Handicapping Tip of the Day #17 – Vet Scratches

by Art Parker

Handicapping tips from agameofskill.com

There are many things one should do before analyzing races. Last month I mentioned the importance of noting the blinker changes and taking the time to find those uncoupled trainer entries. Most patrons that go to the track hate to be bothered with work and that is the first way to assure a losing day.  Remember that because this game requires work to be successful.

Lasix for horses

Lasix is legal and given to both horses and humans

With that in mind take another step and investigate the list of vet’s scratches. Found in almost all publications that carry past performances, these scratches list by each race the horses that have been scratched in the last 30-60 days by the track vet. This information is critical. On a typical race card you will probably see several of these horses lists.

The information should list the name of the horse, the day of the scratch and race number, the track where the scratch took place and the class of that race. So, what’s the big deal? Say a horse is scratched at Belmont by the vet out of a $50,000 claiming race. A couple of weeks later the same horse shows up at Monmouth running for $10,000. Wouldn’t you think that is a sign that is something is wrong with the horse? Other examples apply, but once you start looking at these you will find it is just as important to have this information as it is blinker changes.

Share this with your horse racing friends
Handicapping tips from agameofskill.com


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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with Brisnet.com and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.


  1. David Juffet says

    When you see a horse drop into a claiming race for the first time checkout the owners record. Sometimes the horse just doesn’t fit into owners stable. These horses win very often. Owners dumps horse and picks up purse.

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