When it comes to a horse race handicapping system, I’m always tempted to bet on the favorite. That’s the way I’ve always gone. But over the last year or so, I’ve begun to wonder whether there might be better bets on the races. And that became very apparent today when I was looking over the program for Sunday’s Belmont Stakes and saw that the favorite was actually Betfair’s highest priced race of the year.
So why did the favorite to win last year despite the low odds and the long shots at second and third? The answer lies partly in the form of an old saying attributed to a famous race track owner, “If you’re worried about the weather, then don’t come to the race.” That’s quite the opposite of today’s conditions. So, why did the horses who raced on Saturday to fall into place so dramatically today?
Well, for starters, I’ve got to admit that I’m a bit of a thrill junkie. I love to bet on new horses and new tracks. I enjoy studying the trainer’s past performances and racing systems. I love to read about a horse’s chances of winning and I like to bet on multiple angles. So having checked the past performances of the top four favorites for this week, I had to put them into the category of good bets. I didn’t want to lose money on either because the payoff was so high.
That brings us to the subject of the trainer and the field. Many people compare the trainer’s job to that of a head football coach. Of course, they’re not the same kind of head coach. As the old saying goes, “the game is not won with the head, it’s won with the heart.” That’s where trainers and horses come into play.
There are different ways to evaluate a field. In horsethrowing, you’ll throw the ball at a horseshoe (or, a horseshoe-shaped field) and try to get your horse into the clear. In racing, you’ll use an oval track. When handicapping, the best thing you can do is to look at the form of the horses and to evaluate the field. You should also consider the weather conditions and track surface. All these factors affect how you will bet.
The reason I say it’s the best way is because you don’t have any biases. You just look at each horse’s form and determine which one you’ll go with. And as a result, you’ll also know what kind of field to bet on.
Now, that we’re off to the horse races, let’s look at Weston Foote again. He started out last week as the favorite, but then he lost the race to Thomas English. English came from a close second. But in his other races, he’s usually either won or tied in the best three.
So you can see that with the right analysis, you’ll be able to pick the winner easily. Also, you’ll know how each horse’s form is. So, this is why I say it’s the best way.
However, it doesn’t work for all the time. Just as with many things in life, there are exceptions. For instance, in this case, it might have worked for Earnie Shankwitz. But Earnie was hardly a long shot.
Now, there is one other thing I’d like to mention. That is the track. If you look at the last 20 finishers, seven of them came from the stretch. Seven out of eight took the lead. So even though the winner is normally on the outside, you still have a great chance at winning if you bet on the lead.
So that brings me to the final bit. You have to figure out whether the race is likely to go to the wire. And this is where I personally differ from most people. I’ll handicap the race and tell you whether I think it’s likely to go to the wire. And then I’ll say whether I think the horse will get it or not.
You might not like my methodology, but it works. You’ll just have to accept it as a fact of life. I hope I’ve helped you to better your handicapping. And now, happy betting.