Harness racing: Profit Picks by Frank Cotolo

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April 7th, 2020

Each week Frank Cotolo employs proven money-management tactics to build exotic-wagering tickets that focus on plump profits.

Whether you are new to pari-mutuel betting in harness racing or not, there is a better than an odds-on chance your goal is to win as often as you can, cashing ticket after ticket. You think cashing a lot of tickets, no matter the type of wager, is how to measure success.

That is not true.

The truth is, it is not the number of tickets you cash. It’s the amount of money you bring in that defines success.

Welcome to Profit Picks.

If you are a novice at betting the sport, prepare to learn the most important goal and follow through each time you bet. If you are already a fan, prepare to change the paradigm, learn the most important goal, and follow through each time you bet.
When you talk to people who have followed harness racing over the years, you hear a lot of “inherited” handicapping rules. They consist of the usual stuff about the power of inside post positions, the perils of trotters over pacers, how certain drivers always make a difference in a horse’s performance, and many other mundane factors.

These rules are riddled with opinions, not proof. Even when they become important factors that weigh strongly in a winning instance, they are unreliable.

Old-school players do much wrong, no matter what they know about handicapping, and in the long run they lose money, because they never set the right goal. They bet too often, and as the old saying goes, they wind up “with the rent money bet on the losers and the lunch money bet on the winners.”

You've heard a guy bragging he had seven winners in nine races he played, right? It’s a good win percentage, but what was the profit?

The guy you do not hear bragging is the one who had two winners playing four races and went home with a 16% profit.

That’s the guy you want to talk to.

“There are a million ways to lose but only one way to win," said the first full-time harness racing bettor I met. He also said, “It’s not about picking winners, it’s about playing winners, and that’s about money management.”

Make profit your goal

Our Profit Picks columns are based upon sound money management. We never endorse systems or gimmicks. We address betting on races with profit-targeted betting practices that pros have used throughout the history of gambling.

We aim for the best possible profit available and bet to milk every penny from it. We play only the prices we demand.

”Most players,” the pro gambler said, “bet everything that moves with hopes, at the least, of breaking even. Playing for profit never addresses breaking even. It means always focusing on winning a great deal more money than is bet.”

More chances next time.