Handicapping Tips: Signs That Your Horse is a Champ

As the name suggests, horse racing betting is based on luck. That is to say that there’s no surefire way to tell how a race will end. Of course, this makes it impossible to determine which horse will win. However, this doesn’t mean that as a bettor, you can’t improve your chances of winning.

But instead of trying to predict the outcome of a race, how about trying to predict how a specific horse will perform during the race? This can be done through careful research on specific factors in the race, especially the horses. There are obvious signs that a horse will do greatly or badly during a race.

Of course, as a bettor, if you think the horse will do great during the race, it’s a good bet. However, if you think it will do poorly during the race, avoiding betting on that horse is a good decision. But how do you exactly predict if a horse will do greatly or poorly? Read on further to know.

Track Record

When researching horses, the first thing you should look into is their track record. It’s generally a good way to start your research because it tells you some factors about the horses. Usually, a horse that is a consistent top three in its races is a good bet. However, you have to ensure that these races are recent, or else this information is useless.

You also have to consider the factors behind those placements like the type of track in the race, track surface, weather, etc. For example, some thoroughbreds are heavy-footed, and some are light-footed.

Heavy-footed horses generally tend to do poorly on dirt track surfaces. With so much power in their steps, their hooves burrow into the ground, reducing their speed significantly, especially during bad weather. But in synthetic track surfaces, their hooves won’t burrow, and their power becomes their asset as it can help increase their speed.

On the other hand, light-footed horses do better on dirt track surfaces because their hooves don’t burrow. Although they can also do great on synthetic track surfaces, they tend to be slower than heavy-footed ones because they don’t have that much power in their steps.

Days Since Previous Race

Many bettors think that the number of days a horse has rested is irrelevant information. In reality, it’s one of the main factors on how the horse will do in the current race.

Just like human athletes, horses need rest, too, because how long they rest has a great impact on their speed. This boils down to when a horse is overworked, it will be too weak to race, or if a horse is over rested, it will not be at its peak in its next race.

Two things you have to remember when talking about this is that a horse tends to only get back to its peak performance after a race or two, and a horse that has rested for fewer than 30 days is overworked. This begs the question, how much should a horse rest? The answer to that is between 30 to 60 days.

Repeat Contestant

We often hear the saying about not trusting a horse to do something it has never done before. It’s sound advice and is a good one to follow often. For example, a horse that has never won the Kentucky Derby before should not be expected to win in it. Of course, this isn’t always the case, but it’s mostly that way. The opposite of that saying is also true.

If a horse has won in the Kentucky Derby before, then it might be in your best interest to bet on that horse. Or, if you want a more specific one, you can check their track records again. If a horse won a race that has a circular track, it’s a good idea to bet on that horse if the current race also uses a circular track and vice versa.


One of the advantages of going to the stadium to see horse racing is that you can see the horses in person, especially before they are about to race. With that, you can see their behavior, which usually indicates their mental outlook towards the race.

For example, if the horse is sweating too much, fussy, and irritable, it might mean that the horse is not ready to race and might do poorly in the race. However, if the horse has steady strides, is calm, and relaxed, it might mean that it’s confident to race and is in the correct mindset.

Final Thoughts

Of course, this doesn’t mean that a horse will definitely win, even if they show all the signs listed above. However, they are still a great bet since there’s a huge chance they will do great in the race.

No one knows what will happen during the race even if you research thoroughly and have all tips on handicapping explained to you. But with a good eye and a little bit of help from lady luck, you might go home a few hundred dollars richer.


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