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Horse Racing – The Need for Handicapping - I


All race enthusiasts know there is nothing to beat the excitement of seeing a horse you have wagered on take the racecourse by storm. Because that win translates to money for those who had bet on that horse. But there is a downside as well; you bet on a horse and it loses, and this seems to happen often. It may very well be because you have not picked the right horse. How do you ensure that the horse you pick is the one that will win? You do this by a method called handicapping. In this series we will discuss the need for handicapping and how to master it.

Going about the Process of Handicapping

Handicapping is a method that allows you to determine which of the horses in a race has the best shot at a win. Handicapping is a test of your analytical skills, logical skills, and also creative intelligence; it is not just all about the math. So how do you go about doing this amazing thing called handicapping? For that, you will need a copy of the Daily Racing Form (DRF). This is a document that has all the different bits of information about the various horses that you need to figure out which has the best chance of winning. You can buy this at the race track when you get there.

Once you have the DRF, you will need to understand it thoroughly to be able to use it to make an informed decision, hopefully the right one, on your choice of winner. The first bit of information that you can check out is called the Beyer Speed figures. This is data written in bold style and found in the middle of each DRF. This data lists out information about a horse’s past performance. The Beyer Speed figures have two kinds of data in bold style:

  • Pace-related data: This data is listed under the first number in bold style and lets you know whether the horse has the pace to lead from the beginning.

  • Speed-related data: This data is listed under the second number in bold style and lets you know which horses have the knack of passing other horses that are not as fast as them as they reach the finishing line. You must understand that speed is not the same as pace.

    The strategy is to zero in on the horse that has the highest Beyer Speed figures in the previous race and use that as a point of reference: any horse that do not have numbers anywhere close to that can be eliminated straight away.

Analyzing that Next Major Factor: Distance is the Key

The next thing to analyze is distance, which works along with pace and speed. It is a major factor in picking your horse. Of course, it varies from one race to another, but is a critical factor nevertheless. You need to know how comfortable a horse is running over various distances. If the race you are in is for a longer distance, it would not make sense to wager on a horse that is known to tire out towards the latter part of the race. You need to check whether the horse has comfortably run the same distance as this race in earlier races.

 
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