June 15, 2024

Sports Enthusiast

Professional Sports Purveyors

Sex and the Art of Greyhound Handicapping

There are a lot of myths about sex and greyhound racing. Some people will tell you that female dogs are never as good as males. Some say that females are better than males, at least in some types of races and at some distances. Other people say that sex makes no difference. Males and females are just as likely to win, they say, and just as likely to lose.

I think that sex does have an influence on dog races. I think that sometimes whether a dog is male or female can give you a clue as to whether the dog will win or lose. The only reason I think this way is because I’ve seen what looks to me like differences based on gender at the dog races.

For one thing, female dogs have puppies. When they do, they quit racing until after the puppies are weaned. They undergo physical changes that affect them. They gain weight and then lose it after the pups are born and while they’re nursing them. When they come back to the track to run, they may or may not be the same dog they were before they had pups.

Almost always, as any human mother can tell you, childbirth changes you permanently, physically and mentally. True, dogs aren’t humans, but they’re mammals and greyhounds are usually good mothers. When they have puppies, they’re focused on them throughout the months until weaning. Even after that though, their minds may not be on racing as much as they were before.

I can think of at least two females I bet on that changed when they had pups. One never won another race and really didn’t look like she was interested in racing. The other started to do better after she had a litter of puppies. I have no idea why, but there was a marked improvement in her speed and stamina.

Males, although they don’t have puppies, have their own gender-related issues. Some of them get aggressive when they reach maturity, and start turning their heads to fight, instead of keeping their minds on the lure. Some will run along beside a female, rather than pass her, if they’re more passive males.

In the spring, especially, males are likely to really compete with each other if there are only one or two females in a race. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen the quiniela be the lone female and the oldest male in a race with only one female in it in the spring.

So, sex really does matter in greyhound races, but not more than other factors like form, class, post position etc. While I don’t leave it out of my handicapping, I don’t over-emphasize it either. Like anything else, it has to be factored in with the basics of your greyhound handicapping system.