During the winter in New Orleans, it is customary to go to “the track” to bet on horses. In fact, many people traditionally visit on Thanksgiving day at the start of the season to fulfill their desire to be old-timey – it’s quite satisfying really.
Since the closest dog track is in Mobile, the Fairgrounds is a natural choice for your animal racing needs. Horse racing is somehow WAY classier than dog racing. Personally, I could give a fuck if it was mouse racing, but I guess horses have a lot more criteria to judge when placing a bet.
We went yesterday for the first time this season. I like to get a good look at the horses in the race BEFORE I bet the farm. The odds are important(which you can read from this little pamphlet they sell for a buck), but I also like to see where the horse is from and if it has a cool name. In my mind, a horse named Quick Breeze is always gonna be faster than a horse named Her Majesty’s Lace. Also, I like to bet on horses from Louisiana.
The ones with the masks or socks also swing my favor. Most experienced gamblers agree to bet on a gray horse on a rainy day OR to bet on the horse that just took a dump(totally serious). Some people prefer to bet on name alone. The real issue is that a horse with great odds is more likely to win, but less likely to give a big payout. Conversely, a horse with terrible odds, like 15/1, is probably not going to win, but if it does – it’s chicken dinners all around.
Keep a close eye on the jockey. Another lesser known strategy is to bet on the horse with the smallest jockey.
Once, they’re on the track, it’s time to rush to the little computers and put in your bets.
I’ve included a short lexicon for the newbie. This isn’t everything there is to know about horse betting, but it’s a nice introduction to the standards:
Straight bet or Single or Win bet: This is the simplest and most common bet. You bet on a winner at given odds. You collect only if your chosen horse is the first across the finish line.
Place: A wager for place means you collect if your selected horse finishes either first or second.
Show: The third horse across the finish line. A wager to show means you collect if your selected horse finishes either first, second or third.
Perfecta or Exacta: (Straight Forecast, UK) The Perfecta is similar to the Quiniela, except the two horses must finish in the exact order. To bet you say “$3 Perfecta, 5-6”. Only if the horses finish 5-6 you win.
Perfecta Box: As with the quiniela box, except the two horses must finish in the exact order. To bet you say “$2 perfecta box on 4,5 and 6”. You are making six separate bets so your minimum bet is $12. If they finish 4-5, 4-6, 6-4, 6-5, 5-4 or 5-6 you win. With Perfecta Box, for each extra horse you add to the box the possible combinations get compunded and your number of bets increases accordingly. A “$2 perfecta box on 4 horses” will cost you $24 (12 bets), a “$2 perfecta box on 5 horses” $40 (20 bets), and a “$2 perfecta box on 6 horses ” $60 (30 bets).
Straight Trifecta: (Tricast or Treble Forecast, UK) Pick the first three horses to cross the finish line in exact order. To bet you say “$2 trifecta numbers 7,4 and 5”. Only if they finish 7-4-5 you win.
$1 Trifecta Box: Pick three horses to finish first, second and third, in any order. To bet you say “$1 trifecta box 2,3 and 5”. You are actually making six $1 bets, so your total bet is $6. If they finish 2-3-5, 2-5-3, 3-2-5, 3-5-2, 5-2-3 or 5-3-2; you win.
$1 Trifecta Key: Pick your favorite horse to win, then two or more others to place and show in any order. To bet you say “$1 trifecta key on 1 with 2 and 3”. You are actually making two $1 bets so your total bet is $2. To win your Key horse must win and the other two must finish either 1-2-3 or 1-3-2.
You can Box, Key or Wheel most of the above bets.
The Fairgrounds also offers Starlight Racing once a month. It’s kind of an after-work event that has bands at the track and it’s in the evening instead of during the day… you get the picture.
The race season is generally Thanksgiving to Easter so you’ve got limited time to bet your paycheck! Get out there and get your hustle up. I know a guy.