Playing the ponies pivots entirely on what odds each horse has. The horse racing odds determine whether the bet is worth making or how much you can make should that horse win. But how does each track come up with horse racing odds?
Meet the Track Handicapper
Horse racing odds are often determined entirely by the tracks’ handicapper, who sometimes also doubles as the track announcer. The final decision for an individual horse’s odds is determined by one human brain. He or she estimates that if, somehow, the same race could be run with the same horses under the exact same conditions for 10 or 100 times, how many times will the particular horse win. If a horse is 100-1, then the handicapper doesn’t think much of the horse.
The track handicapper has to come up with the original odds (usually called morning line odds) about a week before the race is run. In this way, the horse racing odds for the track’s entire daily card can be sent off in time to local newspapers, online gambling sites and the national horse racing papers.
On The Day
Depending on where you live, you can bet that race as soon as the morning line odds are announced. But many people wait until the day of the race in order to be sure that the horse doesn’t scratch (have to be withdrawn from the race.) Also, many players like to see the how the horse is doing that day before they lay their money down.
As soon as the track opens for the day, you will notice that the odds on the tote board will often change dramatically before the starting gates finally open for the running of the race. The more people buy tickets for a particular horse, the lower the odds become.