Every once in a while EZ Horse Betting likes to offer its readers a refresher on handicapping horses. The basics of horse racing betting are important for anyone that wants to bet horses for real money at an online racebook. These are tried and true strategies that will increase your chances of winning money at the race track.
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Learning How to Handicap Horses
When it comes to horse racing betting there is no substitute for handicapping. If you do not know how to handicap you are at a severe disadvantage. If you have no desire to lear how to handicap, pick another form of gambling. It’s that simple.
The smartest horse bettors in the world do not throw darts at a board. They do not bet on the colors of a jockey’s silks, the name or number of a horse, or gray horses on rainy days. Each move that they make is calculated to return a profit. Every dollar that is spent is considered an investment that is expected to produce a return.
What is handicapping? There are several answers to this question. The basic definition would be the study of available information to determine which horses in a particular race have the best chance of winning. Another definition would be an intellectual exercise designed to improve one’s knowledge of horse racing. A third would be the process of education that makes one a smarter bettor.
No matter how you define handicapping the truth is that you will not succeed in horse racing betting without it. Why? Because horse racing is a gambling game in which the people who bet do so among themselves. Unlike the casino where you are pitted against the house, at the race track you are doing battle with your fellow handicappers. The odds on each horse are determined by the betting public. You must be smarter than other handicappers when it comes to picking winners.
Believe us when we say that horse betting is a jungle. There are superior handicappers out there that will eat your lunch. They can do this because they have spent the hours that it takes to become successful at what they do. It is no different for them than it is for someone learning how to play the stock market. Knowledge is power.
Learning How to Manage Your Money
Another basic principle of horse racing betting is learning how to manage your money properly. Every bettor has a bankroll to work with. This bankroll is the ammunition in your betting cannon. Just like an old west gunfighter, you best know how to use those bullets properly. Otherwise you will be lying on the street, shot down by other bettors.
Money management in horse racing is about more than how much you bet on various races. It also involves the type of wagers that you make. It involves win goals and loss limits. Anyone that throws money at races all day with no plan is going to go broke. The reason for this is that horse racing is a gambling game that has a modest rate of return.
The most successful bettors at the track or at the online racebooks do well to achieve a 25% win rate. If you were able to win 25% of the bets that you made you would be doing very well, provided that you were making the right bets to begin with.
The reality is that getting a good return from your horse racing betting is a slow and methodical process. It requires discipline. You must study the books of legends at horse racing money management. Learn from other successful handicappers. Use every tool at your disposal to make wise investments.
The Best Way to Learn Horse Racing Betting
There are good ways to learn horse betting and there are bad ways. Over the years a tried and true approach has been developed by the most successful handicappers. For starters, they immerse themselves in the game.
Immersion in horse racing means watching hundreds of races. You are going to have to become familiar with the way horses run, the skills of jockeys, and the specialties of trainers. There is no other way to do this except to watch races. Lots of them.
You might not know that signing up for an online racebook will provide you with access to many race replays. Many racebooks will have an entire library that you can stream on your device for free. You can go back and watch famous races like the Kentucky Derby, or you can watch the last race of a horse that you are thinking about betting on.
Immersion also means studying the past performances. By studying we mean learning every detail. Past performances are charts that are printed for every race at every track. A past performance gives you all the information that you need about horses, jockeys, and trainers. These are called PPs for short. In the PPs you will find things like speed figures, equipment that a horse might be using for the first time, and how the horse has performed in the past at a specific distance on on a certain track.
Absorbing all of the information that is provided in the past performances can take hours and hours. You have to learn how to target specific information so that you can reduce the time you spend handicapping races. This brings us to our next suggestion.
Master the Art of Horse Racing Angles
There are so many factors in the past performances to consider that you can easily get overwhelmed. Maybe you have been in this situation. You spend hours and hours handicapping a race card only to realize that you are no closer to finding winners than you were when you started. How do you overcome this?
Smart horse racing betting means narrowing your focus. The professional handicappers call this using an angle. An angle is a specific method that you use to identify horses which have a good chance of winning. It could also be called your strong suit. Some handicappers are great at assessing a horse’s speed. Others are strong at determining if a horse is fit. Still others specialize in jockey and trainer patterns that will lead them to a winner.
When you choose a horse racing angle to use you will cut down the time you need to handicap and process information. The quicker you can process information, the more wise bets that you can make. Notice we said wise. Using angles just so you can bet more horse races is not smart betting. It is the mark of a degenerate gambler.
Examples of Horse Racing Betting Angles
Let’s take a look at some of the more common horse racing angles that you might encounter as a handicapper.
The Speed Angle is one that focuses on determining which horse in a race is fastest. Most handicappers that use this angle rely on speed figures to help them. A speed figure is a single number that strives to quantify the speed of a horse so that it can be easily compared with that of another. In theory a horse that has an 85 speed figure is faster than one with a 75. In theory. Speed figures still require interpretation.
The Class Drop Angle is another popular basic handicapping method used at the horse racing tracks today. A horse that is taking a class drop is one that will be facing softer competition after a series of defeats at the higher levels. Many times all a horse needs to win is an easier spot.
The Form Angle is one that considers how the horse has been finishing in its recent races. Bettors will look for horses that have been showing steady improvement. They will have been getting closer to a win with each race, and the form handicapper is looking to time their bet with the moment the horse is ready to win.
A Pace Angle is one popularized by men like Doc Sartin. This angle focuses on how a race is ran throughout all of its stages. When you use this angle you will be looking at how horses run in fractional times. Pace handicapping can be challenging, but the rewards can be great.
There are as many angles in horse racing as there are bettors. You can even invent your own handicapping angle once you have mastered the basics of horse racing betting. Good luck on your journey to becoming a great handicapper!