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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Betting on Horses Paperback – September 19, 1998
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Even though baseball, football, and basketball get the lion's share of sports fans' attention, it's important to note that horseracing is the sport most steeped in tradition, mystery, and arcana. This Complete Idiot's Guide is for anyone who's ever heard terms like pick six, hard knockers, and cheap speed and thought, "Hey, there's something fun going on out at the racetrack, and I'd like to get in on it."
Nothing can replace the pure adrenalized fun of visiting a track and laying some hard-earned cash on the daily double; this book does all it can to ensure that you'll give yourself at least a middling chance to finish in the money. You'll learn how to read the "Daily Racing Form," what difference a horse's heredity makes, what physical limitations a horse might have and how to recognize them, and how to place all the different kinds of bets. Most important--considering this is a sport in which professional handicappers can only pick the winners 35 percent of the time--you'll learn how to give yourself the absolute best chance to walk away from the track with more money than you had when you arrived. --Lou Schuler
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Second, it is important you are clear that this "Idiot's" book teaches nothing about handicapping horse races. It is written to describe racing terms and educate the reader about the sport itself; not betting on it. You will NOT learn how to review the Daily Racing Form and analyze a race. As a novice, I bought this book because it was the first one out of the gate (pun intended). It was extremely disappointing. On the other hand, the "Dummies" book educates you about the steps you can take to analyze a race and budget your betting $$.
So overall, this book does a decent job of explaining the history of horse racing and defining the who-and-what you find at the track. As long as you enjoy picking winners using your own superstition, then this book will work for you. If you want to learn how to approach the races as a bettor and at least build an illusion you know what you are doing, get the "Dummies" book instead.