How do I handicap a horse race? This is one of the most frequently asked questions by new online racebook bettors. EZ Horse Betting understands that picking race winners can be a daunting process. There are lots of factors to consider. It is easy to get sidetracked during the handicapping process. We’ve put together this handicapping worksheet so that you can remain focused and not miss any relevant information. Just follow the steps below and your chances of winning will be much improved.
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Find a Place to Handicap
If you ever have the opportunity to attend a live race track you will find sections of the facility where handicappers can sit in a small cubicle and study their racing information. You will probably do a better job of handicapping if you can remain undisturbed for a period of time.
The great thing about betting horses online is that you can handicap in the comfort and privacy of your own home. There are few distractions. With that being said, you should make sure that your handicapping space is comfortable. You might want to sit in a big easy chair. Some bettors like to sit at a table so they can spread out their materials. It’s up to you, but choose a place that is relaxing and away from the normal hustle and bustle in your home.
Plan Time to Handicap
Until you learn the art of handicapping, the process is going to take time. You should set aside ample time to study the races you will be betting on. How much time is ample? It depends on the bettor, of course, but there are some basic guidelines.
We recommend that new bettors allocate about thirty minutes for analyzing one race. The average race card in the United States has ten races. This means that you should figure on five hours to handicap an entire race card. You don’t have to do that all in one sitting. You can study a couple of races, take a break, and study some more. Just make sure you have the races done long before the race day begins. A good rule of thumb is to pick your winners the day before the race. That way you will wake up refreshed and ready to go.
Five hours may seem like a lot of time to you. Perhaps you do not have five hours to spend. The beauty of betting with an online racebook is that you do not have to bet every single race on a card. You can choose to handicap one race or all ten. Do what your time allows you to do.
Obtain Copies of Past Performances
The past performances are your key to victory. Many bettors prefer to purchase an online copy of the Daily Racing Form past performances. You can buy a single card for as little as $5.00 or so when you purchase a plan. But there may be a better way for you to get the past performances you need simply by signing up at one of our recommended racebooks.
Some of these racebooks will give you free past performances when you wager a certain amount. In most cases, the PPs you receive will be from Brisnet or Equibase. This is perfectly fine. They still contain speed figures and other relevant information, and they look much the same as DRF PPs. Don’t be shy about taking advantage of this offer. It is one of the best benefits of betting horses online.
Start By Reading the Conditions of a Race
The conditions of a race are the requirements under which it is ran. You need to become familiar with the shorthand that is used to describe the different types of races. Always make this your first handicapping step.
On the past performances, the conditions are the first line of text you will encounter at the top of the page. The text may say something like this:
Clm 5,000 F&M N2L
The above text indicates that this is a claiming race for fillies and mares that have never won two races. The claiming price for the event is $5,000.
Brisnet has a listing of race condition shorthand that you should become familiar with. The conditions of a race can help you in your handicapping, specifically when you are trying to determine if a horse has been successful under similar conditions in the past.
Employ Your Preferred Handicapping Method
EZ Horse Betting has provided its readers with access to a large number of handicapping and betting systems. We cannot claim that any one of them is superior to another. What we can say is that the failure to use some type of method is a recipe for failure.
The most successful race bettors are those who make their own personal handicapping method into a routine. They go about the process in a very precise way. The advantage of doing so is that you won’t be likely to overlook important factors. When you go about handicapping in a haphazard fashion, parts of the process are too easily omitted.
What we recommend is that you make a checklist or handicapping worksheet that lists each step of your own personal process. You can then check off or fill out each section as you proceed through the steps. Your list doesn’t have to be fancy. It can be as simple as something like this:
- TOP SPEED FIGURE: #8
- TOP PACE FIGURE: #4
- HORSES ON LEAD: #2, #8
- PACE PRESSERS: #3, #6
- CLOSERS: #4
- ELMINATED HORSES: #1, #5, #7, #10
Just some simple notes like those can help you make an informed betting decision. In this example, the handicapper is evaluating how he or she believes the race will unfold. This is a valid method sometimes known as Pace Projection. Looking at the notes our handicapper has made, we can determine the following:
According to speed figures, #8 is the fastest horse in today’s event. But the horse’s speed advantage may be compromised by the presence of another speed horse, #2. This horse could challenge #8 for the lead in the early stages of the race, creating a speed duel that tires both horses. #4 would most likely benefit from this scenario because it has the highest pace figure and is also a closer. The handicapper then decides to bet on #4 to win with #8 and #2 rounding out the trifecta.
As you can see, making a handicapping worksheet allows you to take in important information in a single glance. You can then draw the conclusions you need in order to make a good bet. Remember, the worst handicapping system is no system at all.
Are you ready to put your handicapping worksheet to the test? Sign up today with our recommended online racebook and you can bet on your computer, smartphone, or tablet right from the comfort of your own home today.