Initially I was going to stay away from the gambling aspect of racing.  There are many blogs out there on how to gamble or picking winners, but a few of my ex-coworkers talked me into doing this for information purposes.

Let  me start off by saying ” THE TRACK DOESN`T CARE WHICH HORSE WINS!”  It gets the same amount of money whether the favorite wins or the biggest long shot on the board wins.

Let`s say you and 49 of your friends are all over at your house watching the races.  Then one person says lets bet to see who wins.  Everyone bets 2 dollars on the who they think will win.  So now we have $100 total in the betting pool.  You need a 3rd party that’s neutral to hold the cash and figure out who gets paid,  so you get someone who isn`t involved in the bet to hold the cash and divide up the winnings.  That person (Aka the track) says “Since I am doing all the work I will take $10 out as a fee”.  Now we have $90 left in the pool.  This is the maximum amount available to pay to the winners.  So now that the betting is all done, the race happens and it is time to pay out to the winners.  If 1 person wins they get the entire $90, if 2 people win $45, 9 people win $10.  The pool (the $90) is split equally among all those who won. I make it a point to emphasize the word split , because many times I hear “I would`ve liked to have that.  I could use the $ __ that  it paid”.  Then I have to explain to people “If you would have had a winning ticket also, it would not have paid the same amount.  There would have been 1 more ticket with the winning numbers, so it would have been split up differently and all the people involved would have received less winnings”.

Another thing to point out is I get a lot of complaints about “O the track cheated and wanted that horse to win so it wouldn`t have to pay out as much.”  The track doesn`t care who wins.  It receives its fee or cut, no matter who wins. How much is actually taken out of the pool is a bit more complicated than I am making it for this.  The track gets a different percentage of the pool for different types of bets.  Win, place and show bets do not have the same amount taken out as the exotic wagers do.