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.