Learn to Read Horseracing Comments

If you like EZ Horse Betting and regularly study the past performances found in the Daily Racing Form, you’ve often encountered comments made by the chart caller. These brief comments are designed to present a succinct picture of how the horse ran its race in just a couple of sentences. The real trick is learning to read between the lines and glean useful information that might help you pick a winner.

What are Horseracing Comments?

Each racetrack is staffed by one of more chart callers. These individuals have a very important and complicated job. They are tasked with watching each race on the card and documenting he “running line” of every horse in a race.


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The running line includes a horse’s fractional and final times, the number of lengths a horse was ahead or behind at various stages of the race, and the position at which the horse finished. Finally, the chart caller will include a sentence or two that describes the horse’s effort. Examples of these horseracing comments might include:

“Broke in, spotted the field three lengths, closed well.”

“Clipped heels going into the first turn, recovered, faded.”

“Surged to lead, established dominance throughout, held sway when challenged in the stretch.”

There really is no standard way to make a chart comment. All of them are different depending on the race caller. There are, however, some standard phrases that appear often:

Held Sway—this means the horse maintained its winning stride at the end.

Trouble—this means a horse was bothered by other horses, encountered traffic problems, or stumbled.

Lost Ground—this means the horse was racing far our from the rail, losing ground on the turns.

Once you spend some time studying the horseracing comments found in the racing form you will become familiar with these terms and others and learn what they mean. When you are able to process them effectively, they can add extra color to the description of a race offered by past performances.

How to Use Horse racing Comments

Horseracing comments should be used to amplify your assessment of a horse’s prior efforts. Here’s an example. Let’s say that you are looking at a horse that scored a big win in its last race, winning by six lengths. You notice from the past performances that the horse was in the lead all the way and was never challenged by its rivals. The horse earns a big speed figure for its efforts. But is that speed figure truly reflective of the horse’s ability?

You notice the comment offered regarding the horse’s effort and it says, “Broke sharply, took lead, saved ground throughout, closed well.”

Okay, that looks good. But note the absence of any challengers to the horse’s lead. There are many horses who run well when they have an uncontested lead. Some people say the horse becomes bolder and their courage is increased. These horses can often go “wire-to-wire” for a win and earn an inflated speed figure.

Now, look a little further at the horseracing comments. You will see that the the comments for the winning horse’s main rival state the following:

“Stumbled at the start, lost irons, did not finish.”

What this comment means is that the horse who was expected to offer the greatest challenge to the eventual winner took a bad step as he was leaving the gate. The jockey’s feet became dislodged from the irons. For whatever reason, the horse did not finish the race. Perhaps it hurt itself on the break or maybe the jockey was not able to get his or her feet back in place. Whatever the reason, this horse could offer no competition to the eventual winner.

Once you have this information, the victory and speed figure of the original horse doesn’t look so appealing anymore. What will happen next time when the horse is legitimately challenged? This type of horseracing comment could also be an indicator that you need to go an watch a replay of the race to see exactly what happened.

Keeping Your Own Comments

One of the most useful tools you can maintain as a handicapper is to keep a record of your own horseracing comments. You can make notes on specific horses and the races you watch. One section a lot of handicappers like to keep is a horses to watch section which identifies horses who may be getting ready to score a big win soon. In this section you can place horses who finished second or third in their last race but ran well.

Thanks to the advent of computers, you no longer have to rely on written records for compiling this information. You can create a file on your computer or tablet that will help you maintain comments and notes with ease. It is also possible for you to use various software programs like Formulator which was developed by the Daily Racing Form. You simply input the PP’s you have purchased from DRF into the software and the program creates a series of detailed information and notes.

Remember, having the most information you can have gives you an edge over other handicappers and will increase your chances of winning money at the races.

Did you know that free past performances are included when you register an account with one of our trusted horse betting sites? All you need to do is just sign up with a few simple clicks, make a deposit, and you’ll be wagering right away. Many racebooks will even give you a nice bonus just for signing up. Take your time and check our Bovada racebook review, Twinspires review or even our Betamerica review. All great choice if you are in the US. 5Dimes review for folks anywhere!


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