Looking to Expand Your Handicapping Angles?

Horse Racing Radar
Shawn Drupp
Shawn Drupp is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Wednesday, December 2, 2020

There are plenty of things that are great about horse racing. One thing is that we can all look at the same program and have different opinions on what will happen in a race. This is because we all have different betting angles and strategies.  Let's look at favorite betting angles that people use.  Most of these you may have heard of and some may be new to you.  We will start with some that I use.  I'm big on some of the basics like horse for the course, distance, or surface.  When I can get 2 of these 3 things I really key in on a horse.  For example, a horse may be 3 for 3 at a track and 4 for 5 with a second on a sloppy track. I'm keying on this horse at that track with those conditions no matter the class.  Depending on the track I prefer to bet on outside post positions for sprints and inside for routes.  A popular angle that I like to bet are horses that go from a real low percentage jockey to a high percentage one. Same thing applies for trainers.  I will also look at forms and see if there are any other high percentage trends for that horse, jockey, trainer etc. This next one I use a lot and that is a speed horse that drops in class from maiden special weight or allowance to claiming level. To explain this one better, a maiden is a horse that has never won. A maiden special weight is equivalent to an allowance race for maidens. The difference in those kinds of races is the money and also the fact that horses can't be claimed by another owner. Typically you get better horses in allowance or maiden special weight races therefore the horses speed will carry better in claiming. Speaking of speed, lone speed in a race is an angle I use that works.  This simply means the only horse in the race that likes to be out front from the start. The less pressure on a horse from the beginning usually means the horse will have more to offer down the stretch. Value isn't always the best as this is a popular angle and easily visible.

Now let's look at what I have seen or heard other people use now or in the past.  A new one to me that I just started hearing about is the jump up in class after being claimed.  This can be a difficult one to read as some states require you to move your horse up in price after being claimed.  To explain this one, a horse is claimed in a $10k claiming race and next race out jumps to a $20k race for the new owners and trainer.  First time gelding, which means castrated, otherwise known as neutered, is a very popular betting angle that people use. The only problem I see with this one is that everyone sees this and most people do use this which hurts the value. The second or most people will say the third start off an extended layoff is a key angle.  When a horse hasn't run for say a year it takes some time to build it's endurance back up and to get back to run like it use to. With this one it's important to research the trainer as each one handles their horses different and they perform differently in these situations.  Class dropping is a very popular angle as some people think the horse with the most class will win.  We kind of touched on this in one of my betting angles going from allowance to claiming or just from a higher price claiming to a lesser one.  The next one I never thought about or paid attention to but that would be if a trainer has an entry and scratches the better horse not due to injury or stewards.  The reason the trainer would do this is to get better value for the other horse left to run. There are also the people that will just play horses with certain names maybe their kid's name, dog's name, etc.  There are so many ways to play the great sport of horse racing and these are just a few. The big key which most of us struggle with is to remain consistent and keep evolving as a horse player.  What are your favorite angles and betting strategies to use? Which one of these has worked for you and what hasn't?  Please share with me at [email protected].