Most people that love sports also have a fondness for stats. The same can be true for horse racing stats and bettors. It can be easy to get lost in the volume of information which is produced for handicapping. Knowing which stats in horse racing hold the most weight is important.
As you perfect your own style of handicapping you will start to value stat keeping. There is no right or wrong way to do this. There is only an efficient way. The hallmark of keeping good horse racing stats is the ability to use the data to evaluate the skills of horses, trainers, and jockeys.
Win Percentages in Horse Racing
In pretty much every sport success is defined by win and losses. For example, in professional football the teams that win the most games during the regular season tend to do well in the playoffs. The same can be said for baseball and basketball.
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A winning record is considered to be anything above .500. Let’s say that a season consists of 17 games as it currently does in the NFL. A team would achieve a winning season with a record of 9-8 or better. Having a winning season is great, but it is often not enough to advance a team toward a championship. A record of 12-5 or 13-4 would be more common for high caliber championship teams.
In horse racing success can happen with a much lower winning percentage. In fact, horses that earn millions of dollars may not win half of their races or more. They may do well to win 30% of the time. For horse racing jockeys and trainers, good horse racing stats could be amount to a win percentage of 17%. On many circuits a win percentage of 20% would put horses, jockeys, and trainers in the class of an elite performer.
Why do champions win less in horse racing than they do in other sports? A part of the answer could be that there are way more competitors in racing. There are thousands of thoroughbreds, trainers, and jockeys stabled on tracks throughout the world. In a single race meet a horse could face a hundred different foes. The conclusion here is that it is harder to win in horse racing than it is in other sports.
Establishing a Benchmark for Horse Racing Stats
Something that can be helpful is to follow a specific horse racing circuit and keep notes on all its competitors. Over time you will begin to get a picture of the win percentages of the elite competitors. What you will tend to find is that the larger racing circuits have lower win percentages that the smaller tracks.
In other words, the competition is less fierce. A horse on a small circuit may be able to win 40% or more of its races. Some horses have even gone undefeated in their career on small tracks. Such was the case with Peppers Pride. The filly never left her home state of New Mexico and won all 19 of her races.
Some were quick to criticize the connections of Peppers Pride, accusing them of taking the easy way out and ducking the tough competition on other circuits. Others would call them smart for remaining on a circuit where they knew they could win races.
The same is true for some jockeys and trainers. Jockey Russell Baze was able to dethrone the all-time leader in jockey wins, Laffit Pincay, Jr. by remaining on the small circuits of Northern California. Pincay earned his wins on the toughest racing circuits in America. Even though most will scoff at the notion of comparing the ability of the two, Pincay was present to congratulate Baze on the day he broke the record.
A trainer with hundreds of horses in his or her stable may win 20% of the time, while a very good trainer with only three or four horses wins just 5%. It is going to be up to you to make sense of the horse racing stats on the circuit that you follow.
A good way to get an idea of a benchmark is to look back at the last four or five meets at a given horse racing track. See how many races were won by the top horse, trainer, and jockey. This should give you an idea of the stats that the leaders are able to put up over the course of a meet.
Once you have that information you can measure the performances in the current race meet against the records in the past. The stats will tend to remain true from one year to the next. If the top trainer won 23% last year, expect that the elite will be around this number once again.
Why Past Performances Are So Important in Horse Racing
It should be clear to you now why past performances are so important in horse racing. Past performances are essentially collections of stats. They include finish positions, winning times, and even the stats of horses in specific conditions. Want to know how well a horse has performed at a certain distance in the rain? Check the past performances. How well does a trainer do with two-year-old horses? The past performances have the answer.
Getting a keeping past performances for reference may be easier for you than keeping records of your own, but we are of the opinion that your own notes are invaluable. Why? Because you also need to be keeping stats on yourself as well as the horses that you are betting on.
Your Own Horse Racing Stats
If you are keeping detailed records of your efforts at betting horses online, you should be able to use those records to improve. How? Look at your stats to see which races you handicap well. Avoid the races which always seem to give you trouble.
You may have an easier time when you are picking winners from a group of young horses. If so, focus on that. You might be a turf handicapping specialist. That ability can make you money at online horse betting sites. It all boils down to being able to spot your strengths and leverage them for greater success.
Some people laughed when Bill James changed the way people evaluate baseball teams thanks to his approach to stats. You can laugh all the way to the bank when you win at horse racing betting. Sign up today with one of our recommended online horse betting sites and start keeping your list of horse racing stats. Check our Bovada racebook review, BUSR, MyBookie, BetUS, Twinspires review or even our Betamerica review. All great choice if you are in the US. 5Dimes review for folks anywhere!