When determining the winner of a horse race it boils down to two basic questions. Can the horse physically win the race and by physically I mean is he in fit condition to for today’s race? The second question which is equally important: is the horse superior in his ability (competitive enough) to win at today’s level of horse racing?
When handicapping the condition of a horse its important to remember that no matter how much superior ability the horse has if he is in poor shape or condition he will not win the race. Looking at previous workouts and races in the Daily Racing Form you can determine quickly the condition of the horse.
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Start by looking at how recent was the last race the horse ran in? A horse that has been away for 60 to 90 days needless to say is not in the best physical shape to contend unless they have had a five-furlong workout in the last 14 days. Its important to look at large gaps between races when betting on horse racing. The horse might have ran just a couple weeks ago but before that it was 2 months. A good rule of thumb is if it has had 3 races after a lengthy layoff its in good shape to run today. As a rule: competition makes a horse more fit than training but if no races are present workouts are listed at the bottom to help you see the fitness of a horse.
In handicapping horse racing a horse that has not raced in a month and no workouts is in questionable condition. So is a horse that had a year layoff with many workouts. A successful handicapper in horse racing has to make a decision of the fitness on a horse. If its racing consistently then there is no problem if not it becomes a guessing game. sometimes there are legitimate reasons for a month layoff.
Here are some hard fast rules for figuring out if the horse is in acceptable form.
1.) Horses are in acceptable form if they ran “up close” at the stretch call of their most recent horse race. If the race looks bad and they had an excuse look at the one prior to that as long as it happened within 30 days. When we say up close this is what were referring too:
*up to 6.5 furlongs up close is within 2 3/4 lengths.
*at 7 furlongs to 1 mile, up close is within 3 3/4 lengths.
*at 8.5 furlongs or farther up close can mean within at least 4 3/4 lengths.
2.) Horses that are dropping in class are good if they were up close at any call. You might have to probe deep but this does mean if he finished 10 lengths out at the finish but was up close at the stretch or first call he is good. (most handicappers mistakenly throw him out)
3.) In a shorter race a horse going from route to sprint, seven to six furlongs, nine furlongs to a mile horses are acceptable if they were up close at the pre stretch call.
Short layoffs~ are they ready to run?
In short layoff of 31 to 60 days we are looking for a four furlong workout or longer within the last 7 days and the time is unimportant. Just the exercise should put him in decent shape. These horses do win their rightful share of races and can be worth betting on.
Long Layoffs~ are they ready to run?
In a long layoff of 61 to 365 days or longer its very crucial that they have at least a 5 furlong within the last 14 days. The time again is unimportant but these horses with a layoff this long and missing that are best eliminated from the race due to condition. Also an absence of workouts from past performances does not necessarily mean there is an absence of training, try to locate the trainers who are sneak at hiding workouts.
a longer workout is always more significant than a shorter one.
Positive Patterns for improving form
Here are some patterns to pick up on for a horse that is improving form.
* The horse has been “up close” at every point of call~ but beware of the bounce too, if he has had 2 back to back races where they were tight all the way through or one dueling and the speed ratings have increased 3 times, expect for a bounce or a decline this race.
* The last running line shows a big win by three lengths or longer and it did not have an all out effort before that race.
* Front runners that have early speed for a couple races following a layoff.
* In claiming races a jump in class followed by and impressive win, following it can race up to par.
* A drop in class and improved move in the stretch.
Peaking Form~ Horses that are ready to give it their best
* The third start following a long layoff is usually a nice jump and the fourth can be good as well but this is the best effort many times.
* Shown the ability to attend at a faster pace without falling apart in the stretch and entering the same class or lower.
* Nice long workouts that are fast and even better if it has a bullet. These horses can be deadly if they have strong speed ratings too and are great horse racing bets.
Along with what to look for to see if a horse is poised to run a great race there are also some danger signs for ones not being fit. Here they are take note of each that possess these and question there fitness:
1.) Take note of any horse that bled, ran sore or finished lame in last race
2.) Take note of any horse that slowed into the stretch considerably or bore out notably in last race.
3.) Take note of any horse that is stepping up in class after a race it won while losing ground in the driving stretch.
4.) Except for the highly consistent horses that give their best every race~ Take note of any 4 year old or older, that engaged in dueling finishes in its last 2 outings. (notable exceptions are lightly raced 3 year olds of really high quality or handicap and stake races from top barns)
5.) Take note of any horse aged 5 or older whose best effort at today’s distance occurred in its last race, unless the horse is a male and it demonstrated reserved speed.
6.) When it ran last it had big win but has been out of action for more than six weeks.
7.) A horse that is 4 and up and delivered a lifetime best effort last time out usually its not repeated and goes backwards sometimes dramatically the more recently this race took place.
8.) Following a long layoff, one sprint followed by a stretch to the route can be rough on a horse.
Eliminate horses early if they have poor early speed and unacceptable form.
Some horses in peak condition still cannot beat the competitors in the horse race so there are variety of factors that will tell us what the story is to come. Click on the class factor to help with judging the quality of the horse.
When you begin to handicap a race the factor of condition is an excellent starting point and can help you narrow down the field quickly.
For more information on the physical condition of a horse its important to know what “bounce” means in horse racing and how to use it to your advantage.Share on Facebook