How You Can Make a (Part-Time) Living Playing the Races

Recently, my friend Dave took his daughter to cash in some change at one of those machines in the front of a local supermarket. While feeding the machine, an older gentleman inquired as to why one would pour change into this machine. Quick as always, my friend Dave remarked that the machine will turn change into “folding money.”

In the past, I have written about how hard it is to make a living playing the races full time, but there are several options that exist for you to make some “folding money” if you want to put in the effort to make a successful part-time living playing the races!

Successful Handicapping / Horse Playing

This one is a no-brainer. If you are a successful handicapper and horseplayer, then you are already making some money from playing the races, yet lack the bankroll or proper money management to maximize your potential.

You are not alone.

I am content to play sporadically since my day job and family life take precedence over gambling. I know of horse racing enthusiasts that have either ruined — or come very close to ruining — their lives as a result of making handicapping and horseplaying a bigger priority than their personal lives.

Don’t be that guy.

Blogging

Everyone has an opinion, why not share yours! I started out blogging with the intention of documenting my journey to qualify for (and win) the NHC Finals. While my focus has shifted, there are several great horse racing blogs out there, including one of my favorites — NJ Horseplayer, who just recently qualified for the 2019 NHC Finals! Way to go Bill!

While it isn’t easy to make a lot of money blogging and it will take a while to monetize through advertising, you may end up generating more interest in outside pursuits because of your blog. Perhaps something you write will strike a nerve on a reader and lead to something beyond just the money you make with potential advertising.

YouTube

Just like blogging, if you can garner a large enough following on YouTube, you can get monetized and make some money for your content with YouTube putting advertisements in your videos. It can be a video version of your blog, how to handicap or wager, reviews of upcoming races or even funny cat videos! Yet there are watch time hour and subscriber requirements before you can get paid and you need to maintain regular content that generates those levels to continue getting paid.

Freelance Writing

Other than having profitable wagering years, this may have been the most rewarding horse racing-based activity I have done over the last two years, writing primarily for US Racing and Pacemakestherace.com. While I will never consider myself a journalist like Margaret Ransom, with the incredible work she has produced during the time I have known her, I do enjoy putting serious and silly thoughts on paper (while even getting paid to do it).

Selling Picks / Tipsheets

This one is easier said than done.

Well over a decade ago, I partnered with a friend and started a website dedicated to providing horse racing selections. While we did generate enough interest and revenue to cover expenses and put a few bucks in our pockets, it was a grind. The key is to find a way to optimize your handicapping and identify likely plays before you start your in-depth handicapping.

The biggest pressure was performance. If you do good, you have a lot of customers. If you do bad, you don’t have many. There are a ton of folks selling selections either at the track or online, so the competition is fierce, but if you are successful enough, word will get around and you can have regular repeat customers.

Create a Handicapping Product

Again, something that is easier said than done. Guys like Dave Schwartz and Jim Mazur of Progressive Handicapping make it look easy, but there is a ton of work that goes into creating the products that they produce. However, if you have a new and unique idea that will be beneficial to fellow horseplayers and have the time and resources to create a product, you can make some money.

The biggest issue here is that once you have created something profitable, others will try to create something similar or your product will become more mainstream and eventually cause you to lose the edge your product provided. You’ll need to constantly refine your product to meet the demands of an ever-changing game and industry.

While the likelihood of you quitting your day job to play the races full time is not good, there are several opportunities for you to use your handicapping to make some “folding money” if you are willing to put in the effort.

Ray Wallin
Ray Wallin is a licensed civil engineer and part-time handicapper who has had a presence on the Web since 2000 for various sports and horse racing websites and through his personal blog. Introduced to the sport over the course of a misspent teenage summer at Monmouth Park by his Uncle Dutch, a professional gambler, he quickly fell in love with racing and has been handicapping for over 25 years.

Ray’s background in engineering, along with his meticulous nature and fascination with numbers, parlay into his ability to analyze data; keep records; notice emerging trends; and find new handicapping angles and figures. While specializing in thoroughbred racing, Ray also handicaps harness racing, Quarter Horse racing, baseball, football, hockey, and has been rumored to have calculated the speed and pace ratings on two squirrels running through his backyard.

Ray likes focusing on pace and angle plays while finding the middle ground between the art and science of handicapping. When he is not crunching numbers, Ray enjoys spending time with his family, cheering on his alma mater (Rutgers University), fishing, and playing golf.

Ray’s blog, which focuses on his quest to make it to the NHC Finals while trying to improve his handicapping abilities can be found at www.jerseycapper.blogspot.com Ray can also be found on Twitter (@rayw76) and can be reached via email at ray.wallin@live.com.

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