June 18, 2024

Sports Enthusiast

Professional Sports Purveyors

Horse Racing Handicapping Using Paths and Speed Points

Here’s an interesting angle to consider in your horse racing handicapping that you may have never thought of before. In harness racing, especially on half mile tracks, when a horse is denied the rail and forced to race in the two path or “second over,” it has to race much farther than the horses running on the rail and it usually means the race is lost for that one.

Thoroughbreds also race in different paths and that can mean the difference between winning and losing. Some services provide information on track biases and where the first three finishers of most races run, in other words whether they are on the rail, in the second path, or third path, etc. While being outside of the rail path means less in thoroughbred racing, it is still important, more so in some races at certain distances and at certain tracks.

First it is a good idea to know where most runners score from at each distance at the track(s) you usually play. Once you know that information, the next thing is to try to determine where each horse in a race will run. For instance, in a long race that starts near the turn, many times the outside post positions rarely win because horses get hung out wide going into the turn. Only horses that start incredibly slowly and therefore wind up easily slipping over to the rail behind the pack, or horses with blinding early speed that shoot over to the rail ahead of the pack, have a chance of getting on the rail path, which we all know is the shortest distance to the winners circle.

But how do you know which part of the track your horse will run on? How do you know which path it will be able to get to and score from? The answer is, no one knows for sure and it is hard to calculate, but not impossible to have a rough idea. The most important part is, when you’re trying to pick winners at the horse track, finding a horse that may run into traffic problems during the race and avoiding that scenario can greatly improve your horse racing handicapping.

The way to do that is to read each horse’s speed points and fractional times and try to determine where each runner will be at each stage of the race. For instance, if there are three horses who figure to run right behind the leader, and you like the horse with the outside post position of the three, then you can probably figure the other two horses will be between your horse and the rail. In other words, it will run from the three path.

That isn’t so bad as long as there will only be two horses in front of it, but if you like a horse but figure it will be kept off the rail and have to contend with a wall of horses in front of it, then you are depending upon some racing luck and the jockey finding an opening as they turn into the stretch. Many times, these runners encounter problems and wind up finishing in the money but missing the win. The larger the field the more tactical speed becomes important.

Try handicapping a few races and figuring which path each horse will be in and which ones will encounter problems or have to take up in the stretch or turn and you may be amazed at how good you are at spotting trouble and avoiding those bets. Avoid a few bad bets a day and you will find you are soon making a profit from the horse races.