Horse racing is not only a fun sport to watch and be around, but it can be very lucrative. The key to betting on the horses is knowing what to look for. I've never met a winning horse racing bettor that simply watched the races and made blind bets. Before betting, you need to know the past performances of the horses. Today, I will run down a series of tips to get you on the road to picking horses better.
Buy the Past Performances
Buy the past performances. If you are at the track, they will be for sale there. For those betting at home or in the sportsbook, buy the Racing Form. The past performances will help you figure out the capability of each horse. Never bet blind on horses. I know of some bettors that simply look at the morning line odds and assume that's a sign of the horse's ability. It's not.
Look at Class
Not all horse races are the same. The horse racing world revolves around a class system. A horse that wins a Grade 1 stakes race is far superior to a horse racing at the allowance level. Furthermore, there are levels within each class. For instance, a $24k maiden race is much tougher than a $4k maiden race.
To be successful, you must look at the level each horse has raced at and how they've done. The amateur better often looks solely at race times and finish spots. That's a quick way to lose your money. The level a horse is running at can tell you a lot.
For instance, perhaps you are looking at a $12k claiming race and you spot a horse that's been running at a higher level, but hasn't been winning. This could tell you that the horse is being dropped in class to pick up a win. Ignoring this possibility could cost you money. On the other hand, if the horse is dropping significantly and it's a claiming race, it might be a sign that the horse isn't capable of racing well anymore.
You will learn a lot looking at the class of a horse.
While you might not know each trainer personally or know much of anything about any of them, you should look at their stats. In the Racing Form, the trainer's stats for the year and for the track will be shown. Look for trainers that have a decent degree of success. No one wins all the time, but a trainer that has horses finishing in the money 10% of the time or greater is at least pretty decent.
There are many betting philosophies out there. Some bettors place heavy weight on trainer stats. You'll have to experiment and come up with your own method.
Turf or Dirt
Running on dirt is much different from running on Turf. Dirt is more about speed and turf is more about class. It's normal for a horse to run well on one of the other. If you are handicapping a dirt race, make sure you don't factor in a race on turf—or at least don't give it too much weight.
It's common to see a horse running on dirt that has some great races, but they've been all on turf—and vise versa. You need to pay attention to the conditions of each race. As mentioned above, if you are handicapping a turf race, pay very close attention to class.
Writer for SportsBookie.com
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