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Horse Betting Tips

Tips to consider before placing a horse racing bet

1. Bet on the favorite. A favorite is the horse with the lowest odds or one on which the most money has been wagered. Favorites win approximately one third of the time. But this is not necessarily a sound betting strategy because favorites can pay very little since there are too many of you wagering on the horse.

2. Secure a tip sheet. These tip sheets are prepared by professional handicappers and could provide you with useful wagering information as you select a horse to bet on. They usually contain past performances of race contenders.

3. Watch the horses. Watch broadcast signals while the horses are in the paddock and in the Post Parade.

Here are handicapping factors to help you in placing a bet:

The Class. A horse's class is difficult to define, but it is unmistakable at the racetrack. Horses can seem to sort themselves into competitive levels.

The Pace. Heard of the saying "Pace makes the race."? A horse generally can't have it both ways. Meaning run extremely fast early and still have enough left in reserve to run fast late in the race. Horses on the front will most always tire out and this will help the runners that are closing ground.

Meanwhile, a slow pace will help the horses near the front because they should have something left for the end of the race. When wagering, it might be a good idea to consider a horse that likes to rally in the stretch.

Trainers and jockeys. It's important to take notice of the horse's trainer and jockey. Some trainers do well with 2-year-olds while others are particularly adept with 3-year-olds and those who can race long distances. While some jockeys seem to ride better on the front end, and others are better known for their come-from-behind style. Check the standings to find out which horse has leading trainer and jockey on its team.

Changes in equipment. Blinkers are used to limit the horse's vision and to prevent them from swerving caused by objects or other horses. It's worth noting a horse wearing them for the first time or racing without them for the first time. Mud calks are used for off tracks while calks, pointed extensions or cleats on a horseshoe, are designed to prevent a horse from slipping. Certain equipment worn by the horses is noted in the past performances.

The Trip. A bettor must watch his horse during the the race and again on the replays after the race to observe what kind of trip he had. If the horse squeezed back at the start, or carried wide on the turn, or blocked at the quarter pole. Trouble encountered by a horses in a race is shown in the past performance lines.

The Weight. It's especially important to notice when horses are carrying considerably more weight than they did in their last start. If your horse has gained considerable weight, this could affect his performance. There is a theory saying that weight plays a bigger role in long races, but another line of reason is that weight is every bit as important in sprints.

Breed. Some horses are bred for speed, others have inherited stamina from their sires and dams and are able to run long distances and certain horses are bred for grass racing. Though breeding is an inexact science, a careful study of pedigrees can enhance your chances at the races.

Condition. Condition is defined as the fitness of a thoroughbred - how prepared he is to run a particular race. The dates of the horse's most recent workouts and races and the probable effects of this activity on his current condition are highly important. If a horse is racing for the first time in a month or so, a steady pattern of workouts is a good indication of fitness.

Medication. Lasix and Butazolidin are medications administered to racehorses. Lasix is a diuretic used to control bleeding. Bute is an anti-inflammatory medication. Some believe that these medications can enhance the horse's performance, so handicappers pay close attention to a horse racing on Lasix or Bute for the first time.

Using Past Performances:

  • Select a race whose race conditions you have became familiar with. (Check Reading Race Conditions).
  • Examine the past performances of the first horse in the race, from its oldest race through its most recent race. This should include a narrative of the horse's career, its preferences, ability, and limitations.
  • Check how the horse fits the race conditions by highlighting the distance, surface, class level and race restrictions of its most successful efforts in the past performances.
  • Review the horse's lifetime record section of its past performances, checking for any significant statistics for the track, surface, distance or its overall record.
  • Repeat steps 2 through 4 for each horse entered in the race.
  • Check whether any horse has an advantage over its opponents based on its current form.
  • Check whether any horse has an advantage over its opponents based on the anticipated pace of the race.
  • Using Race Conditions:

  • Read the conditions of the race.
  • Determine the type of horse best suited to the race because of its surface by checking out their past performances. If your horse is trying a surface for the first time, determine whether its pedigree supports the effort.
  • Determine the type of horse best suited to the race because of its distance based on their past performances. If your horse is trying a distance for the first time, such as the 1-1/4 mile classic distance of the Kentucky Derby, determine whether its pedigree supports the effort.
  • Determine the type of horse best suited to the race because of its class level. Check out Class Level Chart to review class level relationships. Review past performances to check out horses that have performed acceptably at today's class level or better.
  • Determine the type of horse best suited to the race because of the race restrictions. Review past performances to determine horses that have performed acceptably in races with today's race restrictions or in less restricted races.