How Do I Become a Better Horse Handicapper

Many of the emails that we receive at EZ Horse Betting are concerned with improving handicapping skills. How do I become a better handicapper? This is what many people want to know. We have assembled 10 tips that can help you improve your ability to pick winners at an online racebook. Later, take a look at other horse handicapping topics we have for you.

Read Handicapping Books

Almost all professional handicappers will tell you that they have built a large handicapping library. There are literally hundreds of books available which address how to pick winners. Popular authors in this field include Andrew Beyer, Tom Ainslie, and Barry Meadow.


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You can find books that appeal to your own personal handicapping style. Focus on speed, pace, or form. It’s up to you. Amazon can be a good source for horse racing books at a reasonable price. You can also visit the local bookstores in your area for deals.

Model the Best Handicappers

Success in many endeavors can often be attributed to one thing – modeling. The same can be said for handicapping. Many people who make a living in horse racing have studied the methods of Andrew Beyer, John Conte, and others who left a lasting mark on the art of horse betting.

Find a horse betting hero that you can relate to, study what they have done, and put the same principles in practice. The legendary gambler Pittsburgh Phil may be the most imitated horse racing bettor in history thanks to his book, The Racing Maxims of Pittsburgh Phil. Even though he has been dead for many years, his influence on horse betting still lasts.

Use Online Racebook Betting Options

We will go out on a limb and say that pretty much every serious horse racing bettor today has made the switch to using an online racebook to make their wagers. The advantages cannot be denied. You can bet from home. You can use a phone or a tablet. You can even get rebates on losing wagers and free money from many online racebooks.

Accessibility is the major way that online racebooks have changed the game. You can now get more tracks to play, and racing is available around the clock when you also include international race courses. The same betting menus are available to the bettor, so using an online racebook just makes sense today.

Look Beyond Speed

There was a time when learning how to recognize and identify speed horses was the answer to how do I become a better handicapper? When speed figures were first introduced in horse racing, no one really had access to them. If you could make them or find them then you would have an edge. Today, they are readily available and almost everyone uses them.

Horse racing betting is a game where you have to have an edge over your fellow bettors. You will need to look beyond speed today to identify horses that are ready to win. When you can find a new edge you will have information that other bettors either lack or are too lazy to search out. Other factors to consider when you handicap are pace, form, and class. Along with speed, these are the big four considerations that you need to use.

Use Form and Appearance to Pick Winners

Andrew Beyer, the creator of the Beyer Speed Figures, once said that he believed that learning how to handicap trips would be the next big thing in horse racing betting. He also said that observing the overall form and appearance of a horse before the race would be able to give horse players an edge.

Horses that are healthy often display physical signs that are hard to miss. Dappling, or the presence of dots on the coat which become visible in the sunlight, are generally regarded as an excellent sign of health. A shiny coat in general is good. When you are able to look at a horse in person you can also look for signs of nervousness like sweating.

One of the disadvantages of betting horses online is that the ability to observe horses up close and personal has been lost to a certain degree. But some online racebooks have very good video feeds, and you can see the horses in the paddock before the races well enough to make an evaluation.

Become a Trip Handicapper

We just mentioned what Beyer said about trips in horse racing. Trips are a reference to how a horse traveled in its most recent races. The way to decipher this information is to evaluate the racing chart for each race. You can find charts from services like Equibase.

A racing chart expands upon the information that is included in the past performances. This expansion includes a detailed running line. If a horse won the race, you might be able to see if the horse was on the lead all the time. If no other horses threatened it during the running of a race, the horse may have had an easy trip that is not as impressive as it seems. Likewise, horses that were bothered in a race but still won should have their performances upgraded.

Make Your Own Angles for Horse Racing Betting

You can purchase books that are full of horse racing angles. Some of them are useful, others border on ridiculous. Rather than rely on other sports bettors to create your angles, try your hand at making some of your own.

A simple notebook will do the trick. You can keep notes on the bets that you have made and the handicapping methods that you have used to make them. You can then look back on the notes as a reference to determine what worked and what did not. The plays that worked may contain the seed of a new handicapping angle.

Don’t be too quick to question the betting angles that you are able to come up with. Some of the best betting approaches were developed in exactly this way. Also, don’t be afraid to get rid of the failed experiments that came to no good.

Use All the Tools at Your Online Racebook

Online racebooks today are fond of giving tools to bettors. These can include free race replays as well as free past performances. You should be using all the tools that your racebook makes available. The reason is simple. Those tools will cost you a lot of money when you have to buy them.

Keeping your expenses low is vital to success in horse racing betting. It is just like any other business when you think about it. Free tools are a bonus that you muse use.

Always Handicap

Even when you are not betting on a specific race card, you can be handicapping. Sometimes, handicapping without betting is a great way to become a better handicapper. You are under no pressure to win or risk your bankroll. That kind of freedom will encourage you to take more chances.

Keep a record of your bets in this manner. You can then use that record to look back and see if the choices that you made would have produced a flat bet profit over a specific period of time.  

Use a Tip Service

If you are one of those people who just does not feel comfortable in their own handicapping abilities, you may want to consider the use of a betting tip service. Some of these services can be affordable and produce consistent winners. Others can be close to a scam that is designed to part you from your money. Choose wisely.

There is no shame in using a horse racing betting service if you are comfortable with it. At the end of the day, being a better handicapper means cashing more tickets. Whatever helps you do that is a good choice. See 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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