Handicapping 101

Discover more ways to find angles and improve your odds. Check out our full archives of handicapping tips from horse racing experts.

Step-by-step: Building an exacta ticket

(Photo by Michael McInally/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup) As one of the oldest exotic wagers in horse racing, the exacta is practically as recognizable as the traditional win/place/show wagers the sport has long been known for. The exacta requires bettors to select the top two finishers of a race in the correct order. It’s a little harder than it sounds—an eight-horse field contains 56 possible exacta outcomes—but by employing sound betting strategies, you can increase your chances of hitting this [...]

Step-by-Step: Building a Pick 3 ticket

Keen Ice rallies to defeat American Pharoah in the Travers Stakes (G1)- Photo by Courtney Henney/Coglianese Photography Constructing a Pick 3 ticket should be an easy task. The wager is straightforward and simple—pick the winners of three straight races and reap a nice reward. But to play the Pick 3 effectively involves a little more forethought and strategy. With dozens (hundreds?) of Pick 3 sequences to choose from on any given day of racing, how do you maximize [...]

Exacta box of the week: Belmont Park race 7 for Saturday, June 8

Belmont Park (Carson Dennis) Exacta Box of the day for Belmont Park Race seven on Belmont Stakes Saturday at Belmont Park is the one-mile, Grade 1 $700,000 Acorn Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. The race attracted a field of nine fillies in what looks like one of the best betting opportunities on the 13-race card. What makes the 2019 Acorn such an attractive betting race figures to be a red-hot pace scenario that could set he race up to [...]

Using Trainer Angles in Handicapping, Part 5

Bob Baffert at Saratoga - Photo by Courtney Heeney/Coglianese Photography You’ve probably heard the talk—the talk of how trainer Bob Baffert has become essentially unbeatable with his two-year-olds. Maybe “unbeatable” is a bit of a stretch, but it isn’t far from the truth either. In 2018, Baffert’s two-year-olds compiled an otherworldly 32-for-62 record—that’s 52% wins—and when you consider that Baffert frequently runs two horses against each other, his record for the year was nothing short of jaw-dropping. So [...]

Tips and Trends for Handicapping Marathons

Turf racing at Belmont Park - Photo by Coglianese Photography Marathon horse races held over 1 ¾ miles or farther aren’t all that common in North America, and when they are on the agenda, some handicappers find themselves puzzled by the unusual challenge of handicapping such long-distance races. What do you even look for when handicapping marathons? Obviously, horses with proven form running long distances are ideal, but in the absence of such horses, I’ve found that three [...]

Betting Regional Class Advantages, Part 2

Coady Photography In a recent article here on BetAmerica, we discussed how regional class advantages can exist throughout the sport of horse racing and produce to profitable wagering opportunities. Our first example noted how turf horses from the East Coast tend to be superior to their counterparts from the West Coast, but when we turn our attention to dirt racing, the picture looks very different. Specifically, when it comes to three-year-old dirt horses—Kentucky Derby candidates—the west has been [...]

Betting Regional Class Advantages, Part 1

Elsa winning the Jimmy Durante Stakes (gr. III) at Del Mar - © Benoit Photo While the old saying “a good horse can come from anywhere” is certainly true, it’s also true that good horses are more likely to come from some places than others. A great example comes from California, where a greater emphasis is placed on dirt racing than turf racing. That’s not to say that California can’t produce good grass horses, but compared to the [...]

How Studying Stallions Can Yield Profitable Pedigree Plays

Stephanie's Kitten winning the Flower Bowl (gr. I) at Belmont Park - Photo by NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography It’s a known fact that the progeny of some stallions prefer racing on dirt rather than turf (or vice versa), but did you know that these preferences can be even more subtle than that—all the way down to showing a preference for certain turf course conditions? For example, take Kitten’s Joy. A champion racehorse turned champion sire, the vast majority of [...]

Betting Races on Soft Turf, Part 1: Why Europeans Can Have an Edge

Turf racing at Belmont Park - Photo by Coglianese Photography Relatively speaking, racehorses in North America don’t get many opportunities to run on truly soft, rain-inundated turf courses. When heavy rains strike, turf races are frequently transferred to the dirt track in order to preserve the grass. But in Europe, where the vast majority of racecourses offer only one racing surface (grass), horses compete on yielding, soft, and heavy turf courses all the time. This can give them [...]

Should You Bet Horses Returning on Short Rest?

Ria Antonia winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) - Photo by © Breeders' Cup/Pat McDonogh 2013 Although there has been a tendency in recent years for trainers to give their horses more and more time between races, there are some trainers still willing to run their horses back in a week or less, and when you can identify a trainer who’s skilled with this move, opportunities can abound for nice betting scores. One such trainer is [...]