Secrets of Good Horse Handicapping

May 11th, 2017
Back Secrets of Good Horse Handicapping

When I am in Pennsylvania, I always enjoy going to the Meadows or the Rivers Casino with my younger brother, Legs.


He is a slots player and I play poker or blackjack. At the Meadows just outside Washington, PA., that means Legs is usually upstairs trying to persuade his favorite slot machines to yield their buried treasure. The poker room is on the second floor and the horses are located downstairs.

Sometimes when Legs gets bored with the slots, he will join me as a partner in my latest horse betting system. Admittedly I have gone through quite a few systems over the years. Some have worked pretty well while others have failed. But Legs good-naturedly supports me, win or lose.

I recently came up with an 11-point plan that helped me win a nice-paying pick four at Parx Race Track, a thoroughbred horse track in Philadelphia. I also nearly won the pick five which would have yielded a really good payoff but left the winner out of one race.

My 11-point handicapping plan is based on more than 30 years of playing the horses. My system relies on the current condition of the horses and it works to pick out 'live' horses that are ready to give their best performance.

(1) If the owner of a horse and the trainer are the same person, that is worth two points. The reason should be pretty obvious. An owner-trainer is more interested in the outcome of a race than an owner or trainer would be separately. Add an extra point if the morning line odds are 5-1 or less.

(2) If the horse was bet down in its last race and finished out of the money, give the horse two points if the trainer switches jockeys. The trainer must have been serious about wanting to win the last race and that is why the horse was bet down. Now he is doubly serious about winning and that is why he is switching jockeys.

(3) If the horse was bet down in the last race and ran into trouble -- it broke poorly, was bothered during the race or while closing, or was forced wide -- give the horse two points. A troubled horse does not give its best performance and today may be the day.


(4) Add two points to the horse if it is a first-time Lasix user or if the trainer changes equipment. An equipment change could mean adding or subtracting blinkers or using some other device to improve the horse's performance. Equipment changes generally mean the trainer is serious about winning.

(5) Add two points if the jockey riding the horse today has won on the horse in the past.

(6) Check the win-loss record of the horse, the trainer and the jockey. If the horse wins or places in 50 percent of its races, that is worth two points. If the jockey and trainer also have a good won-loss percentage, that is worth an additional two points.

(7) If the trainer is female and the morning line odds are 5-1 or less, that is worth two points. This is especially true if the female trainer is the only woman trainer in the race.

(8) If the horse won by five lengths or more in its last race, that is worth a two-point bonus.

(9) If the horse was bet down and was closing in its last race, that means the horse had something left and is worth two points.

(10) Check the horse's past performances and find out the level the horse wins at. Then check the conditions of today's race. If the horse wins at this or a higher level, that is worth an additional two points.

(11) A horse that has the best last workout is worth an extra two points. If the workout is listed as BG, meaning breezing from the gate, that is even more important and is a powerful signal that the horse is ready for action.

Add up all the points and bet the horse with the highest number. Good luck. Let the races begin.

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