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.
John F. Abate spent more than two decades working in information technology for companies throughout New Jersey. During that time, John F. Abate concurrently ran several businesses that are now his sole focus. His first entrepreneurial venture, in 1988, was the creation of Marketforce, a company that provides horse-racing guides.
Horse racing can be profitable, but many beginners find the process of choosing a winner frustrating due to the amount of factors that affect a horse’s success. Most successful individuals begin by analyzing a horse’s jockey and trainer. Skilled trainers are a necessity when it comes to producing champion horses. Regardless of the horse’s natural ability, it’s the trainer who optimizes its capabilities and increases the chances of success.
Meanwhile, the jockey must be skilled in his or her own right. Skilled jockeys not only have experience riding horses in different races, they are familiar with the particular horse they are riding. If they’ve ridden the same horse in past races and have done well, they most likely will perform well in the upcoming race.
Bettors also must examine the horse before deciding whether it is a winner. This includes examining the horse’s record from previous races and the number of days since its last race. Similar to the jockeys, horses that have performed well consistently over several races will likely perform well again, assuming their current jockey is skilled.
A 30- to 60-day gap since the last race is ideal for horses. This timeline makes sure it had plenty of time to recover from the last race without reducing its fitness. When looking across longer periods of time, bettors should look for an average of 45 to 60 days between each race.
John F. Abate has operated multiple businesses offering printed guides to gambling topics since 1988. Among the topics John F. Abate covers is horse race handicapping, a practice that makes horse racing less predictable and more competitive.
A handicap race assigns weights to horses based on an assessment of their overall performance. Horses that outperform their peers are given more weight, which reduces the ability gulf and in theory gives each participating horse an equal chance of winning. Horses receive their handicaps based on an initial three runs, with further adjustments if these handicaps prove insufficient to keep races close.
While this system strives for closeness in races, there are ways to cause a temporary, significant change in a horse’s performance, racking up a brief streak of wins. For instance, young horses that complete their initial runs near the end of a season will retain their handicaps at the start of the following season, even though training and growth have significantly improved their overall athleticism. This leads to an extremely powerful performance early in the season.
Those interested in betting on handicap races should pay close attention to the potential to profit from handicapping, and use it to their advantage.