If you've gone to a race track or you've gone to an OTB parlor and bet on horse races a few times, you may have had a bit of luck, but after a while, maybe on your third visit, the luck runs out. If you keep betting and losing unexpectedly you'll probably ask yourself the same question that almost everyone finally asks at the track.
"Can anyone win at the horse races?"
For many horse players it looks like an endless cycle of winning followed by losing followed by more winning, but as you go through the process you realize you're missing more than you're winning. In the gambling business that's known as, "churn."
There are no guarantees at the horse races --it's risky and as far as I know, no get rich quick schemes that have ever lasted. On the other hand, betting and gambling are a matter of odds and there are ways to stack the odds in your favor just a bit. Just as there are games in a casino that played properly offer a near even chance of winning, at the horse races there are better bets and lousy bets.
The straight win bet is the easiest wager to make and offers the lowest takeout most of the time. There are gadget bets like pick fours that sometimes have a lower takeout because the race tracks are trying to entice you to play them, but overall at most tracks the win bet is the best bet to make if you want to pay the least amount to the race track and win more for your wagering dollar.
Long shots pay big and if you can pick them you'll make a bundle, but they're long shots for a reason. As far as the winning percentages go, stick with the top three horses in the odds, the horses with the lowest odds, and you'll win more often. The favorite wins about a third of the time but the second and third favorite often win and they pay more than the favorite.
Look closely at those three horses and try to find one that is around the morning line odds. The morning line is set by a professional handicapper. Admittedly they do not make a profit with their picks in most cases, but they come close. The favorite is almost always bet below the odds that its abilities warrant. That means one of those other low priced horses will usually be fairly priced very close to its actual opportunities of winning.
A win bet on one of the lower odds horses is the closest you can come to a break even bet without you are prepared to spend hours handicapping and learning how to do it like the pros.