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Greyhound Handicapping the Perfect Scenario

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Eb Netr

August 22nd, 2013

In thoroughbred racing, one of the best spot plays is the only early speed horse in a race with no really good closers. A five and a half furlong sprint, for instance, where only one horse will get out of the gate first and the other horses are all Early/Pressers who will follow the leader, but not have enough energy left to close in the stretch.

That's a good spot play in dog racing too, but there's an even better one. It's the dog that gets out first or second, almost every time, and then also gains ground in the stretch. Its chart will have 1's and 2's for the first two positions after the post position and then the lengths numbers - the small numbers to the right and above the stretch call position - ‎will show that it got even farther ahead of the pack in the stretch.
gh racing dogs

For instance, you'll see a dog that got out first, was second at the second call by 1 length, then 1st or 2nd in the stretch by more than 1 length, which means that it gained ground from the turn to the stretch. A dog that can break and also close like this is almost always a contender in any race it's in.

There are things that makes this type of dog less than a good spot play such as when there's another dog in the race that does the same thing with faster times than it has. Alternatively, if this spot play shows up in a race and has much slower times than the other dogs in the race, maybe because they all have more class than the spot play does, I'd pass on playing it.

As always when we handicap, we also have to consider whether there are any other factors that will affect the spot play's ability to do what it does. Traffic can play a part. If there are too many other dogs in the path that the spot play wants - midtrack or inside or wherever it prefers to run - will it still be able to get the early lead or second and/or have room to close in the stretch?

Look through any program and you're very liable to find at least one of these spot plays. After you handicap the other dogs to see how they affect the spot play's chances, and assuming that this shows that the spot play has a good chance, play it to win. Even if you plan to play it or key it in exotics, don't forget to put some win money on it before you get sidetracked constructing trifecta or exacta wagers.

There's nothing worse than seeing your dog win without the dogs that would have made your exotic ticket a winner, and then realizing that you forgot to play it to win.
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