To handicap a horse means to select a winner based on data available rather than relying on luck or another method of choosing a winner to bet on. A handicapper looks at information such as past performances, the current shape the horses are in, workouts the horses have done, and even information based on the genetics and parentage of the horse. Past performances are analyzed in detail from sources such as race charts.
Handicappers break the information down into four variables to choose the best horse: speed, form, class, and pace. Speed takes the quickness of the horse into account. The form evaluates the health and wellness of the horse. The class variable looks at the levels of the horses involved in the race, and pace considers the horse’s typical running style. Studying and learning all of these variables will provide the tools needed to successfully handicap a horse.