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Veteran gamblers know you can’t beat the horses. There are too many variables and too many possible outcomes. Front-runners break a leg. Jockeys fall. Champion thoroughbreds decide, for no apparent reason, that they’re simply not in the mood. The American sportswriter Roger Kahn once called the sport “animated roulette.” Play for long enough, and failure isn’t just likely but inevitable—so the wisdom goes. “If you bet on horses, you will lose,” says Warwick Bartlett, who runs Global Betting & Gaming Consultants and has spent years studying the industry.
After a couple of years, Benter was playing quietly at the Maxim one day when a meaty hand descended on his shoulder. “Come with me,” said a burly guy in a suit. In the back, Benter was shoved into a chair and told to produce some identification. He refused. The guard walked out, and an even more menacing guy walked in: “Show me your f---ing ID!” Benter got out his wallet.
Horse racing is an equestrian performance sport, typically involving two or more horses ridden by jockeys (or sometimes driven without riders) over a set distance for competition. It is one of the most ancient of all sports, as its basic premise – to identify which of two or more horses is the fastest over a set course or distance – has been unchanged since at least classical antiquity.