Horse betting is a game where you can actually have a long-term advantage, unlike slot machines, lotteries and casino games where they odds are fixed in the house's favor. In horseracing, like poker, the odds are determined by the players - instead of the house - through pari-mutuel wagering.
Pari-mutuel literally means "bet among ourselves." All bets on a horse race will be placed into a pool and the winners share the money in the pool proportionately according to the size of their bets. The payouts are determined by the amount of money bet on each horse, or a combination of bets in the case of exotic bets.
For example, suppose a race has 20 people who each bet $100 on a horse #1, and 10 people who each bet $100 on horse #2. There would be $3,000 in the pool, so if horse #2 wins. The 10 people who bet on it would share the $3,000 and would each get $300 for a $200 profit. Therefore, horse #2 would be listed at 2-to-1 since you make two dollars for every one dollar you bet. If 10 more people bet $100 on horse #2, it's odd would be 1-to-1 instead since there is now $4,000 in the pool to be split 20 ways, or $200 per person.
These are called "track odds". Since these payouts are determined by the player's opinions instead of the actual chances each horse winning, there is plenty of opportunity for a smart player to win by simply outsmarting the other horse players.
Pari-mutuel wagering is the reason that betting on horses can be profitable, but it has a downside: a large wager to often drive down the odds (and therefore the payout) of your horse, especially in smaller tracks.
There are a handful of basic fundamentals that all successful horse players use, including: speed, class, pace, distance, surface, current form, post position, and connections.
HPG ADMIN on March 1, 2013