Handicapping in horse racing is when you use certain factors like speed, track conditions and current health of a horse, to successfully predict which horse has the greatest odds of winning a given race.
Today’s handicapper has access to tons of statistical data including past performances, lifetime records, odds for each horse in a given race, and amount of money earned. These statics make it easier to pick a winner.
Here are five tips for handicapping racehorses:
Daily Racing Form
Get your hands on the Daily Racing Form (DRF), it’s packed full of important race day information. The DRF is an important handicapping tool for many serious horseplayers. Read through this paper prior to heading to the racetrack. Studying the DRF is a great way to make better wagering decisions.
Avoid races with large fields
Research shows that most people can only handle seven different variables. The same is true with horse racing. The more horses there are in the field, the harder it is to predict the outcome. Similarly, it’s easier to pick a winner out of five racehorses. Sticking to smaller fields will help you make better handicapping decisions.
Stick to straight bets
Placing exotic bets can be exciting. But, your chances of actually winning a superfecta are pretty slim. For beginners, try to place bets that include win, place or show. Learning how to predict the chances of each horse winning and placing larger wagers will come with time. Remember, a straight bet is a safe bet.
Develop a specialty
Few horseplayers have the time or energy to master every aspect of handicapping. Instead, focus one element of the game and become a master. For instance, you can become an expert in jockeys. Learn their strengths and weakness, and past racing experiences. As an expert, you will start to develop an appreciation for the intricacies of horse racing. This will ultimately help you to become a better horseplayer.
While this last tip may seem self explanatory, people can get caught up in the excitement and commotion of horse racing and start making poor wagering decisions. Study the information at hand, set a budget and have fun. Remember, favorites won’t return much profit. Save your money for another race where the opportunity is better. Most importantly, know when to call it quits.
In addition to handicapping, there are other ways you can increase your odds of winning at the racetrack. For example, you can observe the horses in the paddock prior to the start of the race. How’s their body language and behavior? An active tail is often a good indication that something is bothering the horse.
Good luck, and got speed,
Karen Smith is a freelance writer and avid horseplayer. Karen loves attending the Kentucky Derby every spring, with her husband Richard. In her free time, she enjoys horse racing betting online. Her favorite horse this season is Shanghai Bobby.