Johnny Love's betting tips

  • May 17, 2012 - 9:52 PM

Editor's note: Johnny Love (left) returns for his second season as the Star Tribune's handicapper. Follow his picks in the sports section and on as well as on Twitter at @StribLove.

In the summer of 1985, I drove out to a less-populated Shakopee with my college buddies to play the horses in the inaugural season at what was then known as Canterbury Downs. I didn't have a clue about being a horseplayer. Drink a few beers and pick a winning horse, how hard could it be?

Well, I didn't win that day, and many others that followed, but it was still fun and exciting with the few dollars we had. Now 27 years later, I still have the same excitement of going to Canterbury Park. The opening day of live racing couldn't get here fast enough for many of us.

It's always fun to cash in a ticket. It gives you bragging rights up to the next race. Maybe you study the Daily Racing Form, or maybe you just like a horse's name or number. There's no required blueprint in selecting a horse, especially when you have a winning ticket.

Here's a few simple suggestions to get you started in betting and give you a slight advantage:

Favorites win basically one out of three races. Find a horse you think has a chance to beat a vulnerable favorite.

Never place a win bet on a heavy favorite you like. Much better to play that horse as a single in a Daily Double, Pick 3, or Pick 4.

If you like a real longshot, bet the horse as a place or show wager. The horse will still pay a decent amount.

Don't bet multiple horses to win or place in a single race. Better to use them in an exacta or trifecta wager.

Have a budget and a game plan for your wagers. If you lose, then you won't be punching the steering wheel on the way home.

Have fun!

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