Top Ten Horse Racing Secrets

Do you like to watch and wager on horse racing at an online racebook? Have you ever wondered what is really going on behind the scenes of horse racing? Here is a look at ten secrets that you may not have known about the sport of kings. Some of these secrets may even change the way that you think about betting.

Jockeys Are Often Overweight

In the sport of thoroughbred racing the weight of a jockey is governed according to a strict set of rules. The weight of each jockey is listed in the racing program. If a jockey is overweight, an announcement must be made to the racing public so that they can know and make adjustments to their handicapping.

The problem is that not all overweight jockeys are reported. It is up to the clerk of scales in the jockey’s room to record the weights and note them. Sometimes the clerk can be persuaded to look the other way, and in other instances a jockey may simply report an incorrect weight to the clerk and not be questioned.


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The issue of weight in horse racing has been hotly debated through the years. Some argue that it makes a vast difference in how fast a horse can run, while others think the effect of being overweight is small. Just know that if a jockey looks overweight, he or she probably is.

The Lasix Myth

There are times in horse racing when a horse exerts itself to the point of injury. Bleeding is a common issue. When a horse runs at top speed there is a chance that bleeding in the lungs can occur. The medication Lasix, or furosemide, has been proven to limit or reduce bleeding in race horses.

The first time a horse uses Lasix, its performance may improve to a large degree. All horses that are using Lasix for the first time are noted in the racing program. But this is technically a lie in many cases. Many horses have worked out and exercised with Lasix before they use it in a race.

Compare the workout line when looking at horses that are listed as using Lasix for the first time. See if you can see a notable difference in the performance and use that to tell you if the horse will respond well to the medication.

Beware Workout Information

On the subject of workout information, all of the workout times that you see in the past performances may not be correct. It is very common for trainers to workout horses under a different name or to just hide the workout from the clockers. All workouts are supposed to be recorded and reported in the past performances.

A trainer may try to hide workouts for a horse when they are trying to steal a race. They will enter the horse knowing that it can perform at a certain level, but the published workout information will tell a different story.

Races Are Filled Not Fixed

There was a time when race fixing was a very common occurrence. Many fans of horse racing and also people that do not like the sport believe that it still happens today. The truth is that races today are rarely fixed, but they are filled.

In this case, filled means that horses are entered in such a way that a race is arranged for a specific horse to win. A trainer may have a ringer and need other horses to fill a race so that the race will be used. Calling in a few favors is something that happens all the time in professional horse racing.

Inside Information Does Matter

If you happen to visit a live race track you will often see people milling about talking about how they have inside information on a horse racing. These touts sometimes want you to pay for the information, and in most cases it is worthless. But the existence of inside information is real when it comes to horse racing.

Horse racing is a business that requires the efforts of many people. There are trainers, assistant trainers, jockeys, hotwalkers, vets, and more that are able to observe horses in a way that the public cannot. These people may know that a horse is struggling with a particular injury, or they may be aware when a horse is on the verge of doing its very best.

You will have to weigh out the value of any inside information that you receive. Most accurate information will come from an individual that is not asking for money.

Some Horses Have No Chance

The rules of horse racing are designed to keep races competitive. The races should feature animals that are evenly matched. While this is usually the case, many races feature horses that simply have no chance to win.

Some owners train their own horses. They may only have one or two horses in their entire stable. In this situation, a trainer may be more unrealistic about the chances of a horse to win. They may have entered the horse in a bad race simply because they are desperate to make money.

The best way to identify and eliminate horses that have no chance to win is to consult the past performances. If a horse has a proven record of losing races, it will probably lose a race again today.

Trainers Use Medications

Sadly, horse racing has been rocked in recent years by the use of illegal medications. Some very famous trainers have been caught and punished for using the prohibited medicines. These include Bob Baffert, the trainer of the past two Triple Crown winners. Baffert has even been banned by important racing jurisdictions like Kentucky.

Illegal medications are often used to help horses run through pain. Horses than cannot feel an injury are more likely to have one in a race. Those injuries can often be catastrophic.

As a handicapper you should be on the lookout for horses that have failed to perform on a consistent basis. If that horse suddenly takes a turn for the better and starts to win in a dominating fashion, medications may be the reason why. Beware of betting on horses and trainers in this category.

Horsemen Help One Another Out Sometimes

There is not cheating in horse racing on a massive scale. With that being said, there may be cases when horsemen help one another out. There have been instances where a trainer may have instructed a jockey to take it easy on a horse. This can be done for many reasons, but it may be done to allow another horse to have a better chance at winning.

We would all like to live in a world where there is no reason to suspect horse racing of being an illicit enterprise. This is not the reality at the present time.

The End of the Meet Secret

At the end of the meet it is common for horse trainers to try and win races because they need money to ship their horses to the next race track. When this happens talented horses may be placed in claiming races where they have a better chance to win.

A horseman may drop a low level allowance horse into a claiming event in the effort to pick up a few dollars. It is a risky strategy, though, because the horse in question can be claimed.

Horse Racing is a Tough Business Model

Horse racing is a tough business in which to succeed. You should be able to safely assume that everyone involved is trying their best to win in every situation. Horse operations have a very high payroll that they need to meet, and the only way that they can meet that payroll is to win races.

Always look for horses that are well-placed. Horses that have been trained well and placed in the proper races are the horses that win the lion’s share. Bet on these horses. Check our Bovada racebook review, Twinspires review or even our Betamerica review. All great choice if you are in the US. Alternatively, 5Dimes review for folks anywhere!


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