What to look for in the Horse Paddock

If you are in position to actually see your horse before the horse race in the paddock. There are some things to look for doing a paddock inspection on each horse to see if its in position to win the race. You are looking for the horse that is sharp and keyed up for the race. Horses that were inseparable on paper can sometimes be distinguished in the paddock and post parade giving you good horse racing betting opportunities.

It is figured that 90% of all horses that win are by horses described to be sharp, ready, or dull. The Frightened or Angry make up the other 10%. * Sweat and kidney lather can be characteristics of Sharp and Frightened horses so there are some things to look for to distinguish them. * On the sharp horses they may sweat and dance a little but they are actually embodying of health and vigor. The coat has a shine or a dapple. * The mane and tail gleam, neither fat or bony, its rear muscles haunch and perhaps ripple. * The animal is  prancing around, with eagerness, often with neck arched, head tucked downward toward chest (excellent signs), the ears pricked forward and tail up to signal readiness. ..

Here is some quick rules to build upon using the paddock to distinguish the winners!


  • Be at the paddock entrance as the horses are arriving.
  • Watch each closely as they enter. Check for any signs of lameness, nerves, or scent of ligament. Check the groom too, sometimes his expression can give something away.
  • As the horses walk around the paddock, note any signs of lameness, excessive sweating, foaming/drooling from the mouth, over excitability, or whinnying. Any of these is a negative sign.
  • Other negative signs include dull coat, runny eyes or nose, open sores, front wraps, excessive sweating between the hind legs, tendon problems, or popping the tail up and down.
  • Positive signs to look for are being “dressed up” (braids, patterns on the hindquarters, etc.), prancing, neck bowed, focused look, shiny coat, dapples, and that “ready to run” look in the eye.
  • When the jockey mounts and the horses head out to the track, continue to check for the same positive and negative signs. They can show up at any time.
  • Once the horses are on the track, they should appear focused and eager to run. Beware horses who look like they would rather be elsewhere these are the worst horse bets.
  • Make your selections and go wager!


Picture a horse like this and note ones in the paddock that have these features. The horse almost appears to be showing off. It is difficult to find a horse that embodies all these and has the eagerness launching into the post parade but well worth the hunt if you find one~ they simply don’t lose.

Then there would be the complete opposite of this is one of fear and also sweats. It is very reluctant and resistant. Its head is held high but in continuous motion, sometimes eyes rolling so you just see whites. Ears flicking rapidly in all directions. (Many times by studying the ears will tell you a lot you want them to be prick forward) The tail swishes side to side up and down. The handler controls with a stud chain. The horse has a restless nature stomping and everything is unorganized. They have a hard time getting in the gate and the horse will throw fits. They get out the gate and run hard but when the stretch comes out of energy.

A horse can change if something makes it mad or throws if off that is why its important to look at the ears they should be alert in a forward position. These are some things that can greatly benefit you if you are able to see them in the paddock.

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  • By Anonymous, June 16, 2011 @ 5:45 am

    would they really base the horse who would win through these signs? and it is accurate? arent these things some sort of predictions only? cause there may be times that that horse do have these signs but looses. we never know.

  • By admin, January 19, 2012 @ 7:43 am

    I go to the track that is in Fairmount and get to look at quite a few horses. It seems that what helps me the most
    is finding the horses that are the complete opposite. The ones that looked disturbed and even at times look
    nervous are ones that I can eliminate. So I might not find the perfect keyed up horse but I can at least get rid of the
    ones that don’t have a chance which I might not of been able to do on paper.

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