Monday, July 25, 2011

Impressions #13 - How to Make Money on Horse Racing

This is my 13th entry and I thought it would be appropriate to honor that lucky number with an entry about horse racing.

One of the few TV stations that's in English broadcasts out of Dubai. It's a non-commercial station devoted to broadcasting horse racing events, 24/7. I suspect it is supported and subsidized by the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. He is a big lover of horse racing and operates one of the great racing stables of the world.

In the evenings, after work, I often leave the TV on to that station while I do other things and let my attention fall on it for a few minutes at a time. The animals are so beautiful and their joy in their prowess is a real pleasure to watch.

Anyhow, I noticed that the favorite (the horse with the lowest betting odds) very often won, or at least placed. I got to thinking, "The favorite wins or places so often. Why not just bet on the favorite in every race?"

So, I found the website of one of the major bookies, Ladbrokes, and pulled up 1 week's worth of racing results, about 180 races.

Engineer that I am, the next thing I did was to open Excel and create a spreadsheet. I entered the results into it and create 2 betting strategies, "Place" or "Win". Betting to "win" means that you get the full odds if the horse wins, i.e. if you place the minimum 2 British Pound (BP) bet on a horse with 4-1 odds, you get your 2 BP back as well as an additional 8 BP. Betting to "Place" means that if the horse ends in the top 3 (top 2 for races with less than 7 horses), you get the "Place" odds, which are usually 25% of the "Win" odds. So, the same 2 BP bet will win you 2 BP.

There are loads of other betting strategies, but these 2 are the simplest to analyze and probably the best approach, if you're betting on a favorite.

After a thorough and detailed analysis of the results for the 180 races I came to the following conclusion.

If you want to make money on horse racing, become a bookie!


  1. I saw the sheikh arabian horses in Paris several times, they are amazing beautiful creatures!