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Ellis Starr

Syndicated Thoroughbred Handicapper

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do you bet?

    Absolutely. I not only do my handicapping and make my selections based on my own style of play but I couldn't do this work without actually investing my own money. I may not play every day, but whenever I can I play on-line or at my local simulcast venue. One of the reasons I play, besides the fact I want to make money like you do, is that I absolutely hate it when one of my selections wins at a big price without my money!

  • What's Your Win Rate

    As I encourage everyone I talk to at the track or at seminars, I keep records not only for tax purposes but also so I can track my selections and to answer these types of questions.

    Since my selections are "Value" oriented, leaning toward horses at above average prices, they (meaning the top selection) win at a much lower rate then the betting favorite wins, which is about 33% of the time. For the past 5 years, the win percentage on my top selection has varied from 20% to 22% of the time, that percentage based on over 20,000 races. To make up for that win rate which is lower then the public choice, my average winning mutual is well above that of the average favorite.

  • If you are so good, why aren't you rich? or If you are so good why are you selling you selections rather then playing them?

    This is a great question and one I never shy away from. If you are a horseplayer you know the joy in selecting the winner and cashing a bet. The thrill of being right, particularly when others are not, is one that can't be explained to many people out there. There are few things as gratifying as selecting a winner and knowing that it has helped others to make money or have a positive experience at the races. Also, as I said before, I do play the races so that is not an issue. The third reason I do this is to educate. My selections, which are available for free review every day after the races, don't just contain the horses names in order. I try to explain the reasoning that goes into the handicapping process so that you, the reader, can use that information the next time you handicap a race, whether you use my selections or not.

    How would you like an extra set of eyes and ears at the track? I know I would. That's the feedback I get from many people regarding how my selection reports are used, as an adjunct to their own handicapping, in order to find live longshots, reduce the chances of vulnerable favorites, or to get an opinion on a horse that they may not have considered.

  • Can anyone win at the races?

    First let me say that it is difficult. There's no question about it. With an average of $0.17 taken out of every bet you need to be right a lot more often then wrong to be profitable. But, since racing is a pari-mutuel game, in which the house has no stake or edge as opposed to casino gambling, and since racing is akin to the stock market because you can not only decide when to invest but can quantify your investment before jumping in, there is nothing like it. To be realistic, even the best regular players in the country are lucky to make 10% on their money. However, if you love the game and the challenge of using your own judgement or the judgement of others, as well as possess the ability to manage your money wisely, there's nothing like it. Additionally, since you can set a bankroll to invest and churn the same money over and over, you can actually earn a living at it.