6 Expert Tips to Picking a Winner at the Horse Races
The summer horse racing season is in full swing as experts to novices flock to racetracks around the country, whether in Del Mar, California or Saratoga Springs, NY or places in between such as Delaware, for the exciting thrill of professional horse racing. For first-time players, placing a first bet on a horse can be an intimidating experience. But luckily, the process of handicapping, or picking a winner, is not all luck, and can be much easier with the right resources and information in hand. Can’t get to the track? Online wagering is all the rage and brings the excitement of the track right to your fingertips.
Horse Race Betting Basics
Daily Racing Form (DRF) has been a resource for the latest news on thoroughbred racing and analysis since 1894. It’s a helpful tool for players to find the information and develop the skills to win with greater frequency and understanding at the racetrack. One of the company’s latest offerings includes online wagering tools, which can be a great way to enjoy the horse racing experience without having to visit the track. For those first-time players, Daily Racing Form offers the following 6 key factors to look for when picking a winner:
1) Beyer Speed Figures: This tool displays a horse’s typical overall speed, and assigns it with Beyer Speed Figures. A higher Beyer Speed Figure means a faster horse. The Beyer Speed Figure should be one of the largest influencer in your handicapping.
2) Odds: A horse’s odds depend on the amount of money bet on them. The “favorite” is the horse that has had the most money wagered on it to win, while the “long-shots” have had the least money wagered on them. The favorite has the shortest odds (usually 2-1 or less), which has less risk, but returns the smallest profit on a win, while a long-shot has higher odds (such as 8-1 or more), more risk, and much larger return.
3) Track Record: Just like any athlete, a horse’s record will reveal its standing in the sport. The two most important factors to check are the dates of a horse’s most recent races, and his placement in his last races. A horse that races regularly and often is probably fit and prepared, and a horse that consistently finishes “in-the-money” (which means in either first (win), second (place) or third (show) position), is a horse worth considering.
4) Career Box: This is a record that shows the total number of first, second and third place finishes a horse has achieved during both his entire career and the current year. It also shows his results based on the tracks he’s run, or at other tracks of varying distances.
5) Running Style: Horse’s racing styles usually fit in one of three categories: “frontrunner”, “middle of the pack” or “comes from behind.” DRF has resources that show where a horse typically likes to run, which will influence the shape of the entire race. For example, a race full of frontrunners might result in a furious early battle for the lead, but there’s a good chance the front runners may exhaust themselves quickly and slow down, which creates an opening for a horse that comes from behind, speeding up and taking the win in the last moments.
For more handicapping basics, check out DRF’s Guide to Racing 101.