There are many things that are important to handicapping horses. Those who bet horses for real money at offline and online racebooks use a number of handicapping tools to improve their ability to pick winners. Horse race betting is a game of information. The more of it you have the more successful you will become. Let’s look at the most important handicapping tools and where you can get them for free.
The bread and butter of any successful handicapper are past performances. These pieces of detailed information give a snapshot of the career of each horse in a race in just a few lines of text. Some of the information that you will find on a past performance chart are:
- Horse’s lifetime record
- Horse’s record at today’s distance
- Horse’s record on today’s surface
- Lifetime earnings for the horse
- The trainer and stats
- The jockey and stats
- Speed figures
This is an impressive amount of information when you consider that it is all delivered in the space of about one paragraph. All handicappers turn to these charts to assess the ability of a horse. You can find past performances in the pages of the Daily Racing Form or purchase them from Equibase. You can also find abbreviated PPs in the official racing program.
Looking for an Online Racebook? We highly recommend this one!
Race charts are different from past performances in one crucial regard. Instead of giving a snapshot of a horse’s career, the race chart gives a snapshot of a specific race. It will include all the relevant data for all the horses that competed in the event. Race charts include:
- A running line for each horse in the race
- Detailed notes on each horse’s performance
- Track conditions for the race
A race chart is basically a video replay of a race that has been transcribed in paper. When you learn how to read the charts you are getting an idea of how the entire race unfolded from start to finish.
Speed Figures and Pars
Speed figures and pars are single numbers that are meant to express the quickness of a horse at a single glance. With this number you can easily compare the speed of one horse against another. Many handicappers make speed figures the primary handicapping tool in their arsenal. The only drawback to using speed figures is that they are open to interpretation. It takes time to learn how to read and decipher them properly.
In Europe and other areas the speed figure has been replaced with something known as a Timeform Rating. This number is also indicative of speed, but it is also meant to take into consideration other factors such as pace and fractional running times. Many handicappers believe that the Timeform Rating is more accurate because it gives a more complete picture.
Pace figures are a handicapping tool that look at the fractional running times of a race to determine a horse’s pace ability. Races are all about speed, but in horse racing there is something known as tactical speed. Tactical speed reflects how the horses used their speed to establish position in a race.
Many handicappers use pace figures to make a projection about how a race will unfold. Which horses will be on or near the lead? Which horses will stalk the pack? Which horses will stay near the rear and close in the final strides? These are the questions that pace figures attempt to answer.
Race replays have become more important to the modern handicapper of race horses. These handicapping tools allow a race bettor to go back in time and see how a horse competed in a specific race. The video replay can reveal whether or not the horse encountered any trouble while racing. It can also help to reveal the running style of a specific horse.
It can be fun and entertaining to go back and watch the great champions of the past compete in big races. That is not what race replays as a handicapping tool are used for. They are used to evaluate the abilities of modern horses that are currently in competition.
Advice From Experts
Finally, many modern handicappers also like to use advice from horse racing experts as a handicapping tool. You could consider the information that you get from EZ Horse Betting to fall into this category. At the live racetrack you may also be able to take advantage of a track handicapper that has a show where he or she gives out free picks before the races begin.
Where to Get Handicapping Tools for Free
This is quite a list of handicapping tools for you to consider. If you were to buy these tools from a service like Equibase or the Daily Racing Form you would need to pay a lot of money. Thankfully, there is a way that you can get your handicapping tools without paying anything.
The way to do that is to sign up for an online racebook account and make a wagering deposit. Most online racebooks will provide you with these tools and many others when you bet a certain amount of money each month. The betting threshold may be as little as $20 or it may be as high as $100. Each racebook is different.
Buying all these tools could easily cost you hundreds of dollars each month if you are betting every day. When you get them for free at an online racebook you are saving money that can be added to your horse racing bankroll. Check out the online racebooks that we recommend and see which handicapping tools they will provide to you for free.