You must work hard at sharpening your handicapping skills if you want to excel at EZ Horse Betting. The individuals who make money betting on horses are those who have an edge over the other bettors at the track. Because horseracing is a parimutuel form of gambling, you are competing against others who are betting. This means that you must learn to pick the winners that others cannot find.
One of the most challenging horse races to handicap is a maiden race. The rewards can be generous if you make the right choices. Little is known about these young runners. You must use your intuitive abilities to decipher maiden workout information provided on the racing form. Workouts for horses that have not yet competed in a race can be critical to finding which horse will stand out and best the competition.
What is a Maiden?
In horseracing, a maiden is a horse that has not yet won a race. A maiden should not be confused with a First Time Starter. The First Time Starter is a horse racing for the very first time. A maiden may have raced several times but has not managed to capture their first win.
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A maiden race is one which can include both of these types of horses. The one qualifying factor for entry into a maiden race is that a horse cannot have any wins on their record. Because these races most often include a mix of horses that have not won in previous attempts and horses that are racing for the first time, they present a significant challenge for the handicapper.
Past performance charts include a list of a horse’s most recent workouts. There can be as many as six or more workouts listed. The information will include the date the horse worked, the length of the workout, and the time in which it was completed.
A thoroughbred racehorse is exercised on a regular basis. These workout and exercise sessions typically occur on the track during the early morning hours. Morning exercise can come in a variety of forms and occur around five days a week. Many trainers give their horses a “walk day” every few days to the horse rest and recover. A walk day involves being hand-walked by a groom or placed on a walking wheel.
A gallop is one of the most frequent types of exercise for the maiden racehorse. This involves an exercise rider taking the horse to the track and galloping slowly around the racing surface. In this type of exercise a racehorse is not called upon to offer up speed. It is comparable to jogging for a human runner. The gallop is meant to build stamina and endurance. These types of sessions are not recorded in a horse’s past performances.
The second type of morning exercise is called a “work” or a workout. Unlike a gallop, workouts are recorded by an official clocker for publication in the Daily Racing Form and other charts. The publication of workout information is done to give bettors an accurate picture of a horse’s skills.
In a workout, a horse typically runs at top speed for a specific distance. Many maidens and horses who have not yet competed in a race will begin by working at a distance of 2F, or two furlongs. As they build their endurance and skills, longer workouts are common. It is somewhat rare to see a young horse post a work longer than five furlongs. Trainers are often wary of exhausting a horse in the morning. They call this “leaving a race on the track.”
What to Look For in Maiden Workouts
If a horse has been in races before but has not yet won a race or is starting for the first time, there are some things the workout information can tell you. The most important thing to remember, however, is that the time of the workout is often the least valuable piece of information.
Thoroughbred trainers can be curious individuals. They have even been known to work a horse under a different horse’s name just to mislead their competitors and bettors! They often give the jockey conducting the workout strict instructions to keep the horse at a certain pace during a workout.
In addition, the clockers who time the workouts are human. They make mistakes. On an average morning there are literally hundreds of racehorses working out at the track. There may only be two or three clockers to handle it all. At some small tracks there is only one! These clockers must remember every horse’s name and be able to identify them on the track. Many times trainers will use a specific saddle towel, but many times they will not.
As you can see, workout times are sketchy at best. They are one of the least reliable forms of information. What you are looking for in maiden workouts are patterns, consistencies, and distances.
Maiden Workout Patterns
Trainers are creatures of habit. They like to keep things on a schedule. As a result, workout patterns for a horse are often established. A example of a pattern would be working the horse every seven days. You’ll be able to identify the pattern with the dates provided by the past performances.
The usefulness of patterns is that when you note an interruption in the pattern, there may be cause for concern. If a horse has worked out every seven days for three weeks and they suddenly shows no workout for six weeks, what happened? Did the trainer decide to give the horse a rest? Did the horse hurt himself in his previous workout? These are questions that you must try to answer through other means. In many cases, you will only be able to make an educated guess.
All interrupted patterns must be given attention and considered in handicapping maiden races. What you would ideally like to see from the horse you have chosen is a workout pattern with no interruptions.
Maiden Workout Consistencies
As we stated above, workout time is a generally unreliable factor. But, you should still look for consistencies in the workout times posted for a racehorse.
If a horse has been working 4F, or one-half mile, consistently around the :47 second range and suddenly posts a workout of :50 for that distance, you must look deeper to try and determine why the slower time occurred. Was the track affected some way by heavy rain or other factors? Did the workout occur within three days prior to the horse’s race today? Could the clocker have made an error in recording the times?
A valuable way to evaluate this inconsistency can be to look at the workouts for other horses that day at the same distance on the same track. If you find that all of them had slower workout times than usual, the issue may have been a slow track surface.
Maiden Workout Distances
Finally, you should consider the distance a horse worked out when you look at the provided information. In this regard, you should take a couple of basic things in consideration when evaluating maidens and first time starters.
For maidens, it is great to see a workout listed which is equal to or longer than the horse is running today. If the horse is in a race going 5F, a five furlong workout on the tab is a beautiful thing to see. This means that the horse has demonstrated he can run for five furlongs and is fit enough to go the distance.
For first time starters, what you would love to see is a pattern of workouts that steadily increase the distance. They might begin at 2F and proceed naturally up to 4F. An increased workout distance that is consistent can reflect that a horse is exercising itself into shape.
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