Horse Racing Handicapping – Using Horse Racing Results Charts to Get a Betting Edge
Horse Racing Results as a Handicapping Factor
by Kenneth Strong of Predictem.com
Incorporate Official Horse Racing Results Charts into your handicapping to get the edge on your betting competition
Horse racing result charts include a number of gold nuggets that can give you an edge on the betting crowd. While nothing can take the place of watching the live races and replays and making your own notes regarding how a horse ran, result charts can provide you with invaluable information not easily extracted from the traditional Past Performances used be most competent horseplayers when handicapping and betting the races.
Racing result charts are published regularly in the Daily Racing Form and the most recent charts can also be found online at DRF and Equibase. These charts contain every piece of information you could possibly want with regards to the running of a race. The Official Racing Results Charts are compiled by a professional race watcher and recorder known as an Equibase Trackman. The Trackman observes every race at a particular track, usually with an assistant, and compiles all race-related data. This data is then sent to an online database which is used to create the Past Performances you see in the Daily Racing Form or Equibase Program.
The majority of handicappers use only the Past Performances to handicap a race. But while Past Performances are excellent sources of information, they don’t always tell you the full story of how a horse ran in its previous races.
Data collected for the racing results charts includes the name of the racetrack, race date, race number, race conditions, race distance, purse, race fractions, final time, post position, running positions and lengths, payoffs, the date and race a horse last ran, medication used, equipment, jockeys, trainers, odds, track condition, start (good or bad) information, payouts, claims and expanded comments.
The ultimate scenario would be to watch the races and replays, make your own notes on how each horse ran, and use the racing results charts to bolster your observations. Sometimes you will see something the results charts don’t have. Other times the charts might contain information about a horse that you might have missed.
Because most bettors do not look beyond the Past Performances (analyzing charts takes time and effort), they miss valuable information contained only in the result charts. For example, the short comment line found at the end of each horse’s Past Performance lines for a race is limited to a certain number of characters.
For example, the short comment for a horse named RUNNING CAT might say something like “away slowly.” A handicapper seeing this comment might want to give the horse a little extra consideration.
But what if the expanded comment line in the result charts says “RUNNING CAT, away slowly, dropped back, made a wide move to get into contention entering the turn, stayed close into the stretch and faded”? And what if RUNNING CAT had started from an inside post on a track that was favoring inside speed?
The expanded comments found in the result charts basically tell you that in this case everything that could possibly have gone wrong for RUNNING CAT did. The horse had a terrible trip – much worse than indicated by the Past Performance “away slowly” comment. A handicapper using result charts would know this and give the horse strong extra consideration, while a handicapper using only the Past Performances might brush the slow start of as a minor episode.
Another example of a short comment that doesn’t give the whole story might be “steadied stretch.” A handicapper working off only the Past Performances might think the horse had some serious trouble and give the horse extra consideration. But in this case you need to know whether the horse was making a winning move when it was steadied, or was it already fading before being steadied. The result charts will often give you the answer to this question.
Horse racing results charts can also be used to determine the internal pace of a race and to get a better feeling as to the quality of performances within that race.
For example, using the result charts you can calculate the internal fractions of a race and note whether they were fast or slow. For example, if the chart says the first quarter mile was run in 23 2/5 seconds and the half mile was run in 46 seconds, the internal fraction from quarter to half would be 22 3/5 second. This would be considered a good internal fraction at many race tracks. The idea is to look for horses that were close (within three lengths) in areas of the race that included fast fractions. A horse that chases or sets fast fractions before fading will often make a solid good play at a nice price in its next race.
Internal fractions for each race should be calculated and the races should be compared to each other. Higher class horses will generally run faster than lower class horses, but occasionally you will find races that have internal fractions that are higher than they should be for a certain class. Additionally, you might find races of the same class in which the final time was the same but the internal fractions were much quicker. Horses that can stay close to these fast internal fractions can often come back to run big in their next starts. Horses that make a good move into fast fractions should also be given extra consideration in their next starts. After analyzing a few weeks worth of results charts you will start to see patterns with regards to fractions and final times. Horses coming out of races with better internal fractions generally produce better quality performances in their next starts.
While expanded trip notes and internal fractions are good reasons on their own to use results charts, serious handicappers should keep their own set of result charts for another reason – key races – races that produce multiple horses that come back to run well.
If you have your own set of saved result charts from a track filed by date, every time a horse wins a race or runs well, you can go back to the chart of its previous race (the first race at the top of its past performances – find the date of that race – and make a notation on that chart. Beside the horse’s name in the results chart you add a note of either the finish position or an observation indicating the horse gave a good effort in its next race. When you find that two or more horses have come out of that race (off the same chart) to run well in their next start, there is a good possibility that other horses who ran well in that same race can come back to big too – and sometimes at great odds!
Another important reason to keep your own set of charts is to find patterns with regards to winning running styles and track biases. You might notice that a track was favoring front runners on the inside one day, and closers on the outside in the next. You will know if the track bias gave a horse an advantage that day, or whether they raced against the bias. A horse with a bias-aided win might be downgraded in its next start. A closer that raced well against an inside speed bias might have its chances upgraded in its next start – if properly spotted class-wise – especially if the surface is playing to that horse’s running style that day – or at least playing fair.
Very few handicappers use the racing results charts in their handicapping – because it takes work – but the added information and insights you gain from studying these charts will give you a solid information edge and put dollars in your pocket.
Does it pay to study horse racing results charts?
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