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Horse Betting Systems and Handicapping Angles
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Horse betting systems and handicapping angles.
For as long as people have been betting on horse racing, they have been looking for a system that would allow them to pick winning horses.  Enormous amounts of data has been collected and analyzed by people and computers, hoping to find a magic system that would produce winning picks on a regular basis.  It has not been found.  There is no simple horse racing system that will allow you to beat the races on a regular basis.  However, you can make money consistently at the racetrack through hard work and practice.  The systems and angles provided here are intended as a primer on handicapping horse races.  None of these systems or angles work all of the time, but they might give you a good starting point for ways to look at a race, learn how to bet on horses, and how to handicap using different methods that have been known to identify horses that might have a winning chance.  Good luck and remember, there is no such thing as a sure thing!

The Betmix handicapping system.
The easiest and most accurate handicapping method you will ever find.

When you handicap a horse race there are several factors that you may consider: Speed, Pace, Earnings, Trainer, Jockey, Pedigree, etc. There are also several ways of looking at each of those factors. Using Speed as an example, you may want to know which horse has the fastest recent race, or fastest race at this track or distance. When you look at all of the various factors that determine your choice in a race, which is most important? Is speed twice as important as the trainer stats? Is turf pedigree more important than the horses earnings at this track and distance? There is now a very easy and powerful tool to help you make those decisions. Betmix provides horse handicapping software that allows you to pick from over 30 handicapping factors and assign how important each one is to you. Using a simple slider, you can adjust the weighting of those factors and see the results in real time. The best part is that you can save those settings and apply them to other races that meet the same conditions. For example, if you selected several factors for a 1 mile turf claiming race at Saratoga, and your "mix" ended up picking the order of finish 1-2-3, you could save that mix with a name "1 Mile Turf Clm Saratoga" for example, and use it whenever you found a similar race. This powerful tool is fun and easy to use, and will allow you to become a much better handicapper in a very short time. Try out the system with the Free Race of the Day or to learn more about how Betmix works download the Betmix User Guide.

Handicapping Software For Horse Racing
Short in last race off a layoff.
With this angle you are looking for a horse that came off a layoff in his last race.  If he showed speed and faded at the end of the race, or has a closing running style and came up short at the finish, he might be a horse to bet in his next start.  The idea being that the horse needed a freshener and will improve in his next start.

How to spot a longshot.
Most horseplayers are looking for a big score and that usually means betting on a longshot to win, or building your exotic bets around a key longshot horse. To look at every race on every card to find a potential longshot play can take hours and hours. Not anymore... Learn How to find longshots and start hitting the big ones.

Z Pattern or Up and Down running line betting system.
When looking at the horses past performances, you note that he started well lost ground during the middle of the race and then came back at the end, improving his position.  An indication of "heart" or perhaps he ran into trouble, in any case horses that exhibit this running style in previous races often come back to run big.  Make sure that the horse did not improve at the end by only passing tiring rivals.

Superfecta Betting System - New!
Given that superfectas are so hard to hit, even for the most experienced handicappers with deep pockets, it is critical that you only bet superfectas in races where you have a very strong opinion about which horses are contenders and which horses are not. The 2-in 2-out method will help you target the supers that are hittable with a reasonable budget. Learn more about how to bet superfectas

Computer Horse Racing Simulation
Using a computer to simulate horse races based on data provided in past performances, handicappers can run a "virtual horse race" thousands of times to see what the expected results are. After thousands of races are run, the computer will determine the horses that will win more often, and then the handicapper can compare the odds of the actual horses to what the computer determines should happen. For example, if the computer simulation results in horse "A" winning 20% of the time, yet his actual odds are 10:1, then the horse would be considered to be a good value bet. Algorithms used in such programs are not readily available to the public, you will need to develop your own and be able to program a computer & have access to past performance information in a format that you can feed into your computer simulation. However, the results of this type of simulation can be purchased, a good example is the information provided by The Donerail Project.

Lone speed dropping in class or shortening.
Any time you can find a horse who possesses the lone speed in a race he is worth a long look.  When you find a horse with lone speed who is dropping in class or shortening distance, watch out.  Speed wins and when a horse gets a loose uncontested lead in a race they often wire the field.

