Great Record Keeping Leads to Horse Racing Handicapping Success

Do you cringe when you see horseplayers toss their non-winning tickets on the ground at the track or on the floor of the Off Track Betting (OTB) parlor? You should. Good record keeping in any endeavor leads to success. This not only applies to your cash management, but your handicapping as well.

The Tax Man Cometh

Your tickets are the basis for good record keeping both for cash management purposes as well as handicapping. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), “Gambling income includes, but is not limited to, winnings from lotteries, raffles, horse races, and casinos. It includes cash winnings and also the fair market value of prizes such as cars and trips.”

A winning ticket over $600 (USD) requires the track or OTB to forward your information to the IRS. Commonly called a “signer” in horseplayer parlance, the track has you fill out a form with all the pertinent information required by the IRS and in turn you receive a “W-2G” from the payer. Should your handicapping lead to this kind of success, it is very important to save your losing tickets. You can then offset your winnings.

In order to offset your winnings you must claim your full winnings on line 21 on IRS form 1040 (2009) and then deduct your losses on IRS form 1040, schedule A. Your losses claimed cannot exceed your total winnings. However to do so you must have accurate back-up records. Again, according to the IRS, these records must include date and type of wager, name and address or location of gambling venue, amount won or lost, and believe it or not, the names of the people with you. Those tickets contain most of this information, which is why they are so important.

Record Keeping for Handicapping Success

Those tickets are important as are the notations you make on your past performance sheets for each race. Utilizing this combined information can lead you to further handicapping success. It enables you to see what type of race (conditions) you handicap the best. With accurate record keeping you can go back and examine what wagering angles you are good at and what you missed in certain types of races. More importantly, you can evaluate your overall handicapping statistics. Great records that help you analyze race-by-race, conditions by conditions, distance-by-distance, trainers and jockeys, and wagering interests (horses) give you a superb review of your strengths and weaknesses in your handicapping. Careful notations of key horse performances help you identify those that are improving which in turn helps you make a great choice next time out.

Great record keeping will lead you to handicapping success and keep the taxman from muddying up your day. Start now. Begin your journey to handicapping success.

Joe Taylor: Horse Trainer, Punter and Gentleman

Joe Taylor was born in Sydney in 1908 to Edmund Barton Taylor, who earned his keep as a hotel cellarman, and Norah Catherine Killalea.

Taylor first took up boxing as a young man, played Rugby league, and filled in as a bill poster before advancing to management of boxers and Rugby League teams.

In 1932, he married Edith Anne May Johnson at St. Pius’s Catholic Church in Enmore. That union persisted for 8 years, producing a son prior to a divorce in 1944. If asked at this stage, he would claim the occupations of bookmaker and shipwright.

Less than a month after, he married again to Elizabeth Watson. That lady produced two daughters before she died and left Taylor a widower.

Taylor’s passion in life was gambling and those early years often saw him leaving his wages for the week at the track.

The period of WWII had Taylor involved with Thommo’s two-up school, essentially a series of illegal card games that was initiated by George Guest in 1910 and operated for many years in Sydney. Taylor supplemented this with some baccarat schools.

Taylor brought Rose’s Restaurant back to life in 1949, christening it the Celebrity Restaurant Club. It was wildly popular with the racing set, especially during the 50s and 60s, and featured top shelf entertainment imported from, among other places, America.

In 1954, he expanded by opening the Carlisle Club in Kings Cross which also proved a hit. History states that there were illicit gaming facilities on the premises of his clubs, but a sanguine perspective would offer that this was just a case of a business trying to please its clientele. That same year, he assumed control of Thommo’s following the death of George Guest.

As a punter, Taylor wagered with everyone’s favourite commodity: Cash. He used his employees as agents to place his bets, and enjoyed substantial success on his own horses to the extent that other bookies opened his horses lower. This did not prevent Taylor from turning a profit, however, and Taylor was his own man when the subject of buying horses arose.

Trainers of note that prepped Taylor’s horses for him were Reg Farris, senior and junior, as well as Albert Woods and Kevin Hayes.

Taylor gambled at cards and wagered on the dish lickers as well. He was considered a “magnificent, if unflamboyant,” gambler, and had the unique attitude that “money is nothing but betting ammunition,” and was more a source of pleasure than an end to itself. Big Bill Waterhouse is quoted as saying Taylor was “one of the few men in the world who completely doesn’t give a damn about money.”

Nowhere was this attitude more apparent than on the day that Taylor experienced his greatest racing triumph, a 1962 STC Golden Slipper Stakes win for his horse Birthday Card. He is reputed to have given most of his winnings, thousands in fact, to his mates, and lost the rest when another of his horses finished dead last in the last race of the day.

