by Glen S. for Agameofskill.com
Do you have a process in handicapping a race? If you say “NO”, you are already behind the eight ball. If the answer is “YES”, then the next question: is it a successful one that makes you money?
There are many successful ways to process a race. Everyone is a little different in getting the correct result. Here is mine:
Step 1: Check the race distance and conditions. (self explanatory but kind of important) along with the betting options.
Step 2: Scan the entire field first, jockeys, trainers, last race and date, and workouts.
I find it important to get an overall perception of all the horses as a group first. Make some quick notes on each horse. This first scan gives you an idea of the level of competition.
Step 3: Now start to get some race shape of the field.
Find the early pace horses (the ‘need the lead’ ones if there are any in the field), stalker and closers. This part of the process is a absolute must. If there is a lone speed horse in the field that instantly makes that runner a contender
Step 4: Next, start to look at each horse a little more individually.
Confirm running style, and ask the question: is the horse in improving form or declining form? What is the top effort of the horse and can they run that today? I use the “Horse Street Par times” quite regularly, especially on the tracks I play (that is another blog entirely) to give me figures at where they might be throughout the race. Perform a quick scan of the beyer’s figures simply to see their average level. I do not live or die on these figures. The main reason for that is because too many people use these ratings and they effect the price (odds of the horses) too much.
Step 5: At this point I will have my contenders and pretenders. I will view the replays of the contenders for sure, especially if the comments have a trouble line or many have run against each other. Replays are so valuable, because you can spot things that can’t be seen in numbers.
Step 6: By now I will have an idea in the direction I want to bet. If there is a standout in my mind that becomes a win bet. I may throw a few runners that I like in an exacta box. If I have a top horse or two and then a few at each level then maybe a trifecta wheel comes to mind. I do not restrict myself on the same types of bets in each race. It all depends on what I come up with is how I bet the race; it may also mean passing a race and moving on. With this type of handicapping process, you can become more successful at the races and enjoy it that much more.
– Of note, the first two steps of the process for myself usually occurs the night before and then I go with step three the next day. For me it really sets myself up for a strong day and clear vision day of racing, and saves a lot of time on race day.
I could write a short novel on the process but I tried to keep it as short and ‘to the point’ as I could. Any comments good or bad are always welcome. I am always willing to learn; everyone should want to improve their process in ‘capping races.