Trifecta Super System.
This system details in very simple instructions which races to bet, how to select the key horse, and the horses to include in your trifecta wheels. Using this system you will only need need a racing form and a calculator
to hit the monster trifectas. A simple system to learn and surprisingly consistent at picking winning trifectas. Learn more...

Morning line odds drop
When looking at the odds of the field as post time approaches, if you notice that a horse is going off at odds considerably lower than his morning line, pay attention.  The theory is that those in the "know" are expecting a big race out of the horse.  This is most often seen in maiden races loaded with first time starters.  When a horse is tearing it up on the training track, word gets around and those horses are often bet heavily by folks on the backside.

Speed and Class Handicapping System
When handicapping horses two of the most common methods focus on speed and class. Speed is easy to define – you can use a final time, a Beyer Speed figure, BRIS speed number, or a Ragozin or Thorograph number. While people may disagree about which number is the most accurate, there is little debate about the importance of Speed figures in handicapping races. Fast horses tend to beat slow horses.Class, while harder to define, tells us about the company a horse has been keeping. Horses that have raced against better tend to fare well when running against lower class horses.The combination of using Speed and Class to handicap horse races is very powerful. Click here to learn more about the Speed & Class System.

Early speed post improvement angle.
This betting system has found many longshot winners.  When looking at a race, find a horse that showed early speed in his last start and held his position for at least the first two calls.  If that horse is improving his post position today (closer to the rail) then he is worth a bet.  If that horse is moving up in class, and his current odds are lower than his post time odds last time out, then give him extra consideration as a live horse.

Surface switch angle
Turf to dirt, or dirt to turf.  The theory behind betting a horse making a surface switch has to do with the likelihood that the trainer has determined that the horse will improve on the new surface.  Dirt racetracks are harder on the horse physically.  The horse will slide more on a dirt track than a turf track.  If he has any soreness in the legs, it will be aggravated by running on dirt, a switch to turf will lessen and discomfort the horse may have.  A horse going from turf to dirt may have more confidence and be sounder than a horse that has only been running dirt races.

Wake Up Pattern
This betting angle is useful for evaluating young horses, horses in maiden races, and horses returning from long layoffs. We don't always know what a trainer has in mind for a horse, or how he is evaluating his efforts - sometimes they are looking for gradual improvements before asking a jockey to push all the way to the finish. When you look at a horse's last two races, pay attention to the lengths gained between the 2nd and 3rd call, in his second to last start and the lengths gained between the stretch call and finish in his most recent start. A pattern that has produced some nice longshot winners is when a horse makes up ground then fades in his second to last start - then in his most recent start he shows improvement at the finish. This handicapping method will often point out horses that have "woken up". They have learned how to finish a race, and are dangerous in their next start.
Wake up betting system

Jockey improvement
When a horse has a new jockey with a higher win percentage than the jockey in his previous races it is often a sign of good things to come.  Jockeys with high win percentages often get their pick of horses in a race, and factors unknown to the general public may often be behind their decision to ride a horse that looks to be outclassed in a given race.  When you see a positive jockey switch pay attention to the toteboard.

Speed selection betting system
With this betting system you eliminate horses and races based on the following criteria.
1. Do not play any race with more than 2 first time starters (most maiden races would be passed)

2. Eliminate any horse whose last two races were not run at the same track as today's race.
3. Eliminate any horse whose last race was more or less than one furlong different than today's race.
4. Eliminate any horse whose last two races were on a different surface than today's race.
5. If the horse was not on the lead or within 3 lengths of the leader at every call in his last race, eliminate the horse. 
If you are left with more than one horse, bet the horse with the best last race Beyer speed figure to win and box it with the other qualifying horses in an exacta.  If more than 3 horses qualify, pass the race.

Points based horse betting system.
With this system you give points to each horse based on the following rules, the horse with the most points will be your selection for the race.
1. Look at the last four races for each horse. Add the two best Beyer speed figures earned in those four races together.  The horse with the highest combined Beyer score gets 4 points, the second best Beyer score gets 2 points.
2. Look at the last two races for each horse.  And combine the lengths each horse was beaten together.  If a horse won the race it counts as zero.  A horse that won its last two starts would earn a total of zero.  A horse that lost one race by 5 lengths, and another by 1/2 length would earn a 5.5.  The horse with the lowest number in this step would earn 3 points and the second best horse will earn 2.  If two or more horses won their last 2 races then do not add points to any horse.
3. Any horse whose trainer has a win percentage of 10% or better earns 2 points.
4. Any horse whose jockey has a win percentage of 10% or better earns 1 point.
5. If the race is a route race (longer than one mile) deduct one point for each horse in posts 9-12.
6. If the race is a sprint (less than one mile) award 1 point for each horse that was within 3 lengths of the lead at each call of his last race.
7. If the race is route race on dirt, add 1 point if the horse's last race was on the turf.
8. Add 1 point for any horse using lasix for the first time.
9. The horse with the most points is the horse to bet on with the following exception.  If the horse with highest amount of points is not at least 3 points higher than the horse with the second most points, pass the race. 

