The betfa on a horse race starts as soon as the trace track will accept bets, or in the case of advanced deposit wagering interfaces on the internet, as soon as the ADW will take your bet. That may be an hour or more before the race track actually takes bets and may be many hours before the actual race is run, if it’s a later race. Once you’ve chosen the horse that you think will win the race, why not just put the bet down and then you won’t have to worry about forgetting it and missing the bet, right?
If your memory is really that bad, it might be an option, but if you actually want to make some money betting on horse races, you should wait. Why wait? The reason you should wait is because the odds are the most important part of deciding if a bet is a good bet or a bad bet. Who wants to make bad bets?
Every professional gambler and many good recreational gamblers know that probability compared to the payoff is the secret to making a profit, and let’s face it, when it comes to betting, it’s all about having more when you’re done than when you started. If the horse you bet on will pay $5 to win and will win the same race half the time if it’s run 50 times, then that is a very good bet. For every two dollars wagered you’ll make $2.50 back and like they say on the backstretch, “That’s better than you can get from a bank.”
The problem is that you won’t know how much that actual bet will pay until after the race has started and the windows have closed and the computer is locked down for that race. You may have noticed that when the race starts a bell rings. That means you can no longer bet, but the computer still has to total all late bets and then readjust the odds one final time. Only then will the bettors know exactly how much each winner will pay.
The longer you wait to bet, the more money that has filtered into the win pool and the closer to the final reality are those odds on the tote board. If at the last minute your horse drops down to odds that are so low it is no longer a good bet, all those people who already bet are in a bad position unless they can cancel their tickets. How many people do you see canceling tickets before a race?
Even in the best of circumstances you are almost betting blindly because about half or more of the money doesn’t show up until after the bell rings and the race begins. Therefore, wait until the last minute to bet if you’re at a race track or OTB parlor. If you’re using an ADW you can take advantage of the conditional bet feature that allows you to set the odds you will accept and also the time at which you would like the bet placed. So you can set it at 0 minutes and at the minimum odds you’ll accept.