Thoroughbred horse racing began in England between the 17th and 18th centuries. Since that time, horse racing has evolved into one of the most cherished sports in the United States, highlighted by the yearly Triple Crown Series.
And now that you can bet on horses online, the possibilities are endless. But where do you begin when trying to pick a winner in horse racing? Well, there are many factors to consider and we’ll go into each below.
Horse race handicapping is the process by which horseplayers attempt to determine the outcome of a future race. For most horseplayers, this involves the analysis of a horse’s previous races, evaluating a horse’s potential given numerous factors going into today’s race, and the connections of the horse. Let’s take a deeper look at how to bet on horses.
There are many factors that go into picking a winner when horse betting. When handicapping a race, try to look at these deciding factors:
You can look at racing publications such as the Daily Racing Form, Brisnet, and Track Master to look at data and help form your opinion using these horse racing strategies.
Here are some winning horse racing strategies to use when you are ready to place a horse bet:
The Daily Racing Form is considered the standard and has been around since 1894. It has a load of information when looking at past performances, which includes a horse’s 12 previous races.
Many handicappers use a horse’s past performances to determine their potential success in an upcoming race.
When thinking about a horse’s past performance, you may want to ask yourself the following question:
“How easy or difficult was it for the horse the last time he or she ran?”
To break it down further, thinking about if how the horse’s trip went:
These are things to look at during the course of a race that may have impeded or benefited the horse. You can see these as reasons or excuses as to why the horse may have won or lost during their last race or past races.
You must also look at the conditions of the race. You can also find this in the Daily Racing Form. A couple of conditions to take into account are:
You may also want to notice the trainers of the race. You can find training stats inside the racing form. For example, if a horse is coming off a 60-day layoff, the stats can show you how well a trainer has done in the last two years when his or her horse hasn’t raced in 60+ days.
You may also want to take note of prestigious owners and if they happen to do well in these specific race conditions.
You can break down the level of competition like this:
These are all different levels of competition in which a horse can run. Be aware if a horse is jumping up in Class, say from a Claiming to an Allowance Race.
A race will likely have some restrictions placed upon it and this can sometimes be a factor in the race you are currently handicapping. Two-year-olds can only race against two-year-olds for instance, and there are no exceptions. Some races, such as the Kentucky Derby, are restricted to only three-year-olds.
Some races only allow female horses, though the Triple Crown Series is open to both sexes. And although it has been traditionally tougher for fillies (female horses), they have had some success. For instance, there have been five female horses (fillies) that have won the Preakness with five coming in second place and eight finishing in third.
One important restriction to know is State Bred races. In a State Bred race, only horses born and bred in that state can compete in the race. This means the talent pool could be less than normal.
But horses take different paths to reach the Triple Crown races. So just because a horse has found success in a State Bred race, does not mean it doesn’t have the talent to compete in a tough race like the Belmont Stakes. In fact, there are likely horses competing in such an event that has also raced in a State Bred.
Then there are other factors when handicapping a race:
When looking at the trip, consider the track conditions, the distance of the race, post position, how large is the field, and other factors that may impact a horse’s performance.
Is the horse used to running this distance? How is the track? Will it run fast or be sloppy? Is it on the turf or off? These are all things to look at when breaking down a race.
Next, you want to determine how the race is going to play out, and much of this has to do with the pace of the race. What horses are going to be on the lead? Who is going to set the pace? Are you expecting this to be a run at a furious pace? How fast will the race go when we reach the quarter-mile and the half-mile?
Will it benefit the horses in front, just off the pace, or way off the pace?
Races that run fast early, generally favor Closers. You can determine a closer by looking at their past performances. You can see how many lengths they are off the lead and as the race progresses, see if the horse makes a move to inch closer and try to catch the leader as they head toward the finish.
Once you look at all of these factors, it is time to do some horse race handicapping. We now have to compare the horses against each other’s competition.
So, who is going to win the horse race?
We can start by looking at the factors above and then put each horse into the following racing type:
Now that we determined the types of horses to key in on, we can look at the field, take into account all the factors mentioned above and make a decision on who will win the horse race. If we feel the Pace-Setter can get out in front and not be challenged, we may choose that horse to go wire-to-wire to win the race
But if it is a tough field of Duelers, perhaps a Mid-Closer or Deep Closer can come from behind to catch a tiring Pace-Setter. Keep these things in mind when choosing your winner!