If you’re like a lot of us horse players, you don’t like the term money management. No matter how serious we may be about making a profit and surviving in what may be the toughest game on earth, we also like the action and excitement of watching races and tempting fate with our wagers. We are risk takers, not buttoned down bean counters.
But if you really are passionate about making a profit, maybe even a living from wagering on horse races, you’d better start with a good money management scheme because the sad truth is that no amount of skillful handicapping can overcome sloppy wagering. Here is one of my Bill Peterson’s rules for horse racing handicapping, call it a truth if you like, I learned it the hard way. “Good money management will get you through times of poor handicapping better than good handicapping will get you through times of poor money management.” In other words, money management is the most important part of success at the horse races.
If you don’t believe that feel free to test it. When your money is gone, despite the fact that you seemed to pick more than your share of winners, you may see my point. Sometimes it takes going broke a few times before you finally have to admit that it’s time to take the blinkers off and see the reality of making a living betting on horses. It requires iron discipline, hard work, and restraint, of all things. Not exactly the recipe for a wild time at the track, is it?
That is precisely why most horse players lose in the end. You can sum up the difference between a losing horse player and a winning horse player in one sentence. A losing horse player wants to bet, a winning horse player wants to make a profit. If you look at a race and the odds on the board and think, “How can I make a profit from those odds on these horses?” You have a chance of making it as a horse player.
On the other hand, if you look at the program, no matter how skillful you are at picking winners, but fail to look at the odds and consider the implications, then you will eventually be broke. Look at it this way, what are you using to measure your success? If you measure success by how many winners you pick, then that is your reward, feeling like a smart person. If you measure success by the amount of extra cash in your pocket after a month of wagering on races, then your reward is money. Why even bother to wager on a race if your ultimate goal isn’t financial success?
I often ask myself, “Why don’t people who bet on horse races pay more attention to money management if they come to the races to bet on them?” The answer is, the thrill of risking money and casting one’s fate to the wind. That is exactly what you are doing without a good money management plan.