In Horse racing the 80/20 rule applies in several ways. For instance, about 80% of the races are won by one of the top three favorites. Approximately 20% are won by a horse at longer odds and sometimes one of them is at such high odds it’s considered a long shot. I always recommend that horse players allocate their funds to wager about 80% among the lower priced horses in order to maintain a consistent cash flow and 20% of their wagers on longshots in order to take advantage of those golden opportunities.
Of course, how you manage your bankroll is a personal choice and that’s just a suggestion. When looking for a good longshot bet you have to start by thinking “outside the box,” or contrary to how the crowd thinks. They look for trainer moves that have a high percentage. That’s nice if you want low odds, but what about those longshot opportunities? Do they often occur when a trainer has a proven record of success with a particular move? Of course not.
The difficult part of trying to find a good bet on a horse that’s at long odds is that it has to look bad on paper – in the past performances, in order to be a value bet, but it still must also have a reason to win. Selecting such horses is often a matter of compromise. For instance, the trainer has a 5% win rate with horses coming back from a layoff, but this horse also has the best speed at the distance, so it has the potential to win, but only if the conditions are right.
Has the trainer been working the horse enough to condition it so that it can win? Is the favorite in the race a vulnerable or weak favorite or does it lay over the field? These questions can lead you to a good bet. Handicapping is a process of inquiry. After you’ve asked enough questions you will either have arrived at a conclusion, an opinion about the race, or you will realize that though you have asked the right questions, you still don’t have enough answers to give you the confidence to bet.
If there is an angle, such as coming back from a layoff or changing distance, etc., that the trainer has a low percentage with remember this, unless his or her percentage is 0% he or she has succeeded with the move in the past. Check the horse out in the post parade and see how fit and ready it looks. Examine its works closely to see if the trainer has conditioned it and also check to see if the horse has done what is being asked of it. If the answers to these questions are positive, it may be worth a bet.