Bullet after layoff
Horses are given time off from racing and training for many reasons. They could have a minor or serious injury, they could have become "sour" on life at the race track and the owner and trainer have made the decision to send them to a layup farm to relax and be a horse for a while, or they could be moving to a new trainer or racing circuit. When you look at the past performances and notice a horse is coming back from a long layoff (90 days or more) pay particular attention to two things. Take note of the trainers percentages with horses racing after a layoff - this is shown in the racing form underneath the workout line and will say something like:

TRAINER: 61-180 Days (149 .16 $1.21)

This means that the trainer has started 149 horses after layoffs ranging from 61-180 days. He has won with 16% of them, and if you would have bet $2 to win on each of them you would have seen a return of $1.21 per bet. That is a losing proposition of the long term, but it does show the trainer is capable of bringing a horse back with a winning effort. Take a look at the horse's workout pattern during the layoff. Determine if the horse has fired a bullet work, noted by a black circle before the work:

Bullet horse workouts

This means that on July 7th, this horse worked 5 furlongs at Belmont in 1:00 4/5 seconds breezing. His time was the best of 8 who worked the same distance. If the trainer has a decent percentage with horses returning from a layoff (15% or better) and the horse is working bullets, you should consider betting the horse. The trainer knows how to bring them back, and the horse is showing that he is interested and healthy.

Dutch Betting System
This is not a handicapping method, but a betting system that is used to cover several horses in a race.  The idea behind the system is that the more horses you bet, the better chance you have of winning.  Of course, the payoff on your winning horse has to cover the cost of the bets on the losing horses.  In this system, the player sets an amount that he hopes to win on the race, lets say $100 for our example.  He then calculates how much he needs to bet on a particular horse to generate a $100 return.  If Horse "A" is 4:1 in the betting pool, he would return $10 for a $2 bet.  In order to get back $100 on Horse "A" you would bet $20 to win, resulting in a $100 payout ($80 profit + your original $20 bet).  If horse "B" was 2:1, it would pay $6 to win, so you would need to bet approximately $34 on that horse to get back $100.  If horse "C" is 9:1, it would return $20 for a $2 bet, therefore you would need to bet $10 in order to get back $100.  So covering all three horses (Horse A at 4:1, Horse B at 2:1, and Horse C at 9:1) would cost you $64.  If any one of them won you would get back $100 and realize a $36 dollar profit.  Of course, if none of them won you would be out $100 and in bad shape.  This system is mainly used when a handicapper does not like the betting favorites in a race and feels that one of the "longshots" will win the race.  Using a Dutch system he can cover several of the longer priced horses and allow you to make a profit regardless of the outcome.

Dutch Betting Chart and Calculator
Parimutuel Odds
Bet to win $100
1:1 even money $4.00 $50
7:5 $4.80 $42
9:5 $5.60 $36
2:1 $6.00 $33
5:2 $7.00 $29
3:1 $8.00 $25
7:2 $9.00 $23
4:1 $10.00 $20
9:2 $11.00 $18
5:1 $12.00 $17
6:1 $14.00 $14
7:1 $16.00 $13
8:1 $18.00 $11
9:1 $20.00 $10
10:1 $22.00 $9
15:1 $32.00 $6
20:1 $42.00 $5
50:1 $102.00 $2

