It was fun though with everyone in their posh summer dresses, running back and forth from the track to the tables to the betting windows. And we even managed to win enough to just about cover admission, food, and drinks. Not bad for an evening's entertainment.
Among other things I learned that the odds on the favourites shorten closer to the race as more people bet on them. So if you're betting on a favourite, you should do so early and with one of the betting houses near the track, which pay out based on the odds printed on your ticket. Conversely, if you're not betting on a favourite, you should place your bet at the last minute or with the betting windows, which pay out odds based on the final total of bets placed (they make a risk-free killing from a straight mathematical percentage off the top). Also, the "three-way" bets, which cost double but pay out 125% for a win and 25% for a 2nd- or 3rd-place finish, seem like a good idea for decently-ranked (but non-favourite) horses with odds between, say, 5-1 and 7-1.
So of course, now that I have a fool-proof guaranteed system, we're going to have to head back more often to capitalize on it. Or... maybe I should quite while I'm ahead.