Horse and greyhound races are thrilling spectacles. And the races get more exciting when you place a bet. But which horse or greyhound should you bet your hard earned money on?
Thanks to the race card we can make an informed bet. It is the wealth of statistical information contained in a race card that allow bettors, breeders and even owners to make winning bets.
Learning to analyze all the information in a race card can be a complex process. There are no inherently "correct" ways to handicap horses or greyhounds, and lifelong racing fans say they learn something new every day.
This site's aim is not to pick winning horses or greyhounds, but to explain the fundamentals of a race card so that you can start picking your own winners and feeling rightfully proud when you do.
Remember, it's fun to win by accident, picking a lucky number or color, but far more gratifying to win by choice. In horse and greyhound racing, your choices must be based on the race card.
The race card contains dozens of information, but here are simple angles that you should watch out for. Take note of these angles, utilize them today where they make sense, and have fun developing your own set of angles that work for you.
Fresh Off the Stable / Kennel
Two ways to look for this angle:
TLC (Tender Loving Care)
There are two good ways to clue you in to this angle: In claiming races, compare the winning percentage of the current trainer to the previous one. When a horse or greyhound is claimed, past performances will show you the winning percentages for the year for the last trainer and the new one.
If the new trainer is having a considerably better year than the previous one (let's say the new trainer has 16 percent wins and the old one only had 5 percent wins), then you can upgrade the horse's chances with the new trainer. The trainer stats at the bottom of each past performance give you crucial data about whether a new trainer succeeds with horses moving into his or her barn.
The Horse / Greyhound for the Course
The Surface Switch
Just What the Doctor Ordered
Below are some hints you can use when it comes to Lasix:
The Distance Specialist
Win - You are a winner if your horse is the winner of the race.
Place - If your horse finishes first or second, you are a winner.
Show - If your horse finishes first, second, or third you are a winner.
Across the Board - If you want to bet one horse to win, place, and show, you may simplify the bet by telling the mutuel clerk that you wish to wager, for example, "$2 across the board on No. 4." That's the same as asking for a $2 win, $2 place, and $2 show on No. 4.
Daily Double - A wager calling for the selection of the winning horses in two designated races. Most racetracks offer a daily double on the first and second races. If you bet a "2-6" daily double, No. 2 must win the first race and No. 6 must win the second.
Exacta (or Perfecta) - A wager calling for a selection of the first and second horses in a race, in their exact order of finish. If you bet a "3-4" exacta, No. 3 must win and No. 4 must finish second.
Trifecta (or Triple) - You must select the first, second, and third horses in a race, in their exact order of finish.
Pick Three - You win by selecting the winners of three designated races. You can select more than one horse in each race, but the cost of your wager will increase proportionally. Also called the daily triple.
Pick Six - Not an easy task to select the winners of six consecutive races, but the payoff is usually very large depending on the number of bettors who can correctly select this winning combination.
Even Money - Odds of 1-1 on a horse where profit equals investment in a successful wager.
Odds - When a horse is 3-1 to win, it means that you will receive $6 back for every $2 wager, plus your initial wager. Thus a $2 bet at 3-1 pays $3 x 2 + $2 (your original wager) for a total of $8.
Odds-On - Sometimes, horses are bet so heavily that they return less than $2 profit for each $2 wagered. These are "odds-on" choices. For example, a horse that goes off at odds of 1-2 pays $1 for each $2 bet, plus your wager. Thus a $2 bet at 1-2 returns $1 + $2 for a total of $3. A winner at a payoff of under $4 is "odds-on."
Overlay - A horse whose odds in the actual wagering are greater than you think they ought to be; in other words, a horse you think is being overlooked by the public. The opposite is an underlay.