A modern day Robin Hood such as Taylor is often known by the company he keeps and Taylor enjoyed some notoriety via his association with personalities such as Jack Davey and State premier Sir Robert Askin. He was also associated with Ezra Norton, publisher of the Sydney Daily Mirror and owner of the 1957 Melbourne Cup winner Straight Draw.

Less savory, perhaps, acquaintances included confederates from the illegal gambling community, namely Len McPherson, Fred Anderson and Perce Galea.

Taylor seemed also to possess connections with the law enforcement establishment because police raids designed to topple the illegal gambling operations never quite seemed effective in closing the shop.

In 1971, at the age of 63 Taylor married for a third time, marrying a 46-year-old secretary, Patricia Moffit, listing his occupation as restaurateur. Five years later, he died from a heart attack. He is survived by the son from his first marriage and the daughters from his second.

Taylor’s legacy to the sport of punting will forever be that he knew his horses, honoured his debts, dealt in cash, and most importantly, did it with grand style and few enemies.

Cooper’s Law – 14 Easy to Follow Rules to Make Money From Horse Racing

Betting on tri-casts seems an improbable means to punting profit, but professional backer Paul Cooper used it to win nearly £400,000 on a series of bets at Thirsk.

Cooper was one of the first to capitalize on the fact that horses drawn high seemed to have a pronounced advantage over the straight sprint course at Thirsk. There are a number of tracks around the country where, in soft ground, a particular draw can prove an enormous asset, but at Thirsk the same was true on fast going. It appears that the inadequacies of the course watering system left a strip of ground under the stand rails ‘un-sprinkled’ which was significantly faster than the rest of the track. By betting the five or six highest draw numbers – those most likely to grab the favoured ground – Cooper was able to pull off a series of major coups.

‘I was hooked on betting at a very young age,’ admits Cooper. ‘But even then I knew that you had to be in control of it – otherwise it would control you.’

During the 1970’s, the ITV Seven was introduced. It immediately caught Cooper’s eye. ‘One of my first wagers was a £1.90 bet which won over £800. I was in business! A couple of years later, I collected £13,365 on a £3 accumulator and I was really on my way.’ Cooper is still fascinated by multiple bets – the prospect of huge returns for a small outlay – and believes serious punters should not treat them in such a cavalier fashion.

‘The Lucky 15 is a value bet.- it is a Yankee that also has four win singles, and the different bookies offer a variety of bonuses and consolations. For instance, if only one of your selections wins, you may get double the odds. So just one 7/1 winner virtually guarantees your money back.’

Cooper’s penchant for what Barney Curley calls ‘miracle bets’ is not his only apparent similarity with the man in the street. Like all betting shop regulars, he is irresistibly drawn to competitive handicaps where they bet 6/1 the field – but he hits the target far more often.

Cooper insists that studying trainers is the key to his whole business operation. The fact that, as an owner, he has chosen to have horses trained by Barry Hills, Jimmy Fitzgerald and Robert Williams gives a clue to the men he most respects in the game.’ ‘There are certainly some trainers I much prefer to back,’ he says. ‘What I really look for is someone who is perhaps underestimated and as a result their horses start at bigger prices than they should do.’

So what can we learn from the fastidious, immaculately turned-out Mr Cooper? Well, here are his 7 great Do’s and Don’ts, known as “Cooper’s Law!”

Cooper’s Law – Dos

1: Do stay cool, calm and collected when making a selection, and don’t go in head down. Weigh up all the possibilities and then have the nerve to go through with it.

2: Do bet only when you are getting good value and shop around for the best early prices.

3: Do back horses that have winning form. Shy away from maidens – the form is unpredictable and unproven.

4: Do bet in sprints. The form is often more reliable than in longer distance flat races.

5: Do find a small, competent yard to follow; because it isn’t fashionable, you’ll almost certainly get a value price on their horses.

6: Do look at horses in the paddock, especially in the spring and autumn. You can usually discard quite a few which are obviously not ready or are showing all the signs of a hard season.

7: Do bet within your means. Reduce your stakes when having a bad run – and increase them when things are going well.

Cooper’s Law – Avoid

1: Don’t get drunk or mix alcohol with betting. You need your wits about you to pick winners and to deal objectively with losing.

2: Don’t back short-priced favorites. The returns simply isn’t good enough, and let’s face it, they often get turned over anyway.

3: Don’t chase your losses. There’s always another day.

4: Don’t bet heavily when there’s been a sudden change in the going.

5: Don’t back out of form trainers or stables or jockeys carrying overweight.

6: Don’t back heavily at Chester. The tight track is a law unto itself.

7: Don’t bet in races over 18 runners. This is when the horses will split into two or more groups, effectively making it two or three different races.