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Reaching an understanding
Monday, May 12, 2014 - by Frank Cotolo

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When you are handicapping, there are two types of races you ultimately address—races you understand and races you don’t understand. Aside from being perfectly honest with yourself about which is which, only two things can happen to you concerning these races.

First, you confront the races you understand by handicapping them; second, you pass the races you don’t understand and look for races you feel you do understand.

That sounds simple enough, except that no specific result is guaranteed based on playing the races you understand. You are never assured winning races you understand, even when you pass all the races you judge perplexing, leaving a minimal number of plays. Your betting methods, not your handicapping, will decide how many races you win and that could mean your best efforts result in losing.

Why would your chances of losing money playing races you handicap with strong understanding be as great, if not greater, than your chances of profiting from them?

First, you may not be getting your price on your most-likely winner and still play it to win. That may mean you cash a ticket, but by allowing yourself to accept less than you wanted will be a ruining factor in the long run. This little piece of arithmetic eludes players into thinking they are profiting due to the number of tickets they cash when in fact, they are losing money.

Take a player who wins 20 percent of the horses he wagers upon that are 9-2. Each 100 times he bets costs him $200 (per $2 bet). He wins $220 at a 10-percent rate, but only if he religously accepts 9-2 as his fair odds. Should this player decide to assume horses at 4-1, merely one point less than his usual demand, he loses his 10-percent profit.

In turn, profiting only occurs if the player follows through with a strong wagering plan and the conviction to sustain it. 

Secondly, no one can perfectly understand a race since the event is full of unpredictable drama. The process of handicapping is an all-things-being-equal procedure. We assume much and although many times our assumptions lead to correct results, we cannot exactly predict the means in which we are right or wrong about the result. Every race transcends a definite order and purpose in small ways that affect the outcome because all race situations are dictated by or depend upon chance, which is sometimes on our side and other times burdens our desired results.

These two reasons are enough to define a successful player as one that can and often does pass playing races he or she has handicapped with total understanding.


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