Understanding the art and science of horse handicapping can help bettors achieve better results at the track and can provide added insights into the sport. By taking a few basic factors into consideration before placing a bet, horse racing enthusiasts can often increase their returns on investment and enjoy a greater degree of success at the track. Here are five key elements that professional handicappers consider when making their predictions in the sport of horse racing.
Condition of the Track
A horse that runs well on a dry track may have serious difficulties on wet surfaces; the reverse is also true. Similar issues can arise for horses accustomed to running on turf or on dirt tracks. Identifying the track conditions and taking them into consideration can help bettors avoid making critical errors in underrating the abilities of one horse or in failing to perceive shortcomings in another prior to the race.
A Question of Class
Horses generally race in only one or two classes throughout their careers. If a horse is dropping a class from its last race, it generally competes more effectively at the lower class and should be considered a threat. Horses that move up one class, however, are generally not considered serious contenders unless they have shown remarkable performance in their prior racing class.
Changes in Routine
If the jockey or trainer has changed since the last race in which the horse participated, it’s a good idea to look at the record of both the horse and the jockey to determine the likely performance of both. Superior jockeys can sometimes elicit a better ride and an improved performance from a particular horse. It is more likely, however, that a superior horse will perform well even with a jockey change. Either way, caution is advised when risking money on a horse with a new jockey or a new trainer.
Research the Field
A great deal of information can be derived from pre-race interviews and examination of the placing records for horses in any given race. Trainers can be especially useful sources of information, especially when their loyalty to their horse has been filtered and the bare facts are considered. By paying close attention to the information provided by knowledgeable sources, bettors can increase their chances of picking a winner at the track.
Avoid Large Fields
Races with more than eight entrants are statistically much more difficult to handicap than smaller races. This can present serious problems for novices in the field of handicapping and may result in a lower win percentage. By sticking to smaller fields and performing the research necessary on the horses in these races, bettors can often ensure a more profitable trip to the track and a higher degree of success in the handicapping field.
Companies that provide handicapping reports and statistics can be a valuable resource for amateur handicappers. By studying these reports and using the information they contain as the basis for informed betting, racing enthusiasts can enjoy added insights into the sport and increased winnings at the track window.
Kelvin is a horse racing enthusiast, and has recently started to get in on the handicapping game. To help him get the hang of this complicated process, he turned to resources like Thoroughbred Analytics and InClover Handicapping. He finds these types of programs highly beneficial in helping him learn the ropes, and thinks others should make the investment if they want to truly understand the ins and outs of racing.
Photo Credits: Wikipedia
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