I personally think horseracing is a sport that the bettor can beat. A horseracing bettor simply needs to be smart about picking horses to gain an edge. One stat to keep in mind is that the betting public is generally right about the favorite 33% of the time. The other 66% they are wrong and that opens the door for profit.
When handicapping a horse, there are some key areas that need to be looked at and one of those is class. Far too often, horseracing bettors ignore class and simply look at times, finishes and so forth. Thatís a huge mistake. How is a place finish in a $5000 Maiden the same as a fourth place finish in a $25,000 Maiden, when the horse in question is running in a $16,000 Maiden? By ignoring class, you are missing out on the bigger picture. Hereís another example. Imagine you are handicapping horses at the Xth race at your favorite track. You notice a horse that appears to be the leader in pace, speed and form. Without looking any deeper, you rush to place your wager on that horse across the board. By ignoring class, you probably just set yourself up for a fall. Upon further review, we find that this horse was racing in $30,000-$32,000 Maiden races and here the horse is today running in an $8,000 claiming race. Does anything seem out of place? It should. While the horse may end up winning, itís likely that thereís a problem with the horse. Why else would a horse thatís been running at higher classes drop down to an $8,000 claiming race?
While class is just one part of the big handicapping equation, it can tell us a good deal about a horse. I was taught that itís ok if a horse goes up or down a step in class for a race. However, when the horse starts going up or down two or more steps, it warrants further investigation. We already looked at an example of a horse that went down in class a good dealóby the way, that was a real horse that was the favorite and finished 4th in the race and never challenged. What about a horse that moves up? An upward movement in class may signify that the horse is ready to take on better horses. This is a case where you would want to take a look at the barn and trainer. If they are winners, the move clearly indicates that they think the horse has a good shot in the race. If not, it may just be an experiment or a wrong analysis.
Class, when brought into the handicapping mix, can tell you a lot about a race and it will help you clarify the probable outcome. For me, it helps weight the other figures that I look at. For example, if I see a horse in a $8,000 Maiden race thatís had a majority of its races at the $8,000 Maiden level, I know what to expect from the horse. There can always be surprises, but a horse like this can be somewhat predictable. Now if the horse was racing in a $20,000 Maiden today, I would know to discount certain numbersóperhaps ignore certain stats all togetheródue to the class of the past races and the race at hand. Like any stat type in horseracing, I donít use class to single out a horse or cross out another. You will develop your own way to look at things, but I like using class as a weighting element for other areas I look at. In fact, just the other day looking at class help eliminate what would have been some losing bets and produce some new winning bets. Class is one area of horseracing that must be in the winning handicapperís mind. .
Writer for SportsBookie.com
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