How to make the most of your day at the races

September 20, 2022

Both serious and casual horse racing enthusiasts enjoy visiting racetracks. A day out at the races isn’t just about horse racing odds or placing bets. There’s so much more fun to be had!

Regardless of which racetrack you’re going to, it’s a good idea to do your research before your visit. Planning ahead can help you make the most of your day out. Here are some great tips.

Create a maximum budget

Before heading to the races, you need to have in mind how much money you can afford to spend. Don’t forget to include your entrance fee, food and drinks, parking or transport costs, and of course, betting. Some racetracks allow visitors to bring in their own food and drinks, which can be a great money-saver, so check this out ahead of time.

Just be sure that whatever you budget for betting, you can afford to lose it.

Check out the race card beforehand

If you’re serious about maximizing your chances of winning some money, do your research. Check out the race card ahead of time and consult some reliable sites to read up on who the favorites are.

The best returns are often in high-performance races like high-level optional claiming races, graded stakes races, stakes, or allowance.

Here is a quick guide to race difficulty:

  • Graded stakes and stakes are good races to preserve your existing bankroll as the majority of the horses in these events will be battle tested.
  • High-level optional claiming and allowance races can give good returns as it’s often easy to spot a progressing horse.
  • With claiming races, you’ll be better equipped to practice handicapping. These races are often used by horses that are trying hard to reach the next competition level.
  • 5K or less and low-level claiming are events in which horses can pop out a great effort at any time – but they’re difficult to assess.
  • Maiden races include special weight contents and maiden claiming. It’s really hard to handicap these as the horses can suddenly get their racing game.
  • 2-year-old horse races. These are notoriously difficult to handicap, even for pros. There are just so many variables. It’s probably a good idea to avoid betting on these unless you’re really knowledgeable. They’re fun to watch, however!

Handicap the race card

As races come thick and fast on the day, it’s a good idea to handicap the races well in advance. You will be able to make changes on the day, but you’ll have a much more relaxing time of it! Spending more time on handicapping often brings better monetary rewards.

Decide where you’re spending your money

You should choose to spend the most on bets when you’re confident with your handle. A lot of people like wagering on all races, but this isn’t a good idea for an enjoyable day as it can leave you frustrated (as well as short of cash).

It’s a better use of your money to place your wager on the races you think will be most likely to give you a return.

Here are some thoughts:

  • Choose between two and four races.
  • Bet a $6 show, $4 place, and $2 win on the horses you think are the best.
  • Try a rolling show parlay to work through your race card. Whenever you have a winning bet, bump its wager up by $1. If your choice is off the board, revert back to your $2 wager.

These simple ideas can lead to a more successful day at the races.

Don’t get drunk

No one’s saying you should make your day alcohol free, but knowing your limits is essential when it comes to enjoying your day out. Alcohol impairs your judgment, so that budget you worked out and those bets you planned might end up going out of the window after one too many beers! Make sure you can handle your drinks and take things steady. Don’t forget to eat too!

Final thoughts on making the most of a day at the races

Having the best day out at the races doesn’t mean you’ll come home with more money than you left with – although that would be a bonus. If you want to have a good day out, you’ll need to plan carefully and stick to your plan. Also, being in like-minded company helps. There’s no point in having a great plan for race day if you’re easily influenced by your uncle Bob!

@jonathanstettin is there a any better at writing thoroghbred articles that are ” relevant” to the horseplayer and fan alike ? I think not.

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