Horse racing can be beneficial in several ways.
The other way is it makes you a better handicapper in other sports.
The first way the sport is helpful is losers pay the winners minus cuts to the house and the Internal Revenue Service.
According to the general public, who built Las Vegas and only got cheap breakfasts in return, New England will be a repeat Super Bowl winner because Brady has been restored, Notre Dame is back in a big way because it beat a Texas team that barely knew which way to aim when lining up, the St. Louis Cardinals may have holes in their bats but have the arms to win the Series, and American Pharoah will never win another horse race.
In the mind of the average gambler, what just happened rules the future.
Over-reaction is programmed into betting odds, making a play on the obvious, or the favorite, an even more unwise snap reaction.
Gaming houses and bookmakers thrive on over-reaction. Yes, there still are bookmakers. That's because they're better than online island gaming houses when it comes to betting on credit and being a few days late with the cash because of something unexpected occurring in your life, like an illness or a field goal hitting the crossbar. In the city where I live, people are wary of betting with bookmakers not so much because they could be arrested, but instead because after a raid, their rotten bets and won-loss record could be made public.
Good horse players don't always believe what they have just seen with their own eyes. Let's have a look at the replay in slow motion. Then maybe they'll believe some of what caused the winners to be put up on the board. The best horse players are highly skilled skeptics and can find five things wrong with the strongest favorite on any board. Plus, what's the fun of betting on a heavy favorite? There is no fun in that, unless it is connected to potentially profitable pick 3, 4 or 6. Anybody can bet the obvious.
Good horse players know the same thing seldom happens twice running in any sporting event. They'll see the possibilities in Portland State plus the 30 points over Washington State. Odd isn't it, how the coaches who think they invented the forward pass have teams that routinely score 17 points if they're lucky.
It's hard not to over-react to a graphic result. Tennessee gives up around 600 yards to a Bowling team and is now expected to complete with Oklahoma? The Dallas Cowboys will improve this year because they improved last year? Even owners of great horses have a hard time seeing past the rawness of a dramatic moment. After American Pharoah was easily passed at Saratoga by a horse he had beaten like a workout mate, it was reported that AP would not race again. Given the risk of injury or humiliation, it was immediately thought that the best place for him was in the hay.
Then the owners probably talked to some horse players who said listen pal, everything or everybody who breathes is going to lose one or two. Your jockey was practicing his ballroom dancing for TV. The trainer was relaxed for the first time in recent memory. Pickers who had never picked Pharoah once were picking him to win by ten in a cupcake walk. He had more frequent flier miles than the Sea Hawks. And he lost. Crazier things have happened. Horse players see crazier things on a daily basis than American Pharoah losing to somebody he had already beaten. Horse players have seen one-for-35 horses win. They have seen claimers win stakes races. They have seen fast horses stop and slow horses zip to the lead. They have seen dummies win fortunes. Horse players believe that anything could happen, anytime, anywhere, and twice on any given game day. They even believe that Amercian Pharoah's connections could get their focus back and that the horse could win the Breeder's Cup Classic at something like the almost reasonable odds of 2-1, not any more of that 1-5 nonsense.
The need for instant gratification produces instant over-reaction.
The best horse players have good imaginations and can occasionally see the future.