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How to Pick a Winner Racing at the Horse Track

Updated on October 24, 2011

Horse Racing


At The Track

Horse racing in these united states, has been a sport many have involved themselves in, by either owning, training, riding or simply watching and betting on the races.  Millions of dollars is passed hands betting on these magnificent animals, so let's take a close up look at this sport, and in the end, you will know much more about how to pick the winning horse.

These races are run in furlongs, which is in layman's understanding, 220 yards or 1/8 of a mile.  The usual race is measured anywhere from two to four or five furlongs.  So, that would be the shortest to be a quarter mile, and at the most a mile is usual, although a mile and an eighth is not unheard of.

A thoroughbred is the breed usually run, for they are big and long legged creatures physically able to run as fast as 40 mph for short distances and even over longer ones 30 to 35 mph.  The weight of the rider is kept at a minimum, thus not giving the animal more to carry making it easier to run.  They begin training at an incredibly young age, and it is quite normal to see a race of two year old, some of them running their first or maybe second race thereby cranking the odds up to incredibly high margins, making the race even more exciting than it otherwise might be.  When you throw a first or second time racing horse into a race with others that are more well known, and people know what they can do or what to expect, the excitement in the stands is incredible.  The known horses will have odds like 2:1 or 3:1, and the newcomer will start out like 9:1.  By the time they have all the horses into the gate and are getting ready to begin the race, the odds on that horse may go up to an incredible 90:1 .  When the gate opens all bets are final.

On top of everything that there is to consider on picking a winner, there is also cheating that goes on.  I have heard of drugging the horse, drugging the jockey, and even such inhumane goings on as shoving cotton balls up the nose of the possible winner so the horse cannot get the oxygen needed to run as well as he can.  Horses have actually died behind that practice.

So how is a person to know and make an informed or knowledgeable bet on a horse race?  I have seen people make bets on the jockey who is riding that day, bet according to what color the horse and jockey are wearing, and to me this seems like an unlikely way to win.  After all, who is running the race and is the jockey running or carrying the horse across the line?  Heavens no, and to actually win this way is like spinning a wheel, or closing your eyes and pointing.  I am happy to say there is a better way.

Being able to read a racing form is a start.  A lot of what people see in a racing form looks like something you would see at the closing of the stock market.  Unless you can interpret what is there, you are sunk.  Upon entering the track, you are given the opportunity to purchase what is called a racing guide, or racing form guide.  The racing form has in it the times of actual races of the horses you are about to see race.  It will show you times like this, as an example---

:45     1:18      1:35        1:56        2:09

These times are given to the horse as he passes markers on the track, for example the first turn, coming out of the first turn, the stretch, second turn, coming out of that turn, home stretch and at the flag.  These times are given to you from a previous race.  In the guide, there is a place that shows practice times.  It looks very much like the above times, only they are not progressing, and if you can read the small print you will see next to the times, the dates.  These times should look like this:

  1:23      1:12     :59       1:19      :58          These times as you can see are not progressive, as if passing markers, but are the total times of a practice run the horse did that week for a distance he is about to run in the next race.    Now if you look at the practice times of each horse that is entered to run in this race, you will have a very practical means of deciding who might win this race.  Usually one or two horses will have substantially better times than the rest.  If you need further help, keep reading......

Now if you want to pick the winning horse, you can do one of about three things.  Either bet on both horses, or bet on both horses to win and the other to show, which is second place.  The other thing to consider is this, and it might sound odd, but it is to think like the horse.  If you notice a horse that does not want to go into the starting gate, bet on him.  If you see a horse that walks like a bed spring, bet on him.  If you notice anything that might indicate that the horse is not behaving, this might only be an indicator that he only is interested in one thing, running.  These animals are usually long shots with unreal odds, like 50:1 to 100:1.  These are the money makers.

So, if you need cash, can't get a job, have many many bills to pay and need the easy way out, don't do anything you will regret for the rest of your life, just go to the track, look for the worst behaved horse there, and bet five dollars.  You never know, it may just be the break you need and provide God with the ways and means to help you out.  It could be that one misbehaving horse.


Submit a Comment

  • jericho911 profile image

    Kenneth Claude 

    5 years ago from Parts Unknown

    wow, that must be for the completely clueless visitor to the track. your remarks were nearly all discouraging. You spoke of the drugging (which is far less prevalent than the population thinks) and basically said that a jockey isn't a big deal. the jockey is a MONSTROUS piece when selecting a winner.

  • jericho911 profile image

    Kenneth Claude 

    5 years ago from Parts Unknown

    you didn't give any help ?


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