Handicapping Tip of the Day #20 – Resolve to Do This in the New Year

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By Rich Nilsen

Maybe you had a great year wagering, or more likely, it didn’t go as well as expected.  Of course, everyone is making some type of resolution for the New Year, and handicappers should do the same.  Now is the time to sit back and reflect.   Think about the many, daily or weekly decisions you made that cost you dearly at the pari-mutuel windows.

If there is one thing you must do as the New Year begins, it is this: Have a plan.  Make plans to be a more successful player, and be very specific in doing so.  What is that going to take?  Maybe it is focusing on only one or two tracks instead of betting everything under the sun.  Maybe it is picking your spots better on any given day.  Maybe it is putting your day’s bankroll into one wager, e.g. a Pick-3 or Win bet, instead of spreading it out throughout the day. Or maybe you are playing without any type of significant rebate.

Of course, you have to weigh these decisions with the enjoyment aspect of the game.  Unless you’re a professional horse player or an aspiring pro, you may not expect to win over the course of a year.  Maybe you’re just happy to have action.  Regardless of your situation, you can resolve to do better – much better in the New Year.  Think about it.

Best of luck!

Want to Learn More and Improve Your Game?  Read these AGOS Handicapping Tips

Handicapping Tips # 6 – Be Mentally Strong

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Handicapping Tip of the Day # 6  — Sept. 24, 2014

Horseplayers know all too well that the game has ups and downs.  One bad decision can cost you big time, but worst yet, the outcome of that decision can lead to more bad decisions.  An example would be a player who decides to chase his losses but when he or she should just accept that today was losing day.   Tomorrow there are plenty of races to possibly play and invest your time and money.  Don’t let the outcome of one race (one bad play), one steward’s decision, one bad ride dictate the rest of your day.  Be mentally strong by thinking long term instead of in the moment.

This video went viral this week, and you’ll see why after watching this kid’s post-game inspirational speech.  I may have to watch this again before I compete in the National Handicapping Championship (NHC) this coming January!  Good stuff:

 

Handicapping Tips #5 – Do This With Your Bankroll

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Handicapping Tip of the Day – Budget Your Wagering Dollars

One of the most important aspects of the game for horseplayers is to wager with money that they are comfortable losing.  Sure, no one wants to or plans to lose money when they play the horses, but you also don’t want to be risking the rent money, either.  Regardless, you should have a separate budget for investing in horse racing.  By keeping wagering dollars apart from your personal funds, you can avoid any confusion…and most importantly, any problems.

The additional benefit of having a separate fund for wagering is that you can then budget from within that pool of funds.  Ideally, you should never risk more than five percent of your dollar wagering budget in any one race.  Wagering on horses can oftentimes be a streaky proposition.  By budgeting your dollars appropriately and professionally, you can withstand a losing streak.  When you have the money situation under control, your chances for success rise dramatically.

Handicapping Tips #3 – Every Runner Has This

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Handicapping Tip of the Day #3 – July 14, 2014

Every race horse has  one particular distance that they excel the best at, and the handicapper is wise to look at every runner in a race to determine if today’s distance meets that preference.   Even the champion runners have preferred distances, but what separates many of them is that they can carry their game across a variety of distances and, sometimes, even surfaces.  Secretariat, and more recently American Pharoah, are classic examples of horses with this rare trait.

Many average horses, e.g. claimers, can perform well at multiple distances but they are always at their best at a short range of distances; for example, 5 1/2 furlongs to 6 furlongs.  Constantly be on the lookout for a horse that is switching back to his or her preferred distance after attempting something outside their scope in their previous start or two.

Read Tip # 2

Read Tip # 1

Handicapping Tips #2 – July 11, 2014

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AgameofSkill.com Handicapping Tip of the Day #2

Some jockeys will have an excellent rapport with certain horses.  You’ll oftentimes see a jockey who wins or finishes in the money (top 3) every time he gets aboard a particular horse; whereas that particular horse has less success when other riders are in the irons. Maybe it’s their “hands,” the way they get the horse to relax, or they just know how to ride the horse given the horse’s respective running style, but we don’t really need to know the reason.

Always be on the lookout for a jockey switch to a “winning” rider for this horse.  It can result in big improvement off the horse’s recent form.

Handicapping Tips #1 -The Drop

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AGameofSkill.com Handicapping Tip of the Day – July 7, 2014

Class drops in horse racing are situations where a horse has been facing tougher competition and now is dropping into “softer” company.  The most potent of all class drops is the maiden special weights to maiden claiming move.  In maiden special weight races horses can not be “claimed” or purchased for any price.   Whereas in the maiden claiming races, horses are entered for a specific claiming price.  Every horse in the race is for sale as a pre-determined price.  The drop is most powerful when the claiming price of today’s race is $40,000 or less.   The lower price, the softer the competition.  Handicappers will often see remarkable turn-arounds, such as a horse defeated 15 lengths or more in a maiden special weights who returns to win when dropped into the maiden claiming races where the competition is significantly softer.

One caveat that handicappers should be aware of with this handicapping tip is the state-bred maiden special weights drop into open maiden claimers, where horses from any state can run in.   In many cases, this is not much class relief for the horse in question and will not result in a huge turnaround.

– Rich Nilsen