About MeathouseBets

MeathouseBets is a horse racing and handicapping website for beginners and experienced handicappers alike. I’m Matt Hess, a/k/a “Meathouse.” I’m a lawyer at Hess Law Firm in Chicago, and I don’t claim to be an expert when it comes to handicapping. At least not yet. But I am a student of the game, in addition to the law, and I’m a guest writer on USRacing.com.  What I’ve learned in my 5+ years of handicapping is that the greatest inefficiency that a handicapper can exploit lies not with picking horses but with wager construction.

The greatest advantage a horse player has is the ability to alter the types and amounts of his wagers, or to pass a race altogether. Too many casual fans who go to the track bet the same amount on each race, or box two or three horses in exactas and trifectas in an inefficient manner. They also shy away from multi-race bets, such as the daily double or pick 3, not out of fear but out of a lack of knowledge. With my Picks and a Plan™, casual race fans can go to the track with a betting strategy laid out to maximize enjoyment and profit for a set budget (usually $100). Similarly, experienced handicappers looking to improve their bet construction and money management skills will find my Picks and a Plan™ just as useful.

There are plenty of good handicappers out there, and many of them sell picks on the internet. Most horse players are fairly efficient at identifying the most likely winners. This is why the favorite wins approximately 33% of the time. The reason is simple – horse players spend time studying the horses – pouring through past performances, reading workout reports and watching replays. But all of that information is readily available to the betting public, and therefore provides no pari-mutuel advantage. Very few horse players study bet construction and wagering strategy. That’s where Picks and a Plan™ come in.

My Story

Sports and betting have always been in my blood.  I ran fantasy baseball leagues when I was a kid (long before Al Gore invented the Internet), compiling stats by hand with the aid of the Wednesday and Thursday editions of USA Today.  Making family bets on the NFL was always a Sunday tradition, and the only trouble I ever got myself into during high school was when the dean got wind of the NCAA brackets pool that I ran.

But I didn’t get into horse racing until later in life, after I graduated from law school and began practicing in Chicago. Mine wasn’t one of those families that spent summers at the track, even though Chicago is home to one of the most beautiful racetracks in the country (Arlington Park).

I loved the Kentucky Derby growing up, but horse racing fell off my radar at the conclusion of the Triple Crown races. It’s not easy to learn about horse racing if you didn’t grow up with it.  The sport is complicated, and unlike all major team sports on television, the information you need to be able to follow the sport is not widely available.  It’s not even free – fans have to pay for past performances to even learn about the horses running on any given day.  That’s why folks who go to the track on a random weekend are at such a disadvantage.  The horse players around them have been studying the game for years. So when a casual player goes to the track and loses her hard-earned money, she rarely comes back.

But what those horse players around them haven’t spent time studying for years is wagering strategy. That’s why Picks and a Plan™ in particular, and this website in general, can be so useful. It evens the playing field.

MeathouseBets is a website geared toward the casual fan who’s interested in becoming a more serious horse player as well as the serious bettor looking to improve his wagering strategy.  It will focus on the sport as a whole, with a particular focus on horse racing in Illinois (at Arlington and Hawthorne). I hope you enjoy it and are able to use my Picks and a Plan™ to cash more tickets next time you head to the track.