Why pick one horse over another?

There are literally dozens of factors that influence why one horse is a superior choice over another. For this class we will focus on the human element of horse racing.

There are many people involved in the racing of a single horse, the two most important being the trainer and the jockey. These individuals work together to make sure that the horse is in peak condition for race day. Think of the trainer as if he were a coach. He will construct workouts for the horse, monitor its food intake, and decide (sometimes along with the owner’s help) when the horse is ready to step out on the track and race. The simple fact is that some trainers are better than others. It pays (literally) to know which trainers are successful at your local track. Most track programs will keep track of statistics like this.

The trainer makes other decisions that can affect a horse’s racing as well. By introducing the drug Lasix to a horse for the first time, the horse’s odds of winning increase. This drug was created to reduce water retention and swelling in muscles and organs, but has proven to be beneficial to a thoroughbred’s racing career as well. Most horses in the industry use Lasix, and many horses racing for their first time since using the drug have had breakout races.

The decision to use blinkers is also a decision made by the trainer. Blinkers go over a horse’s head and, in essence, give the horse “tunnel vision.” This reduces a horse’s vision so that it can only see straight ahead, making the horse less likely to be distracted by horses in its peripheral vision.

The jockey and the trainer will decide upon a race strategy based on the horse’s strengths and weaknesses, but it is ultimately up to the jockey to execute the strategy on the track. Take jockey Calvin Borel for example. He won three Kentucky Derbies over the course of four years using his trademark racing style. By sitting back and waiting for the traffic in front of him to thin out, Borel hugged the rail and had his horses run the shortest course to the finish line. Borel has won many additional races using this strategy. In other words, like trainers, some jockeys are better than others. Be aware of who the jockeys that win the most are at your track.

The moral here is that there are many things that humans do that also affect the race. Our next class will focus on the factors beyond man’s control. For this analysis, we will need to learn to analyze the charts that are made displaying each horse’s past performances, breeding, and lifetime statistics.

elementary school
Pre-KHorse Racing Basics
KindergartenPari-Mutuel System Betting
1st GradeHorse Racing 101
2nd GradeWhy Pick One Horse Over Another
3rd GradeReading Horse Charts
4th GradeWhy Class Matters
5th GradeSpeed Figures
middle school
6th GradeIntro to Exotic Betting
7th GradeExotics Part II Multi Race Bets
8th GradeSelecting the Right Races
high school
9th GradeThe Morning Line
10th GradeMoney Management
11th GradeBetting Tactics to Avoid
12th GradePerfecting the Craft