Progressive Betting Horse Racing System

In this horse racing system, the focus is on how much you bet rather than on handicapping. In reality it is more of a money management system. The theory is that you start with a certain bankroll, let's say $1,000 to make things easy. You would bet 5% of that bankroll on each race. So, your first bet would be for $50 (5% of $1,000). If you win that bet your bankroll would go up, and your next bet would go up also. let's say you bet $50 to win on a 2:1 shot that paid an even $6.00 - you're new bankroll would be : ($1,000 - $50bet + winnings of $150 = $1100). Your next bet would be 5% of your new bankroll, or $55. had you lost the bet, your next wager would be 5% of $950, or $47.50. The benefit of this system is that you can sustain a long losing streak, and by reducing your bets when you are losing you can ride it out. When you are on a roll and hitting frequently, your bets are increasing and you can take advantage of the winning streak with larger wagers. Money management is very important to every gambler, and we all know people who are great at picking horses but lousy at betting on them. Using a money management system will help you survive the bad days and maximize your profits on winners.

Inefficient Handicapping Method
When an economist looks at horse racing, he would theorize that the market is efficient. The participants in the game (the people betting) are using all of the available information correctly. As a group they will correctly identify the favorites in each race, and through their betting activity, the most likely winner in each event will have the lowest odds and the least likely winner will have the highest odds. Data collected over thousands and thousands of horse races shows this to be true to some extent. The favorite wins more races than the second choice, the second choice wins more than the third choice, and so on. Of course, everyone knows that the favorite only wins about one third of the time. If you bet the favorite in every horse race you will be broke before long. Handicapping is about finding value and deciding when the betting public is wrong. If you believe that the 8:5 favorite is vulnerable then you have an opportunity to make a very profitable wager in the race. You can leverage that opinion in exotic bets by throwing out the favorite in exactas, trifectas, superfectas, pick 3, and pick 4 wagers. The most valuable tool you have in handicapping horse races is information, and if you are using the same information as everybody else and coming to the same conclusions you will not beat the races. Remember, you are not playing against the racetrack you are playing against the other bettors. You need to interpret the past performance information in a different way than everyone else, or have access to insider information that is not available to the general public. Hot tips at the track spread like the plague and are usually not worth listening to. True insider horse racing information is what you need.

Horse Body Language - when the horse is telling you to bet.
It would be great if we could ask a horse in the paddock how he feels today and what he thinks of his chances in the next race. Unfortunately, we can't. The trainer can tell us that the horse is "doing well", or that he might "need a race". Most good trainers do have a very good idea about the health of their horses, and know when one is "sitting on a big one", but for the average fan, getting a trainer to talk is not much easier than talking to the horse!

However, there are a few things you can look for in the paddock and the post parade that should tell you how a horse is feeling. There are people who have spent a lifetime watching horses and it is not a skill to take lightly. The more you watch, the more you will learn. Take the time to observe the horses in the paddock before the race and jot down a few notes about how the horse appeared to you in your program. Was his coat shiny or dull? Did he seem overly aggressive or passive? Pay special attention to his ears, tail, and how he is walking.

Horse ears act like radar - they can move independently from each other and rotate to hear noises in any direction. A calm horse has ears that will twitch from side to side and front to back in response to noises, but an angry horse will have his ears pinned back on his head. This is OK when they are battling in the stretch, but not when they are getting saddled. A horse that has ears that are droopy or out to the side like a propeller is tired and lethargic. Don't bet them.

Normally a horse will swoosh his tail from side to side or swat at flies with it in the summer. If it seems to be pinned down between his legs he is afraid of something. Don't bet that horse.

How a horse carries his head can be a signal on whether to bet or not. Look for a level hold - holding his head can mean fear or nervousness. Too low can be a signal that the horse is tired or not interested.

Finally, take a look at how the horse is walking. You want to see a big athletic walk. Try and see where his front foot hits the ground and make sure that his hind foot reached that point or beyond. If that back hoof print is wide of the mark and short the horse could be very sore. The best betting system would be one that tells you when a horse is not feeling well, sore, or injured, and making sure that you take a good look at a horse you are about to bet on is a very important part of any serious handicapping.

Kentucky Derby betting system
Picking the Derby winner is always a difficult task. Three year old horses facing a field of 20, running a distance they have never run before in front of a crowd of over 100,000. Picking a Derby winner gives the handicapper bragging rights for a year and can be very financially rewarding. Most handicappers agree that Derby day is the best betting day of the year. The betting pools are filled with wagers from first time players, sentimental bettors, and "drunk" money. If you can keep your head about you and approach the race logically you can separate the contenders from the pretenders and usually get great value for your pick... Continue reading

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