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By Don Bielak

Ask a hundred knowledgeable racing fans to name the key elements for success at the
races and you will hear the same answers time and time again. Handicapping skill.
Money management. Identifying value.

While any of these things can serve as the cornerstone of a successful approach to
betting the horses, there is another item that warrants attention as part of any serious
betting plan. That item is time management, and it can mean the difference between
success and failure at the racetrack.

A great many fans simply attempt to do the impossible at the races. They try to
handicap, visit the paddock, scan the betting pools, cash and buy tickets, manage their
bankrolls, and watch replays - all in the short time between races! The result is often a
rushed, semi-informed decision that yields nothing more than losing tickets. This
scenario can be avoided, however, by making a few changes in the area of time

A major mistake that befalls many fans is attempting to handicap between races.
Handicapping should be done in a quiet place before the races begin. This ensures
that the time and concentration necessary for effective analysis will be available. There
is nothing more detrimental to the bankroll than a rush-job of handicapping, so avoid it
by completing your analysis before first post.

Next, learn to budget your time between races. The time between races is too valuable
to spend it handicapping. First, watch the replay of the previous race and take notes -
it may help you win at a later date. Then, make any revisions in your handicapping due
to scratches, jockey switches or changes in track condition. Next, watch the tote board
to identify value plays. Finally, after deciding on your wager, place your bet according to
your money management plan.

This time management system provides for the best use of the key elements of betting -
handicapping, money management and value determination, by assigning an ample
and orderly timeframe for accomplishing them. Adherence to this plan is sure to be an
improvement on any incoherent, haphazard methods which often contribute to failure. If
you don't have a time management play, try this one. It should help increase your
productivity at the windows.

It's incredible how many fans rush into the track five minutes before post time, skim the
program on the way to the window and force a hasty, uninformed bet. By using this
simple plan, you will be able to avoid the pitfalls that spell defeat for most of these
otherwise knowledgeable bettors.

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