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How to Pick Winners

#1 How Easy Can a Horse Racing System Be and Still Work

#2 Good Horse Racing Systems Have One Factor in Common

#3 Horse Racing Tips for Pace Handicapping and Smart Betting




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Horse Racing Systems and Methods

         ...Articles by Bill Peterson...
 

#1 How Easy Can a Horse Racing System Be and Still Work?
By Bill Peterson

    Everybody knows that those who fail to plan, plan to fail and that's why you need some kind of a method to handicap horse races. Whether you have developed your own methods or buy a horse racing system and adapt it, you still need a systematic way to evaluate horses in a race. The question is, however, how much handicapping is too much?

   Most people would agree that an easy horse racing system is the goal. Wasting too much time evaluating factors that don't matter or have little value is just a waste of time and money. On the other hand, some people say that it's the details that matter. There are computer programs with powerful algorithms that sort through many factors and arrive at the most likely contenders in a list of descending order.

   Use those programs and you'll quickly find that even the best of them still doesn't pick enough winners to make a profit. If that program can't pick a profitable mix of winners, what chance does the average horse player have? You actually may have a better chance than you think.

   That computer isn't human and can't adapt and adjust like you can. It doesn't watch the previous races and make notes about the running style that is winning that day, even though it may use a track model that factors in hundreds of races from the past. It also can't visit the paddock and look at the horses or make a note that a jockey is having a bad day and riding poorly.

   The best and easiest horse racing systems do evaluate the horses based on some factors, but then they leave some of the judgment up to you, the person who is on the scene. No completely automatic system picks enough winners to make a profit. It just doesn't work that way in the real world. The best way to beat the races, if you can, is to buy several systems and learn how to use them and then adapt them to suit your own tastes and style.

    Even if you manage to do that, however, you still have to go into horse racing handicapping with your eyes open and realize it is very difficult. Even the best handicappers who write the good books on the subject admit that they can only do it and be profitable for a while before they have to take time off and to re-group.


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#2 Good Horse Racing Systems Have One Factor in Common
By Bill Peterson

    In order to be successful at almost anything in life it is necessary to have a systematic method or way of doing things. There are rare exceptions to this rule, but the more repetitious the endeavor, the more likely it is that the successful people have found a system that works and they use it over and over again. Horse racing is a good example.

   Trainers who are successful at getting their horses in condition and winning with them have a systematic way of conditioning the horses and then entering them to win. The horses themselves have a systematic way of running. Some win by being front runners and others by coming from off the pace. Then there are those who come from far back and close with a rush, but the one thing they all have in common is that they use their own method over and over again.

   The same can be said for people who bet on the horses. The really successful people who wager on horse races must work very hard and then there are no guarantees. It is one of the most difficult ways to make money, and yet a few rare souls actually do just that. Do you think that each time they win it is in a different way or that each one has found a method that works for him or her?

   Obviously, in order to do it over and over again, they each must have found a method that works. There are a lot of horse racing systems out there for sale, but I can guarantee you that the really successful horse players have gone beyond the basics of the systems. They probably started with those systems and tried them and found some things that worked and some that didn't and then adapted them a little here and there until they could win with them.

   Along the way I'm sure they did more than their share of losing and paid their dues. No one succeeds in life without some persistence. Every failure while trying to pick enough winners in horse races to make a profit was a painful learning experience, a valuable lesson, for those few people who stuck it out.

    What then is the one factor that the winning horse racing systems have in common? Each one has been adapted by the user to fit his or her unique talents and insight into horse racing.



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#3 Horse Racing Tips for Pace Handicapping and Smart Betting
By Bill Peterson

   While there are many factors that can be used to evaluate the runners in a horse race, pace and class are probably the two hardest factors to quantify and use correctly. It's true that statistics can be used to handicap a horse race and a horse's average speed or average earnings per start are finite figures that can be used for comparisons, but when it comes to determining which runner is the best and second best and what the difference between them may actually be, there are no rules and nothing is to be taken for granted.

   Just because one horse has a speed figure of 85 in its last race and the next fastest competitor has an 80, it doesn't mean that the top speed horse has a big advantage. The problem is that you must filter each factor through a net of factors to arrive at a true estimate of ability and projected outcome. For instance, if the 85 was earned against a weaker field that set a slow pace that benefited that horse, then the 85 may be a soft 85 while the horse that earned the 80 may have been in a very fast race against a contentious pace.

   Therefore, when I look at pace I also look at class and average earnings per start. If two horses have an 85 for the average early pace of the race, the average to the first call, I look to see if one has a class advantage over the other. I give the edge to the classier horse, naturally. I look for pace matchups during the race and then use class and recency to help sort out which of the runners will expend the most energy to maintain the position in the race that it wishes to hold.

   That means running style, of course, and that along with pace and class tells a lot about the final outcome of the race. I look at the race and picture it in my mind's eye then note where each runner will be at each call in the race. Class horses always get the edge in pace matchups.

   The final outcome is what I am trying to determine, naturally, and placing a few runners in front at the finish line really narrows down the field. Once I am able to do that the next job is to set what I call fair value odds for the horse. In other words, what is a fair price to expect for this runner so that if I bet this same horse ten times under identical conditions, my bets would make a profit?

   After all that the next step is to watch the tote board and see if there is any value to be found in the race. If neither of my top contenders is at the odds I require to make a profit, I sit the race out, but I do watch it, just to see how my pace handicapping shakes out in real life. If you want to make money betting on horses, you have to be able to evaluate the race and runners and to know what the true probability of each one winning may be. It is very difficult and risky, however, so always budget your money carefully and never risk money you cannot afford to lose.

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