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Know Your Bottom Line
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Know Your Bottom Line
By Richard Nilsen

Do you know your return on investment (ROI) from wagers last year? How about your win percentage? Or the types of wagers with which you have had the most success? If you use, this tedious record keeping is a thing of the past. First, we need to look at why it's important to keep records.

Most horseplayers enjoy the fun aspect of playing the races, but very few players take the necessary time to record all their transactions. It's easy to go out to the track, bet a few races, and return at the next opportunity. It's another matter to make your wagers based on a plan for making money and, at the end of the day, record all your bets.

Record keeping is a critical component in understanding your wagering tendencies. By logging your wagers daily in a ledger or, ideally, a spreadsheet on your computer, you will have at your fingertips a history of your activity.

Recording your wagers need not be a scientific process. Simply note important factors, such as date, track and race number, the amount of the wager, type of wager, etc.

Why bother doing this? There are several advantages to recording your wagering activity every day. First, you will have a more disciplined approach to the game, and consequently, will be less likely to play every race. As a simulcast player, you will not want to record 15-30 wagers every day, but you won't mind recording the two or three spot plays made. Record keeping encourages spot plays, and in this handicapper's opinion, that is the best way to turn a profit.

Your account history will help you uncover the weaknesses in your wagering. You may love to play the Superfecta, but this enticing wager may be bleeding your bankroll dry while draining the profits earned from other wagers. The results will be right there in black and white, whether you like what you see or not!

If you are wagering on multiple tracks during the year, record keeping will also provide you with the details on each track. More likely than not, you will find that you have a better handle on certain tracks. As a result; you will determine that you have to work harder to find a way to win at a given racetrack and that can lead you to simply limit your wagers on that track in the future.

Of course, documenting your wagering will be a tremendous aid come tax time. It will serve as the basis for writing off any losses if you have any "big scores" to report to your favorite uncle.

Finally, keeping detailed records gives you a significant edge on the competition, the wagering public. Do you think John Q. Public sitting next to you with the track program is recording his wagers? Any chance of that is left on the table when he exits the track at the end of the day. In the long run, handicappers who fail to deal with the business aspect of wagering will under-perform players who make the extra effort.

One of the main reasons that few players take the necessary time to log their wagers is the amount of time it takes. For those wagering from home or work, there is a service that does most of the work for you, saving you precious time., an TwinSpires affiliate, offers "Account Wagering History" as a free service to their members. Within seconds, one can quickly see not only all phone and online wagers made since a certain date, but also the result summary of those wagers.

With the click of a mouse, you can quickly view the amount wagered, number of bets placed, Win-percentage, and return on investment (ROI)! Queries can be done based on the racetrack(s), date range, type of wager, and any combination of those three.

Below is an example from my account, looking at only Pick-3 wagers at all tracks during the entire 2002 season. The "exclude detail" box is checked, which means the program will only display the summary. Otherwise, you would see all 434 wagers that were placed in detail. The Account History confirms that I'm on the right track with my Pick-3 wagering.

Account History

Account Wagering History at saves both the professional and recreational horseplayer a tremendous amount of time. If you're new to, sign up today*, and from this point on, you'll have easy access to complete records concerning all your transactions. Good luck!

-- Rich Nilsen is Marketing Director for

* service available in states that allow account wagering. See site for complete details.

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