me, in the long run, but I am perfectly comfortable admitting that I could develop and app about as easily as I could build a rocket that would travel to the moon (no less leave the ground) in my backyard.

Basically, however, the idea is to create an app that simply leads handicappers to the horse they should wager upon. That does not mean it displays the most likely winner of a race—my app won’t pick winners, it will allow users to play horses that will win and pay a worthy price.

My app would also keep a running total of the user’s wagering history, allowing the player to know when he or she is losing (and how much) and when he or she is winning (and how much in raw numbers and ROI—return on investment, a percentage).

By displaying both of those features, the user would understand that winning fewer races with better prices is the key to profit. Once that verity has been absorbed, veteran players that continue to fool themselves into thinking they profit without keeping records (no less wagering on horses not worth their win mutuel) may begin to understand the value of value wagering and become successful.

As well, novice players would learn from the start how to make harness racing pari-mutuel play into more than a spectator sport that attracts leisure dollars. Dare I say it? We could create players, the kind that frequent tracks and betting avenues and begin to love the sport from other perspectives.

Just like the famous Maimonides quote: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” a player’s app as I suggest may have the power to create a new audience, a younger audience that is mobile-gadget-digital-game oriented and raring to employ a financial complement to their earning power.

Success breeds success and pari-mutuel money-management methods and sound business behavior by keeping records may be the new millennium way to get our sport the attention it needs in a global climate that has made so many other methods tired and futile.

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Hoof Beats Magazine The forum of Hoof Beats bloggers, featuring some of the best writers in harness racing: New York writer Tim Bojarski, handicapper Frank Cotolo, Tom LaMarra, Harness Racing Communications’ Ellen Harvey and Ken Weingartner, and Hoof Beats’ T.J. Burkett.
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