Watching horses run from the starting block to the finish line is fun. Knowing which horse crosses the line first is absolutely exciting. But the horse racing experience gets an added thrill when you put your money where your horse is.
Horse racing is one of the more popular bets in sports. But unlike betting in major sports like basketball, baseball, football and hockey where there you only have to pick between team 1 and team 2, horse racing is different because there are more than two horses in a field for a particular race. In fact, there are many and sometimes too many if you are to pick just one. But picking a winning horse can be simplified and made easier if you know what to look for. Let us help you with that.
The Race Form
If you are at the race track, you are going to get ( or be given ) a copy of the Daily Race Form where you can check on the horses’ past performances among others. Good thing, you have these online as well.
There are several websites like the Daily Racing Form, Equibase and Brisnet that offer the same information. In each website though, some data are free and some require you to pay a fee. Usually, data for horse entries, changes and scratches plus result charts are free although some may need registration at first (registration is free as well).
For information on the horses such as race record, form and pedigree, you can access these data free from other horse racing sites like Horse Racing Nation. Now that you have access to the information that you need, it’s time to process and use these information.
There are four factors to look at in a Race Form when picking which horse to bet on. These are speed, pace, form and class. Speed refers to how fast a horse finishes an entire race, pace is fast a horse runs at different points in a race, form lets you see the current condition of the horse and how good or bad it has been running in recent races and class is about the level of competition that a horse has been up against. Similarly, these are the info you need to visit when betting online, only you get it from online websites.
At first, these information may look daunting at first but the more you read, the more you understand, the better you get in handicapping races and picking winners. There is no rocket science formula on which of the four factors should have more weight, it’s all up to you.
Types of Betting
Standard horse betting is when you bet on the winner of the race. But unlike say basketball or baseball when you pick either team to win, there are three basic winning bets in horse racing and these are the following:
- Win- a bet on a horse to win the race
- Place- a bet on a horse to finish either 1st or 2nd
- Show-a bet on a horse to finish either 1st, 2nd or 3rd
Now these straightforward bets are those that are easy to make and as a beginner, the ones you should try first. But when you become an advanced or an expert handicapper yourself, there are bets that are called “exotic” which you can also wager on. These are the following:
- Exacta- a bet picking the correct 1st, 2nd finishers of a race
- Trifecta-a bet picking the correct 1st, 2nd and 3rd finishers of a race
- Superfecta-a bet picking the correct 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th finishers of a race
- Daily Double- a bet picking the winner of two races, usually consecutive races
- Pick 3- a bet picking the winner of three consecutive races
- Pick 4- a bet picking the winner of four consecutive races
- Pick 5- a bet picking the winner of five consecutive races
- Pick 6-a bet picking the winner of six consecutive races
Complicated? These make horse racing much more exciting to bet on that other sports. The better and more familiar you get with horse racing, the more you are going to love these exotic bets.
Some Useful Tips
Here are some tips that should be useful when picking the right horse:
Back the horses with good form. A horse that finished well in its previous race(s) should fare better in the current race than one which didn’t.
The favorites are there for a reason. The top 4 or 5 horses in the betting account for around 80% of winners. So while you can get bigger plus money on less fancied horses, the chances of winning are generally smaller. Don’t venture too much outside the fancied ones unless you really have a strong reason to do so.
The field size is also a factor in a horse race because the bigger the field, the bigger the chance that your horse doesn’t give its true running because it can be, among others, boxed in, hampered or can get into heel clipping. Performance can be related to field size.
When looking at speed ratings, the winning rate of a horse increases if it clears the 2nd rated horse by a bigger margin of point ratings. And lastly, don’t bet on extreme going conditions unless of course you are backing a horse that is tested and proven in extreme going conditions. If you take note of these tips, I won’t say that you will win for sure but the percentages will surely be much better.