There is a lot of confusion regarding horse racing handicapping and how to use handily works and breezing works.
First, let’s set the record straight. A handily or in hand work means the horse was going easily and didn’t need much urging. A horse that works handily or in hand is one that is full of run and wants to run. A horse that is breezing is being urged to move faster by the rider. Of the two workouts, the H is more impressive because it usually means a horse is full of run.
But before you go betting every horse that shows an H work, be careful. Most clockers give the H work tag to most works. Only when there is a good reason to note a horse was really being pushed or there was some other factor, do clockers give the B tag. You will notice on a workout report for most tracks the clocker has given the H tag to most works.
The interesting thing to note is that while it may first appear to be a bad sign if a horse has to be “ridden” to get a good work out of it, that may not be the case at all. Maybe the trainer told the rider to ride it hard just to see what the horse really has. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if the horse responds well. It is just a way of seeing what the horse has. Pay attention to B works and you may find one that is much faster than the rest. That is a very good sign. That is the kind of inside information that people pay money for.
One thing that many people don’t know is that not all clockers work for the Daily Racing Form or the track. Some work for private interests that pay these expert horse watchers to clock workouts and report back to them. They are always on the lookout to spot a rider riding a horse hard and to see what it can do.
Workouts are the most underutilized source of good inside information in horse racing handicapping. That’s unfortunate for most handicappers, but not for the few who learn how to use them wisely. Any work is an indication of positive intention by the trainer. If a conditioner decides not to bother exercising a horse it may be that the horse doesn’t need a workout or it may be that it is too lame to work. Get to know your trainer patterns and you’ll be able to know the difference most of the time.