30 March 2006

Taxing Times

I'm sure those who've noted my recent absence have attributed it to too much "Warm Chocolate Bliss", but sadly, there's a much more mundane reason for the long time, no post phenomenon.

I've been doing our taxes. As this involves much shuffling of papers, rifling through old shoeboxes full of statements I don't remember seeing before, and just generally trying to remember where I put the receipt from various doctors and charitable organizations, there's been little time for anything else here at the Castle. One might expect a librarian to be organized at home, but frankly, that's simply too much like work.

Somewhere in the midst of IRS publication 17 (the jovially-named Your Federal Income Tax), I took a break and discovered there's at least one book that gives advice on how to minimize taxes on those big wins at the track. Betting on Horse Racing for Dummies by Richard Eng explains, amongst a great many other things, the wisdom of the $1 wager to avoid the dreaded W-2G form. While I've never seen this particular form, I'm fairly certain it's one I would lose/forget about/file in an old Keds box long before tax time.

There are hundreds of "For Dummies" titles now, and the series is immensely popular; the books generally feature a broad coverage of the subject, coupled with clever titles, snappy sidebars, and a breezy style, all of which leave the reader feeling good and, well, ... kind of smart.

Betting on Horse Racing is no exception. It touches on almost every topic I've read about elsewhere -- as well as a few that haven't been covered in any of my readings so far, such as what to look for in an OTB and how to bet the horses in Vegas. Throughout, the author's enthusiasm for the subject is evident, and though the book never loses its focus on betting, there are great tips for simply having a good time at the track.

Though my 1040 was calling, I ignored it as I read about - get this! - the twin quinella and the house quinella, both available in that gambler's heaven, Las Vegas. I'm simply tickled that quinellas are mentioned on page 190, 300-301, 312-313, and 340. And I simply have to agree with Eng when he writes:

Some racetrack executives believe that the quinella pool cannibalizes the exacta pool. ... That way of thinking is foolhardy!

Of course it is. There are some regal folks who would never have placed a bet at all if quinella wasn't so much fun to say.


Tote Board Brad said...

I love the quinella, and bet it regularly. Most tracks in Cali offer the wager on most races. Mostly, use it in conjunction with a cold or wheeled exacta. I don't box exactas, instead I hedge with a quinella. If you box your exacta, you're guaranteed to lose one of the wagers. Hitting both you cold exacta & the backup quinella is a delight, though.

alan said...

I have to tell you honestly, I don't remember the last time I bet a quinella. I was looking at Aqueduct's charts, and they only offer it in the 2nd and 4th. In the 4th, there was only $23,000 in the quinella pool as opposed to $245,000 in the exacta pool, and $211,000 in the triple pool. It's almost like you're part of some cult if you bet it here.

Anyway, I found this link for you:


I think you should buy it and use it as a tax deduction.