There is something else we need to honestly
reflect on . . .
As independent-minded, self-reliant
handicappers - we often have the attitude, "My opinion in this race is as good as, or better
than anyone else's." We are an opinionated breed, and this
is to be expected - even applauded.
But - is your assessment of a race really
always as good as that of anyone else?
Sometimes it is, maybe even often, but always?
How could we hope to handicap a race 18-20 hrs.
in advance of it's running - using past performance data from weeks or months
ago - then bet that race from a thousand miles away - and still be privy to kind of
real-time information as the sharpest players who are closer to the reality of the current event?!
Most admire those who "stick to their guns" -
and there are many times when this will be the right course of action - but
only if you've asked the "why" questions - and answered them intelligently.
If you then still see the merit of your earlier observations as verified by
the current reality of the tote board - fine - pull the trigger.
But you'll know you have
stepped into rarer air as a handicapper when you can comfortably change your
pre-race opinion when the race-time reality is incongruent with that opinion.
I am not talking about changing your
wagers because of anything you hear anyone say - or anything you
read in print about the race - that is usually just a form of weak vacillation.
There are only two things that would be
considered good cause for a late change of your pre-race wagering decision;
1. Something noted in the post parade or
2. The money flow reality observed on the tote board.
(Actually, #1 is most often taken care of by
others better at it than you - and you can use close observance of #2 to see
how they have reacted to that on-track visual information)
- What if a deep closer with
the high Beyer number in a full field is at 9/5 with 4 minutes to post.
There are two speedsters in the race that figure to hook up in a front-running
duel. They are at 5/1 and 6/1. At 3 minutes to post there is a
scratch of the 6/1 speedster. The late odds on the favorite drop
7/5 and the odds on the lone remaining speed now drops from 5/1 to 5/2.
The "crowd" money (and
redistribution of the total pool ratios) caused the favorite to go from
9/5 to 7/5. But what / who caused the 5/1 horse to go to 2/1?
- What if a runner coming in off a 180 day
lay-off with only two average looking works showing on his tab is given a
morning line of 10/1. This mid-pack type runner (who is not mentioned
among the consensus "picks" for the race) is coming back at a one-step up
claiming level, yet by near post-time is at 5/2 while the morning line (2/1)
favorite is now at 8/5.
The "crowd" has no reason
to be sending in money on this horse. The wagering that is driving
it down is not from them. Why is this horse being backed - and by
- What if you've spotted a class dropper who,
though recent races have been poor, has some good back races, what should be
contending speed, and a decent overall win percentage. He is 7/2 in
the program and you decide you would bet him at 9/2 or better. The
horse takes little action and by near post has floated all the way up to
Why? Are you the only
sharp handicapper in the world who has noted his potential? Where is
the money of the astute on-track observers of horseflesh? Why is he
dead on the board?
- What if there is a front running speed type
horse that is the consensus pick of the prognosticators in the DRF and/or
track program who is stepping up in class and has been bet down to 6/5 from a
9/5 morning line. Also - "your" horse, who is a presser type and is
dropping off a decent run in last, has risen from it's 3/1 morning line to
You were going to bet $20 -
have you asked yourself, "Why not bet more?"
Every day's race card has several of these subtle and
not so subtle scenarios that demand the "why?" questions. If you do not
ask those questions, you are playing with your head in the sand.
The flexibility to not be married to
pre-race "picks" and decisions - will serve you very well in this
game. It will save you a ton of money on what would have been wasted
wagers, and get you on many 'less illogical' strong contenders.
We at Horse Racing
Gold have been labeled
"contrarians." Not necessarily. After all, favorites in the types of races
we issue win only about 27% of the time - it only makes sense to look to try
them. You could say the odds are in our favor!
But - it doesn't make sense to be a contrarian
simply so you are always going against the majority. The crowd - by
fate, accident, or (at times) keen awareness - is often right on.
Look at the lead-up to the race. Look at
what other's are surely looking at - what impresses them? What will they
discount - or not even notice? Contemplate the flow of opinions as
expressed on the tote-board. Have the overly influential (even pompous) opinions of the "experts" steered the gullible public onto a
faulty course? Is the betting reflecting a "bandwagon-jumping"
The supreme handicapping skill
- and one hard won - is the ability to see a race from a position of unbiased
The crowd is reacting to easily accessible
information. A few very sharp players have not-so-easily-attainable
information. You, too, have your own perceptions going into a race. You
did your handicapping - now, how does your perception jibe with what
you see happening on the tote board?
You should always have an idea -
before the race - about how the money will be bet. Now - did the
money flow in the way you thought it would?
- If you can establish a reason
why it did - you're ahead of the game
If you can establish a reason why it didn't - you're ahead of the game
Astute handicappers apply a keen eye to the
discrepancies they notice. When they are able to answer the "why?" -
they can bet with both hands in a race they were going to pass, or pass a race
in which they had intended to bet heavily - either becomes a much easier decision.
We invite you to take the next step towards professional level
race playing by reviewing the proven methods we offer: